The Millennium Falcon Build Diary Issue 46

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    De Agostini

    This time you add 24 hull-plating panels to the underside of the Falcon’s frame. This is not a test fit, this is the real thing and you’ll be using exactly 120 silver self-tapping screws to fix these panels in position. At the end of this stage the exterior of the bottom of the frame of the Falcon will be covered in a complete circle of hull panels. There is a lot to do, but it is not technically complex, you just have to be systematic and follow the directions to get all the panels correctly installed. There is a good reason why the hull-panels are assembled in the order described and it is simply so that the overlaps at their edges go together easily, with the overlap of each panel fitting over the edge of the panels it is next to to hide the joint. If you are methodical and insert all the screws that fix each panel and then tighten them all up before moving to the next panel, there’s less of a chance of you having to go back and check over all the panels to see if they’re properly attached.

    Before you start, it’s a good idea to make sure that all the short black frame fixing screws and the brass coloured ones used in the rib connectors are done up. If you find that a frame fixing screw will not tighten up – that it keeps on going round and round – there is a chance that the thread of either it or the screw hole it’s screwed into has become damaged. If this is the case, remove the screw and try a spare one, it might just manage to get a grip as its thread will probably be in better condition than the one it’s replacing.

    Parts needed:
    The hull panels used this time are listed here in the order they are shown in the photo on Page 8 of the Stage 46 assembly section of the magazine.

    BP-01 supplied with Issue 21 and last worked on in Stage 24
    BP-10 supplied with Issue 9
    BP-09 supplied with Issue 10
    BP-11 supplied with Issue 11
    BP-12 supplied with Issue 42
    BP-08 supplied with Issue 12
    BP-07 supplied with Issue 13
    BP-06 supplied with Issue 14
    BP-04 supplied with Issue 15
    BP-05 supplied with Issue 16
    BP-03 supplied with Issue 17
    BP-25 supplied with Issue 24
    BP-26 supplied with Issue 26
    BP-24 supplied with Issue 25
    BP-22 supplied with Issue 28
    BP-21 supplied with Issue 27
    BP-19 supplied with Issue 30
    BP-17 supplied with Issue 31
    BP-20 supplied with Issue 32
    BP-23 supplied with Issue 32
    BP-18 supplied with Issue 33
    BP-16 supplied with Issue 34
    BP-14 supplied with Issue 40
    BP-15 supplied with Issue 41
    Gather together 120 silver self-tapping screws

    Tools and other items needed
    If you do everything that is described in the Stage 46 Assembly section of the magazine you will need the following:
    Screwdriver supplied with Issue 2 or similar
    Four M6 (roofing) bolts of 65mm or longer

    Collecting the parts
    Get the hull panels out of storage and also look for the silver self-tapping screws that have been supplied along with them. If you want, you can lay the panels out in the order shown in the magazine or if you have not got the space, arrange them so that the 11 plates that make up the first half are handy while you complete that then lay out the 13 that make up the second half of the Falcon’s circular underside while you do that. Keep the screws somewhere safe – the lid of a plastic food container, for instance.

    naked frame

    panels 1

    panels 2


    Supporting the framework
    During this assembly stage, you will be flipping the bottom of the Falcon over constantly and in order to protect the delicate ramp components on the inside it is a really good idea to provide a temporary stand for it as described in the assembly section of the magazine. If you can’t wait until Issue 54 for the bolts to be supplied, you can buy suitable bolts (roofing bolts will do) at many hardware shops and DIY superstores or from online retailers. You can keep the Falcon on the assembly jig when its bottom is downward, but it might be easier to rest it on an old cushion as the jig on its board might be a bit unwieldy if you have to keep turning it around on a modestly sized work surface.


    bolts in

    Attaching the hull panels
    The procedure for attaching each hull panel is described in the magazine and there is little to add. Just remember to make sure the lugs in the panels are properly seated in the frame before you screw the screws tight. Do not try to use the self-tapping screws to pull the panel up to the frame. If a lug is proving reluctant to get fully into its hole in the frame, jiggle the panel and apply gentle pressure until it does. When you’ve attached a panel, turn the hull over and check that adjacent panels are lying flush. If the edge of one sticks up proud of the one next to it, gently apply pressure until it is level while supporting it from below. And do not put screws into lugs that protrude through the frame, these are used to attach the recessed areas at a later stage. Remember to be very careful of the delicate ramp components while you are working.

    attach 1

    attach 2

    atach 3

    attach 4

    attach 5

    attach 6

    attach 7

    attach 8

    attach 9

    attach 10


    Tidy up and store
    Put any unused parts away safely for use later. Put the Falcon back on the jig.

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