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Home > Star Wars > 1/36 > Imperial TIE X1 (Darth Vader's TIE)

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Imperial TIE X1 (Darth Vader's TIE)

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Category: Star Wars
Subcategory: 1/36

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Medium: Styrene
Parts: 55
Status: Discontinued
Release Date: 1995
Skill Level: Beginner
The menacing bent-wing version of the TIE Fighter (known as the TIE X-1) was first seen during the attack on the Death Star in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. Piloted by Darth Vader, the TIE variant was equipped with shields and a hyperdrive, making it the only TIE at the time that could jump to lightspeed on its own.

As fans know, Vader’s TIE was ambushed by Han Solo and Chewbacca in the Millennium Falcon during the final phase of Luke Skywalker’s attack on the “small thermal exhaust port just below the main port.” One of the TIE fighters with Lord Vader was destroyed by a shot from the Falcon, the other veered to avoid incoming laser fire, striking Vader’s ship and sending it spiraling out of the equatorial trench. After the Death Star explodes, Vader is last seen gaining control over his craft and heading into deep space, away from the remaining Rebel ships. This is also the last time that we clearly see the TIE X-1 in a movie. Later movies show ships with similar wings, but these could either be TIE X-1s or TIE Bombers. The bombers are clearly seen in The Empire Strikes Back, but other ships are seen from a distance only during the “parade” scene in Return of the Jedi.

This model kit was originally released by MPC in 1978, but was reboxed by AMT/Ertl with releases in 1989, 1995 (MPC packaging but AMT instructions) and 2005 (with 5x7 movie print). A TIE Fighter Flight Display was released in 1996, and TIE Fighter Plus Pack with paints, brushes and glue was released in 1997. The review sample is from the 1995 production run, featuring reproduction 1978 box art with silver stickers from The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.

One fun note is that model parts from the 1978 production run were used to build the filming models used in The Empire Strikes Back (released in 1980). The TIE Bomber wings were almost straight re-uses of the TIE X-1 parts.

The kit is molded in light gray styrene and also has clear parts for the forward viewport and the top hatch. A dome-style stand is provided, with a keyed attachment point in the bottom of the completed model. As an alternative, bi-pedal landing legs are also provided, in case the builder wants to show the model in “landed” configuration. A two-part figure of Darth Vader is also provided, although not much of him will be seen through the enclosed cockpit. About the only way to see him is to leave the top hatch open and allow daylight to illuminate him. Unfortunately, no pilot’s chair is provided, so if the builder wishes to display an empty cockpit, some scratchbuilding skills will be necessary.

One of the biggest issues I’ve seen (actually read about) is the lack of detailing in the cockpit section. Specifically, the panel lines. There aren’t any. The remainder of the kit has fine panel lines, but the cockpit sphere is devoid of any panels. It’s a simple matter of scribing in the missing lines, but be sure to check your references.

The completed model is about 7.5 inches long, 6.75 inches wide and 4.5 inches tall.

All in all, for a kit that’s over 35 years old, it’s still decent. And if you want a larger-scale model of Vader’s TIE, this is about the only game in town, unless you are willing to pay a significant amount for one of the multi-media studio scale kits.

Review by: Rich “Lonewolf” Dula

Entry created: January 18, 2015
Comments: 0 | Rating (1-5): -- No rating -- | MSRP: $12.99

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