Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Star Wars TIE Fighter [WIP - External parts of command pod and wing attachment pylon]

This being The Empire Strikes Back version of the TIE Fighter, the colour grey or more specifically blue grey dominated the Star Wars vehicle's overall colour scheme. At least for this particular TIE Fighter build. The next one will take on the more famous light grey colour scheme as seen in A New Hope. But that's a story for another day. For now, below are the results of some painting and decaling.

TIE Fighter; external hull of command pod and wing attachment pylon [front view]
TIE Fighter; external hull of command pod and wing attachment pylon [back view]

Other than the main command pod and wing attachment pylon, miscellaneous items of the TIE Fighter's central hull (excluding wings) comprised its power/fuel/laser system, various small hull plates, fuel tank cap, upper hatch and front viewport. Work on these items involved mainly painting in various shades of greys as well as in metallic colours. All this painting was complemented with panel lining using enamel wash and some delicate decal application of the fighter's markings. 

TIE Fighter power, fuel and laser system
Other small hull plating components (left) of the TIE Fighter

In an ultimate face palm moment, I painted the TIE Fighter's power/fuel/laser system (see third picture from top) without realising the whole section will eventually be covered up by the fuel tank cap (sixth picture from top, far left). Ouch! But then again, I have a feeling I would've painted that section anyway even if I had known of the fuel tank cap. Painting unseen details seem to be a hard habit to break. Thankfully though, the cap can be opened easily to expose the painted innards.   

Laser cannons (left) and upper-back hull plating (right)
TIE Fighter parts (from left to right) - fuel tank cap, upper hatch and front viewport

A good approximation of the blue grey colour scheme can be replicated using the Tamiya TS-32 Haze Grey colour spray paint. The paint technique used was the same as that of the Millennium Falcon i.e. a primer followed by the basecoat colour and then a gloss clear coat. This preps up the hull for a wash using the enamel-based Tamiya Panel Line Accent Color. Having a higher surface tension, the glossy surface makes it easier for the black enamel paint/wash to flow into the hull plating grooves. 

Phase 1: Primer, Haze Grey spray paint, and gloss clear coat; in that order
TIE Fighter hull plating prepped for panel lining

Choice of panel liner was a toss-up between pure black and a 2:1 black/grey mixture. In the end, I chose the former mainly because I felt that the TIE Fighter's dark blue grey colour scheme would be better served with panel linings that were as dark as I could make them.

Phase 2: Enamel-based panel liner with the corresponding thinner to wash away excess paint
TIE Fighter hull plating after panel lining with enamel paint/wash

With a fairly flat colour scheme that varies only in its grey tonal values (with a dash of red for the twin ion engines and orange for the laser cannons), the main consideration of how the TIE Fighter would turn out was the decals. There were quite a few decal markings whose size were just as small as those found on the pilot's helmet. Regardless, it's definitely worth the effort applying the decals because the tiny hull markings breathed life into what would've been a dull, flat grey colour scheme.

Phase 3: Applying parts/whole of the decal and finishing it off with a matte coat
TIE Fighter; external hull of command pod and wing attachment pylon [after paints and decals]

With various parts of the TIE Fighter's external hull completed, it's time to combine them with the cockpit interior containing the seated pilot. I can foresee potential paint chipping problems if the assembly process requires excessive force to push the parts together. But I'm confident the two layers of clear coat (gloss then matte) should afford enough protection against such an occurrence. Thanks for reading about my progress in this fun kit. Definitely more progress before the week's end.



  1. Holy moly...this is coming along spectacularly.

    1. Thanks Greg, it's been a really fun kit to work on so far.

  2. Replies
    1. Bandai's Star Wars plastic model kits do indeed have amazing details. And the decals are very detailed too but at times very difficult to work with due to their small size.

  3. Superb, can't wait to see it all put together.

    1. Thanks Michael. I love the TIE Fighter even more now after seeing such a detailed model up close.

  4. Replies
    1. Grazie Luca. The exact word I would use on all the Bandai kits I have seen so far. :)

  5. Beautiful! This is coming along more than nicely!

    1. Thank you Suber. The model has been such fun that I will definitely do another version i.e. the A New Hope version.


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