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The TIE Circus
Imperial TIE Fighters

by Valentin E. Bueno


TIE Fighter


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The TIE Pilot


Byobob von Tunisikov was a rising star in the Imperial Fighter Corps. With an open-minded commandant as his superior, he was allowed to paint his TIE fighter an overall Primer Red as a moral booster to the rest of his escadrille.

His fellow squadron mates were allowed to paint the bodies of their TIE fighter red with other colors used for the solar panels. His brother Rothar (also in the same squadron) used yellow as his trim color.

Those Rebel scum don’t have a chance when the Tunisikov brothers and the rest of the TIE Circus are in the fight.

Ok, so I don’t have much of an imagination. And yes, I was drawing from WWI history in making up this story line. Since everyone I know would be painting there TIE fighter as per the instructions, I decided to paint mine overall red and I needed a story to give them when people ask, “Why is it red?”

When Fine Molds of Japan picked up the rights to produce new 1/72 scale kits of Star Wars vehicles, Star Wars Fans across the world rejoiced. Known for their attention to detail and fit, Fine Molds have created what I consider the ultimate Star Wars kits. The TIE fighter and the previously released X-Wing have been thoroughly researched and molded with recessed scribing and a multitude of raised detail where appropriate. They clearly matched ILM’s use of old plastic model kits to create the original movie vehicles. Part A19 of the TIE fighter kit is clearly a Sherman bogie assembly. You could also see the Panther Tank grills used in the creation of the X-Wing originals. Thank you Fine Molds.

Enough of this, let’s get onto the kit…



Fine Molds 1/72 Scale "TIE Fighter" Kit


Assembly started in the cockpit. This area consists of the floor, backwall, two sidewalls, seat back, stick and yoke.

I added a few slivers of chopped rod and strip to the front body half. I intended to leave the cockpit hatch open and the lack of detail in this side of the instrument panel is very noticeable.

I also added miscellaneous boxes, ribbing and wiring to the backwall as well. The busier the merrier. The cockpit sidewalls have decals added to them to imitate the complex interior. Each half gets four decals each. I added the two edge decals first and allowed them to set for about half an hour. Then I added one more strip adjacent to the previously added decals and let this set for half an hour. Finally the last strip was added and a generous coat of Solvaset was brushed on to get all the decals to snuggle down.

The cockpit was painted RLM 66 everywhere with the instruments picked out in RLM 22 black and RLM 23 Rot. Then everything was given a wash of diluted white oil paint. White? Yeah, I wanted to try reversing what I usually do on this cockpit. Call me weird. I also painted the solar panels RLM 66. Fine Molds ingeniously molded the frame of these panels separate from the actual black solar panels. This simplifies painting a great deal. I also noticed that the solar panels were bagged separately from the main body panels. Could this mean that the body parts can be packaged with new TIE Interceptor Solar panels? I dare to dream…



After the cockpit had dried and the main body assembled, sanded (what few visible seams there were) and all the tiny detail parts added (including the Sherman Bogie), I added the clear windscreen. Fine Molds supplied masking material for the clear areas. These mask are not pre-cut, but they do include the shapes printed on them for you to follow. Cool. Tamiya was the first to pioneer this idea with pre-cut masks made from Tamiya masking tape material for their car kits. Now if only they would do this for all their kits. I dream yet again…

The body and solar panel frames were hand brushed with Polly S Oxide Red. The decals were applied directly to the flat finish paint and melted in with Solvaset. Future was applied to the areas where decals were applied to seal in the decal. A wash of black oil paint was applied and allowed to dry. I mixed a little White oil paint with burnt umber and red oil paint to create a lighter oxide red color. This was drybrushed over the raised detail. Pure white was drybrushed onto a few areas where I wanted to increase the appearance of light hitting the model.



The TIE Hangar


The latticework portion of the display stand was assembled and painted in alternating bands of white and red. I caught TheBus over to Weller’s Hobbycraft and picked up a basswood plaque. I sanded the edges smooth and stained it.



I placed the plaque on a large sheet of evergreen plastic and marked the top of the plaque onto the plastic. This was then cut out and the edges smoothed with sandpaper. A 1” grid was scribed at an odd angle into the plastic sheet. Striping was masked off in these areas and the entire thing sprayed Tamiya TS-X Gloss Black from the spray can. The masks were removed and presto, a striped hanger floor. The latticework from this kit and three other TIE fighter kits were positioned parallel to the grid. Rothar’s TIE fighter (built simultaneously) and an overall light gray TIE fighter with striped solar panels belonging to Herson Böring were also added to the other display stands/landing gantries.



The TIE-Up


Well that was a lot of fun! I thoroughly enjoyed putting these tiny little models together and eagerly anticipate the release of the Wright Field Arrow-esque Jedi Starfighter and dare I dream, a Tyderium Shuttle.



That shorter trooper on the left is an Emperor Youth member. He was scratchbuilt by my buddy Neal Izumi back in the early 1980’s.



Additional Images


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

Model, Images and Text Copyright © 2002 by Valentin E. Bueno
Page Created 17 August, 2002
Last Updated 04 June, 2007

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