Review and images provided by: Whitewolf
Some of us have been waiting nearly our entire lives for...the new Millennium Falcon (or the BMF, as its become colloqially known among collectors). While the few reviews I've read are basically overly zealous fanboy rants singing its praises; i.e.: "This is what Kenner should have made 3 decades ago!; I can finally die happy!; etc.", I'm going to try my level best to stay as objective as possible.
Being a cog in the big machine that is Toys R Us, I was present at last week's midnight Clone Wars eBay Seller Extravagan---er, I mean Movie Debut countdown...and was able to score one of these monsters the first night. Convincing my wife that the $159.99 price point is a fair and feasible one was another thing entirely. Let's just say that Christmas (and my next 2 birthdays) came early for me this year.
I've had about a week to play around with it and form my own opinions of what is undoubtedly Hasbro's labor of love for the Star Wars fanbase. As I said before, most of the reviews and forum posts I've read are indicators that many are still in the "honeymoon" stage of getting the BMF. Very, very few have yet to come forward with any real complaints (aside from landing gear issues, but more on that later). But I've gotten over it myself, and can now look upon the battered YT-1300 without my rose-colored specs and see it for what it is.
Pulling it out of the box, I was a bit unprepared for the sheer size of the ship. I knew from previous internet buzz that it was going to be bigger than the old Kenner version, but not THIS big. The forward mandibles must be attached and locked into place, so the box size represents JUST the round "disc" part of the ship---not the entire ship. It's not often that I come across a toy that gives a hefty dose of "wow factor" just from laying eyes on it for the first time, but the upscaled size definitely gives one pause. Along with the ship and mandibles, the box contains the mini-fighter, 3 plastic bags full of accessories, decal sheet and instruction manual. There's minimal assembly required, just placing the rectenna onto the upper hull, the two quad laser cannons into their respective gunwell mounts and placing the smuggling compartment/repair well deck panels into place. The battery compartment is ingeniously hidden underneath the six "heat vents" on the upper rear of the ship's hull and requires 3 AA batteries to power the Falcon's various electronics. Just above the battery compartment, right behind the gunnery well is an ON/OFF switch to conserve battery life. Apparently the BMF must suck power like an oil exec's SUV.
One of the BMF's newest improvements over the older version of the Falcon is the redesigned boarding ramp. This time around, its electronically lowered with the press of a button on the outer docking ring. As the ramp lowers, orange landing lights illuminate the area around the "debarkation area" while hydraulic sound effects give it a sense of realism. It's interesting to note that the sound effects are perfectly timed to the ramp lowering, ending with a slight "hiss" once the ramp has stopped. This was nicely done on Hasbro's part.
The next complete redesign that Hasbro tackled is the quad cannon(s). For decades, the Kenner MF made due with a single cannon atop the ship's hull, framed by a gunport window so small that it was completely blocked by the cannon itself. Not anymore. The cannon itself has been revamped into a movie-accurate version, complete with the ability to swivel and pivot. And the viewport is nice and large, nearly to proper scale. The only thing that I find irritating about modern Hasbro Star Wars vehicles is the excessive use of "missiles" on practically everything. In a weird move, Hasbro designated the bottom two barrels of the upper quad cannon to be missile launchers. Now I understand that this is supposed to add to the "play factor" of the overall toy/playset, but it has PLENTY of other missile launchers built into it. In this reviewer's opinion, turning the laser cannon into a missile launcher is sort of redundant. The upper cannon is activated via a slider switch on the rear port quarter of the ship, moving the cannon and gunnery chair side-to-side. When moved to the extreme left or right, tabs on the upper hull activate the missile launchers. The addition of the lower quad cannon has filled in an area of the ship that has been left blank for decades. The lower cannon moves just like the upper cannon, but is not connected to the slider switch...but that's really not a big deal, considering that there's no lower gunnery chair.
I think the single biggest change made to the BMF that got a lot of people's attention was the announcement that the cockpit would be expanded to accomodate 4 figures. Well, Hasbro didn't disappoint in that respect. You can technically fit more figures in the cockpit by standing them around the open area, a la ROTJ. As you can see, the cockpit is now movie-accurate at least as far as it can be, given space constraints.
The cockpit accomodates the newer VOTC versions of Chewie with absolutely no problem whatsoever. This is accomplished by having the pilot/copilot seats on sliding tracks to give larger figures more "leg room". In default positions, the seats lock into place close to the control panel. The overall layout of the cockpit seems to be more closely based on the YT-1300 flown by Master Pilots in the Star Wars Galaxies MMORPG than on a completely movie-accurate layout. I arrived at this conclusion based on the "ramp" between the two rear seats and the arrangement of the molded "controls" on the forward console. I know this because I myself still play that game. lol But I digress...
There still isn't a complete "hallway" connecting the cockpit to the rest of the ship's interior, but at least now there's an approximation of a door hatch both inside the cockpit and on a bulkhead leading to the cockpit. The main reason for this is the fact that there is are electronics just behind the cockpit, with a button on top of the "hallway" hull that plays the "startup sequence" when pressed. But more on the electronic features later. The cockpit does indeed feature lighting, as advertised. The same orange LEDs are used here as in the landing lights used with the boarding ramp. Why Hasbro chose this particular color for the interior lighting, I have no idea...but its the color we're stuck with. To me, the white LEDs used in the ship's headlights would have made a better lighting choice.
The interior of the ship is about 90% movie-accurate in the sense that its accurate as far as scenes we've seen within the context of the movies themselves...not as far as technical specs or production blueprints. The boarding ramp egress/gunnery well/medical bay area is designed with a huge dose of artistic license...all laid out close to one another. But the configuration works well. The medical bay, in particular, was a one-shot scene that never really specified an exact location within the ship's layout. There's a hole where the amputation stabilizer thing can plug into...though this item will only be available in the upcoming "Millenium Falcon Passengers" Battle Pack later this year. Way to add to the expense there, Hasbro!
Beyond the medical bay is the area that the instruction manual refers to as a "storage area". It doesn't specify if this is where you store your figures or cargo, so what its used for is up to you. It's very roomy and has an upper and lower deck, so it appears to be designed to hold various cargo boxes.
There is another storage bin in this area of the ship reserved for gas masks (another Battle Pack item) weapons, a droid-carrying cargo net or whatever else you decide to load it with. This is also where the "smuggling compartment" is located. I was a bit surprised at the amount of space underneath the deck panel. Up to 4 figures can be stuffed into it...not comfortably, but still.
Aside from the cockpit, the most iconic area of the ship is the "main hold". I gotta hand it to the folks at Hasbro here...aside from a few glaring examples of the aforementioned artistic license, this area of the ship is damn-near spot-on. The passenger lounge with light-up Dejarik table is there...but seems to sit a tad too low to me. Chewie cannot sit with his legs on either side of the table, but has to sit on a seat with a sloping ramp-like footrest. Threepio or any other "normal" sized figure has no problem occupying a front-row seat at the table, though.
The Dejarik table itself is the most movie-accurate version I've ever seen. The shape is perfect. The face of the "chess board" is clear plastic with black panels painted on it. Underneath the chess board surface is a single blue LED that illuminates when you press a button on the outside hull near the rectenna dish. Smalll orange Dejarik pieces plug into tiny holes in the table top. When the blue LED lights up, it gives the pieces a neat "holographic" look. The low-light pic sucks, I know, but it demonstrates what I've been describing.
The systems monitor station is just aft of the passenger lounge and is pretty much designed just like it appears in ANH and ESB. The trademark "binoculars" are on the control panel along with myriad buttons and switches. There is a decal sticker that is put on the side of this console that shows the access panel where R2 reactivated the Falcon's hyperdrive in ESB, so I thought that was a neat little touch. Next to the console is the strange "toilet seat"" chair Obi-Wan sits on briefly when he feels Alderaan get destroyed. Again, attention to detail that didn't necessarily need to be included, but was nonetheless.
As a tip-of-the-hat to the original Kenner MF, Hasbro has updated the lightsaber seeker drone. This one is quite a bit more high-tech than the old one. The same lever that rotates the rectenna dish also moves the drone back and forth. Also, when you press a button near the rectenna, the entire scene between Obi-Wan and Luke plays out in crystal clear digital sound. Luke makes mention of the blast shield helmet, but it is not included with the ship...this is another item that will be included with Obi-Wan, Luke, R2 and Threepio in the Millennium Falcon Passengers Battle Pack. If you press in the rectenna knob, it activates various lightsaber hums and seeker drone firing sounds.
The BMF wouldn't be complete without the famous repair pit where Han uttered "That was no laser blast. Somethin' hit us." It's here in all its glory...except its not 8 to 10 feet deep, like it seems to be in the movies. If you sit a figure down inside of it, the torso can stick out over the top of it enough to simulate standing deeper in it than is possible. Like the smuggling compartment on the opposite side of the ship, the space underneath the deck is rather spacious.
I'm one of the few on here who seems to remembers a small line of lower-priced vehicles called "Mini Rigs" that were sold between 1980 and 1984 for the vintage collection. These were intended to allow kids to have some sort of vehicle for their figures without having to spend a huge wad of cash to get things like the AT-AT or the Millennium Falcon. One of the unproduced minirigs was a small minifighter that could lock between the Falcon's mandibles. At first glance, that's exactly what I thought of. Upon closer inspection, it seems like the designer's inspiration was taken more from the AOTC-era Jedi Starfighter or the escape pod from the 1999 Royal Starship than anything else. The aspects of this fighter that screams "minirig" is the fact that the front has mini-mandibles complete with two small round circuitry bays and the cockpit canopy layout similar to the Falcon's own canopy. While I'm not a fan of this feature of the new BMF, it's not really horrible. For those who hate the mini fighter, you can use the docking bay as another cargo bay or pretend its the staging area for the "Landovator". There's a button inside the docking bay that triggers a launch/docking sequence when you remove the fighter or place it inside. Also, the docking ring opens with an accompanied mechanical sound.
The electronic features on this thing are ridiculous. There are 13 switches/buttons total. Some are actual buttons that you press while others are triggered by something else, such as the slider switch for the cannons activating firing sounds. There is a full 2 1/2 minutes of dialogue lifted straight from the movies...mostly from ANH. There is only one line in the whole thing that is from ESB: "Come on! Switch over. Let's hope we don't have a burn out." Ship sounds and dialogue are handled in a unique short press/long press manner. Short presses of button produce engine/laser/breakdown sounds (yes, the ship randomly breaks down) while long presses produce various dialogue sequences. All dialogue is the real McCoy. Harrison Ford, Alec Guiness, Mark Hamill, and Anthony Daniels are all on here...as well as the bear that represents Chewie's growls and barks. The only digital sound that seems to be different is R2's. This is the same sound used in the Interactive R2-D2 when told to "reset system".
The one universal complaint I've read about, straight across the board is the "flimsy" landing gear. The BMF weighs in at a whopping 15 lbs! This ain't your daddy's Millennium Falcon, people. It's big...its bulky as hell...and it does not travel well if you're one of those who want to "fly" it around the house. It works VERY well as a coffee table, though. ;) Because of its weight, the landing gear has been designed to "break away" easily if the ship is pushed along a carpeted floor. This is not a design flaw...its SUPPOSED to allow its landing gear to crumple so that the gear doesn't snap under the weight of the ship. What are you people doing with your BMFs that you're constantly ripping the gear out from under them??
Overall, this is going to be the only "Masterpiece" Millennium Falcon we'll ever get for the 3 3/4" figures. At $150 to $170 each, I doubt we'll see this thing rehashed ad nauseum like we've seen the rainbow of Jedi Starfighters over the past 6 years. The price itself will turn a lot of people off, and the size of the ship will turn even more off. But those who have the money, space and appreciation for the new Falcon, definitely get it. I personally am now running into a space issue with this thing...so it occupies a spot in the middle of our living room floor until I can clear a space in the garage.