For the ultimate Star Wars and Lego fan, there are two sets that stand out above all the others. The Lego Stars Wars Millennium Falcon and Lego Star Wars Imperial Star Destroyer are both part of the Ultimate Collector’s Series line, which means they’re very large models, made from thousands of parts, and with incredible accuracy to the original ships (with a Lego twist, of course).
Make no mistake that these are two of the best Lego Star Wars sets available – and equally make no mistake that they’re complex and lengthy projects to get into. They’re also very expensive, though we can tell you from experience that they’re 100% worth it, if you’re willing to bring one in from that galaxy far, far away.
However, choosing which one to get isn’t just a matter of Empire vs Rebellion. There are some key differences between them that might make you want to choose one of the other, even ignoring aesthetic preference. Having said that, you should totally feel free to pick based on coolness alone – it’s just that we’ll let you know about the other differences anyway, in case the practical side of your brain has any say in things.
Lego Millennium Falcon vs Lego Star Destroyer: Price & release date
The Lego Millennium Falcon was released in October 2017, and it costs £649.99/$799.99/AU$1,299.99. Yes, that’s a lot of money – it’s effectively the most you can spend on a Lego set.
The Lego Imperial Star Destroyer was released in September 2019, and it costs £649.99/$699.99/AU$1,099.99 – so it’s a little cheaper in some countries, but remains one of the most expensive options out there.
The price is a combination of things – licensed sets tend to cost a bit more than non-licensed sets with equivalent numbers of bricks. Of course, there’s aren't actually many sets with this many bricks, and that also end up this large when built, so that's a big factor.
As a point of comparison, the Lego Colosseum – which was the set with most bricks ever in a model when it was announced, with 9,036 pieces – costs £449.00/$549.99/AU$749.99. That’s because it’s made entirely from much smaller pieces, and it can’t hurt that Disney doesn’t take a cut.
Lego Millennium Falcon vs Lego Star Destroyer: Size & complexity
These are both absolute beasts, both in terms of the number of pieces as well as the finished size. They are ‘ultimate’, after all.
The Millennium Falcon reaches 84cm (33 inches) long when fully built, and 56cm (22 inches) wide. At least the ship design means it’s not very tall at 21cm (8 inches). It’s made from 7,541 pieces, a large number of which are just for adding all the little details, to get the look exactly right outside and inside, with its panels and pipes and so on.
The build consists of putting together a hefty Lego Technic rectangular frame, with sections inside – it’s kind of like a window frame. Then you add the legs, the outer silhouette of its shape, the rooms drop into the gaps in the frame, and all the outer body panels. It will take a long time – it would easily occupy a whole weekend if you were really going at it, or could consume a few hours per night for easily a week or so.
Lego rates it as being for ages 16 and up – its larger sets are often given steep age ratings, seemingly due to the large number of small pieces often required, and there can be delicate handling needed once something this big is built, because it’s certainly a weighty thing, and mishandling could cause an accident. The instructions give you specific advice on how to hold it, in fact.
However, of these two sets, it’s the less delicate option. Everything we just said applies double to the Star Destroyer.
Let’s start with the size, though. Fittingly for its theme, at the time of its release this was the physically largest set that Lego had ever sold, once fully built – that’s despite actually including fewer pieces than the Millennium Falcon, at 4,784. It is 110cm (43 inches) long, 66cm (26 inches) wide and 44cm (17 inches) high. The length is maybe what you expect from the pictures, but the width and height really catch you out in real life – trust us. The height in particular, because a lot of Lego’s photos don’t really show the stand that’s a necessary part of the build, making it a bit taller than it appears.
It’s also interesting in that it includes fewer small details you need to build overall when compared to the Millennium Falcon, but the build – which starts with the stand, then creates a cross-shaped skeleton with triangular frame, then tasks you with building large panels that become the hull – is fiddler because everything is more delicate, as we said.
It looks like a big hulk of plastic, and it certainly weighs enough, but this thing wobbles. It can also only be picked up in very careful and specific spots, because most of its body simply cannot take its weight at all.
That may all sound quite negative, but it’s not really meant to be – it’s just fair warning. This is absolutely not a playset, and will not survive anyone who attempts to make it one even briefly. Because of all this, we’d say it’s the more adult of the two to build, due to the fiddliness of getting these delicate parts on and then not knocking them off while moving the half-finished model.
Lego Millennium Falcon vs Lego Star Destroyer: Design & features
Both of these sets aim to look as close to the original as possible, down to the details they feature, as well as the scale of all those features. For those who really want cool movie extras, though, the Millennium Falcon definitely has the edge.
For a start, it’s basically accurate to minifigure scale – you can fit four of the figures it comes with in the cockpit, or if you have them standing outside of it then they’re pretty much the right size. So that’s very cool from the off. And Lego has actually taken it further, buy including parts of the Falcon’s interior as well – we already mentioned the cockpit (complete with all the right control panels), but there’s also the lounge area with holochess, plus a rear compartment with engine room, secret floor compartment and ladder to the gunnery station.
The gunner station is also accessible, and the laser cannon is fully mobile. Parts of the body just come away so you can see inside – you could display it with or without these parts visible.
On the outside, it comes with the round radar dish that it had in the original trilogy, or the rectangle dish from the newer movies. And speaker of old meeting new, it comes with minifigures from two different eras, so you can either have young Han and Leia in there with C-3PO (and a mynock, for good measure) – or you can have old Han with Rey and Finn, plus BB-8 and porgs. Chewie is also included, but he’s timeless.
The Star Destroyer doesn’t have most of these kinds of flourishes – there’s nothing inside, and it comes with two Imperial officer minifigures (to display on its stand). However, it does have two cute touches: on the underside, there’s a tiny TIE Fighter launch bay, and it also comes with a buildable model of Leia’s blockade runner ship that’s to scale with the Star Destroyer, with a clear plastic mount that connects this ship to the Star Destroyer, so it looks like it’s trying to escape. Just like the start of the film, it’s very ominous – we love it.
Both models are intentionally built with Lego studs showing prominently, rather than trying to hide them under smooth panels. This is Lego’s general approach with its Star Wars sets – they should look like they’re made of Lego, and they’re not trying to hide that fact. In those of these cases, the studs help the overall texture if anything – both of these ships had busy little parts all over, and the studs just add to that.
Lego Millennium Falcon vs Lego Star Destroyer: Verdict
We suspect that most people will choose the Millennium Falcon here, and we can’t blame them at all. It’s the iconic ship from a set of films that's crammed with iconic ships, it comes with interiors as well as exteriors, and it’s not quite as terrifyingly delicate.
But don’t get us wrong – the Star Destroyer is an incredible-looking model. It’s great fun to build (even with the wobble), and in some ways it displays better, because it has the extra height – the Falcon is very flat, so if you have it at or near eye height, it’s not that visible. The Star Destroyer is striking anywhere – we have it sitting on top of a six-foot shelf, and it never fails to grab attention. It’s just needs more care of the two.