The Millennium Falcon is no doubt some of the most recognizable nerd craft. The article traces the inspirations:
The connections begin in the cockpit of the Falcon with its iconic greenhouse-style window. It was here that audiences first jumped to hyperspace, and from these famous viewports that Han Solo evaded Imperial ships in the asteroid field above Hoth. Thirty years earlier, this same style of cockpit was found flying aboard one of the most advanced bomber aircraft of World War II: The American B-29 Superfortress.
And how George Lucas would tape anything related to dogfights in order to bring us the TIE Fighter dog fight with the Millennium Falcon.
“Every time there was a war movie on television, like The Bridges at Toko-Ri , I would watch it — and if there was a dogfight sequence, I would videotape it. Then we would transfer that to 16mm film, and I’d just edit it according to my story of Star Wars. It was really my way of getting a sense of the movement of the spaceships.” Lucas claims to have amassed up to 25 hours of videotape. It was footage like this that inspired Han Solo and Luke Skywalker manning gun ports and fighting off Imperial TIE fighters to escape the Death Star.
And to think these guys while doing the movies had little to no money, and scraped together pieces (or even rented models from shops) to build this iconic craft; which went on to be part of a multi-billion dollar franchise.
You can follow the author or shout at him on Twitter