lego millennium falcon box

The LEGO Sabbatical: Building The Star Wars UCS Millennium Falcon

In 2007, Lego released the first Star Wars Ultimate Collector Series Millennium Falcon set (10179). With over 5000 pieces, 5 mini-figs, and over 20 pounds, all I could hear in my head was Anakin’s friend, Kitster, saying “That’s so wizard, (D)ani!” I dreamt about how awesome this would look in my bedroom…. aka the only personal space I had. This quickly brought me back down to reality: where would I find the room to display this? More importantly, how could I ever afford this? Sadly, I watched as the Millennium Falcon disappeared from production only to appear on Amazon years later at a staggering price of over $2500! I sadly forced myself to move on.

Ten years later, Lego released an even bigger and more impressive Millennium Falcon (75192) set, this time with over 7500 pieces. While I had changed as a person since 2007, I immediately felt the same giddiness as I did a decade ago. I made a plan and a promise to myself: start a Falcon fund so I could purchase the set. Also, buy a house so I had room to display it. It would happen. I just didn’t know when….

In 2021, I finally fulfilled my promise. At my company, each employee is granted an incredible perk: a one month sabbatical to do whatever you want. So naturally, instead of traveling around the world, I knew that for my sabbatical I was totally going to spend it by… building Lego sets! ๐Ÿ˜Š

2024 Dani Note: Although this adventure took place in 2021, it was an extremely memorable time and it feels like just yesterday. Warning though, this post is littered with intense Star Wars quotes. You’ve been warned.

Sabbatical lego Sets

I have a decent sized Star Wars collection. Over the years, I’ve acquired action figures, games, books, ornaments, etc. I’m the person who buys sunscreen because it has BB-8 on it. However, I am most proud of my Star Wars Lego sets which I’ve been accumulating very slowly over the years. In my old apartments, I had no room to display anything. However, now that I was in a house, the possibilities were endless!

I waited forever in line at Star Wars Celebration to get these posters (I have 4-6 too)

During my 2021 sabbatical, I was eager to finally open up the sets that have been patiently sitting and waiting for its turn to be built.

In total for my sabbatical, I planned on building seven sets separated into four different categories, appropriately listed as food because that’s just how I think.

  • Appetizer: battle droid tank/star destroyer/u-wing microsets, Clone Wars Anakin Skywalker’s Y-Wing ft. Ahsoka Tano with stationary R2D2 (570 pieces), Naboo Starfighter ft. little Ani and a flying R2D2 (318 pieces)
  • Soup: Boba Fett helmet (625 pieces) and Stormtrooper helmet (647 pieces)
  • Salad: Razor Crest from the Mandalorian (1023 pieces) ft. the most adorable copilot ever

Appetizer: Microsets, Y-Wing (8037), Naboo Starfighter (7877)

Various Microsets

I honestly have no idea where or how I acquired these microsets. I know for a fact I didn’t buy them because as cute as they are, I definitely prefer to save my shelf space for the larger sets. However, these would be perfect to get into the Lego groove. Due to lack of time, the last set I had built was back in 2019 (BB-8, 75187) so this was a great way to reacquaint myself with the wonders of Lego, just like how an appetizer is a fantastic way to whet an appetite.

These random microsets sitting in my collection for a while contained a U-wing (Cassian Andor’s ship), a Star Destroyer, and a droid tank that looks suspiciously like the 2024 Lego Star Wars Day gift with purchase.

The microsets were super easy to build, and I was pleased with the variety. I still have no idea where these came from. Hopefully there’s no one out there frantically looking for these three sets.

Anakin’s Y-wing (8037)

I got this set as a gift back in 2014. It was purchased from a second hand Lego store on the West Coast, with no box and all the pieces in zip lock bags. I waited seven years to build this set because I was terrified that I would be missing a critical piece, or worse, an entire bag.

As I finally forced myself to open up each questionable looking zip lock bag and began to build, I found myself feeling like Palpatine when he announces he was nominated for the role of Supreme Chancellor.

A surprise to be sure, but a welcome one.

-Senator Palpatine and also me after realizing that This Second Hand set was fully in tact

In fact, the only thing missing from the set was a sticker. And I’m not going to complain about one less sticker for my shaky, nervous hands to crookedly apply to my ship. Not bad for a second hand set! Although Anakin’s normal ship isn’t a Y-Wing (only shown in an early episode of Clone Wars), it was nice to finally have an Ahsoka Tano minifig.

Naboo Starfighter (7877)

I received this set after winning a Star Wars Celebration contest back in 2012. They were looking for “ultimate fans” and I ended up writing a super nerdy song about my love for Star Wars and my desire to go to the Celebration. It worked. I ended up getting free passes to the event and an awesome prize pack which included this Lego set that had been waiting for years to be built.

One of the best moments of The Phantom Menace is when Anakin is flying out of the Trade Federation control ship and yells “Now this is podracing!” and all the Naboo pilots start cheering. Another best moment is when Rune Haako starts screaming “WHERE ARE THOSE DROIDEKAS” while Qui-Gon Jinn is just melting the blast doors away like butter with his lightsaber. Can you believe this set allows me to partially recreate both those scenes?

Additionally, you can eject R2D2 from the ship. I’m serious.

“Yippee!” – Anakin

The only thing I regret is that I didn’t build this set earlier.

Soup: Boba Fett (75277) and Stormtrooper (75276) Helmets

After knocking out the appetizer course (and trying not to get distracted with ejecting R2 repeatedly from the ship), it was time to move on to the “adult” Lego sets. In 2020, Lego started releasing a special helmet collection geared towards the collector crowd. It was intended for people who would proudly display their completed sets like a work of art and not do things like eject an R2 out of a ship.

The first batch of Star Wars sets that debuted for this more mature audience featured helmets for Boba Fett, a stormtrooper, and a TIE Fighter pilot. Although the TIE Fighter pilot was on backorder at the time, I wanted to make sure I completed the other two before my sabbatical ended. After all, I still had a couple of other huge sets still waiting their turn.

These particular sets are marked as 18+. The only reason I note that is because I anticipated them to be extremely difficult. All other Lego sets I’ve ever built had been 16 and younger with various degrees of difficulty. The fact that these boxes said 18 must mean that Lego meant business.

After waiting for the difficulty to hit, I realized that 18+ probably just meant that you weren’t going to be playing with these sets. The helmets ended up being smaller than I expected, but the detail was great. I was looking very forward to more helmets to add to my collection in the future.

2024 Dani Note: As of the original publishing date of this post (May 2024), I now currently have 10 of the helmets!

Salad: The Razor Crest (75292)

I’m a Caesar Salad lover, enough to even have it as the main course on occasion. For the most part though, caesar salads are the things that get me super hyped for the main course. I like to savor them because they’re darn delicious. In this case, the Razor Crest was my caesar salad course. I was especially excited to build it since The Mandalorian had just wrapped up its season 2 and while it might be more screen accurate to dump all the pieces on the floor, I was eager to see the ship in tact and safely on my shelf.

The set also came with a Greef Karga mini fig. RIP Mr. Weathers.

While this set is not part of the Ultimate Collector Series, it’s still quite impressive. It comes with 4 minifigs (plus IG-11) and even some randos stuck in blocks of carbonite. However, the best part of course is that one of the minifigs is truly a mini minifig: Grogu!

I can’t, he’s too cute.

This set was released when Grogu was officially referred to as “The Child” (and unofficially, Baby Yoda). In 2023, Lego released a UCS version which caused me to mentally curse myself for not waiting. Then again, the price was also about 4 times what I paid for, so honestly I think I came out ahead! (At least I tell myself this.)

With the completion of this non-UCS version of the Razor Crest, I successfully finished 6 of the 7 Lego sets I had planned for my Sabbatical in less than a week. This meant I had about a week left to complete the main course…

But wait, there’s more!

Main Course: The UCS Millennium Falcon (75192)

At this point, I was flying casual high and feeling quite proud of myself. The next week was going to be bittersweet. I would be returning back to work, but I would be able to stare at my Millennium Falcon set while doing so. There wasn’t a moment to waste.

The first challenge was moving the box to the dining room table. This set is over 7500 pieces. I quickly realized I would not be able to put the box on the table because this behemoth weighs 37 pounds (more than 2 pugs) and would have a finished size of almost 3 feet long. Even though I knew all the stats and read all the reviews, I was still completely unprepared for how enormous this set would be. This set is no joke.

This beautiful box weighed 30+ pounds and stayed on the floor. Also notice that the recommended age starts at 16+!?

For starters, the manual is a spiral bound book. I think that says it all. As I took that out and carefully placed it on the table, I saw that the 7541 Lego pieces were packaged in four nicely designed boxes. The boxes took up almost my entire 8 person dining room table. Suddenly, I was terrified.

I have a bad feeling about this.

-A ton of people in Star Wars and now Me

There are 17 groups containing 2-9 bags each. My plan was to try and do a few groups a night in order to finish this before my Sabbatical ended. If I didn’t, there was no telling how long the Falcon would be out of commission (and when I would be able to eat on my dining room table again).

Groups 1-3

Group 1-3 out ofย 17 included Chewie, Porgs, C3PO, and some impressive dejarik table details. Currently the set looked… unidentifiable. Still, I was proud of my progress.

Group 1

Group 2

Group 3

Groups 4-7

The next group included building minifigs for Han and Leia. It also included a ton of additions to the unidentifiable structure I was building and slowly the frame was starting to get a little bit difficult to flip over…

Group 4

Group 5

Group 6

Group 7

At this point, I had no idea if I would finish with this before Sabbatical ended, but I couldn’t let myself worry about that now.

“Not to worry, we are still flying half a ship”

-Obi-Wan Kenobi

Groups 8-9

I started feeling the same giddiness I felt when I was launching R2D2 out of the cockpit but 10x more. This was actually coming together. I was adding flooring! I was halfway there! Despite seeing the box with completed model hundreds of time, at this moment I also sadly realized that with these new additions, I would be covering up the dejarik table. ๐Ÿ˜ฉ I had to press on.

Group 8

Group 9

Leveling up as a Lego Builder

Since I was documenting every single step, I began to notice a huge difference from day 1 to now.

The evolution of my Lego organization skills went from “rip open the bags and let’s go” to “i must sort everything by color” aka the slow descent to madness. I have no idea if I will carry this with me to future sets, but it definitely helps.

“Magnificent, aren’t they?” – Lama Su (Prime Minister of Kamino)

(Spoiler: I still do this in 2024. Sorta. ๐Ÿ˜„)

Group 10

Flipping or tilting this to secure pieces was truly becoming absolutely frightening. The good news was, including this group there were only 6 groups left! It was looking so cool and I was enjoying every minute of it (minus covering the dejarik table).

I could start to see the finish line. And then it happened.

The 2×3 Brick

One of the most basic bricks in existence: the 2×3. Did someone angrily melt this with a candle? I searched frantically through my collection of spare parts, but alas no 2×3.

When you have a missing or broken part, you can contact Lego and let them know. In my experience, they’ve sent over the parts I need to keep going for free which is pretty awesome. I guess that gets built into the price you pay. I actually did end up finding one in bag 17 and contemplated keeping things moving, but realized that while I could still build components of the ship, I wouldn’t be able to actually finish the ship… or move it from my dining room table… meaning the couch would be my dining room table for the foreseeable future until the part arrived.

“How is thee going to pay for all of this?” -Watto (Luckily Lego Customer Service hooks you up with a replacement place for free!)

Finishing the Falcon

About a week later, the part did arrive. Unfortunately, my sabbatical was done, I was back at work and my strict Lego building regimen had fallen by the wayside. Luckily, the next month I was able to start chipping away again at a much slower pace. At long last, I was finished.

I spent quite a long time researching how to display the Falcon. I was especially interested in mounting it on the wall until I saw a Reddit post where someone’s beloved ship was in 7591 pieces on the floor. After realizing I wouldn’t be able to deal with that kind of stress, I finally settled on purchasing a specially made stand and setting it in the front of the room. I gave Xak the incredibly stressful task of transferring the Falcon over from the dining room to its new home. After what felt like an hour of me holding my breath, it was up and it looked perfect.

My pride and joy

We are never selling this house.

-Me to Xak after The Falcon finally rests in its home

My Love for Lego

Although my Sabbatical was a few years ago, I’m still giddy every time I see the Falcon (every day). I took way longer to build it than a master builder, or maybe even the 16 year old kid the set is supposedly appropriate for. For me, this is more than just an extremely cool Lego set. It represents the goals I set to achieve, the discipline I had to work towards achieving them, the success after I achieved those goals, and also a reminder of my deep love for Star Wars. It also reminds me to embrace creativity and to have fun in life.

Bonus: Star Wars Day 2024!

Every May 4th is a huge celebration in this household. This year was somehow even more special than usual: it was the 25th anniversary of Episode 1: The Phantom Menace being released! This was my very first Star Wars that I ever saw in the theaters and one of the reasons I am the person I am today. About 10% of my brain is fully dedicated to quotes from this film (rough estimation, non-exaggeration) and I manage to casually throw in about 4-5 Phantom Menace quotes a day into everyday conversation, much to Xak’s dismay. To say that The Phantom Menace wasn’t life changing for me would be a complete lie.

That’s why this year, I was THRILLED to find out they were re-releasing The Phantom Menace in theaters again! While our annual celebrations of years past typically consist of watching one of the films at home while wearing Star Wars garb, eating Popeyes, and blasting John Williams throughout the day, this year would involve doing the exact same, but leaving the house.

Along with bowls of unlimited popcorn (drizzled in real butter), I don’t think Star Wars Day can get much better than this. What an amazing day!

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