There have been a lot of Star Wars books aimed at the gearheads among us, but few have been as satisfying to flip through as Haynes’ new YT-1300 Owner’s Manual. It strikes a decent balance between technical details and history, with something to offer every level of Star Wars fan.
Note: I was provided with a review copy of this book. The opinions – and tools – are my own.
Haynes’ YT-1300 Owners’ Manual – which technically goes by the less playful name Star Wars: Millennium Falcon: Owner’s Workshop Manual – is a lot of fun to read. It’s set up outwardly with the same Haynes look gearheads will recognize from the company’s huge catalog of real-world repair manuals. The attention to detail goes as far as the Haynes logo (of course, since they published it) and some very groovy internal schematics.
I opened this book fully expecting it to be a fun filler book meant for Star Wars fans who also like cars or motor sports. I mean, how do you write an authentic YT-1300 owners’ manual if there isn’t a working model? The book was a pleasant surprise, though. It has everything I could find on the Falcon from other sources and more.
What more could there be? There are pages upon pages of all-new technical artwork by Chris Reiff and Chris Trevas. Every ship system gets a section with art and technical details. There’s a deeper history of the YT-1300 itself. Several variants and related models get schematics. Early in the book there’s even an operational history of the Falcon with a drawing of changes each owner made. It’s neat to see newer canon included, especially things from Rey’s era and Han’s early adventures from Solo.
I have to take a pause here to talk about the thing that annoyed me most about this book. It’s a lot of fun and I have made my peace with this, but there is a MAJOR TYPO in the table of contents. See if you can spot it.
That hurt my brain a little. I mean, you don’t see “Hun Solo” or “Chewbaccan” in there. It’s so far the only typo I saw, but since it’s one of the major new characters I’m giving it some side eye.
Typos aside, I kind of love this book. There’s so much in the YT-1300 Owners’ Manual that you don’t get from the movies. One section has a diagram detailing how the steering yoke works, and I might have watched The Force Awakens again to see if I could connect the actors’ motions to the schematics. (Note: kind of? It matched up really well in parts, but other times it seemed a little random.)
This book is a great reference for Star Wars fans who like having more details the world around the characters. It isn’t a story – but there is story to it, hidden among the history. Author Ryder Windham put serious effort into the substance of the text. It’s also AMAZING if you happen to play tabletop RPGs or write Star Wars fan fiction, because there’s plenty in here to flesh out the universe. There are full-page drawings all the way through on top of images from the movies. I’m a fan of the laser cannon breakdown, which adds something to the movies if you do a rewatch.
The technical drawings and diagrams are much more detailed than an average person would expect, and even have something to offer car nerds. However, there aren’t physics-level explanations about how the engines actually work. That didn’t bother me. I think the authors went as far as they could go without creating constricting technical errata to write around. The YT-1300 Owners’ Manual is licensed, after all, so this is all canon. Lucasfilm probably wouldn’t want Haynes putting in too many new rules. That said, be prepared for your Trekkie friends to lord their superior fake science manuals over you.
The YT-1300 Owners’ Manual runs $29.99 (frankly astounding for the level of glossy art, but it is a slim book). You can order it here. One warning from experience: Star Wars art and reference books tend to sell out fast. If you’re looking at this as a present for someone, think about ordering sooner rather than later.
Have you taken a look inside the YT-1300 Owners’ Manual yet? Share your pictures and thoughts with us!
Khai is a writer, anthropologist, and games enthusiast. She is co-editor (alongside Alex DeCampi) of and contributor to “True War Stories”, a comic anthology being published by Z2 Comics. When she’s not writing or creating games, Khai likes to run more tabletop RPGs than one person should reasonably juggle.
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