The Star Wars universe contains numerous TIE-series vessels, five of which have now appeared as a Microfighter. 75194 First Order TIE Fighter Microfighter is the latest addition to the range but did not particularly capture my attention when the set was revealed, due in part to the exceptional quality of the two new twin packs.
Nevertheless, I think the TIE Fighter looks pretty good in official images and was surprised to find that the minifigure is actually exclusive to this set, despite its apparent similarity to previous First Order TIE Fighter pilots. Hopefully the entire set will exceed my expectations, following the example of the minifigure!
A single First Order TIE Pilot accompanies the model. This minifigure has been very slightly updated since 75101 First Order Special Forces TIE Fighter was released and now features an additional dark bluish grey line beneath the visor which is accurate to the movies. In fact, the entire helmet looks absolutely perfect, featuring metallic silver details, a black hose that lines up with the life support pack on the torso and a wonderful glossy finish.
The printed flight suit looks great and I like the simple designs on the legs in particular, ensuring that a figure which is almost entirely black does not look plain. However, I would like to see a replacement for the standard Clone Trooper head which has now been in use for five years and the Special Forces pilot from 75179 Kylo Ren's TIE Fighter, whose helmet is decorated with red stripes, might have been more appropriate for a Special Forces TIE Fighter than this minifigure.
The Completed Model
The TIE Fighter's unique silhouette is instantly recognisable and I think the TIE/sf model is well-suited to a Microfighter as the enlarged cockpit module looks superb beside the wings, despite their unusual proportions. Each solar array wing is attached using a pair of brackets, ensuring that they will remain absolute rigid during play. The model therefore feels very tactile, much like the larger 75101 First Order Special Forces TIE Fighter.
Furthermore, the wings feature an accurate light bluish grey and black colour scheme while the TIE Fighter's cockpit includes a red stripe, denoting its status as a Special Forces craft. I like the printed trans-red canopy, although this red tint does limit the versatility of the element should you wish to use it for other TIE Fighters. It is also a shame that the internal structure can be seen through the canopy but this is not a major issue.
The First Order TIE Fighter Pilot nestles in the cockpit neatly, although their blaster pistol must be held at an odd angle. Even so, I think the model looks marvellous with a minifigure in place and I like the smooth support pylons that link the cockpit to the wings. A black nozzle forms the communication antenna on the right pylon and the rows of power cells beside the wings are simply represented using jumper plates and 1x1 tiles.
Similar detail continues onto the back of the model where we find twin reactor nozzles and a narrow trans-red viewport for the rear-facing gunner. The red band is more prominent than it should be but I think that works for a Microfighter and I like the two flick-fire missiles fitted underneath the fuselage, even though stud shooters are often more effective.
This is a fun little set. It is certainly not the best Microfighter of the wave but does include some lovely details from the vehicles in the movie and I am impressed by the strength of the model which is ideal for play. The minifigure is excellent too, improving upon the previous design and demonstrating great attention to detail on the part of the graphic designer.
£8.99 or $9.99 feels like a reasonable price for a Microfighter so I would recommend this set if you missed the previous First Order TIE Fighter Pilot or are a Star Wars minifigure collector. That being said, 75195 Ski Speeder vs. First Order Walker Microfighters and 75196 A-wing vs. TIE Silencer Microfighters remain the highlights of this Microfighter wave in my opinion.
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