Twin Ion Engine
Space Superiority Fighters

Fine Molds 1:72 Scale Model Kit #SW-2

2008, Jim Lewis/GunTruck Studios
All Rights Reserved Worldwide

Page Two

TIE/In Fighter

Awards & Honors

If there is a grand list of "Slump-Buster" model kits out there - you know, the kind a modeler needs to build and finish to get out of a creative funk and back into scale modeling - then this kit from Fine Molds has got to be on the top of the list. It is a lot of fun to build, plain and simple. There are minor challenges to work out in assembly and cleanup, just enough to keep a modeler engaged, and a whole lot to paint and finish though the size of the kit is small.

In putting this one together, I decided from the outset to light the engines to give it some "life". It added a little more complexity to the assembly but didn't negatively impact the overall experience of building and finishing the kit.

Modeling a TIE/In Fighter from the time period of the First Battle of the Death Star (Battle of Yavin - SW: Ep. IV A New Hope), I opted for an overall scheme of flat white and loosely followed the decaling instructions from Fine Molds' kit.

The miniature is primer coated in Tamiya XF-1 Flat Black. I originally started out with an attempt to use ModelMaster Acryl Flat Black as my primer coat, but the paint peeled away when I attempted to mask over it. I was unsuccessful in getting the Acryl to "bite" into the styrene, so I turned back to my tried and true Tamiya Acrylics. I wonder if the use of Lacquer Thinner in Tamiya's Acrylics helps the paint adhere better to the styrene. I chose to apply a coat of ModelMaster Acryl Semi-Gloss to the Wing Panels. I've never done this to a TIE Fighter miniature before, and wanted to see if I liked the effect. I did. Semi-Gloss is about as reflective as I want to get with these panels. The use/function of the panels was debated (solar energy gathering versus heat exchange/dumping) so I think a satin finish is a good compromise between the two schools of thought. Contrasting panels and equipment is picked out with Tamiya Acrylic XF-66 Light Grey. I used Graphic Encounters' excellent vinyl TIE Fighter masks for painting the top hatch and windscreen, instead of trimming out the Fine Molds items. The Blaster Tips are done with a base coat of Vallejo #864 Natural Steel and an overcoat of Tamiya Acrylic X-26 Clear Orange.

There was nothing remarkable about the construction sequence that I didn't already cover on Page One. This time around, I chose to "blackout" some of the Control Tile decals for inside the Cockpit - but I think the effort goes pretty much for naught. In looking at them, I can't help but wonder if the Control Tiles are some sort of Sith technology which enables the Emperor to maintain aggressiveness and coordinate TIE Fighter pilots from great distances. I don't know, but it is interesting to ponder.

Fine Molds' decals are thick for the scale. Using the shapes and styles on the decal sheet, I replaced what I wanted to apply with sections cut out of decal trim film. This works out much better. I didn't apply any particular Imperial Squadron markings to my miniature - because there isn't a whole lot out there in cyberspace to glean inspiration from. I did decide to add some personality to the miniature, and weathered it a bit more than a ship that only flies combat missions in deep space. I wanted to show a Squadron who makes planetfall and fights in all environments, with ships to show for it. I think it makes the TIE Fighter a little more aggressive looking.

Central to the modeling effort, I incorporated two GoR (Grain of Rice) bulbs to light the engines. After painting and weathering, I just drilled two holes in the Thrusters and I was off and running. Precious little in the way of exterior lighting, the TIE Fighter's angry little red pinpricks of light at the rear are cool, in an understated way. Setting up the lighting is easy to do, and a little red spill light left over in the Cockpit adds some visual interest to the otherwise near-invisible interior. The 1.5V GoR bulbs are driven by a powerpack of two AA-Batteries - contained inside the display stand for a clean appearance. Of course, this necessitates removing the bottom of the display stand to access the powerpack - but I don't care. I hate switches sticking out of an otherwise clean stand. I haven't attempted to create a plug-in stand for such a small miniature - yet...

Gotta save some ideas for future projects!

The miniature is not gloss coated for decaling - no need since I was using trim film. To get the worn and dirty look I sought for this miniature, a gloss coat was not desirable. The weathering was done in two broad steps. First, a dark wash was done with black pastels applied with water. After drying for 30-minutes, I went back over the entire model with a diluted wash of Burnt Umber enamel paint suspended in Turpenoid. The enamels and Turpenoid do not interact with the Acrylic paint coat, so no protection was needed. This changed the white color to a soft, light grey. Straight black or brown would not look quite right on the finished miniature - but the combination of the two looks good for what I imagined the ship to be.

In the photos, the Fuel Cap/Hatch is not yet washed with Burnt Umber, so you can still see a slight difference in tone between the washes. It was the last thing I did, as making sure the ship stayed put perched on top of the brass tubing was the most important thing at that stage of end assembly. The last couple of TIE Fighters I built were either sitting on the Fine Molds kit display base, or sitting on their Wings - which references indicate they are structurally capable of doing. However, now having done one in "flight" on a display stand, I think this is perhaps the best way to display the kit other than in hanging racks shipboard like on a Star Destroyer.

I am compelled to say again that this particular Fine Molds kit is the most satisfying of all yet released. It rewards the patient modeler with a miniature that is striking and pleasant to view from every angle, and really captures the essence of the SFX miniatures screaming across the movie screens.

All content Copyright 1998 - 2019 Jim Lewis,,,, and GunTruck Studios.
All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

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