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crackerjazz

Bandai 1/144 TFA Millennium Falcon

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Legend has it that the Millennium Falcon lost its rectenna sensor dish in the Battle of Endor but it has since been replaced with a rectangular one.

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Enter the TFA Falcon. The story is set 30 years hence, so the rectangular rectenna is there along with more piping on the sidewalls. I guess the TFA Falcon was modeled after the 5-foot-long prop used in the Battle of Endor scene (instead of the somewhat flatter-hulled 32-inch ESB Falcon prop) in order to ensure continuity. So the CGI model has the same beautifully-curved hull of the 5-footer. Details also match up to the bigger prop. This was the original prop used in ANH and had beautiful kitbash detailing. ILM bought kits in bulk cheap and detailed the prop with parts from aircraft, tanks, motorcycles, racing cars and trucks. The decals they used came from such kits as well and the 5-foot prop even had the Drive Safely AMT truck decal emblazoned below the engine. I was looking for it in this kit's decal set -- I guess it's too small to be replicated : ) I'm not a big fan of CGI and still prefer real models and practical effects but I'll admit CGI has made great strides. The Falcon does look pretty realistic in the trailer.

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There is a choice of glass cockpit or just the frame (studio prop style).

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The new dish.

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The figures are tiny.

Edited by crackerjazz

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The R75 motorcyle fork is beautifully replicated along with the other 5-footer kitbash parts.

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The Wankel engine halves are there too -- in 1/144 incarnation : )

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The 1/25 AMT '57 Chevy Bel-Air chassis really looks good in 1/144 as well : )

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The 1/12 Tamiya Ferrari 312B parts faithfully replicated.

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Lots of piping to try not to break : ) Most are native only to the TFA Falcon.

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5-footer prop jawbox details.

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Size comparison to the Finemolds ESB Falcon (1/144).

Edited by crackerjazz

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More 5-footer prop details.

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To me the curved hull alone is worth the price of admission : ) This model is just plain awesome. And I do hope Bandai is just testing the waters to see if the 1/144 sells well enough to justify scaling it up to a 1/72.

Edited by crackerjazz

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I've got to say I really do like the more hamburgerish Bandai hull over the FM kit's flatter appearance. Surely both are based on their respective studio versions (as you too explained), but now I've really fallen in love with the Bandai kit! I'm very happy about how my FM Falcon turned out, but somehow... :) And those figures of Han and Chewie!

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I treated myself and just ordered one...couldn't resist... :doh:

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Hi Nicholas, Check Six - it sure is a breathtaking model! Hi Don, glad to have influenced you to pick one up! You'll find it's worth every penny! And the price isn't that steep either. Got mine on evilbay for $32 plus $9 shipping from Japan, but I can see some of them offer it for $39 with free shipping. Hi Janman, you won't regret it! Each have their own merit, of course -- the FM is a model of the 32 so there's no substitute for it if you're a fan of Empire Strikes Back which is still my favorite episode among the three in the original trilogy -- there was something magical about that movie. I sure had fun building the Finemolds 1/144, even putting in extra time to adjust the mandibles, add piping and lights and make a little asteroid field diorama. The asteroid field scene in ESB featured the 32" so it wouldn't have been right to use a Bandai for the dio had it come out then.

Here are some shots of my Finemolds 1/144 a couple years back before I painted it and mucked it up (and is now in a sorry state). The lights have since died and I'll need to pry the shell open to fix it : ( Sorry for the blurry shots -- I didn't save any in hi-res.

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Edited by crackerjazz

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...Hi Don, glad to have influenced you to pick one up...And the price isn't that steep either. Got mine on evilbay for $32 plus $9 shipping from Japan, but I can see some of them offer it for $39 with free shipping.

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Nice work on your Falcon in the asteroid field :thumbsup: ! Looks awesome. Fun fact, in the movie they used an old model of the Falcon as an asteroid and you can just barely make it out flying from left to right on one of the screen shots if you have slow motion.

As far as the Bandai Falcon price goes, I used Amazon again and got mine for $40 with free shipping and its already on its way... can't wait :woot.gif: !

I look forward to watching your progress.

Regards,

Don.

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Yes to all of the above, BUT - on the one I fondled,

the instructions show the lighting kit, but it is NOT included in the kit (so why the clear blue bit?),

fine piping is moulded separately (see this post) BUT the radar dish support is cast as a solid chunk,

large exhaust ports have moulded-in detail, BUT it is to be covered-over with a solid plate (is a PE set due-in?)

the cannon-controls are also chunky,

the landing gear pads are cast solid (as per all other kits of the MF) - not perforated,

But these are only MY observations. The lighting kit is available as a separate buy.

George, out............

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AND -

the Bandai 144-scale kit is about 10% BIGGER than the Fine Molds 144-scale kit. They can't BOTH be right.

George, out............

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AND -

the Bandai 144-scale kit is about 10% BIGGER than the Fine Molds 144-scale kit. They can't BOTH be right.

George, out............

I'm not a Star Wars expert but is it possibly they are models of different props so maybe they can both be right and still different sizes? Just a question, I really don't know.

Bill

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There were a lot of differences between different props, you're right about that. Detail wise and, as we've now seen (I hadn't fully realized it until now), also shape wise.

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Indeed the differences are quite significant from movie to movie and even movie model to movie model in the same movie. Heck the underside of the Falcon from "A New Hope" is completely different from "The Empire Strikes Back" version (notice the landing gear). A good thread here for those interested:

http://www.therpf.com/showthread.php?t=232123

Looking forward to getting my Bandai Falcon.

Regards,

Don

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Some references state the "real" Falcon's length as 34.37m (112.76 feet) which looks like what Bandai aimed for (at 241mm). A true-to-life Finemolds (216mm) would be a 102-ft ship -- about 10 feet too short. That is, if there really were a 34.37m-long ship to base scales from.

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I fell in love with the 5-footer prop, not in spite of, but because of, its more dilapidated state. It's a ship that's falling apart but can still fight. The original 5-footer prop had overhang edges that were twisted and dented in spots. It also had those neat cooling fans (originally installed to keep the engine lighting cool on the big studio model). It's got the unmistakable dome hull. The TFA Falcon CGI model and the resulting Bandai model are based off of this prop.

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The 32-inch looks good too and it's the hero of ESB. It's smaller and is built for action shots as opposed to filming an unwieldy 5-footer. ILM tried to use half-scale equivalents of the original kitbash parts on the 5-footer to detail it but where there weren't any they had to use substitute parts. So you'll see that the engine deck parts for example look similar but really different upon closer inspection. The overhangs were neater and no fans here, just molded grills. This is the prop that the Finemolds kit is based from. Master Replicas released a resin model of it once in studio size. DeAgostini recently released a very nice model as well with parts that came in monthly installments. It's fun to replicate even in studio prop scale because of the manageable size compared to a 5-foot one.

Edited by crackerjazz

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It's pretty cool they included a top view shot in the movie. I like to think that it's for the modelers out there -- for weathering reference :)

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Bandai does a pretty decent job providing the modeler with some color reference shots on their box art. The pictures of the completed model(s) are also well done. My only gripe...and I know these kits are marketed for the Japanese modeler/Star Wars fan...is the lack of English on the box sides and of course the plans. I know there are translated copies online and I have printed them out. But the plans in the kit(s) are really quite good, printed on sturdy paper and in color and it would be nice to have English included. I know I know its a small gripe and I am being nit picky. But on the flip side I will gladly take the kits without English instructions over having no kits at all ;) .

Looking forward to more of your Falcon.

Regards,

Don.

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Sorry I meant the other Bandai Star Wars instructions for their 1/72 kits, 1/48 Snow Speeder and AT-ST, and figures:

http://www.mech9.com/search/label/Star%20Wars

To my knowledge there is no 1/144 English instructions out yet for the Bandai Falcon. But I bet there will be very soon. At least I hope so!

Regards,

Don.

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The work the guys are doing on their Falcon is infectious :) Sanded it down as well to make the frame thinner just like the prop to see Han, Chewie and the crew better.

Edited by crackerjazz

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