The TIE fighter, it is a staple of the Star Wars universe, the unforgettable symbol of the Imperial fleet and something so iconic that even the most casual movie-goer would know one if they saw it. The ball-cockpit and hexagonal wing panels have been synonymous with popular culture since the original Star Wars movie in 1977.
Set Number: 75082
Minifigures: TIE Fighter Pilot, Imperial Officer, The Inquisitor
As the franchise has evolved, so has the array of TIE craft with the first variation appearing in that first movie, Darth Vader’s TIE Advanced. Originally, the variant was designed purely as a way to distinguish between the canon fodder and the Sith Lord himself but an entire mythos has slowly built up around the craft, dating back to the time between the two movie trilogies.
While all Star Wars fans are committed to the force, many tend not to stray from the movie canon and into the expanded universe, including the many different works set during the 20-year gap between Star Wars Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith and Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. One such medium is the animated TV show, Star Wars: Rebels which takes place fourteen years after the galactic Jedi purge and follows a motley group of survivors, including a Jedi, as they work with the fledgling Rebel Alliance.
The show runs on Disney XD with the target audience being the younger Star Wars fans and so for that reason it is easy to forgive the majority of Star Wars fans for not being too familiar with it. Out of this show, though, has grown an expanded universe with new characters with the obligatory overly complicated backstories. One such character is one of the main villains of the piece, known as the Inquisitor, trained in the ways of the Force, his job is to hunt down and eliminate the remaining Jedi.
Now, you may be thinking, “I thought this was a LEGO review?”, hang on, I’m getting there because before Vader received his own fully fledged TIE Advanced, the Jedi-hunting Inquisitor had the prototype. As part of the ever increasing collection of sets based on the Star Wars: Rebels mythos, this year LEGO have released a set based on that ship.
Before we get on to ship, though, let’s take a look at what minifigures are included in the set. Given the nature of the ship, this set is entirely focused on the Empire and so there are no good guys included in the set, we do however get three exclusive minifigures, each unique from the other two.
Starting with the named figure in the set, the aforementioned Inquisitor. For those that are familiar with the character, I think it is important to remember the limitations of transitioning a character to minifigure form and one of the most obvious differences here is the head shape, in the show he has a very tall forehead whereas in LEGO form the figure has a standard minifig head. That all said, the figure looks brilliant, the white head featuring the distinctive yellow eyes and unique red markings associated with the character, definitely a unique head piece. The helmet is a superb piece, again unique to this minifigure and comes complete with a red visor built in.
Like the character in the show, the actual torso and legs feature quite a simplistic design but character accurate black and gray with a belt. The printing on the torso continues on to the back so that whatever angle you’re looking at this figure from it looks great. Besides the helmet, the highlight of the minifigure is the shoulder pieces, very Vader’esque, it works extremely well when compared to the source material and gives the figure that extra wow factor. Accessory-wise, the minifigure comes with a Dark Maul inspired dual-ended lightsaber in red. This is definitely a collectors item as, not only does it look great, but you’re unlikely to get this figure in any other set.
The easiest way to describe the TIE Advanced pilot minifigure is simply to say that it is pretty much a black stormtrooper, the designs are very similar and the same head piece is used for both minifigure types. That said the helmet is the real gem with this figure, featuring impressive detail and insignia that will no doubt get the attention of any Star Wars fan.
While the legs are just simple black with no printing, the torso features a basic, though, impressive design with a number of detailed buttons as well as the oxygen hoses we’d expect to see connect to the helmet. The minifigure comes with a standard LEGO Star Wars blaster, though, you’re unlikely to need it when this guy is flying the ship.
I’m a big fan of the Imperial Officer minifigure, it’s the simple look on the tan colouring that impresses, there is something about it that says, old school Star Wars. While the head piece is fairly common, the cap is unique to this figure and fits brilliantly with subtle detail representing the folds in the hat.
As with the pilot minifigure, the legs have no design, just a simple one-tone colour, but the torso features great detail on the front with a simplistic military uniform design, including belt, insignia and, if you look really closely, a shirt collar at the top. As with the pilot figure, the Imperial Officer also comes complete with a standard LEGO Star Wars blaster – because you can never have enough of them.
TIE Advanced Prototype
On to the main event, the TIE Advanced Prototype. The first thing to note is that this ship is clearly based on the Darth Vader ship we see in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. The same arched wings and larger, central cockpit, even if you’re not familiar with Star Was: Rebels you’ll find something instantly to like about this ship. Sadly, if you compare it to the actual source material from the show, the design doesn’t quite match up.
The build is divided into three stages, the cockpit, the wing connections and then the wings themselves and unfortunately, due to the natural of a symmetrical design, the process can get a little repetitive. That’s not to say the build isn’t fun, let’s face it, one of the biggest draws with LEGO is watching the model come together as you work your way through the instructions and seeing this ship come to life is exciting.
The main cockpit section is where the majority of the build time will be focused, as this isn’t just a block on smaller bricks, there are a couple of nice interactive designs added. Firstly, the cockpit features two accessible entrances, one a translucent front section with the iconic Star Wars Imperial design printed on it which can be flipped down to insert a minifig, the other is the top circular piece which can also be flipped to reveal the open cockpit. Like other LEGO TIE craft sets, the cockpit itself is tiny compared to the overall model and only has just enough room for one minifigure to sit comfortably.
The hidden gem in the design is the missile launchers integrated into the central hull. Rather than simply using the spring based system to allow the user to manually shoot the weapons, there is a rotating mechanism built into the design which is activated from the back. This is an impressive design because it leaves you with a great piece of play interaction while not impacting on the look of the ship overall, a win for players and collectors.
Unfortunately, great design isn’t exactly how I would describe the foldable wings on this ship, they’re actually quite annoying from a display perspective.
Firstly, comparing the design to the source material, there is a clear difference as the Star Wars: Rebels version has larger, more rounded wings. This is entirely forgivable, though, going back to my mention earlier regarding the limitations of transitioning to LEGO and let’s face it, it makes the ship look more like Vader’s version and as an older Star Wars fan myself, that is nothing but a bonus in my opinion.
The wings, both top and bottom, can be folded almost entirely flat, which is great for storage but unfortunately, this is where you’ll find the one design flaw. The hinges are sadly far too loose and move far too easily meaning that, from a collectors point of view, this ship can be a pain to balance and display. While a minor design change to use more robust hinges would easily resolve this issue, and the pieces do exist, this isn’t going to be a major put-off for the larger majority of Star Wars fans, if anything it is me deliberately looking for a fault as part of this review.
The Set Overall
Whether you’re the kind of Star Wars fan who can’t get enough of the extended universe and additional side-plots, or simply a lover of the movie saga, this LEGO set will have appeal. You don’t need to know anything about the Star Wars: Rebels series to appreciate the look of the ship and the uniquely Star Wars minifigures, this has extended appeal beyond the target fans of the show.
The minifigures are collectors items in their own right, especially the Inquisitor, a named character in the Star Wars universe who looks awesome in LEGO form. All three of the figures included will appeal to Star Wars fans and this set is a great opportunity to bolster your Imperial collection without adding another variant of Stormtrooper to the masses, nothing says Star Wars bad guy like a dual-ended red lightsaber.
The ship itself, while not flawless, is a fun build, looks fantastic and definitely has that ‘swoosh’ appeal for those that have a galactic adventure in mind.
For the price, the piece count is a little misleading given that many of the pieces are small, one or two studs in size, but with three great minifigure exclusives and a fair sized, stunningly iconic looking Star Wars ship, this is worth the spend – especially when compared to the other LEGO TIE sets in terms of price range.
This set was provided for review purposes. However, all reviews reflect the authors own personal views and are not influenced in any way.