If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen me doing a lot of LEGO Rebuilds the past couple of weeks. One of those was the X-Wing (#9493) from around 2013 or so. I was so impressed with this set, even building it the second time, that I hopped online and ordered the TIE Fighter that’s on the shelves now to go with it.
I’ve seen this set in the LEGO aisle countless times and I’ve always passed it up. I think I just had the mindset that it was going to be a boring and largely redundant build. Turns out I was mostly wrong. The set has a total of 432 pieces, which builds the TIE Fighter and three Minifigs. Guess what? We’re going to start with the Minifigs! You probably guessed.
LEGO could have just slapped a TIE Pilot in here and called it a day, but you also get a Stormtrooper and an Imperial Droid called NI-L8. The Stormtrooper is excellent and I dig the TIE Pilot a lot too. My only complaint about him is that the back of the helmet doesn’t cover his entire head, which is really kind of weird. NI-L8 looks like a black version of what I knew as a Death Star Droid when I was growing up.
The Stormtrooper and TIE Pilot each come with blasters and they have printed faces under their removable helmets. The TIE Pilot looks very mean and nasty while the Stormtrooper only looks slightly cross.
Here’s the TIE Fighter all complete and I have to say that this was a pretty interesting build. The first bag of bricks builds the body, which was a lot of fun. The remaining bags build the wing panels, and the design here is cool enough that I did not mind building them twice. The result is a TIE Fighter that resembles the old Kenner toy with the shorter wings. And that’s fine, because growing up playing with that toy it still feels more familiar to me than the taller panel on screen models. I should also note that this set uses ZERO stickers, which really floored me, as even the $150 Raiders of the Lost Ark set used stickers over printed pieces. You not only get printed detail on the top dome and front window, but also the central caps on the wing panels… not bad for a lower price range set.
The wing panel builds are really clever. You build the top and bottom and then mesh them together before adding all the bits for detail and the support struts. The edges are pretty neat too. You build them as hinged strips, clip them in the top and the angle down and clip again at the bottom. The inner panels are largely unfinished, but the outer surface is a nice mixture of studs and smooth panels. I initially thought the panels would be too thick, but they actually look fine as well as being nice and sturdy.
The cockpit opens up at the top and front to give you a great access to the interior. Nah, there’s not a lot going on in there, but plenty of place to sit the figure. I dig how the two red console pieces fold down too. I think my only real gripe about this model is that the top and front hatches don’t actually clip together in any way. They do stay put pretty well, but I would have liked some type of fastener. The wing panels are attached with Technic clips, so if you want to reproduce the ejected wing panels from the old Kenner toy it’s pretty easy to pull them off and stick them back on again.
Finally, you get two translucent green flick-fire missiles that shoot out where the laser cannons should be. They actually look like laser cannons when inserted and if you pull them out a bit they kind of look like lasers being fired, which makes for a cool effect.
I got this set on sale for $35, and I think that was a pretty good deal. It’s a fairly quick build and I was able to do it in about an hour or so. The limited colors in the bricks make it a bit more of a hunt for pieces, especially if you like to open all your bags at once. But I built it bag by bag, so it was no big deal. The ship looks great and Droid and Stormtrooper Minifigs feel like nice bonuses. If LEGO released this set in white, I would probably buy it again. Hell, I’m pretty sure I have all the pieces needed to build it in white, but I don’t like mixing up my sets! There’s a TIE Bomber set floating out there, and I’ll probably pick that up next!