May 2023

Sienar Systems TIE Fighter

Link to Website Index:

Sienar Fleet Systems TIE Fighter

Imperial Navy, Death Star

Near Alderan orbit

Bandai (Revell) 1/72

Revell  1/72  with  modifications

Link to Website Index:

<<Link to previous month  Link to Next Month >>


Obi-Wan: “it’s a short range fighter”.  

Solo:  “There aren’t any bases around here, where did it come from?”

Skywalker: “He’s heading for that small moon”   

Obi-Wan: “That’s no moon.  Turn the ship around……..”

I am a massive Star Wars fan and have a number of 1/72 and 1/48 Star Wars kits in my collection (built and unbuilt).

Back in mid April, Mrs Gengriz and I attended “Star Wars Celebration Europe” at the Excel Centre in London.  A superb weekend was had by all, with some incredible costumes and props (real and fan-driven) on display.  Apart from a Grogu tee-shirt, I didn't buy anything at the show; the vendors were a little disappointing unless you had serious Republic Credits to spend.  However, on return I was enthused to dig out and build a  Bandai TIE Fighter kit that I bought a few years back.  

The Star Wars universe now has some remarkably detailed back stories and the TIE Fighter, as one of the iconic images from all of the films, is no exception. Apparently TIE stands for Twin Ion Engine (and I thought it was because they looked like a bow tie!) and they are modular in design, with a common cockpit section able to add to different types of wing array as well as different cargo/personnel pods.

TIE Fighters  were the standard Imperial fighter from the end of the Clone Wars until the most recent film (actually I think I’ve lost track of the sequence!).

My kit is the original basic design, with hexagonal wing arrays and an "eyeball" cockpit.

May the Force (May the 4th?) be with you!

Building the Bandai Tie Fighter Kit:

This is my second build of a 1/72 Bandai Star Wars kit (having built an X-Wing Fighter a few years ago) and although they remain very expensive for their size, they are superbly engineered and moulded.   In Europe they are imported by Revell Germany and widely available.

Assembly is relatively easy, with most parts clicking together with friction fit (use of adhesive is optional, but allows the otherwise very small joint gaps to be closed reliably). My only real caution would be to point out that some parts that look identical are not, so check the instructions and do a test fit before applying any glue.  I made some errors with the struts on the solar panel wings that required some rework and cutting. Detail throughout is superb, albeit sometimes a little subtle - a wash with some thinned paint brings it out nicely, especially in the interior. A fairly nice pilot is provided, wearing the distinctive black TIE Fighter space suit and helmet, which also responds nicely to a light grey wash to highlight detail.

Other than that, the only shortfall in this otherwise very enjoyable kit is a lack of informative painting instructions. There are small photos that show the decal placement and also show the overall colour as a light blue, which felt wrong at first (in my mind they are black).  However, it appears to be correct and apparently the TIE fighters in the original film were blue-grey, but for films 2 and 3 (IV and V) a deeper blue tint was added in production afterwards.  

After scrutinising the films and other people's models, I decided to use Humbrol 247, which is intended to be RLM 76 Weissblau (and sadly seems to be one of the colours that Humbrol have recently discontinued).  I used Humbrol 164 (Dark Sea Grey) for detail.  I also overpainted the black solar panels mainly to remove some blue overpainting around the frames and also to restore an even surface texture since my application of solvent to the frames had left some shiny patches.

Bandai supply optional decals and stickers, very few of which I used as they are very small, with overlapping decal film. I opted instead to paint much of the detail by hand, including the front window which nevertheless has an effective decal for its window frames, but since the frames are nicely prominent and ridged, they facilitate allowing relatively easy freehand painting.  A set of fluorescent green laser/blaster beams can be used instead of the gun ports, and although I left these off my X-Wing, I thought they were a nice touch here.  The model is completed by a diorama base and adjustable stand, in this case representing what seems to be part of a Death Star or other ship.

This is a superb little model and if you can overcome the eye-watering price, it is thoroughly recommended !

All pictures by   All rights to Star Wars designs and themes acknowledged.

Imperial Troopers from an event at Disneyland Paris in 2019.