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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Millennium Falcon






Here are some images of MPC's 1/58 scale Millennium Falcon from Star Wars. From Wikipedia "The Millennium Falcon is a fictional spacecraft in the Star Wars universe commanded by smuggler Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and his Wookiee first mate, Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew). The highly modified YT-1300 light freighter first appears in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977), and subsequently in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983) and, in a cameo, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005). The Falcon also appears in a variety of Star Wars Expanded Universe materials, including books, comics, and games; James Luceno's novel Millennium Falcon focuses on the titular ship.

According to Star Wars creator George Lucas, the Falcon's design is inspired by a hamburger, with the cockpit being an olive on the side. The ship originally had a more elongated appearance, but the similarity to the Eagle Transporters in Space: 1999 prompted Lucas to change the Falcon's design. The original model was modified, re-scaled, and used as Princess Leia's ship, Tantive IV.

Visually, the Millennium Falcon was represented by several models and external and internal sets. For A New Hope, a partial exterior set was constructed and the set dressed as Docking Bay 94 and the Death Star hangar. Besides the functional landing pads, an additional support held up the structure and was disguised as a fuel line. The interior set included the starboard ring corridor, the boarding ramp, cockpit access tunnel, gun turret ladder, secret compartments, and the forward hold. The cockpit was constructed as a separate set that could be rocked when the ship was supposed to shake. Several inconsistencies exist between the internal set and the external set, the cockpit access tunnel angle being the most noticeable.

The effects models for A New Hope matched the design of the exterior set. The primary model was 5 feet long and detailed with various kit parts. The ship was represented as a matte painting when Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) sees it for the first time, showing the full upper surface. For the 1997 Special Edition, a digital model replaces the effects model in several shots, and is used in a new shot of the Falcon lifting off from Docking Bay 94.

For The Empire Strikes Back, a new external set was constructed in a hangar by Marcon Fabrications in Pembroke Dock, West Wales. Once completed, it weighed over 25 tons and used compressed air hover pads for movement around the set. It was disassembled and shipped to the studio for filming. As in A New Hope, the location set was changed around the ship set. The only major design change was to add a landing pad where the disguised fuel line had been in A New Hope. As this set included the port side, that gave the set seven landing pads. The internal set was slightly refitted from A New Hope and featured a larger cargo hold, an additional corridor to port, and an equipment room. Two new interior sets were created that are not shown to connect to the rest of the set: a top hatch that Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams) uses to rescue Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), and the compartment where Luke rests on a bunk.

The 5-foot-long effects model from A New Hope was modified to reflect the additional landing pads, and several new models were built, including one roughly the size of a U.S. Quarter Dollar. For the 1997 Special Edition, a CGI model replaced the effects model during the approach and landing on Cloud City.

No new models or sets were created for Return of the Jedi. A portion of the full-scale ship was used for a scene cut from Return of the Jedi in which several characters board the Falcon in a sandstorm on Tatooine. In the scene when Han exacts a promise from Lando not to damage the Falcon, the Falcon is represented by a backdrop painting. It is also in a matte painting of the entire hangar bay.

The internal and external sets were scrapped after filming on Return of the Jedi ended. The effects models were kept by Lucasfilm and some have been on display from time to time.

A digital version of the Falcon appears briefly on Coruscant in Revenge of the Sith. Lucas has stated that the ship is the Falcon and not another ship of similar design.


2 comments:

Pat Tillett said...

Love the details and the paint job.
Of course none it would look good at all without the really nice photography...Really nice Warren!

Warren Zoell said...

Thanks Pat.