Book Review: ‘The Haynes Millennium Falcon Owner’s Workshop Manual’January 31, 2012 at 8:18 am | Posted in Reviews, Star Wars Books | 1 Comment
Tags: chris reiff, chris trevas, millennium falcon owners' workshop manual, ryder windham
My dad was always the kind of person who wanted to try fixing something first before resorting to outside help. This meant that every time he bought a vehicle over the years, part of the process would include heading to the Shucks Auto near our old home to buy a Haynes repair manual. First one I can remember him getting was for his beat-up Volkswagon Rabbit pickup truck, and did he ever need the manual for that lemon. Some of my fondest memories growing up was sitting on the front porch while he tore into that unreliable engine bay to fix the latest leak or blown gasket. I remember very distinctly that he’d have the old, beat-up, oil-stained Haynes manual sitting atop the engine, waiting for him to open it up to reference the exact issue he was working on.
A little over a month ago, the great people at Del Rey sent me an advance copy of a book that took me back in time to those days watching my dad fix his truck: The Haynes Millennium Falcon Owner’s Workshop Manual by Ryder Windham, Chris Reiff, and Chris Trevas.
When I opened this book up, I was expecting page after page of cutaway diagrams and disassembly/repair instructions. While that would have been wonderful, I was treated to something even better. The Falcon Workshop Manual is far more than just your father’s old Haynes repair guide. It’s a beautifully written and illustrated history of the Millennium Falcon and the Corellian Engineering YT line of freighters.
I’m a pretty big ship junkie when it comes to Star Wars. I’ve spent hours in Wookieepedia scouring over the various history sections for everything from A-Wings to Z-95 Headhunters. It’s simply impossible for me to soak up enough back-story about these ships, so when this book landed on my lap I was overjoyed. It’s anything and everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the Millennium Falcon, from its origins and serial number to her current owner, some scoundrel by the name of Han Solo.
But this isn’t to say the Haynes Falcon Manual is just a history of the ship and Corellian Engineering. There’s a wealth of schematics and detailed subsystem information to sink your teeth into. Have you ever wondered just what kind of modifications Han’s made to the Falcon over the years? What are all of those buttons on the flight console anyways? Just what makes it possible for that old bird to make the Kessel run in less than twelve parsecs? The answers are here in this book.
My favorite illustration in the entire book is on page 36-37: the Millennium Falcon shown in the classic Haynes cutaway style. From this view you can get a glimpse of part of the ship you’ve never seen in the films. The engine bay where the sublights and Hyperdrive are housed. The storage holds and workshops. The concussion missile bay. The amount of detail that Windham, Reiff, and Trevas managed to cram into two pages is nothing short of staggering.
Another highlight for me was the cockpit diagram shown on page 49. I’ll admit it, I’ve been wondering what all of those levers and buttons do since I first saw A New Hope when I was seven. That lever Chewie pulled while Han and Luke were busy trying to fend off TIE Fighters in the quad turrets? Auxiliary power!
The Haynes Falcon Guide is split into eight sections: A History of Corellian Engineering and the YT-Series, The Millennium Falcon, Piloting a YT-1300, YT-1300 Propulsion, Weapons and Defense Systems, YT-1300 Engineering Systems, YT-1300 Sensors, Crew Facilities, and a Size Comparison Chart. As you can see, there’s a pretty wide spread of information available, from historical to minutiae. In other words, there’s something here for everyone. Background about the Falcon itself is spread through each section. One page you might be reading about the creature comforts of the crew area, the next page you’ll be looking at a cutaway of the crew quarters itself. What you will see on every page, however, are screen captures from the films and gorgeous illustrations from Chris Reiff and Chris Trevas.
This is the kind of book that any Star Wars fan can pick up and appreciate. Kids will love the countless illustrations and diagrams. Adults will savor the backstory and the little details that have been carefully woven into the book. Together, it’s a package that elevates the Haynes Millennium Falcon Owner’s Workshop Guide into must-buy territory. This is far and away the best nerd-culture coffee table reader I’ve had the privilege of getting my hands on.
Of course, this copy is going on my bookshelf. Right next to the Haynes repair manual my dad gave to me as a gift after I bought my first car.
Thanks to Erich Schoeneweiss at Random House for providing image samples via iPhone 4 unlock.
Lane gives the Haynes Millennium Falcon Owner’s Workshop Manual five out of five metal bikinis