LEGO has released its biggest, most detailed (and most expensive) set yet, the LEGO Star Wars Ultimate Collector Series Millennium Falcon. The colossal build is recommended for ages 16+ with a 20 hours+ build time, but how difficult can it really be?
With over 7,500 pieces, 7 minifigs (including two Han Solos), 2 porgs, a BB-8, interchangeable sensor dishes, and even a power cable-chewing Mynock from Empire Strikes Back, Yahoo set out to build the epic plastic creation… and over 30 hours later, we’re finally ready to share the torment, joy, and elation you’ll feel while tackling the most complicated LEGO build ever.
You can also watch a timelapse of the build above.
1. I love LEGO, this’ll be fun
There’s something pure and transcendental about putting together a big LEGO set. Maybe its just tuning into the instructions, and focussing solely on the task at hand that makes it feel akin to meditating. A whole day meditating while cobbling together one of the coolest space crafts in movie history? Sounds idyllic to me.
2. 7,500 pieces – can’t be that many… can it?
The box this thing comes in is HUGE. LEGO has had to build a special device for its retail shops to allow punters to carry it home, as its plastic bags simply weren’t strong enough. If you buy this thing – seriously – get it delivered. You don’t want to try lugging this down the street on your own like I did.
3. What have I gotten myself into?
Opening the box, it quickly becomes clear that I’ve seriously underestimated this whole endeavour. Large LEGO builds I’ve tackled in the past have included 4-5 numbered bags in the box, with slim instruction manuals that take maximum a couple of hours to construct. This thing has 17 numbered stages, with each stage containing 4-5 bags, and an instruction manual with 1,379 stages over 466 pages. Each stage seems to take 1-2 hours, so it quickly becomes clear that you’d need to be The Flash to complete the whole thing in just 20 hours.
4. You want SIX of those?
My top tip for anyone attempting this build is to keep an eye out for instructions that require multiple versions of the same component. One early stage has instructions to build the Falcon’s landing feet which is quite fiddly, and takes a while to complete, but once you get to the end, you realise you need to build six of the damn things. Building 6 concurrently is easier and quicker than doing them one at a time, so keep an eye out for those bits.
5. So many fiddly bits
The Millennium Falcon is incredibly detailed ship (Kitbashed history of the ship’s design is essential reading for hardcore Star Wars nerds), and this is an incredibly detailed recreation of Han Solo’s ship. Industrial Light and Magic took tiny pieces from model kits for airplanes, ships, helicopters to add all the tiny details to the interior and exterior of the Falcon – ILM calls these fiddly bits Greebles – and the designers at LEGO have taken every care to add these tiny details to the UCS Falcon. This means there are THOUSANDS of tiny pieces in the kits in various shades of grey, black, and orange or red, each with their own specific place in the design, which brings the building rate down to a snail’s pace.
6. But so much detail
Early LEGO Millennium Falcons were super-simple, this one is not. It’s incredibly detailed from nose to tail, featuring removable hull panels that allow you to peer inside the ship. It has a lowering boarding ramp, a concealed blaster cannon, interchangeable sensor plates (round for the classic look, rectangular for the new trilogy era), removable turrets, and a four-person cockpit with recognisable control panels. Most excitingly though is the incredibly detailed seating area which includes the holographic chess game and combat remote training helmet.
7. Why are there so many bits left over?
Finishing each numbered stage elicits two simultaneous emotions. Elation that you’ve finished a stage and crippling fear that you’ve missed something as each bag seems to be slightly overpacked. There were dozens of pieces leftover by the time we’d completed the whole thing, but it’s simply impossible to figure out whether you’ve missed a crucial “greeble” or LEGO were just assuming you’d lose a few bits down the back of the sofa.
8. Will this ever end?
The building pace is really slow. Once you’ve constructed the basic shell of the design and it feels like it’s finally taking shape, you realise that every single external panel and internal compartment also needs to be built, and so the second half of the build seems to take an eternity. However, the second half also includes some of the most exciting parts to build – the cockpit, the round gun turrets, the panels that look like the Falcon – offering up slow-burning thrills at a slothlike pace.
9. Just one bag left
Looking in the box and seeing the last bags left to build is a feeling of pure joy. The hours of searching, fiddling, and scrabbling are coming to an end, and it feels like hitting the home stretch of the Kessel Run, but there’s no time to get cocky, and the last stage is just as fiddly as the 16 that precede it.
10. Now where do I put it?
The very last thing you’ll build is an informational fact plaque, including the biggest sticker of the whole set (the set is mercifully light on those fiddly stickers), that is designed to stand in front of your finished set. But where does it go now? At 84cm long, 56cm wide, and 21cm high this is bigger than any shelf you have at home, so it really needs a dedicated display. Some fans have been mounting them within glass coffee tables, while others have them in dedicated fan shrines, but wherever you put it, you’ll want it somewhere you can look at it every day, just to remind of the time it took to build it.