The Millennium Falcon. The ship that made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs. The fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy. And in 1979, the coolest thing in the toy universe!
I remember saving all of my birthday money (Mom had told everyone to give me cash so I could) to buy this thing. Although the info I find on the internet says it retailed for about $40.00, it sticks in my head that I paid closer to $65.00 for it.
Over the years, my Falcon was slowly destroyed. It received a large crack in the hull after my brothers booby-trapped my bedroom. The lightsaber training ball disappeared within the first week or so of owning it, and eventually other parts were broken or lost. The final blow came when I was letting my small kids play with it, and my now ex-wife tripped over it and threw it in the trash!
I’ve always wanted to replace it, and a few months ago I stumbled across this one on Ebay. The photos looked good, and although the lightsaber training ball didn’t appear to be included the price was very good.
When it arrived, I was pleasantly surprised to find the complete lightsaber training ball and arm with (what appears to be) the original thread! Unfortunately, the boarding ramp was missing the center tab of the hinge, so that would have to be replaced. Beyond that, the Falcon was in great condition. The plastic had discolored some, but not much. Some of the stickers had started peeling or were missing. The cardboard “insert” was in great condition, and the gunner window was pretty clear. The main “windshield” had at one time been glued in place, as had the boarding ramp hydraulics.
Of course, I started by completely disassembling the Falcon. With an Xacto knife, I carefully removed the stickers. The adhesive was so old that the majority of the stickers came off in one piece and were re-usable.
I removed the motor and battery contacts, and put the entire ship in a bath of warm soapy water to soak. After 10 minutes or so of soaking, I scrubbed each piece with a toothbrush, then rinsed them and let them dry. I was able to pull the boarding ramp hydraulics off the ramp, and removed the glue from them.
Before re-assembling the Falcon, I worked on the electronics. First, I cleaned the battery contacts with rubbing alcohol, cotton swaps, and a pencil eraser (this is a great trick to remove oxidation from the copper). I then used a small dab of WD-40 on each end of the motor shaft to free it up. The motor now spins great and the “Battle Alert” sound works perfectly.
I then re-assembled the Falcon, and re-applied the stickers using some 3M spray adhesive to re-glue them.
I was able to purchase a replacement boarding ramp with all 3 tabs intact and put it in place.
For the missing stickers, I downloaded a hi-res scan of the original sticker sheet, and printed the missing stickers on a 5.5″ x 8.5″ Avery mailing label. I then applied 3 coats of Krylon Crystal Clear spray paint to the stickers to seal them and give them more of a gloss finish. Since one of the roof exhaust vents was missing, I ended up printing and replacing all six, as I was having trouble matching the gray color.
After cutting each of the replacement stickers out with an xacto and placing them on the ship, the Falcon is in great shape and (with the exception of a few repro stickers) is complete as it was when new!