I’m someone who takes on my own vehicle maintenance and repairs. I can’t do it alone, though, and throughout the years have relied on the supremely helpful Haynes auto repair manuals. I own several, in fact. Once we purchase a new vehicle, one of the next things I buy is the corresponding repair manual. So I’m very familiar with the publication. Several months ago, when I found out about the upcoming Haynes/Star Wars: Millennium Falcon Owner’s Workshop Manual, I was very excited. A book that combined my favorite manual and one of my favorite Star Wars ships? I’m game. With all that said, here are my impressions of this latest Star Wars publication:
One word I’d use to describe this book is: Fun. Flipping through the beautifully illustrated pages turned me back into the kid that loves Star Wars. There is a perfect mix of text and images. Millennium Falcon enthusiasts can easily spend a few hours and lose themselves in this book.
Every major function of the ship is described in detail, from cockpit controls, weapons and combat techniques to hyperdrive functions and escape pods. Included among the technical jargon is a nice history of the Falcon, including past owners and variations of the ship model. There’s also quite a few shots from the movies themselves, which provides a nice reference to accompany the illustrations.
Speaking of illustrations, wow. This book is packed full of beautifully rendered images. I literally had to tear myself away from each page. From cover to cover, this book is a satisfying treat for the eyes.
The only complaint I have, if you could call it that, is that this publication is nothing like a normal Haynes repair manual. When I first heard the news about this book, I immediately pictured a Haynes manual like the ones I currently had on the shelf. While I didn’t expect the book to be several hundred pages thick that featured black and white images, I did expect at least something similar. Like step-by-step repairs, a troubleshooting guide, a maintenance schedule or even the instantly recognizable spark plug condition guide found on the back cover of every manual (Not that I think the Falcon uses spark plugs, but something similar could have been used).
In my opinion, there’s no real reason why the Haynes name is on this book, other than to attract repair-minded people such as myself. I’m sure in the early stages a Haynes manual for a Star Wars ship was a winning idea, and it still is, but somewhere along the process this book became more about the Falcon and less about a typical Haynes manual. Detailed descriptions of many individual ship parts: Yes. Instructions on how to tear down, rebuild and reinstall said parts: No. I realize there’s no need for a Falcon book like that in real life, but that is what a Haynes manual is all about. That’s like pairing up with Webster to create a Star Wars-themed dictionary, but in the end fail to include any definitions, pronunciation guides or any other extras like measurement scales that you usually see within a typical dictionary. In-universe speaking, this is the kind of book a ship salesman would use, not the service department.
That said, this really is a cool book that kids and Falcon enthusiasts will enjoy. I can foresee the reader wearing out the pristine pages because of constant use; this book will be looked at constantly and enjoyed every time. People who want to buy the book simply for the Haynes value might want to pass it up, though.