Monday, 28 September 2009

The Source of my Scratchbuilding

Star wars came out in 1977, when I was 5 years old. I was immediately hooked, and by the time I was about 7 or 8 I had a huge collection of the Kenner figures, an X-wing fighter, a snow speeder, a land speeder, an AT-AT that made noises and a bunch of other stuff.

What I did not have was a Millennium Falcon. I remember distinctly that a friend of my brothers had one, my Friend Paul had one, but I didn’t. After a day of fighting the Empire with 3.5 inch figures, I remember telling my dad that I wanted, indeed I NEEDED, to have a Millennium Falcon. Now, it wasn’t my birthday or Christmas and there was zero chance of one spontaneously appearing, so my dad said “Lets make one”.

We found a suitable cardboard box, about 12 inches square, and a fizzy drinks bottle. Back in those days these bottles had a removable plastic cap on the bottom, which left a rounded base. The bottle was cut at an angle and parcel taped to the side of the box to create the glazed side cockpit. A shoebox was glued inside with a door cut into it for the cargo hold, a ramp cut out of the bottom of the box and margarine tubs glued on to make landing gear. Another smaller box was parcel taped to the bottom and a hatch cut into the cardboard box to make the smuggling compartments. Rectangular sections of carpet underlay were glued in to make bunk-beds. I even roped my grandfather in to help me draw keyboards, circuits, cables and other details onto the pieces of card that would become the control panels around the ship.

It actually looked nothing like the Millennium Falcon, but that collection of plastic, card, glue and ink gave me hundreds of hours of fun, and when I did eventually get the plastic Millennium Falcon for Christmas, I was a little bit disappointed that it didn’t have all the things my home made cardboard-box version had.

1 comment:

Dan said...

good story, I remember the plastic base on the drink bottle, Star Wars was one of the first movies I can remember seeing, my parents split up when I was a baby, and I didn't see my dad much, but he took me to Star Wars, I loved that movie, pitty how the series unfolded though, I can't stand the ewoks and jarjar binks type characters, would have been better if it was darker.