A regularly updated blog about my vintage Kenner Star Wars toy collection. Some stuff that I've recently acquired; some stuff that I've had since I was a kid. Some rare, some common, but all sharing the warmth, charm and character of the "first generation" of Star Wars toys - the ones we played with as kids in the late '70s and early '80s.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Millennium Falcon Spaceship (Kenner Canada)

"You came in that thing? You're braver than I thought!"

Oh man... where to start with this one. Released in 1979, the Falcon was the biggest ship by far in the Star Wars wave. For me as a kid, this was the ne plus ultra of Star Wars toys. The Falcon! It's huge - it has a smuggler's compartment - the ramp goes up and down - laser cannon - WOW!!!

Unfortunately for 8-year-old me, all this coolness came with a serious price tag. In the States this thing cost something like 25 to 30 bucks when a mini-action figure cost $1.97. Here in Canada... $44.99!!! That was far too expensive for me to even ask for as a Christmas or birthday gift back then. Nowadays I see kids like my nieces and nephews getting multi-hundred-dollar gifts like electronics and video games so maybe the world has moved on, but back in the day I wouldn't even have dreamed of asking for this as a present.

Hold that thought - in fact I DID once dream about this toy. I can remember that dream quite clearly. I dreamt that I was playing with the Falcon and left it beside my bed. When I woke up I actually looked for the toy there beside my bed; the dream was that vivid. Of course I was crushed when I realized I'd only been dreaming.

Fortunately, though, 8-year-olds grow up and get jobs, and buy themselves the expensive toys they were too shy to ask for as kids. That's how this Falcon came to be in my collection. Can't remember where I got it exactly but I love that it's in a Canadian bilingual box. I'd owned a loose Falcon as well but sold it on as itwasn't in great condition.

Now on to playtime...

As usual, I've set up some figures to replicate the box art. As I've said before, the Kenner packaging is just so outstanding in terms of its art direction. I can imagine the designers coming up with the ideas for photography illustrating the play features they built into the toys.

The droids use the smuggler's compartment to hide from Stormtroopers.
Han and Chewie in the cockpit.

Luke practises with his lightsaber while Chewbacca and R2-D2 "enjoy" a relaxing game of Space Chess (tm). Sadly the training ball and arm are reproductions, unobtrusively marked as such.

Luke in the gunner's station - rotate the cannon to hear laser sounds! (assuming lasers make a sound like hockey cards in bicycle spokes, that is)

Of course the main box art set-up is great too. You have to wonder why the Stormtroopers are just standing around outside the ship though.
I thought I'd include a couple of detail shots of parts that are commonly broken on this toy. This is the ramp. Note the tab in the centre that fits onto the body of the Falcon. This is often found broken off the ramp, and without this tab it's almost impossible to get the ramp to stay locked upright.

The struts are also easily broken. Their fragility is compounded by their tight fit into the ramp piece. Often, the struts break off and it's so tough to extract them from the ramp that the whole assembly has to be trashed.
Some beauty shots of the ship. I love this toy so much :-)

Interior of battery compartment.

Detail shot of button.

Here's where the magic happens.

Had to include a shot of the proprietors.
Solo selfie!!


  1. Sounds stupid in retrospect; the ship had already appeared in die-cast form, which meant it was definitely on the company's radar. But as a kid I was convinced that Kenner would never release a version of the Millennium Falcon that could support their existing line of figures. Like the Star Destroyer, it was just too big and intricate a vessel to recreate at that scale in molded plastic. So you can imagine my gob-smacked surprise when word got out that it'd been stocked in stores ahead of commercials, and eating crow when confronted with the massive, and massively expensive box itself. (I also didn't even bother begging my parents to buy it, even for Christmas: that would've been an act of pure sadism.)

    The designers really put in overtime on this one; apart from the huge Space: 1999 ship that appeared a few years earlier, I can't think of any other toy back then that was as *dense* with loving detail as the Kenner Falcon was. I mean, just look at all that kludgey techno-clutter on the sides and the top! They could've just decaled it all in, or left it completely flat and the toy STILL would've sold like hotcakes... but they carefully reproduced it anyway. And even minor flaws like the slightly-oversized cockpit had a perfectly justifiable line of reasoning behind it: how can you honestly have a Millenium Falcon without Han and Chewie being able to fly the thing, together?

    Pure Kenner give-a-damn. And manufacturing this sucker back then probably wasn't a trivial matter, either (which certainly explains the price).

  2. Great comment, Tom! You're right - Kenner designers really did care (ahem) and it showed in the detail of their designs. The Jawa Sandcrawler, to take another example, could've practically been a scale model for all the kitbashed detail that was worked into the toy. Good stuff!

  3. Love the pics, such a glorious toy!

  4. Would you be able to give me a value on 1979 Falcon with no box, a bit yellowed, and only missing (I think) the game table? I'm having a hard time finding it's value.

  5. Thanks for the comments, guys!
    Mike, you can check eBay sold listings for the Falcon values. I'd estimate a complete Falcon without box in excellent condition might sell for over $100, although eBay can be random too (an incomplete Falcon just sold for $125). The most valuable part of the ship is the training ball and arm - if you have that you've just doubled the value of your toy!

  6. Thanks, Dallas!
    Darn. I guess that's another part I don't have. Forgot about that. Oh well.
    Thanks again.