It took about 16 hours total. I think. I wasn’t really keeping attentive track of time.
It was spread out over at least 5 different days. Only 2 of those were primarily devoted to building.
In the end…. it’s FREAKING AWESOME. And it’s huge! I think it weighs about 20 lbs. Seriously. I’ve never seen so many legos. It was mind blowing.
First off, it was shipped. It came in 3 nested boxes. One outer one seemed to be a shipping box, then there was a middle one I have no idea about, then the actually display box. I’m moving, so this is useful, but I still don’t understand why.
Once inside the boxes, it was divided into 3 sections, stocked to the brim with Lego in bags. The instruction book covered the top of two of these sections. I mentioned earlier that the instruction book weighed over 4 lbs. The production values of the instruction book were astounding. It was wire bound, so it laid flat, no matter what page you were on. Given that it was open to some page for almost a week, this came in handy.
I had originally thought I’d use a single table to build, but found that I could fit all of the pieces in bags, with duplicate bags stacked, on a single table. So I pulled out my second table and spread out. This proved to be a wise decision, as there was plenty of room to build and to spread out pieces.
The internals of the Falcon are pretty spiffy. There is a very sturdy frame, in a sort of plus (+) shape. The interior corners of this are then reinforced so it’s almost round. From there, the back engines go on, then the twin bows, giving the Falcon its distinctive shape. Underneath, several very solid structures provide something that you can pick it up by, and 7 identical landing gears are used to support it.
After putting together the frame, the rest of the build was primarily about constructing a section of the hull and attaching it. First the bottom, where the attachment was quite solid. Then on to the top, where a lot of the pieces more or less just rest in place. The identical top and bottom turrets epitomize this. The bottom turret is attached to the main frame at 8 or 16 points, while the top turret slides into place and can easily be removed.
Towards the end of the build, things start to blur together, as there is a lot of fairly similar looking, yet actually different combinations of pieces protruding from the hull. Then, the cockpit gets finished, and that’s exciting. And finally the satellite dish.
But wait! There were a bunch of other pieces, and a few more pages to go. Oh, yes, there’s a plaque. That’s right, a plaque, made of Lego, with a large sticker giving information about the Millennium Falcon.
After the build was over, I was left with the usual extra pieces they throw in, and several that looked, well, wrong, because they weren’t the usual sort of pieces that extras are thrown in for. In particular, I had one smooth 1×8 plate that was the only smooth plate of that color left when I needed a 1×6, so I was sure that I put a 1×6 somewhere that a 1×8 should have gone (I found it a couple days later as I was explaining this to a friend, huzzah!). But the extras just stuck in my mind as several mistakes that were almost impossible to track down. Oh well, I can’t tell where. If someone else can, I’ll fix them.
In the end, I’m very satisfied. It’s definitely my largest build, and provided me relaxation and distraction in my free time for nearly a week. And out of it, I get a mini-fig scale model of quite possibly my favorite Star Wars ship. You just can’t beat that.
This is a series of pictures of the Millennium Falcon work area. I really enjoy flipping through them and watching the mountain of pieces disappear.
These are pictures of the Millennium Falcon as it progressed through the build.
What can I say, it’s been awhile. I haven’t been to the Lego store since before I ordered the Falcon, and that’s been over a month (and yes, it’s been over a month since I posted anything…. nobody cares, I know, because like 99% of the blogs on the internet, nobody is reading this either). But earlier this week, a Lego discussion at work resulted in me looking at the website, finding that there is a Lego X-Wing and a Lego TIE Fighter (Vader’s TIE Fighter, no less!). I immediately wanted them both despite a recent decision to try to spend less money on random things (like Legos) because I’m moving into a bigger and more expensive apartment soon. This was my first mistake.
My second mistake was, rather than order them online, I decided I’d go to the store, and if they didn’t have them I could order them there instead because then I could use my loyalty card. But, it’s been so long since I was in the store, that everything had been moved around, and there was a bunch of stuff I’d never seen. Including the Trolls’ Mountain Fortress, which I think must be new. Long story short, my buy resistance to Castle sets is apparently very low, because in addition to the two Star Wars sets I had intended to buy (which were actually available in the store), I also purchased both Castle sets I did not already own: Trolls’ Mountain Fortress and Drawbridge Defence. The kicker is that I don’t even intend to build today. In fact, I’m spending the day disassembling my existing sets in preparation for the aforementioned move. So I probably won’t even build these until next month, after I’ve moved. But I’ve learned that if I see a set at the Lego store I want, I should buy it, because the next time I come back it could be gone. Of course, if I’m trying to save money, this works out very poorly. Thus, I’m not allowed to go to the Lego store anymore.
It was on sale… and I just couldn’t resist. I figured I’d get it eventually, and it would never be any cheaper. Now, I have the Ultimate Collector’s Millennium Falcon model sitting in my apartment waiting to be assembled. Last night, I opened the box, and it was overwhelming. There was this 11″ x 17″ picture on top, and I thought it was some sort of display info plate or something. Turns out, it was the instruction book. The huge instruction book. Wire bound, about an inch thick. It weighs 4 and a half pounds! I had to weigh it, just to know the exact weight because it was so heavy. Pictures have been taken, but I won’t post until the build is complete. This build… it’s going to be massive!
The Medieval Village has finally been built. It sat on my floor for the last 2 weeks, waiting for me to have some free time, and today I sat down and put it together. The villagers rejoiced! Except the hobo-looking guy. He’s got the saddest looking face I’ve ever seen on a mini-fig. Looks like he’s been wandering for weeks with little to no food. I guess my imagination still works, even at the scary age of 29, because I look at these Lego sets and imagine all sorts of stories about them. They’re just a little more risque sometimes than the ones I imagined as a child. There seems to be an inn and a blacksmith/stable in the village, and I can’t help but imagine this as a wayside on the road between the castle and the dwarves’ mine, the soldiers escorting the gold to the castle, stopping at the inn for a romp with the local whore. You see… a little more risque.
This ended up being a very satisfying build. For some reason, Lego buildings always seem to be completely open in the back, really just 3 walled structures. Actually, I do know the reason. They’re effectively doll houses and you can’t play with stuff in the doll house unless you can get into them. But it always annoys me, because I want to build this model that looks like a real building, not a Lego doll house. In the Medieval Village, however, the buildings are hinged, and can be closed so that they actually have 4 walls! Each one is two floors, with all sorts of little furniture inside. The bed was an excellent surprise. Quite a bit of detail.
Other features I really liked:
When I was a kid, Legos were my favorite toy. I was always happiest at birthdays and Christmas when I received new Lego sets. And in between, I’d build all sorts of crazy stuff with my legos. I even dressed up as a Lego for Halloween one year. Then, I guess I grew up, or something. Moved out, went to college, graduated, got a job. And then one day, in February of 2009, I had a thought: The big, awesome Lego sets that I always wanted as a kid were something that I could currently afford. The next thought that came to me was that I still wanted to build something.
So, I went out and bought a couple sets, brought them home, built them, and had some of the most relaxing time I’d had in months if not years. I’d found a new activity, a kind of zen, where by following instructions that someone else had designed, I created something cool and fun, and I didn’t have to be creative at all! I love my job. I write code, I design systems, I’m creative all day long, but it is extremely stressful. Here was an activity that was essentially mindless, yet fun, interesting, and satisfying. A kind of zen experience, a moving meditation. And I was hooked.
After I got over the initial embarrassment at being a 28-year-old Lego enthusiast, I suddenly started embracing it. I’m a regular at the local Lego store. Some of the employees recognize me. I’d been wanting to write about something for awhile, just to practice writing, and here was something that I was excited about, that I wanted to share with others, and could just do for fun. So I started this blog. I’m now one of those guys with a blog. I’m like 7 years behind the times or something. Whatever. Welcome to Lego Zen, my exploration of being an adult Lego enthusiast.
I am a bit embarrassed. It’s Sunday night and I’m walking into the toy aisle. I had been driving home from visiting friends and I decided to act on an urge. Target seems like a good place. Right off the freeway. I wanted to buy a Lego set or two. And here is this wall, covered with Lego sets. How much money should I spend? What do I want? How many pieces are in a set? So many questions.
I walked out with two sets: the Dwarves’ Mine and the Troll Warship. Castle series. I didn’t have a lot of castle series when I was a kid. Seems intriguing. And the warship came with a dragon. Who can resist a dragon?
When I got home, I started building the mine. Each bag was numbered, the instructions specified what you built with which bag. No words anywhere in the instructions, just pictures and numbers. Step by step, the mine came together. I wondered at one point, “Why does that piece go there?” and later, had an “aha” moment as it all became clear. It was very zen, in its own way. While I built, I simply existed. I didn’t worry. Life was simple; the next step obvious. Building was no complicated by tradeoffs I had to make. I only had to find the pieces, and place them. I was happy.
Eventually, I had built a full Dwarves’ Mine, complete with attacking troll and goblins. It was… awesome. I was hooked. Free time and extra money, you have found a new place to go.