Review: 75101 First Order Special Forces TIE Fighter

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The First Order seems to have upgraded the TIE Fighter since it was in the possession of the Empire and 75101 First Order Special Forces TIE Fighter reflects this, with a significant number of upgrades over the previous model. However, this set is eminently similar to 9492 TIE Fighter as both sets contain four minifigures and the structure of the wings is almost identical.

If you own the version from 2012 you will probably agree that it is excellent, so hopefully this version matches or betters it in that regard. One area which has changed is the price, increasing from £49.99 or $54.99 for the previous version to £59.99 or $69.99 for this one. Initially this might seem unreasonable given that only three years have passed, but the quality of 75101 justifies the increase in my opinion.

Minifigures

The four minifigures included in this set are superb, with a great level of detail printed on all of them. The TIE Fighter Pilots have received a significant update since the Original Trilogy, with a new helmet element, a new torso design and printed legs. The helmet looks absolutely brilliant as it is highly detailed and now includes a hose which runs down onto the chest, lining up nicely with the breathing apparatus.

75101 First Order Special Forces TIE Fighter

The torso is very detailed on the front and back, including plenty of little buttons on the life support pack and even some creases in the flight suit. The legs are also printed with some intricate designs and there is even some detailing on the hips!

75101 First Order Special Forces TIE Fighter

Unfortunately the head typically used for Clone Troopers is still in use under the helmet. I would have preferred a couple of different faces, but these suffice as generic heads I suppose. Each pilot is armed with a standard black blaster pistol.

75101 First Order Special Forces TIE Fighter

The First Order Officer is also an excellent minifigure. His cap is a brand new piece which is printed with a black peak and the First Order insignia. The head also features a new printed design as well as a relatively uncommon flesh colour which provides some welcome variety.

75101 First Order Special Forces TIE Fighter

Hopefully this figure is based on a particular character in the movie, perhaps one who only plays a relatively small role. I don't think we have seen an officer looking quite like this one in any promotional material so far, but the clothing looks great nevertheless. My only criticism of the figure is that it does not include boots which could have been represented by dual-moulded legs. In the Original Trilogy Imperial Officers wore long boots and the same will probably be true for the First Order commanding officers, so it is a shame they are absent here.

75101 First Order Special Forces TIE Fighter

The final minifigure is a First Order Crew member, which also appears in 75104 Kylo Ren's Command Shuttle. I am slightly disappointed that the legs have no printing but the torso looks great on both sides, although the design is fairly simple.

75101 First Order Special Forces TIE Fighter

This is another troop type we have yet to see in the trailers, so it is difficult to judge its accuracy. However, I have to assume that the bizarre helmet, which looks to be a combination of the Death Star Gunner helmet and that of Imperial Navy Troopers, is faithful to the movie.

75101 First Order Special Forces TIE Fighter

The Completed Model

Back in 2012 I was certain that 9492 TIE Fighter could hardly be improved upon, but this set has proven me wrong. The cockpit sphere is a difficult thing to recreate as a result of its shape but this one looks superb, with 6x6 hinged dishes forming the forward and rear viewports as well as the roof access hatch. There is now room for two pilots in the cockpit, sitting back to back so one can control the flight systems while the other acts as a gunner.

75101 First Order Special Forces TIE Fighter

I always like minifigures to be secure in their seats so the lack of any studs for the pilots to sit on is slightly annoying, although the control yoke does hold them in place to an extent. A Technic beam runs through the centre of the cockpit and into the wing pylons, allowing a pilot to stand and poke their head out of the roof hatch. It is a shame that this Technic beam is completely exposed but it doesn't bother me too much.

75101 First Order Special Forces TIE Fighter

This TIE Fighter is decorated with a red stripe on the cockpit which signifies that it is part of the First Order Special Forces. We don't know exactly what that means at the moment but it looks great! The addition of an antenna array on top of the cockpit sphere is welcome and this is another authentic detail.

75101 First Order Special Forces TIE Fighter

Previous models of this craft have suffered from some stability issues where the wings are joined to the cockpit but these are solved on this version. The wings are fitted using clips, not unlike those on 75095 TIE Fighter, thereby keeping them completely solid so there is no movement as the craft is flown around. The inside of each wing panel is fairly plain, being almost entirely light bluish grey in colour, but the outside looks far better as one would expect.

75101 First Order Special Forces TIE Fighter

The angling of the plates around the edge of each wing is brilliant, as are the struts which run across each panel. I love the inversion of the black and grey colour scheme on the First Order TIE Fighter series which looks just as good as the original in my opinion.

75101 First Order Special Forces TIE Fighter

Overall

75101 First Order Special Forces TIE Fighter was not a set I was particularly excited about when I first saw the box image, but now that I have built it and compared it with others in the new range, it has emerged as one of the best. The colour scheme and level of detail on the starfighter is fantastic, as are the four minifigures included.

75101 First Order Special Forces TIE Fighter

This set has received an enormous amount of criticism for its price: £59.99 in the UK or $69.99 in the US. I don't actually think the value is too bad as the quality of the set is absolutely excellent and the price has increased roughly in proportion with the size and weight of the model. Nevertheless, slightly larger sets such as 75103 First Order Transporter offer a great deal more in my opinion, with a greater number of minifigures and more play value.

75101 First Order Special Forces TIE Fighter

Although this is not my favourite Star Wars: The Force Awakens set, it certainly ranks among the best. At a slightly lower price it is an absolute must have, but even at full retail I recommend it, just not quite as highly as one or two of the others.

30 comments on this article

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By in United Kingdom,

As to the uncommon flesh colour, it seems this is going to be used quite a bit in the new SW sets; there are another two such figures in the new MF.

There are some details that I don't like on this one. The rear of the wings are all light bluish grey but then there is a single line of DBG. I wonder if that is done to be faithful to the movie? It looks a bit odd, and might have been better to mix up the greys a bit, or leave them all one colour. I'm not a fan of mixing plates and tiles for the black struts on the faces of the wings either. The horizontal ones are studless, the angled ones are studded. I know they didn't match in the previous one either. Again, it looks odd to me.

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By in France,

I'm thinking about swapping the Light Bluish Grey plates for White ones, to better match the color scheme we saw in the teaser trailers. Only problem is, some of them aren't available in White (yet) :-(

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By in United States,

Re: The Officer: Is that the same flesh color used for the Vitruvius minifigs? (Not counting Ghost Vitruvius, obviously.) It looks like it.

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By in Australia,

I bought one and I love it. My choice was between this and the new X-Wing, and logic would dictate that as a long-time fan of X-Wings I would've bought that first, but it looks as though it'll have to wait until next payday!

I just love-love-love the inverted colour scheme of the new TIE fighter, it looks so much more imposing than the original (if that's even possible) and just as iconic. And the build is fantastic. I've been looking at the woeful 75082 SW Rebels TIE Prototype in my shelf and wondering how I can incorporate the new roof and window panels into a reworked 9492, looks like I could just mostly copy this and see what happens.

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By in United States,

Yeah, this TIE is pretty outstanding. 75101 is probably my favorite set of the new wave.

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By in United Kingdom,

Oooo, I like a nice tie fighter! I've already ordered one and this review just means I'm looking forward to it more :)

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By in Germany,

It's a great set, one of the best of the wave. It's a great fighter, great details, great minifigs. Still, it's a TIE with 4 minifigs, just like the old one. A couple of extra detail here and there, new colors, more pieces, everything cool, no doubt. But 70€ compared to 50€ is almost a 50% raise in price. And that for having in your hand the exact same thing as 3 years ago: a great looking fighter and 4 minifigs. The 100 parts are mostly small and went into the more detailed cockpit construction. And again - there is nothing wrong with more details, but that's it. It's not bigger, doesn't have any unique features or extra crew, ground vehicles or anything at all - in addition. So in the end, there is nothing wrong with this set, it's amazing. But comparing it to the old TIE, which stands proudly on my shelf, there is - just for me personally - zero reason to get this.

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By in United States,

This is a set that really could have benefited from a named character. Everyone's theorizing that Finn will be involved with the TIE that crashes on Jakku (it only makes sense, really). Why not throw him in here in his stormtrooper garb? It looks like he's going to be front-and-center as a main character, it seems kind of lame that he only appears in the $150 set.

I also would've preferred if the wings were white as opposed to LBG. I sort of have grey-wedge fatigue from other SW sets, so I'm naturally more inclined towards sets that are unusual colors, like Poe's X-Wing. If this one was white, which is how it looks in the trailers, I'd find it more enticing.

As it is, without Finn and with grey wings, I don't see myself buying this one without a steep discount. It does improve on the already-close-to-perfect 9492, (finally, a properly sphere-shaped cockpit!) but it's not $15 worth of improvement.

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By in United Kingdom,

I really like the two seater style! It's like the first order took hints from a (snowspeeder?)

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By in United Kingdom,

So, this is a Special Forces tie fighter, not a normal tie fighter... Do normal tie fighters still look like the old ones, or are there only Special Forces ones now? Enlighten me people!

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By in United States,

Yes, it is pricey and thin in minifig allotment, but what a sharp-looking TIE. Very cool.

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By in Switzerland,

I have to point that the ATENNA is at his proper place and do what needs to be done. The rotating cannon is supposed to be on the belly of the ship as metioned in this video at about one minute of viewing. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P3PdTXRFX-c

Anyway, this ship looks fresh and those minifigs are great !

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By in United States,

Looks awesome! Solid set. The only thing bothering me is the price...as amazing as this set looks I doubt I will ever pay $70 for 500-ish pieces. Not good enough value and the fighter doesn't look all that big to start with. Maybe some basic ground equipment (a ladder to get to the cockpit or something) and another fig would justify $65, but $70? Naahhhh....

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By in United Kingdom,

@Faonzy - Although we don't yet know whether it will be a turret in the film, it certainly is on the toy in that video. You can see it more clearly in this image: http://www.starwars7news.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/TIE3.jpg

I suspect the longer barrel is the laser cannon itself while the shorter one is some kind of heat sink or rangefinder.

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By in Switzerland,

@CapnRex101 - Alright didn't see this up close ! I'm a bit confused now but I think your guesses might be right ! We'll have the correct information in the movie and hope we'll be able to "fix" the model as it is supposed to be.

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By in Germany,

@pagani88: It looks like regular First Order TIE Fighters follow the same colour scheme. (e.g.: http://i.imgur.com/QSM95j6.jpg )

The Special Forces TIE appears to add the splash of red on the cockpit, those faceted sections on the ends of the wing pylons, and the additional guns and second crewmember.
It has only shown up in one shot in the second teaser, seen from behind and blowing stuff up in some hangar bay: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/sites/default/files/2015/04/des0100.4k.PNTfix.v2.1079.jpg (also note transports in the background)

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By in United States,

I'm disappointed that LEGO went with light bluish grey for the wings instead of white, but then again, when have they ever got the colors right on these things? :)
The price point seems pretty ridiculous, though it looks well-designed and OMG I had no idea it was a 2-seater with a rear-facing gunner position with rear viewport! That's so cool!
I'm definitely getting one, or two. :)

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By in Norway,

Next time they make one of these (in a year or so) they can make the wings white, and make everyone buy the new and improved version as well.

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By in United States,

@ CapnRex101 In comparison to 9492 you failed to mention the change from flick missiles to spring-loaded shooters and how those are triggered.

Really should use a minifig head with the black hood to hide the nape of the neck when viewing the helmeted minfig from behind. Those clone trooper heads are only printed on one side, so the trade off would be more than equitable.

Agree with @Clone about the leg printing (unless they're gonna be completely covered up with a cape or kama).

I paid US $45 for 9492 when it was still widely available mainly because the RRP at US $55 for that set was way too much, and the same goes for these new sets - knock US $15 off the price and it would be an easy buy. I'm getting pretty tired of reading that the justification for these price increases is due to new printed pieces or new molds - the added price for the license should already factor that in given that the point of a licensed theme is to have identifiable figures and patterned parts that reflect the theme whereas you wouldn't normally have that in an unbranded set.

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By in United Kingdom,

@Rob42: Ah, thanks for that!

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By in United States,

I've never been a big fan of the TIE Fighter in general, but I think the red on this one looks so cool, and that's pretty neat you can fit two mini figs.

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By in Germany,

i get the new TIE on saturday. I like it a lot. i'm a big fan of the new pilot-desing and the red colored party. it's more heavy and it seems to be more stable then the old one 9492 tie-fighter.

next i have to get the new x-wing to displey them together :)

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By in United States,

Thanks for the review. It would have been neat to see the previous version and this one in a picture at the end. I have the 2012 and I think that is as good as it gets in terms of TIE fighters. I'm not a huge SW fan, but enough of one that I have the main ships. I don't think I'll be getting this since it doesn't look that much different.

Definitely some neat details and the figures of course are more detailed, but I can think of lots of other LEGO I could spend $70 on.

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By in United Kingdom,

@darkstonegrey - I'm sorry you are "getting pretty tired of reading that the justification for these price increases is due to new printed pieces or new molds" but that is a fact. The price of a set is impacted upon by the number of new elements, new colours and prints included whether or not it is licensed.

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By in United States,

^You have a point there CapnRex101. However... they are WILDLY inconsistent about that. The Hulkbuster has the new Hulk mold, loads of new dark red parts, and the special prints on the head, Scarlet Witch, and Ultron, which by that reasoning should be about $40, and it isn't.

Look at it this way people... the prices in the USA, if we take that as the base line, are roughly what you'd expect for licensed sets this year. However TLG doesn't seem to understand conversion rates... Euro prices for SW stuff these past two years are insanely high. I wonder how they even make a profit in Germany selling X-Wings for 100 EU a pop...

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By in France,

For the wings the white color could be better, but the light bluish grey is ok to me. But i'm very disappointed about the guns: The second pilot (or gunner): what is this gunner has ? He can't use the turret, it turned forward ! Same for the blasters below ! Have you got an idea to fix those mistakes ?
Any suggestion of bricks and assembly ? If you have photos of your 'moc' about this, I'll take it: [email protected] THX!

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By in Australia,

This review nudged me in the direction of getting this set :)

Just finished building it, and comparing it side by side to the older 9482 set - this one feels a lot more robust - the wings are actually a lot more solid than the older set, and it's neat on how they joined the wings to the central section compared to the old model (with more detail too).

I noticed it's a bit wider than the old model too, feels a bit more in proportion.

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By in France,

Hey! I managed to fix the turret and the twin-guns ( at the bottom). If you want photos, mail to me: [email protected] ( I still wait for à better issue!)

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By in United States,

There is an old color, referred to as "very light bluish grey" through Bricklink that is would be best for the wings.

In the trailers the TIE don't have a red windscreen and the pilots have two red stripes on their helmets. I wonder if these are in-world variations or the liberties/inaccuracies of the model. In either case, the red canopy adds some more interest, rounds off the look of the canopy, and pairs well with the light bluish gray wing color.

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By in United States,

As much as I love this set, I'm very disappointed that the wings are not white, as the way they should be per the movie and current toys.

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