Lego Star Wars 7965 Millennium Falcon

Christmas 2001: my wife and I were Christmas shopping. We went to a Toys R Us and I admired the Lego Millennium Falcon (7190). My wife told me to leave the store and she later came out with a flat box in a bag, a box which made a rattling sound. On Christmas morning, as I unwrapped a rattling box, I was surprised to find... a Scrabble game! Which was also a great gift but wasn't what I had expected. Anyway, we decided to go Boxing Day shopping, and I tried to find the Millennium Falcon, but it was sold out everywhere.
That summer, my wife surprised me again: on my birthday I received another box, which didn't rattle, but which contained a tightly-packed Lego Millennium Falcon that she had bought on eBay. Did I mention that she's awesome? She is.
My birthday present

Well, that was 2002, and in 2004 Lego released a new version of the Millennium Falcon (4504). It improved on the old design a lot. I wanted to buy it but I was told that I couldn't, on account of "You already have one, and I paid way too much money for you to buy another one." And that was that, for years. I watched a few Millennium Falcon models go by, including the oh-so-tempting full-minifig-scale Ultimate Collector Series version. But I didn't buy any of them.

So imagine my surprise last Saturday, when I went downstairs for breakfast, and found a new Millennium Falcon (7965) on the table! With the help of my daughter I put it together. Let me get right to the point: this is one of Lego's best kits ever. It is a very good rendition of the Falcon. The shape is quite accurate; it has several important details such as landing gear, entrance ramp, smuggling compartments, Dejarik table, guns on the top and bottom of the ship (including a place where Han and Luke can sit back-to-back, to recreate the scene in Episode IV when they are escaping the Death Star), and even a little flying orb and welding helmet for Luke to practice his lightsaber. It comes with 6 minifigs (Han Solo, Chewbacca, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Obi-wan Kenobi, and Darth Vader). There are 1254 pieces, but the assembly is in six stages, with the parts separated in numbered bags to make it easier. The resulting model has no useless features or oddly-coloured parts. In fact, I have only two complaints:

  • There are no droids. Why include Darth Vader, when he was never on the ship, but leave out the droids? Not that I need more droids, but for the price of this kit I think they could toss in a couple.
  • Stickers. Round stickers that are hard to apply and that don't stay stuck. Again, considering how much this kit costs, a handful of printed pieces shouldn't be a luxury.
Old MF
New MF

I thought it would be fun to compare this model with the one from 2000, so I dug it out and put it together. The first thing that struck me was how the new kit really uses appropriate colours in a way that the old kit did not. The old kit used a simpler arrangement: every piece of a certain kind was the same colour. Every 1x8 brick is blue. Every 2x6 plate is dark grey. Every 2x10 plate is light grey. Every 2x4 brick is red. Etc. This makes building the model easier, because it's easier to find the piece you want and easier to see where it goes on the model. However, it makes the resulting model look like a box of Crayola crayons sneezed all over it.

The second thing I noticed, and it's the main problem with the old model, is that the designers didn't try very hard to use advanced techniques to achieve the Falcon's shape. The cockpit hangs off the side but doesn't look like it's connected by a walkway. The cockpit is the wrong shape (despite using a custom canopy piece). The Falcon's hull is made of four huge quarter-circle dome plates, which aren't that accurate to the movies and which make the ship look like a hamburger.
Old MF, lid off
New MF, peeled open
New MF, peeled open
The new ship goes way beyond standard building techniques to achieve its shape. Its perimeter is made of hinged sections to simulate roundness. The roof is made of hinged plate sections that peel open to access the interior. The detailing is better. Even something like the gun turret: both models have it; both models use a similar approach, but the new one uses more pieces and better colours to make the whole thing look nicer. (Not to mention that the old model only had a top gun, no bottom gun).

I loved the Millennium Falcon model when I got it in 2002. But the new one is so superior that it almost makes you want to pretend that Lego never made the old one.
Old Crew
New Crew