Playskool recently released the “Star Wars Millennium Falcon” playset as part of their “Galactic Heroes” line. The playset is an ambitious re-creation of the classic ship from “Star Wars – Episode 4: A New Hope” that converts from a spaceship into a Rebel base. This Millennium Falcon is available now and recommended for Ages 3-7. The set comes with “Han Solo,” “Chewbacca” and “R2-D2” figures.
The Millennium Falcon starts off simply enough in its vehicle form. The exterior is well detailed and captures the likeness of the ship to a striking degree. The radar and cannon can both rotate and are removable. The cannon has a button to activate a firing action (no projectiles).The cockpit opens with room for a single figure. There is a clear plastic handle that can be pulled out, which locks the ship closed and, effectively, making the vehicle a carrying case. The playset does come with some decals that would enhance the look of the ship, unfortunately, the set that came with this particular one were printed on the wrong side of the sheet and are, therefore, not sticky. A quick call or email to Hasbro customer service would likely resolve this issue if it were to happen to anyone else.
Finally, there is the landing gear. There are three separate legs to the landing gear, two of which are retractable. Leaving the third as a handle to hold while making the ship “fly.” However, there is no real point in making any of the legs retractable, if one is not going to make all of them retractable. If the two are retracted and one puts the ship down, it can not lay flat because the remaining leg props the front of the ship up. This is the one example of Hasbro trying to do too much with the exterior of the vehicle. They should have decided to make them all retractable or none of them. The most practical solution may have been to make the front leg not retractable, but removable. On top of all that, the two back legs do not securely lock in place. So, when the legs are extended, especially while in playset mode, if one were to lean heavily on one side or the other, as the recommended age range tends to do, the leg will shift out of place, leaving the playset lopsided. This could have been easily avoided if the legs fit more firmly in place.
The Millennium Falcon can then be opened up to form a Rebel base. The top half of the ship opens easily, then one can detach the radar and cannon from the top of the ship and place them in the appropriate locations inside. This makes it more of a base, than simply the interior of the ship. In addition to the cannon and radar, Hasbro then attempts to feature just about every notable component of the Millennium Falcon’s interior as shown in the original film. It is a bit too ambitious for a model of this size, as some features are executed better than others and the function of some interfere with the others. The clearest example of the latter is the Jedi training droid and the trap door. Despite there being no Jedis included with this playset, there is a Jedi training droid feature, which allows for the “floating” droid to rotate by turning the tabletop on the level above. On the floor where the training droid is located, there is a trap door that is activated by placing a figure on it with a small amount of pressure. Individually, each feature works well, however when one goes to train with the droid, the trap door is easily inadvertently tripped because they are set so close together. It there was a button that triggered the trapdoor, rather than a pressure release, this issue could have been avoided.
As for features that are just flat out not designed well, the ramp takes the cake. Again, it does a solid job of representing the exit ramp as seen in the movie, with one tremendous exception. The ramp only clears the side of the ship by about an inch, so the 2+ inch tall figures can not actually walk all the way down the ramp. To add insult to injury, the ramp is not wide enough for R2-D2, the shortest figure, to fit down evenly. One has to question whether Hasbro did any level of testing of this playset if it allowed this feature to pass, even though it is completely impractical.
As for the remaining features, the cargo hold works well for hiding a single figure in, including the larger Chewbacca. The creature board game is a nice touch, so that Chewy and R2 can have endless rematches. There are several clips around the ship, presumably for attaching loose accessories, although this playset has none. The ladder connecting the two upper levels functions well enough. And, well, there are some nice couches along the sides of the lower level for entertaining guests.
Overall, the “Galactic Heroes Millennium Falcon” playset is a well done likeness that stretched too far to replicate all the features of the classic ship from the original “Star Wars” movie. This effort led to uneven execution and an overcrowded interior. It is available now.