So let's buy the pieces and put one together, easy right? According to the Bricklink part-out feature, the average price of the parts comes to $2,700. Of course items don't get shipped on love alone so add another 12% to account for postage. We're up to $3,000 assuming all the pieces can be had for average. No box or instructions. Might as well just buy new, right?
But maybe there's another way. What if you just want to own one and don't care about reselling? What if you could substitute some rare pieces for more common ones or pass on others altogether? What kind of savings would you see? And how do you do this?
First, download Brickstock. Install. Run. The first thing you need to do is go to Extras -> Update Database. This will bring your copy up to date with all the pieces, inventories, and minifigs. Then go File -> Import -> Bricklink Set Inventory. Set Item Type to Set, type 10179 into the filter and click [All Items]. Once the set pops up, double click it. The entire inventory will load on the screen. Could take a minute.
Now we need to know prices. Press Ctrl-A then Ctrl-G then Enter. This will load the average prices of all the parts. Watch the numbers grow in the upper left corner. When it is finished you will get a pop-up screen. Click OK. Note the value. Mine currently says $2679.90.
Now comes the fun part. Click the Price column, probably twice to get the most expensive items at the top. Scroll up. What's that first item, a certificate of authenticity? You don't need that, it's $275 and this isn't going to be authentic. Select and delete. The next item is a big sticker for the set. This sticker goes on a plaque and isn't even part of the ship. At $223 you can strike it.
The next item is a boat mast rigging in light bluish grey. They're $122 a piece and you need two. Want to save $220? Double click the color and change it to black. Hit Ctrl-G again and see what happens. Now it's $8 each. Go buy some paint or call it good as is.
Three items modified or deleted and we're already under $2,000. See, I just saved you almost $700. Now you can buy some of my Dag Brick instructions to thank me. But we're not done yet.
The fourth item is a radar dish that has some sort of printing inside it. The decoration is nice but for a cheaper version we're going to rename this part. Double click on the '50990pb03' and change it to read '50990b' This gets rid of the decor and changes the dish to one with solid studs instead of hollow studs. Really, who's going to notice the studs since they're facing down? Hit the magic Ctrl-G and watch the price drop from $80 to $2. Next are five minifigs worth about $48. It's your choice but for the purpose of this guide I'm going to strike them.
The next sticker is superfluous and at $8.50 is not important enough to the build. Gone. The dark red 6x14 plate is not terribly visible and could be substituted for light bluish grey or dark bluish grey dropping the price from $16 to a buck or two.
There are two parts that have a little number next to them. This is called a Match ID. It means that there is a variant to the part that is functionally similar and possibly cheaper. Select the Technic, Pin Connector and then click on the description column. It will show up next to it's mate. One type is over $4 each. The other newer type is 12c each. There is no functional difference. Since you need 41, I HIGHLY suggest you remove the $4 one. This will save $65 in this one part alone. Click the Price column twice, scroll to the top and repeat for the Bar 6.6L. There's a similar per part price differential over 28 units. The only caution here is whether or not the extra 0.6L is needed. You can always build it with the shorter version and see what suits you.
At this point we've shaved about another $500 off the price but I've still got a few more tricks to play.
There's a light bluish grey lever with a light bluish grey base. And not just one but 60 with 2 extras. It will change the finished look a little but you can always change the part number to 4592c02. This changes the lever color from light bluish grey to black. But it also changes the price from over three bucks to under 3 cents each.
The 5x5 right angle Technic brick is another en masse part. You need 16 in the odd color of yellow. Perhaps there was a bunch of construction equipment being produced at the same time as this set and this piece/color was already coming off the line. The color is unimportant in this build. Changing to black cuts off about a buck each so there's $16 saved.
This drill can be run on several more parts. To make it a little easier, click on the Total column (likely twice) to get the most expensive at the top. The 1x16 Technic Brick can be changed to black, the 1x1 cone should become a 4589b, the 4x6 Technic Brick can go light bluish grey, and if you dare, the 3L Technic Pin can go blue.
Some items like the standard bricks and plates should probably not change. At this point it's probably tempting to find an alternative to the 8x8 plate, 2x3 plate, 1x8 plate, and 1x16 brick. But the point of this drill is to get a 10179 on the cheap, not a Rainbow Flyer.
By default, all pieces come into BrickStock as New. Right now your total will be somewhere around $1100. For curiosity's sake, go Edit -> Condition -> Used and redo the Ctrl-G. The price now drops to somewhere below the $800 range. Add 12% for shipping and you're still under $900. At this point we've picked most of the low hanging fruit. The price is now about 1/3 of what it was previously. You're on your own to find more corners to cut.
Whenever you're happy with your modified inventory, you can export it to a Bricklink Wanted List. Select All and go to File -> Export. This will copy all of your items in XML format to the clipboard. Enter Bricklink or BrickOwl and paste this in the appropriate spot.
On Bricklink I would start with the rarest and/or most expensive pieces. Find a few stores that have it (and shipping) for a reasonable price. See what other parts that store has and add them in. Pick the winner for your preference of best cost vs. most parts. Then start with the next rarest or most expensive piece remaining and keep going. Even if you end up spending 20% more on pieces you could save a bundle on shipping. BrickOwl has a much more automagical tool that will show which stores have what and let you select them. Your wishlist and ideal stores will be updated in real time with the remaining pieces. You can always undo and reselect different options before purchasing from all the selected stores.
Bear in mind there are a couple of other items that the completist would want. One is a box for $300-500. The other is the instructions for $300-400. We never considered these in the above so it's not another expense to deduct. But you still need to build somehow, right? Did you know if you visit the LEGO website that you can find instructions? Type 10179 in the search bar and you'll have the opportunity to download a pdf file.
To get your shipping costs down even further, you might consider using Brickficiency to help you find the least amount of sellers who can satisfy your epic wanted list. You can load a Brickstock .bsx file to it and it will automagically figure out what to buy from whom. However, Bricklink has added this functionality directly on their site.
Good luck with your build! For more great tips, visit the Brickset Forum where there's an ongoing discussion. I'd love to know how cheaply you built your UCS Millenium Falcon for! Sound off in the comments below.
N.B. With the recent release of the Millennium Falcon 75105 you might be tempted to buy one or two to harvest parts from. Seems legit, right? You could use the inventory comparison tool on Bricklink to find that there are 66 lots that are the same. But if you are willing to make appropriate color swaps (hidden pieces, light vs dark bley), there are more like 120 usable lots. Even better, it looks like almost half the inventory of the 75105 is in your favor. After a rather in depth BrickStock session, it appears that the value of usable parts from the $150 set is $64 which replaces $95 of needed parts. By purchasing 3 of the 75105 (at $450) you can replace $286 worth of parts. It's possible a number of other parts would work as well. The good news is that as of this update, the minifigs have a value of about
Get the Millennium Falcon 75105 at:
And hey, don't forget to check out my latest project, BRIX!