Sienar Fleet Systems
TIE Interceptor

Standard Version and "Saber 1"
Baron-Colonel Soontir Fel, Imperial 181st Fighter Squadron

Fine Molds Model Kit #SW-5

2004 & 2008, Jim Lewis/GunTruck Studios
All Rights Reserved Worldwide

Page One

Awards & Honors

Fine Molds excellent TIE Interceptor very nearly builds itself. I've already covered the building of the basic TIE Fighter (SW-2), and the commentary is applicable here so I won't repeat it again. Not intending to light my little miniature, I used the stand provided by Fine Molds in their model kit.

This is okay, it kinda mimics the spaceborne racks these ships hang when berthed inside capital ships. TIE Fighters and Interceptors can also make planetfall and land on their wings, one standard TIE is shown sitting on the Landing Bay deck of the Death Star I in the 1997 remastered SW: Ep IV ANH movie in a background shot. The TIE Interceptor is not shown, however, and I didn't want to try and figure out how to make my miniature balance on it's wings for display. The next model will probably be mounted on a tube for lighting.

Imperial Ace, Baron-Colonel Soontir Fel - greatest of all Imperial Pilots is really captured well in the above photo. Never bested in combat, save for one instance where his ship (Saber 1) was knocked out in a dogfight with Rebel Alliance Y-Wing Ace Colonel Horton Salm, Fel fought for both Imperial and Alliance Forces throughout his career. His adventures are chronicled in several excellent Star Wars: Expanded Universe novels.

When Fel adopted the blood stripes on his ship, all Imperial Aces did after their 10th kill, I found inspiration to model both his ship and his Rebel adversary Colonel Horton Salm's fighter craft as a pair for my collection. Having already built the standard Fine Molds TIE Interceptor, I literally flew through this version. It is a joy to build, goes together even faster than the TIE/Ln - In model kit. The best part of building "Saber 1" was that I could add both a bold splash of color and weather it more than TIE Fighters seen on the screen. The elite Imperial 181st Fighter Squadron fought some serious scrapes with the best the Rebel Alliance could put up against them. The inspiration for the blood stripes came from drawings in the Star Wars Comics telling some of Fel's exploits.

"Saber 1" is finished in the standard dark grey tone shown in SW: Ep VI ROTJ, as it would appear in the later period SW: Expanded Universe novels. The blood stripe is Tamiya XF-7 Flat Red, airbrushed over Tamiya Masking Tape masks. Nothing sophisticated required here to render a miniature of Fel's ship. The weathering is done with varying degrees of pastel/water washes and airbrushing Tamiya X-19 Smoke. Not only was this an interesting and fun subject to model - but it was done in a relaxing weekend's worth of effort.

Next up on my plate for this particular Fine Molds model kit is an Imperial Crimson Guard version - overall red - very interesting looking! Who says the Imperials don't have flair like the Rebel Alliance Forces!



Update: 30 April 2008 ~ Whoa - planned too soon! I got diverted...

When "Saber 1" was awarded a Third Place at the 2007 IPMS/USA National Convention in Anaheim, California, I brought the miniature home and parked it inside my display cabinet. But, something always nagged me about the build.

It just seemed to me that I could possibly light the model too, despite the really cramped interior areas and the fact that the TIE Fighter in general isn't spectacularly lit-up to begin with.

I muddled on thinking about it for a long time, until I just grabbed the miniature and decided to go ahead and make the attempt. I popped off the hatches on the top and bottom portions of the Cockpit Ball, as well as the glass nose without any troubles. I also pulled out the two Control Walls - but chose not to detail them. I know the Fine Molds decal has way too many control tiles on it - but I didn't have a problem with them. You are hard-pressed to see them in the completed kit anyway.

I came up with a simple self-contained battery pack that held two AA-sized batteries that could fit inside the 1:64th scale Car Display Cases that I selected to mount both my TIE Interceptor and Y-Wing Fighter miniatures, and just retrofit my miniature accordingly.

What was called for was some careful drilling out of the two Engine Exhaust Ports on the rear end of the Cockpit Ball with a 1 millimeter drill bit. The holes were drilled through the bulkhead behind the Pilot Chair, and are hidden by the Control Walls to either side of the Pilot in the end.

Next, I drilled two, 2mm, holes from the underside of the Cockpit Floor, through the small space behind the Control Walls and the Fuselage - slowly, so as not to punch through the body of the TIE Interceptor. With this done, I was able to snake two GoW (Grain of Wheat) Bulbs into either side of the Cockpit. I taped them into place with Tamiya Masking Tape, glued them into position with Elmer's White Glue and pointed the tips into the holes I previously drilled for the Engine Exhaust.

Fiber Optics would have been a good tool to use here, but alas, I had none in the cupboard...

Endeavoring to make a lighting effect more "scale" in appearance, I filled the Exhaust Port openings with a drop of Micro Krystal Kleer mixed with one drop of Tamiya X-27 Clear Red. This diffused the light coming from the GoW Bulbs into the effect I wanted in the end.

Lastly before closing the Cockpit back up, I decided to go non-canon again and not try to block out any spill light from the two GoW Bulbs. What I got is some soft light coming into the Cabin from low and behind the Pilot Chair. You can barely see the effect, but it is there. Again, I know there is precious little of any light in the Cockpit Ball, but I like having a tiny bit there to catch the eye.

While working out the reassembly and mounting to the new display stand, I couldn't help playing and posing the two adversaries together for a photograph or two. The nice thing about Fine Molds kits are their constant scale, I can pose Colonel-Baron Soontir Fel and Colonel Horton Salm in flight formation and dream a little bit...

As I did with Colonel Salm's Y-Wing Fighter, I tried to keep the lighting of Fel's "Saber 1" at a scale effect. The overwhelming majority of lighted Sci-Fi models I see are just way over lit for the scale. If that's your bag, fine by me - I enjoy them all. But, for my collection, I want it toned down a magnitude or two. I think the miniature looks better for the effort.

The TIE Interceptor is powered by two AA-Batteries in a small powerpack that rests inside the Display Base. I just remove the bottom to flick the switch. I wanted a clean look for the Display Bases here, and no external switches. Super-simple and complimentary to the miniatures, these are really relaxing projects to add to your collection.

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All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

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