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AMT STAR WARS - Imperial TIE Fighters

 

by Jason Gillard

 

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away....a science-fiction kit manufacturer finally got it right!!

 

AMT have produced a new range of Star Wars kits to coincide with the world-wide release of 'Episode 1: The Phantom Menace'. Some of these cover the characters and vehicles detailed in the new film. Others are either re-releases of old favourites from the original trilogy, like the Imperial AT-AT Walker and X-Wing, or, as in this case, brand new kits of older subjects not previously done before.

The Standard TIE Fighter was used by the evil Imperial Empire as their primary starfighter of choice. Fast, hard hitting, but fragile, these craft made an instant impression on the psyche with their unusual hexagonal wings and distinctive Twin Ion Engine scream.

Before this kit, the only way to get yourself a model of the Standard Imperial TIE Fighter was to either buy a rather expensive resin version ($80 + !) or scratch-build it. The older AMT/MPC label did the original injection moulded kits of Darth Vader's Advanced x 1 TIE and the TIE Interceptor, but for some strange reason they failed to make the most frequently used Imperial Fighter in the entire series! It was made even more conspicuous by its absence, as AMT/MPC did almost every other major craft in the Star Wars genre.

Now, however, they have compensated for this in spades. In the box you get not one, but two Standard TIE Fighters, proving the rule that it's only ever a flood or a famine when it comes to kit availability in the world of modelling! Altogether there are a total of 55 pieces in the box, most of which are superbly moulded (and, as I check my references, fairly accurate to the detail in the original models used in the movies) with little flash other than the sprue attachments. The bane of all sci-fi modellers, raised panel lines, which is so common on other kits, is thankfully absent. The cockpit pod and the interior tub are identical to the older MPC TIE parts, so I assume the same casting dies have been used. For those who want the TIE modelled in flight, a small section of 'Death Star' is included as a base, and in the clear components section you get two plinths. My first dry fit saw the craft literally build itself - the parts mate wonderfully well, with very little filling required if your careful.

The only drawbacks I can find is that some of the interior detail, specifically the seat, side instrument panels and control wheel (or, to be more accurate to the moulding, control-blob-on-a-stick!) are simply awful. This is an insult to the rest of the kit, and as I was unwrapping the box I hoped and prayed it would put up a better effort in this department than its predecessors. Not so, unfortunately, and if you want to model the internal structure, be prepared for a little extra work.

Having said that, the AMT Imperial TIE Fighter is magnificent, for both out-of-the-box projects or a more detailed effort. All in all, an excellent representation of the subject, ideal to challenge all skill levels.




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