Bandai TIE Advanced X1

INVAR

Sr Member
I have been a big fan of the Bandai Star Wars ship kits, with the only disappointment being the 1/5000 Star Destroyer that came with that bow warp, so when browsing online for availability of the Revell or Round 2 Razorcrest I happened to see the Bandai 1/72 Vader's TIE Advanced X-1 selling for $25, it was the only ship kit I did not have sitting and collecting dust on my shelf - so I nabbed it.

When it showed up in my mailbox, the paper envelope they packed the box in was so crushed from harsh handling and cramming it into my mailbox that I feared the kit itself might be damaged. So I opened it up and inspected all the sprues and was relieved nothing was damaged. So, since I had it open and I was inspecting things, I determined that the kit looked to be a pretty easy build - so I carved out a few weekends to work on it.

I wanted to try my hand at lighting this kit since I had planned and purchased lighting for the A-wing, B-wing, Y-wing, Falcon and TIE fighter that were sitting there waiting in build purgatory for me to get done with the damn Zvezda star destroyer already. The hard part was figuring out how in the world to get LEDs into the tiny areas that needed light such as the 4 rear ION, the cockpit and the lasers.

I had some extra red Pico LEDs from Model Train software, and a flashing green Nano I bought for the regular TIE - and since I opened this kit first, I just decided to put it in Vader's first and order another one later when I got around to it.

As always with Bandai kits, the attention to detail is astounding - but I did notice that in the cockpit - the silver tubes to the upper left and right of Vader in the film, are not visible in this kit as they needed to be. So I carved up some styrene rods, painted them and Vader and upgraded the cockpit a bit. I primed the entire model in sections with Stynlrez gray and then painted the interior with a light coat of Tamiya XF-16 Flat aluminum and then an overcoat of XF-19 Sky Gray mixed with some flat white as I decided to try mimicing the set colors because I was going to have red LEDs on the floor to illuminate the interior. The exterior was a mix of Tamiya XF25 Light sea gray mixed with white and a single drop of X-23 clear blue. I wanted more of the original film look which was more gray/white than blue - but wanted a hint of the blue without being overtly noticable.
TIE-X1.a.jpg TIE-X1.b.jpg TIE-X1.g.jpg TIE-X1.c.jpg

Then the hard part began, which was to figure out where I could lay the wiring for the LEDs. I quickly learned that putting 4 red pico LEDs for the ION engines was going to be impossible. So scratch that idea and decided that the only way I was going to get red engines back there was via fiber. SO I decided to put a larger red chip LED into the back section out past the ball and into the back section and loop .5mm fiber back into the cockpit ball and out through the exhaust holes that I had drilled.

Being greedy I also decided I wanted blinking green LEDs for the front laser canons - and that also was going to need to be fiber. So I went with .25mm and put a flashing green LED with resistor in a separate styrene tube next to the red chip tube in the back section behind the cockpit ball and threaded the two strands of .25 fiber out back into the cockpit ball and under Vader's chair out through the front ends to the laser canons.

Sadly, I learned that hooking up solid LEDs with flashing LEDs to a single power coin cell 3volt battery caused all LEDS to flash. So - I learned that we would need to have a separate power source for the green lasers and a separate button to activate those. Bummer. More work. So I had a CR1225 mini coin cell holder that I would use for the lasers and a regular coin cell battery for the engines and cockpit leds. I decided that instead of building a base and using a copper tube as most master builders do, that I would see if I could not rig the base that comes with the kit to handle the wiring and batteries. Bandai kits are engineered precise and because they are snap kits, the fits are tight with little to no room for wiring or fiber. So, you have to carve or drill out spaces and voids to run wire and fiber which proved tedious but ultimately worked.
TIE-X1.d.jpg TIE-X1.e.jpg TIE-X1.f.jpg
TIE-X1.h.jpg TIE-X1.j.jpg

So while I was waiting for that order to come in from Model Train software, I focused on painting. The studio model did not have any washes or panel lines enhanced as the studio lighting would be enough to bring out those details. So I tried to lightly approximate that, with just a very light wash of more gray than black applied with a fine tip brush. I hosed down the lid and the interior cockpit with a generous spray of Pledge Floor Care to create the gloss needed to apply the decals. Once cured to the gloss finish, I dabbed some more Pledge on the areas I was applying the decals and once they were placed, added another dab atop to seal them in. Pledge works well to both soften the decals and set them.

Once I got the fiber and wiring in place with the help of major magnifiers and tweezers, I began to assemble the kit. Because the tolerances were so tight, I had to take it apart a few times to shave or trim or channel another avenue for wire and fiber in order for the parts to close up and fit seamlessly.
TIE-X1.K.jpg TIE-X1.L.jpg

Then it was out with the soldering iron, joining the LED wiring to the battery leads and shrink tubing those. Then fishing the wire down into a section of the stand that I drilled out a hole and all the wire and the resistors fit within the channel of the original part. Then I hand-carved some thin styrene to glue to the outside of the stand to hide the wiring which ran down through the base and to the batteries.

So with the model assembled, the wire run it was time for the moment of truth. Hit the push button on the Death Star Base and flipped the switch for the engines and here she is, all lit up.

TIE-X1.M.jpg TIE-X1.N.jpg TIE-X1.O.jpg TIE-X1.P.jpg TIE-X1.Q.jpg TIE-X1.R.jpg TIE-X1.S.jpg TIE-X1.T.jpg

Overall, another great kit from Bandai. Perfect engineering and details are unmatched and perfect to the studio model. The only frustrations were at my end in terms of trying to light this kit as these are not really engineered for lighting and requires some minor engineering feats to get it to work. But once you are able to do so, it just adds so much more to the perfection that these kits already have.

I think I am going to hit the A-wing next even though I have a regular TIE Fighter sitting in the box and the build is almost identical to this one. So I am going to space them apart a bit so I do not get bored.
 

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Bauble

Well-Known Member
Excellent work, Invar! The coupled blinking could be because you wired the LEDs in series. If you wire them in parallel, it may solve the problem and you can still use just a single battery. If it is still a problem, you can try putting a capacitor in parallel to help smooth out the power flow. 10uF will likely do it. Maybe something smaller even.
 

Antsnest

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
The blinking of the on lights probably comes from trying to draw too much current from the coin cells - these are only good for a couple of mA continuous supply and as more demand is placed on it (as the blinking LEDs turn on) the overall voltage will drop, causing the 'on' LEDs to dim.
What you've done is probably the best solution given the space limitations.
 

gt350pony66

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I have been a big fan of the Bandai Star Wars ship kits, with the only disappointment being the 1/5000 Star Destroyer that came with that bow warp, so when browsing online for availability of the Revell or Round 2 Razorcrest I happened to see the Bandai 1/72 Vader's TIE Advanced X-1 selling for $25, it was the only ship kit I did not have sitting and collecting dust on my shelf - so I nabbed it.

When it showed up in my mailbox, the paper envelope they packed the box in was so crushed from harsh handling and cramming it into my mailbox that I feared the kit itself might be damaged. So I opened it up and inspected all the sprues and was relieved nothing was damaged. So, since I had it open and I was inspecting things, I determined that the kit looked to be a pretty easy build - so I carved out a few weekends to work on it.

I wanted to try my hand at lighting this kit since I had planned and purchased lighting for the A-wing, B-wing, Y-wing, Falcon and TIE fighter that were sitting there waiting in build purgatory for me to get done with the damn Zvezda star destroyer already. The hard part was figuring out how in the world to get LEDs into the tiny areas that needed light such as the 4 rear ION, the cockpit and the lasers.

I had some extra red Pico LEDs from Model Train software, and a flashing green Nano I bought for the regular TIE - and since I opened this kit first, I just decided to put it in Vader's first and order another one later when I got around to it.

As always with Bandai kits, the attention to detail is astounding - but I did notice that in the cockpit - the silver tubes to the upper left and right of Vader in the film, are not visible in this kit as they needed to be. So I carved up some styrene rods, painted them and Vader and upgraded the cockpit a bit. I primed the entire model in sections with Stynlrez gray and then painted the interior with a light coat of Tamiya XF-16 Flat aluminum and then an overcoat of XF-19 Sky Gray mixed with some flat white as I decided to try mimicing the set colors because I was going to have red LEDs on the floor to illuminate the interior. The exterior was a mix of Tamiya XF25 Light sea gray mixed with white and a single drop of X-23 clear blue. I wanted more of the original film look which was more gray/white than blue - but wanted a hint of the blue without being overtly noticable.
View attachment 1555877 View attachment 1555876 View attachment 1555905 View attachment 1555875

Then the hard part began, which was to figure out where I could lay the wiring for the LEDs. I quickly learned that putting 4 red pico LEDs for the ION engines was going to be impossible. So scratch that idea and decided that the only way I was going to get red engines back there was via fiber. SO I decided to put a larger red chip LED into the back section out past the ball and into the back section and loop .5mm fiber back into the cockpit ball and out through the exhaust holes that I had drilled.

Being greedy I also decided I wanted blinking green LEDs for the front laser canons - and that also was going to need to be fiber. So I went with .25mm and put a flashing green LED with resistor in a separate styrene tube next to the red chip tube in the back section behind the cockpit ball and threaded the two strands of .25 fiber out back into the cockpit ball and under Vader's chair out through the front ends to the laser canons.

Sadly, I learned that hooking up solid LEDs with flashing LEDs to a single power coin cell 3volt battery caused all LEDS to flash. So - I learned that we would need to have a separate power source for the green lasers and a separate button to activate those. Bummer. More work. So I had a CR1225 mini coin cell holder that I would use for the lasers and a regular coin cell battery for the engines and cockpit leds. I decided that instead of building a base and using a copper tube as most master builders do, that I would see if I could not rig the base that comes with the kit to handle the wiring and batteries. Bandai kits are engineered precise and because they are snap kits, the fits are tight with little to no room for wiring or fiber. So, you have to carve or drill out spaces and voids to run wire and fiber which proved tedious but ultimately worked.
View attachment 1555874 View attachment 1555873 View attachment 1555872
View attachment 1555904 View attachment 1555903

So while I was waiting for that order to come in from Model Train software, I focused on painting. The studio model did not have any washes or panel lines enhanced as the studio lighting would be enough to bring out those details. So I tried to lightly approximate that, with just a very light wash of more gray than black applied with a fine tip brush. I hosed down the lid and the interior cockpit with a generous spray of Pledge Floor Care to create the gloss needed to apply the decals. Once cured to the gloss finish, I dabbed some more Pledge on the areas I was applying the decals and once they were placed, added another dab atop to seal them in. Pledge works well to both soften the decals and set them.

Once I got the fiber and wiring in place with the help of major magnifiers and tweezers, I began to assemble the kit. Because the tolerances were so tight, I had to take it apart a few times to shave or trim or channel another avenue for wire and fiber in order for the parts to close up and fit seamlessly.
View attachment 1555902 View attachment 1555901

Then it was out with the soldering iron, joining the LED wiring to the battery leads and shrink tubing those. Then fishing the wire down into a section of the stand that I drilled out a hole and all the wire and the resistors fit within the channel of the original part. Then I hand-carved some thin styrene to glue to the outside of the stand to hide the wiring which ran down through the base and to the batteries.

So with the model assembled, the wire run it was time for the moment of truth. Hit the push button on the Death Star Base and flipped the switch for the engines and here she is, all lit up.

View attachment 1555900 View attachment 1555899 View attachment 1555898 View attachment 1555897 View attachment 1555896 View attachment 1555895 View attachment 1555894 View attachment 1555893

Overall, another great kit from Bandai. Perfect engineering and details are unmatched and perfect to the studio model. The only frustrations were at my end in terms of trying to light this kit as these are not really engineered for lighting and requires some minor engineering feats to get it to work. But once you are able to do so, it just adds so much more to the perfection that these kits already have.

I think I am going to hit the A-wing next even though I have a regular TIE Fighter sitting in the box and the build is almost identical to this one. So I am going to space them apart a bit so I do not get bored.
Looks great buddy, haven’t talked with you for quite a while. I’m guessing your master piece SD has been done for a while
 

INVAR

Sr Member
Looks great buddy, haven’t talked with you for quite a while. I’m guessing your master piece SD has been done for a while
Oh nooooo my young apprentice. It was I who allowed the Alliance to know..... errrrr - it was I who allowed shiny new kits that I nabbed at a great deal to completely derail my time from finishing my Grand Opus (of which I am in the drawing panel lines with a Number 2 pencil tedium). And of course births of new grandkids and homeschooling the older ones does put a dent in my time. The Zvezda is still sitting there, mostly done under bubble wrap to save it from incessant dust poisoning by 2 German Shepherds who shed like a lake effect snowstorm most days.

And since you mentioned it - here's a sneak peak of the tedium I put aside to actually finish a couple of other Bandai builds that were gathering dust and dog hair.

Panel lines 1.jpg Panel lines 2.jpg Panel lines 3.jpg Panel lines 4.jpg
 

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