Master Replica's Studio Scale
Millennium Falcon


Tonight's guest reviewer is Don Bledsoe, back with a review of a very pricey item - take it away, Don!

Hi, it’s me again with a review of a different subject all together. If you are REALLY into Star Wars high end collectables, it doesn’t get much higher than this. The model was issued in 2 editions, the Limited Edition (LE) of 1500, and the Signature Edition (SE) of 500, that sports Harrison Fords autograph. I started building models as a kid with my Grandma on Saturday afternoons and I mainly did the old Aurora monsters like Godzilla, the Wolfman and the like. Ah, those were the days. I recall as a child, finding out that a company named MPC was doing Star Wars models and I started building them. Back in the day, me and my Dad chased around several hobby shops trying to find the Falcon model and when I found it in a store in Indiana, I was ecstatic. The Millennium Falcon is one of my favorite starships of all time, even eclipsing the Enterprise and all her incarnations. I have been a member of several replica prop forums for many years and also on the Studio Scale modeling forums. I have seen many scratch built Falcon’s, Y-Wings and even Battlestars. I wanted to have a Falcon really bad, but didn’t have time to build one entirely from scratch, like those very dedicated modelers. So when I learned that Master Replicas was going to do a fully accurate Studio Scale version of the craft, I was very excited. I started saving my pennies immediately because I knew it wasn’t going to be cheap. But I didn’t care; I knew I had to have one. Did it live up to my dream? Read on…..

Packaging - *** ½
I scored the packaging for the model based on utility, not presentation. The packaging for the Falcon does its job very well protecting the costly model from harm. It consists of an outer shipping carton, and then another inner carton that is suspended in the outer box by Styrofoam inserts. Inside the inner carton is the Styrofoam case that holds the model and base. The case is in three layers and keeps all the parts such as the model, base, radar dish and power adaptor separate. The case also has a black cardboard insert with the Star Wars graphics and Master Replicas logo. The base and Falcon model are wrapped in sheet foam for extra protection. The box weighs in at a whopping 93 lbs and I highly recommend you use the buddy system to unpack the model. Just for safety of yourself and the model. There is a small sheet with recommended unpacking directions in the box. 

Sculpting - ****
Master Replicas is in a very unique position with Lucasfilm and has access to the actual models and props used in the Star Wars movies. MR was granted the opportunity to view, scan and take measurements off the actual Falcon 32 inch model to create the master for the production run. MR then employed the talents of several master modelers with years and years of experience scratch building the Falcon specifically. These are the types of people that can point at a detail piece and say “That part is from the Tamiya 1/35 SU-85 Russian Tank…”. Those guys have a freaky amount of knowledge and absolute love for the Falcon and would not want to see it done any less than perfect. The model measures 32 inches by 24 inches by 6 inches. The MR model pretty much exactly matches the studio model as it exists today. The studio model had lost a few parts over the years since it was made back in the late 1970’s for use in The Empire Strikes Back. So when comparing period photos of the studio model to the MR model, there are some minor detail differences. But those kinds of differences matter only to those with terminal OCD. 

Paint - ***
For a factory line paint job it is very well done. The weathering is faithfully recreated even down to duplicating the splattering on the original model. That in itself is pretty amazing. There is a bit of variation with the paint apps on the weathering from model to model though. I have seen some Falcons with a heavier coat and some with a lighter coat. All depends on who was manning the airbrush at the time. The weathering around my rear panel is a little on the heavy side, but the rest is pretty much in the medium range. Some modelers have taken to doing an entire repaint of the model to suit their pickiness, but I cringe at the thought myself. The weathering is done in a pretty realistic fashion and can be very subtle in places. The colors were matched exactly to the existing model and in person, the model appears a bit more off white-beige than the photos show. Differences in lighting, flash, etc can change the look and colors, but the model masters working on the piece for production have stated the colors are right on the money. 

Articulation - Bupkis
None, Zero, Nada.

Special Feature - 
There are lighting effects for the model consisting of the two front headlights, the lighted cockpit, and the engine array. The lights are powered thru the base by a 120V AC adaptor. The support rod has a jack that plugs into the bottom of the Falcon, which powers the lights. The lights are LEDs and should never need to be replaced as they average 10,000 hours of use.

Fun Factor - ****
Certainly you cannot play with this item and I do not recommend kids under 14 even getting to close to it without a cover in place. However, I get an unending sense of joy just gazing at the model and going over the details of all those tiny parts. But then again, I have been told I am a little koo koo for cocoa puffs.

Value - ***
At a MSRP of $2199 for the LE, and $2799 for the SE, you have to be pretty serious about wanting this piece. Do not overlook the need for the space to display it properly as well. Do you get what you pay for with the LE? Abso-friggin-lutely. The SE, not so much, considering you are essentially paying $600 extra for Mr. Ford’s signature. 

Overall - ****
This is a must have for the Uber Star Wars fan, as long as you have the space. The WOW factor when people see it on display is pretty righteous. I cannot emphasize how happy I am to be an owner of the model. Two “aftermarket” type things I highly recommend for this piece are a clear display cover and a sheet of decals from J-Bot. The cover is essential unless you don’t mind dusting this very detailed piece every other day. Plus it protects it from other hazards such as wandering pets and yard apes. There are many sources for the covers. I am getting mine from a local plastics supplier and I advise people to try that option first as the shipping for the covers make the overall price go up considerably, due to size. Master Replicas has discussed providing covers for the model, but I haven’t heard an update on this in a while. There are many opinions on what thickness of plastic to use and how to construct it, but I went with ¼ inch thick acrylic made in 5 pieces. Some others went with a 3 piece construction with the sides being rolled, like the MR lightsaber and blaster cases. J-Bot is a decal graphics company that makes tons and tons of decal sheets for all kinds of models, from police cars to the Enterprise. They offer several different scale sheets for the Falcon, the one you want is the 32 inch scale . The original 5 foot scale model had dozens of small decals adorning the hull and J-Bot faithfully recreated those in the various scales for the Falcon models. After seeing the real 5 foot studio model on display, I knew I wanted my Falcon to have those decals as well, even though many were absent on the real studio 32 inch model. I took the photographs of my Falcon prior to buying the cover and decals since that is the way you will receive it from Master Replicas. 

Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpt - ****
Paint - ***
Articulation - Bupkis
Fun Factor - ****
Value - ***
Overall - ****

Where to Buy -
Online is your best option:

- Alter Ego Comics has the Signature Edition for $2519.

- Dark Shadow has the Limited Edition in stock for $1950.

- Entertainment Earth has the Limited Editon for $2199, and the Signature Edition for $2799.

- For the U.K. readers, Forbidden Planet has the LE for 1400 pounds, while the SE is 2000 pounds.


Figure from the collection of Don Bledsoe.

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