Review: 30381 Imperial TIE Fighter

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View image at flickr

The very first Star Wars polybag was released in 2002 and depicted a TIE/LN Fighter using just twelve pieces. Several further miniature versions of this famous vehicle have been produced since then, the most recent of which is 30381 Imperial TIE Fighter.

This set contains 42 pieces and is quite different to the models which have been released before. I have therefore been looking forward to building the TIE Fighter and to finding out whether or not it represents an improvement over those many previous designs.

The Completed Model

Ralph McQuarrie's concept artwork exerts enormous influence upon the Star Wars universe but the design of certain vehicles was adjusted between those illustrations and the movies. The proportions of the TIE Fighter are a notable example as the craft shown in McQuarrie's work include a larger cockpit sphere and shorter wings than those from the Original Trilogy. That design appears to have inspired 30381 Imperial TIE Fighter. Personally, I favour the Original Trilogy model but I appreciate that the designer has chosen to differentiate this miniature TIE Fighter from others by using separate source material.

View image at flickr

The entire cockpit module is constructed upside down which is ingenious as it allows a light bluish grey 2x2 slider to form the curved access hatch on top. This looks superb in relation to the movie and I like the 3x3 window element fixed to the cockpit too, although it would have been even better with a printed viewport like that found in 30276 First Order Special Forces TIE Fighter. The twin laser cannons slung underneath are also a welcome feature.

View image at flickr

A familiar combination of wedge plates is used for the solar array panels on either side of the cockpit, replicating their hexagonal shape quite effectively. The light and dark bluish grey details in the centre look good but the wing frame is absent, unfortunately. However, I do not think it would be possible to include such detail at this scale without compromising the stability of the structure so this design is perfectly adequate.

View image at flickr

Another 3x3 parabolic reflector completes the back of the cockpit sphere. I think its overall shape looks excellent and the narrow stanchions which link the cockpit to the solar array wings are equally accurate to the TIE Fighters in McQuarrie's concept artwork, as well as Star Wars Rebels. The 1x3 plates on the internal surface of each wing look somewhat awkward to me but I like the rigid structure provided by the dark bluish grey supports.

View image at flickr

Overall

30381 Imperial TIE Fighter undoubtedly makes improvements over previous models of the same scale so I believe this is the best rendition yet. The shape of its cockpit is far smoother than any other version and its increased size has allowed the designer to include superior detail as well. However, there is still room for further enhancement in my opinion as the viewport would benefit from a printed frame.

Furthermore, the packaging for this set suggests that it is based upon Solo: A Star Wars Story, in which case its proportions are not entirely accurate to the upcoming film. The craft from Star Wars Rebels, on the other hand, more closely resembles this model so perhaps its designer took inspiration from the animated series. In any case, I am very satisfied with this set and hope it will soon become more widely available.View image at flickr

I hope you have found this review informative. Let us know by liking this article and share your thoughts on the set in the comments below.

 

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17 comments on this article

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By in United Kingdom,

I like the wings but hate the body; especially the cockpit. Just seems to be made from ill-fitting parts. To my mind it is a retrograde development. May be it gains something in person.

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By in United States,

There is something about it that makes it look ugly. I like the parts included, though.

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By in United Kingdom,

Thankyou. Nice Review. Is there any chance you can add to reviews, especially of Polybags where you got it from. If Lego sent one fair Enough. I've been looking for one of these for a while. How do we get one in the uk ?

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By in United Kingdom,

Hmm... mesa like

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By in France,

I always like a Tie rendition and guess always will. But I must say that this one is among my less favorites. I agree with Bricklunch, it looks a little as if made with available or random parts. I don't like the connection between wing panels and cockpit either. And the trans clear dish used for the windscreen or canopy really deserves a print. But it's a Tie and as always it is for sure better once in front of you and would be welcome among other versions. Thank you for the review.

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By in United States,

The printed dish helps a model tremendously. Why we're going back to NO printed dish is beyond me.

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By in United States,

Printed dish as used in #75106 would improve this set a lot. At this scale I think the TIE fighters in #75106 look a lot better overall. I do like the addition of the cannons below the cockpit.

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By in United States,

The overall proportion and the back appearance looks pretty good. A transparent black printed 3x3 dish would improve the front appearance dramatically. The transparent clear dish isn't helping things.

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By in Germany,

Replace the 5-stud axle with a 4-stud and remove the two 2x2 round plates, it'll instantly look better.

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By in United States,

I really like 30276.

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By in United States,

Thabks for the review and I will agree that this is a good use of parts, hope to buy the regular Tie by this year end.

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By in United States,

I find this disipointing.

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By in United States,

it looks like one from the "REBELS" TV show, kinda fat and stretched

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By in United States,

Very strange that they didn’t include a printed cockpit window. This reminds me very much of Star Wars ships I would make before Lego had the license.

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By in Malaysia,

Love this polybag...but for... I don't understand why they did not use the printed window like we've seen in random TIEs in the past. Printed tiles on wings would have been a nice touch also. At the right price point, there are some useful parts to be had if one didn't like the model.

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By in United States,

Ugly. I like the black and blue one from a few years back.

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By in United States,

@Chouju_X[SPAM] You are my favorite person right now. #BringBackTheBlue

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