FIRST ORDER SPECIAL FORCES TIE FIGHTER (w/ FIRST ORDER TIE FIGHTER PILOT)
STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS
It’s day 8 of the Post-Christmas gift reviews. I’ll be continuing off of yesterday’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens-themed review, by taking a look at another of the franchise’s thrilling space ships. I can’t very well let the Resistance have all the fun, so let’s have a look at the First Order’s own TIE Fighter.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Since their inception, the TIE fighters have had their own specific branch of Troopers assigned to them, unsurprisingly titled “TIE Fighter Pilots.” Who could have seen that one coming? Pretty much everybody, that’s who. The TIE Pilot is a little on the short side (a common trait for TIE Pilot figures) coming in at a little under 3 ¾ inches tall. He’s got the standard 5 points of articulation as well, in case you were wondering. The TIE Fighter Pilot appears to have an all-new sculpt, or at least a heavily tweaked version of the single-carded figure’s body sculpt. The TIE Fighter Pilot’s design hasn’t changed drastically since the Original Trilogy, but they appear to be a bit more armored and overall more streamlined than their predecessors. The sculpt is pretty decent overall, with lots of nice small detail work. The figure sports a removable helmet, which is a little bit on the bulky side and is a little soft on details, but is otherwise a pretty well executed piece. Underneath the helmet is a somewhat generic head, which works. Mine has this weird formation running down his forehead, but looking at pictures of other figures online, this appears to just be a malformation of the sculpt. So, I guess my TIE Fighter Pilot’s just got an awesome face scar that no one else’s has! Paint on the TIE Pilot is rather minimal. He’s mostly just molded in black, but he does have a few extra details here and there, such as the First Order insignia on his shoulders. His face also has a bit of paintwork, which actually looks a bit better than some of the other figures in the line. In addition to the removable helmet, the Tie Fighter Pilot also includes a small blaster pistol.
THE VEHICLE ITSELF
The main focus here, is, of course, the First Order Special Forces TIE Fighter. Which is quite a long name, isn’t it? Like Poe’s X-Wing, the TIE Fighter requires a bit of assembly when removed from the box. The lower cannons need to be popped into place (which is just the slightest bit unnerving), as do the wings. Once put together, the TIE Fighter stands 11 ½ inches tall, 10 inches wide, and is 9 inches deep. It has an opening cockpit hatch, as well as a rotating cannon on the bottom. Over the course of the Original Trilogy, the design of the TIE Fighter slowly evolved. By the time of The Force Awakens, it has gone back to something not too far removed from the design in A New Hope. According to J.J. Abrams, there was originally a far more advanced TIE Fighter design, but it was ultimately decided to go with a slightly more retro look, to make the connection between the two more clear. The sculpt of the TIE Fighter is actually quite impressive, especially when compared to the X-Wing. It’s still a little under-scaled for the 3 ¾ inch figures, but the generally larger size of the cockpit means that getting the pilot in place is a fair bit easier here than it was with the X-Wing. Of course, the TIE Fighter in the film was built for two. This fighter has two seats, but they aren’t quite oriented like they are in the film, in part due to the size of the fighter and also due to the slightly limited articulation of the figures. Getting two figures in place is definitely tricky; Stormtroopers are too large to fit, so you’ll need to actually have one of the single carded TIE Pilots to make it work. The sculpted details on this are quite nicely handled. They’re still a bit simplified compared to the actual movie design, but all the important details are there and the ship as a whole looks pretty sharp. Also, small bonus: the top of the hatch has a spot to stow the pilot’s blaster, which is pretty cool. The TIE Fighter is, fortunately, not plagued by as many construction issues as the X-Wing, but you will want to keep an eye on the wings. One of mine is just the slightest bit warped. It’s really not noticeable unless you’re looking for it, but it’s annoying nonetheless. Like Poe’s X-Wing, paint is a key piece in why this is a “special forces” TIE Fighter. It’s denoted by the red stripe, on the fighter’s left side. The red is pretty consistent, though there are a few missed spots at some of the connecting points. The rest of the ship is more or less molded in the proper varieties of grey, so very little paint is used. I like this, because it makes for a sharper overall design. The TIE Fighter has two spring loaded feature. The first is a missile launching feature, activated by a button at the bottom, just below the cannon. The two missiles at the front launch, though the mechanism doesn’t appear to be as strong as the one on the X-Wing. The second feature is the wing-launching feature, which replicates what happens to the TIE Fighters when they’re shot in a space battle. There’s a button at the base of each wing, which pops them off. It’s a fair feature, but it does mean the wings will occasionally just pop off on their own.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
The TIE Fighter was another Christmas gift from my parents, just like the X-Wing. I really like this one a lot, and it’s better put together than the X-Wing. Of course, it’s not the X-Wing, which is a slight strike against it, but it is still fun. And when I opened this one, my brother may or may not have picked it up and chased me around the house while I played with my X-Wing.