Part 1 – Art and Books
I have always been a big fan of Science Fiction cutaway art and cross sections. It probably started in the eighties when I used to see adverts in Starlog magazine for the Enterprise D. I don’t know what it is about them that makes them so appealing. Perhaps they make a fantasy item that little bit more real by fleshing it out. Thanks to publishers such as DK Books, it appears to be an art form that is gaining a lot of popularity. In the eighties I collected blueprints where I could. Mostly Star Trek, but i did pick up a pack of Millennium Falcon prints under the heading of “Selayna” class freighter. Other examples included deck plans in Shane Johnson’s Star Wars Technical Journal, or various YT-1300 layouts in the Star Wars RPG by West End Games and their Sourcebooks, (which i still have in my SW library), were a treasure trove of information and pictures and artwork at the time. When I decided to focus collect, Christopher Cushman‘s wonderful cutaway poster was one of first things I bought. It’s rich in colour and I enjoy the way it’s presented as a part of a larger scene from ESB. (A nod to Slave 1 in the background, in amongst the garbage.)
I had already seen Christopher’s Star Trek cutaways but he has done a few Star Wars prints. His Millennium Falcon print was my first example of this kind of artwork and remains my favourite version to this day. Chris also is the only artist to have painted the top hatch on the right side of the Falcon. The print is 36″ by 24″ and you can buy them (along with his other cutaway work), here for $19.95 or $40 for a signed version. I would love to know what happened to the original.
Unfortunately, Chris had a very bad experience when his publisher attempted to replace him and commissioned Brian Sauriol to paint another cutaway. Fortunately, Chris was able to proove his version of events and now sells the print himself. Sadly, Brian’s painting went unpublished and only surfaced again in 2013 after being rediscovered. Brian wanted to sell it, along with all associated documentation and drafts. Quite a rarity.
(Click the image for full size.) Sadly, it didn’t sell until earlier this year when it went under the hammer at Heritage Auction house for $23, 750. I’m surprised that this didn’t end up in George Lucas’s collection of narrative art. I also hoped that ACME would have optioned for some prints of this, as I would love to own a copy. Alas, it was not to be.
Dorling Kindersley Books (DK Books)
In 1998, DK books (already well known for their series of Incredible Cross Section and educational books), released a series of Star Wars books, including a Star Wars Incredible Cross sections, featuring artwork by Richard Chasemore and Hans Jenssen. The Millennium Falcon is on a lavish gatefold. (This gatefold seems to have disappeared from the later collected releases, so if you haven’t yet got one of these, I heartily recommend getting an earlier version of the book.) It’s incredible to think that these were hand painted. This version was also released as a double sided print with Slave 1 on the reverse for Celebrations Japan. Unfortunately, it is very hard to track down.
There is also an”exploded” version which was originally rejected. I can’t find a higher resolution image for this one,but you can find “prints” available sometimes. I don’t think they’re legitimate, though and I haven’t bought one.
These books are very popular and a new cross section book would be released for each prequel and sequel movie, but not Rogue One or Solo. The Sequel Trilogy version of the Millennium Falcon is by illustrator and concept artist, Kemp Remillard.
It’s very nicely done and warrents a close inspection. There are enough changes to make it different from the OT version and there are also descreet nods to the Original trilogy, which I enjoyed looking out for.
The Final version in DK’s portfolio returns to Richard Chasemore once more, this version is from Solo and shows the Falcon in pristine condition when it was still in the hands of Lando Calrissian. Originally shown in the Solo Archives book, the “complete Cross Sections” book has a larger image to peruse.
I think this is a really nice version, but i have to confess that I am frustrated by the lack of detail on the escape pod between the mandibles. An addition I never understood and much preferred the original Cargo Handler idea. Unfortunately, the only decent image i can find is of the German version.
I don’t know if DK will return to the Millennium Falcon again, but i would hope so.
Ulises Farinas illustrates the popular “Where’s The Wookie” search and find books. I’m not sure if his Millennium Falcon counts as a cross section, but i definitely feel it’s worth posting here.
Where’s the Wookie books are great fun and i totally recommend picking up a set. (You can get signed copies on Ulises web site.)
In addition to the DK books, there are also a couple of really nice books solely written around the Millennium Falcon that are well worth adding to any library. My favourite is the Haynes: Millennium Falcon/YT-1300 Owners Workshop Manual by Ryder Windham, Chris Reiff and Chris Trevas. Initially released in 2011, it was revised and updated to include new material for the upcoming release of Solo.
This book has a consolidated a lot of information that was available from various official and EU sources and it covered every aspect of the Falcon, including various upgrades, modifications and utility such as the escape pod seen on Hasbro’s BMF, the Cargo Loader or Life Raft. Featuring some amazing art from Chris Trevas, including some cutaway line drawings, this is a book superb.
The 3D Owners Guide was made availble for both the Original and Sequel trilogies, but not for Solo.
It is very different from other cross sections as it showcases the inside of the Falcon system by system using layered card to “peel” away the interior.
Very cleverly done. Again, illistrations are by Chris Trevas with the text by Ryder Windham. On the subject of Chris Trevas, he also illustrated for the Star Wars Blueprints. 40″ by 27″, you can buy these blueprints from Amazon.
It’s also nice to see a little bit of fan art out there, too. Sabre Haughton has painted this cross section and posted it on Instagram. Like the Cushman one, this one also has the Falcon as part of a larger scene. In this case, the battle over Endor.
He did say that he was looking into getting some limited edition prints done. I like the humour in this piece, which has Chewbacca on the Toilet.
Jeremy Ennis used to sell some of his work on Etsy and I am fortunate enough to have several pieces of his art in my collection. He creates Micro Art on a piece of Acetone and they’re very good. His version of the Millennium Falcon cutaway was pretty unique.
At 6″ by 8″, it’s tiny compared to the others, but really nicely done. I should go back and see is he did a plan version as well. Kinda reminds me a little of Joe Johnston’s pre-production drawings.
I think that’s it on art and books. If you guys know of other examples that i haven’t picked up on, please let me know. Part 2 will focus on merchandise.