#1722: TIE Silencer (w/ Kylo Ren)

TIE SILENCER

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI (HASBRO)

“Kylo Ren has inherited piloting skills from his father, though he uses these abilities to pursue the Resistance from the seat of his unique, angular TIE Fighter.”

In the last few months, I’ve picked up quite a few Star Wars ships. There was a store going out of business or something.  So, in an effort to make my way through them, I’ll be devoting this whole week to reviewing them.  Behold Star Wars Ships Week…which technically started yesterday.  Shhhh, don’t worry about it.  Yesterday, I looked at Han Solo and his signature Millennium Falcon.  Today, I’m following that up with his son, Ben Swollo Solo, and his ship, the TIE Silencer.

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

The TIE Silencer is the latest derivation of the TIE Fighter.  Like his grandfather before him, Kylo is flying a brand-new, advanced form of TIE amongst his troops.  After going more classic for the Force Awakens, this design is definitely more divergent.  This ship was the largest of the ships meant to interact with the figures from the Last Jedi toyline.  Size-wise, it’s footprint isn’t much smaller than the Kessel Run Millennium Falcon, though that’s largely due to the wings.  This makes the Silencer much closer to its proper scale than the Falcon.  It’s still a little smaller than it technically should be, but no worse than the X-Wing and TIE from the last film.  Kylo looks a little goofy in there, but worse things have happened.  Like some of the prior vehicles, the Silencer needs a little bit of assembly when you get it out of the box.  There wings need to be popped into place, and then the front guns need to be placed on.  Once assembled, the ship is about 12 inches tall, 8 1/2 inches wide, and stands 3 inches tall.  The Silencer’s sculpt is a pretty decent recreation of the ship’s design from the movie, following the proper shaping and internal proportions (even if it’s small). The internal cock-pit has had to be tweaked a bit to fit the smaller size, but isn’t far enough, and you won’t really be able to see much of it anyway.  The detail work, especially on the wings, is really in depth, which is a nice change of pace for these vehicles, which have a tendency to be lighter on such details when compared to the figures.  The paintwork on the ship is fairly scarce.  There are some silver details, but mostly it’s just the same very dark grey plastic. There’s one slight error there: the color of the (actually pretty cool) transparent windshield, is incorrect.  It’s just more grey here, but was red in the film.  In Hasbro’s defense, however, this was a rather late change, and the same error shows up across a lot of merchandising.  The Silencer, like the whole Last Jedi line, is Force Link compatible, and it’s probably the coolest bit of compatibility we saw from the line.  When you pick up the ship while wearing the bracelet, in addition to the usual swooshing sounds, there are also some light-up features.  It’s pretty fun, though I can understand why some people were upset about being unable to access those features without the reader.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Included with the Silencer is its pilot, Kylo Ren.  This figure’s just a slight tweak on the standard single-careded release.  He’s one of those figure’s that’s bafflingly different.  Like, why did they make a figure that’s technically all new molds, instead of just re-using the other figure?  I mean, I guess they didn’t want to force people to buy the same figure twice, but I can’t really say this is much better.  Between the two, I find myself preferring the last one, but I guess I can appreciate having the second to keep in the ship.  Kylo includes his lightsaber, should you want him to have some non-ship battles.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This was the one main vehicle I *didn’t* pick up on Force Friday II.  It was the most expensive, and I was already getting the basic Kylo, so that worked for me.  But then it sat around at my nearest Walmart for a good long while, and eventually got mega clearanced, and then it was cheap enough for me to get invested.  It’s a pretty fun ship, and a design that I certainly like, though I can’t say I find it quite as fun as the Falcon.  Guess I’ve always been more invested in the hero’s vehicles.

#1515: First Order Special Forces TIE Fighter

FIRST ORDER SPECIAL FORCES TIE FIGHTER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“The elite of the First Order straighter pilots have access to specialized craft, such as the two-seater TIE craft outfitted with enhanced weapons and sensor systems. The skilled pilots of the First Order launch into combat aboard advanced fighter craft, hunting down enemy vessels and protecting space around installations and warships.”

There’s no denying that vehicles are a defining piece of the Star Wars mythos.  They’re so important, that the scale of the vintage line was largely chosen to facilitate the inclusion of these vehicles.  They’ve been an important part of the line for the past 40 some years, and its part of why the 3 3/4 inch scale has never fully died out.  When Hasbro introduced the 6-inch Black Series, it was kind of assumed by the fanbase that this line would be without any vehicles.  Fairly early on, there were a few smaller items (such as the speeder bike), but full scale vehicles seemed more than a little cost-prohibitive.  Imagine the fanbase’s surprise at SDCC 2015 when Hasbro unveiled a 6-inch scaled TIE Fighter, as part of the products tying into The Force Awakens.  I’ll be looking at that vehicle today!

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

The First Order Special Forces TIE Fighter (gosh, that’s a long name) was released as a special deluxe item in Hasbro’s Star Wars: The Black Series, which hit in the winter of 2015.  The TIE has a pretty large footprint, at a whopping 18 by 18 inches.  It’s sizable enough that I was half tempted to just put a flat surface on the top of it and just use it as a coffee table.  It has an articulated antennae, a rotating lower cannon, and an opening hatch at the top.  Like the smaller scale TIE, this vehicle is based on the slightly updated TIE Fighter design seen in TFA, which isn’t too far removed from the classic TIE design.  The sculpt is, understandably, unique to this particular item.  It’s a pretty solid piece of work.  Hasbro took advantage of the larger scale, and has filled every inch of this rather sizable piece with tons of detail work.  Speaking of scale, this TIE is a fair bit closer to proper scale with its respective figures than the smaller TIE was.  It’s still not 100% spot-on, but you can get two people in the cockpit sitting back to back as seen in the film, which is a step up indeed.  Said cockpit is definitely the coolest part of the Fighter for me; it’s got two full seats, plus all of the various instruments and panels seen in the movie.  There are clips in each seat, to help hold the figures in place.  They can make it a little difficult to get the figures in there, but once you get the hang of it, it’s not too bad.  A definite plus, though, is that you don’t have to be quite as picky about the figures that go into this Fighter, unlike the smaller one.  I was able to get Poe and Finn in there without too much trouble at all.  The paintwork on the Fighter is decent enough.  It’s pretty clean overall, and there’s some sharp work on the interior of the cockpit.  There’s also some pretty sweet accent work on the red Special Forces stripe.  The TIE Fighter’s only real accessory was an exclusive TIE Fighter Pilot figure, which I didn’t get with my fighter.  It’s the same as the single-release First Order TIE Fighter Pilot, just with some extra red detailing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As cool as the novelty of this item was, when it was originally released with a $180 price tag, I passed.  That’s a lot of money and it takes up a lot of space.  And then I was out to dinner with my family, and there was a wait for our table, so Christian, Tim, and I walked over to the Goodwill across the parking lot.  At said Goodwill, they had this behind the counter, marked at $20.  So, for the price of a single Black Series figure, I got this huge freaking thing.  It’s pretty awesome, I gotta say.  Sure, I don’t have either pilot for it, but Poe and Finn look pretty at home in there, and I can’t stress enough how awesome it was to get this thing for 11% of its original retail price.

#0809: First Order Special Forces TIE Fighter

FIRST ORDER SPECIAL FORCES TIE FIGHTER (w/ FIRST ORDER TIE FIGHTER PILOT)

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS

TIEFighterFO1

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

TIEFighterFO2Since 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

TIEFighterFO4The 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 TIEFighterFO3just 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.

TIEFighterFO5