(Sort of) Ultimate Hasbro FrankenTIE?

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

sbaxter

Active Member
Greetings, all!

For those who don't want to read the following rambling deluge, what I am looking to do is combine the wings/solar panels of the Hasbro Vintage Collection TIE Fighter with the cockpit ball and arms of Hasbro's Solo: A Star Wars Story TIE. I'm posting this with photos partly because I figure someone else might want to try doing this (and some may have already had the same idea), and also because I am seeking insight on what to fix, modify and add, and on how to do that.

I saw the new(ish) Hasbro TIE Fighter, with the larger-scale solar panels/wings, several years ago when it was first offered as a Target exclusive. I know it has been re-released more than once since then, with an altered cockpit section, and is currently available at Walmart as an exclusive “Vintage Collection” release. I wasn’t able to snag one of the original Target versions, but I snatched-up one of the Walmart fighters for $79 plus tax a few weeks ago while still a little crazy and blind with Christmas money.

When I started looking at it, however, I noticed that there are a lot of weird — and flat-out wrong — things about this TIE Fighter. Many of them could be fixed — even by me — but others would be way beyond anything I think I could accomplish, at the level of it being just as “easy” to scratchbuild the parts in question. The most glaring of these issues is that the front canopy and possibly also the top hatch are proportionately too large, resulting in too little space around them to place anything close to iconic greeblies on the hull. So I got to poking around online, because I thought I had seen a Hasbro TIE that looked much better. I discovered that Hasbro had released a TIE Fighter in the line of toys they put out for Solo: A Star Wars Story. The solar panels (or “wings” — which is the preferred term these days, now that the panels being radiators is canon?) are undersized as is typical, but the cockpit section seems to be more accurate overall, with better proportions on most of its surface features. I had never seen the Solo TIE in stores, but I quickly found I could get one for about $20 from Amazon, with Prime shipping. So I did, gambling that the cockpit section would be the same overall size as the Vintage Collection’s TIE and I could graft the two together to get the Sort-Of Ultimate Hasbro TIE Theoretically For the Moment™. Yeah, I’m gonna trademark that name; unwieldy, but memorable!

I originally envisioned this thread as a request for opinions on whether I was making the right choice here, but in comparing the two cockpits sections, I don’t really need to do that. The Solo TIE is clearly better overall. As I mentioned in the previous paragraph, look at the space between the top of the front window and the forward edge of the hatch on the Vintage Collection TIE; it is way too compacted. There’s no way to even semi-accurately duplicate the greeblies that should be there. I think I will have to rebuild those whatever-they-ares anyway with the Solo TIE, and even at something close to the proper size, I expect it to drive me insane. That’s what usually happens when I try to create small parts like that, even if they are essentially just shapes cut from flat styrene.

What I’m doing here is a proof of concept and an open request for advice on what should be done, and (for the trickier stuff) how to do it. I’m also hoping that there are others here, much more talented and experienced than I am, who will see this and decide to do what I am trying to do — probably much better and more quickly than I will … and I’m surely not the first to come up with the idea. I just haven’t seen it referenced anywhere previously.Following are photos I made of the cockpit sections of both toys, with logos applied so anyone can tell at glance which is which (even though that is only needed once, strictly speaking, since the Solo TIE includes much more of the connecting arms to each side than the Vintage version). I also included an image of the Solo TIE with an equivalent view of one of the Empire-era TIE studio models I found online, after having matched the sizes as best I could so that everything lines up as much as possible. I shot these photos with my camera mounted on a tripod and pointed straight down, and the parts sitting a couple of feet below on a piece of foam board. I used a 50mm lens for minimal optical distortion. After I set focus for the first exposure, I locked the lens so the focus remained identical for all shots, and the parts were all placed in the same spot (more or less, given human error), the same distance from the lens (within an eighth of an inch variance, if that). All that to say that even though I photographed each piece separately and then combined them in Photoshop, the size relationship between them is exactly or extremely close to what the eye would see. And with that in mind, you can easily see that the two are essentially the same size, and there’s no reason the Solo TIE’s cockpit section can’t be married to the larger wings of the Vintage Collection TIE. So, I think as a basic proof of concept, it is a done deal.

Solo vs. Vintage TIE Front v1.0.jpg Solo vs. Vintage TIE Aft v1.0.jpg Solo vs. Vintage TIE Dorsal v1.0.jpg Solo vs. Vintage TIE Ventral v1.0.jpg Solo TIE Aft vs. Studio Model v1.1.jpg

Don’t get me wrong; both of these toys have numerous inaccuracies. One that bugs me a bit is the rear window and the circular housing around it -- everything within it is too shallow. I’m inclined to stick with the Solo version on that because it is closer on overall size, and crafting the parts necessary to correct its depth is something that I just have no idea how to do, and little confidence I could pull it off even if I did understand how it could be done. Lots of other greeblies hither and yon are just missing, even if many of them would be relatively easy to add. Some are eye-poppingly out of scale, too prominent, and/or just all wrong, and will just have to be “Dremel-led” away and rebuilt. I plan to soon post new versions of my images of the Solo TIE, marked-up with the things I’ve noticed. I will also try to make and post some photos of the toy in a disassembled state, because there are issues I am facing that have turned up upon taking it apart, and I’ll be seeking opinions on how to proceed.

Another issue is that this new TIE Fighter toy has taken the old “battle damage” toy feature to a new place. Rather than just having the panels pop off to represent being blown out of the sky, this one rips the cockpit area completely apart. As a result, there are prominent “cracks” in the ball that will have to be sealed, but it also means the surfaces there don’t come together flush as well. I’ll have to determine a way to fix that once I take it completely apart. There are also a couple of areas on the “ball” surface that are distorted out of being smoothly rounded for reasons I haven’t yet identified, and those will have to be sanded down to eliminate the problem.

I'm also considering whether I want to light this thing. It should be relatively simple to do so if I just do the engines. I’m not trying to make or represent a studio scale replica of a filming model, so I would not be inclined to light the guns. IF I can get the better interior from the Vintage TIE to fit inside the Solo TIE, I might consider lighting that. Might.

Sorry this is all so rambling — it accurately represents my thought processes in that respect. I’m still trying to look at this thing and figure out what needs to be done, what I think I actually can do, and anticipate the things that will go wrong and drive me insane before they come as a dispiriting surprise. I’m still trying to figure out how much I know and, more importantly, what I don’t know. Actually re-building this thing is something that will take me some time; I don’t have a dedicated place to work, nor am I allowed much time to do so. So to anyone interested, please be patient.

SSB
 
Last edited:

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

joberg

Master Member
Well, I read it and it seems like a very good project to undertake...I just don't understand the "nor am I allowed much time to do so" parto_O
 

sbaxter

Active Member
Finding reasonably high-res studio model reference photos of the original trilogy TIE has proven maddening. I haven't found much other than at modelermagic.com. Also would like to find photos of some of the greeblies in their original context (i.e., on the sprue from the original source kits), but no luck there at all. There are some at studioscalemodelers.com and at Resin Illuminati, but I am not a member there and neither is currently accepting new members.

SSB
 

robn1

Master Member
Finding reasonably high-res studio model reference photos of the original trilogy TIE has proven maddening.
Check out the "TIE Spotting" thread in the studio scale section, and some of the build threads too.
 

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

sbaxter

Active Member
Check out the "TIE Spotting" thread in the studio scale section, and some of the build threads too.
Thanks! Many of the images in the TIE Spotting thread no longer show up, but I found a couple of good things there!

SSB
 

sbaxter

Active Member
Solo TIE Front Markup done-01.jpg


Here, I have marked some things that should (probably) be altered. I’ll likely do the same for other angles in coming days. All of this is color-coded for your convenience. It has crossed my mind that some of the features of this toy that differ from the Empire TIEs could be based on differences between the old studio models and the digital model created for Solo (and maybe/maybe not Rogue One). I prefer to follow the original, partly because it is the original — and partly because there is more reference available.

1. There’s a big decision to be made here because the toy has given these sections of the “arms” a 12-sided cross-section. Should I attempt to correct this to the original design, which were circular in cross-section? I’m inclined to do so, if possible. Would require some fairly precise sawing and cutting. It might be easier to sub in portions of the circular arms from the Vintage TIE, or it might be better all around if I can find some sturdy PVC pipe or an alternative in the right size to make the circular arms -- I'm going to try to get accurate measurements and look into the possibilities this weekend. As it stands, I’ll likely graft in the pieces from the Vintage TIE where the arms attach to the panels (or some hybrid of this idea) because those are much larger on the Vintage, if less detailed.

Nothing is ever simple. I sometimes suspect that Hasbro has a secret department with employees whose only duty is to make life difficult for those of us who like to try to turn their toys into models. If so, then I have to say, “Well-played, folks. Well-played.”

2. These are the “cracks” where the ship is made to come apart, simulating battle damage. I’ll need to attach the pieces of the hull so that they are flush and then fill the gap, probably with Apoxie Sculpt.

3. These twin greeblie sections (I think of them as the “butterfly bandages”) are about the right size overall, but Hasbro added a lot of extraneous detail compared to the original. Also, these should extend back to meet the slightly-raised section of the hull just aft of them, but they don’t. On top of that, one of them has a nasty seam down the middle. Probably easiest to grind and sand this away completely and then replace it, which is a rather loose use of the term “easy.”

4. There’s a bit of distortion to the surface here, making it look like the hull has been dented and creased from the inside. Obviously must be sanded and smoothed.

5. There IS a panel line here to match the one on the other side, but for some reason it is very faint. Must be re-scribed.

6. These two little greeblies look over-simplified. Due to their prominent placement, I feel the need to do my best to make sure these look correct. I’m not very good at shaping tiny bits of styrene like this. I wonder if trying to photoetch brass replacements would be a viable choice.

7. These two bits are borderline. They’re almost right, but they have three little openings in them where there should be five. I will probably first try to make their profile more uniform, then fill and re-drill the openings. If that doesn’t work, I’ll try to replace them. Another candidate for photoetch?

8. These are a mixed bag. The triangular section, which makes up most of these pieces, may be okay as-is. The smaller bits forward, however, have obvious draft-angle issues and must be redone. I think the studio models here use the little “X in a box” pieces that are also found on the Falcon. I’m really beginning to hope that photoetch is practical. I can’t build such a tiny thing from styrene bits, but I can draw things in Adobe Illustrator!

9. These horizontal fins are too thick. Maybe that can be corrected when (if?) I fix issue number 1 above.

10. The gun ‘hardpoints” (or whatever the correct term might be) are too large and extend all the way to the rim of the cockpit window. It looks like the guns on the Vintage TIE are much closer to correct, so I will probably try to liberate those and use them to replace these.

11. A rare case of the toy being more detailed than the studio model? I’ll probably try to correct this as well.

Would love to entertain any suggestions anyone here might have for solving some of these issues, with the caveat that spending very much money is not feasible.

SSB
 

sbaxter

Active Member
Taking a look at the solar panels from the Vintage TIE, I noticed that the inner sides have ejector pin marks galore. I counted 42 on one panel! And they are all on the fine grids that mimic Koolshade. It seems unlikely that I could sand or scribe the marks away without damaging the fine lines. I shudder to think of trying to build replacements from sheet styrene, but not sure there's any alternative. Everything will have to be exactly right or it will look wrong.

On the plus side, the diameter of half-inch PVC pipe looks right to replace the hexagonal "arms." Still not sure how much of a headache that will be, and I probably won't know until past the point of no return. I should pick up another Solo TIE while they are still cheap, in case of disaster.

SSB
 
Last edited:

Robert McLain

Sr Member
I'm working on the same project as you and I am beginning to think that Vintage wings are too BIG after attaching them to the Solo tie cockpit....too tall. Maybe someone with a studio scale tie could measure the height and width of their wings? The vintage wings are 15 and 1/4 high x 12 and 1/2 wide. Something is definitely off proportionately when compered with pics of studio scale models as well as my 1/48 scale Fine Molds and 1/72 scale Bandai Ties.

I've already cut out the window glass as well as the black "glass" on the top hatch. I still have to glue the cockpit section together and fill the seams. Other than that I'm just going to give the whole thing a paint job and call it good. Oh, and fill the three screw holes on the bottom.

Will be watching this thread closely:)

Robert
 

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

sbaxter

Active Member
I'm working on the same project as you and I am beginning to think that Vintage wings are too BIG after attaching them to the Solo tie cockpit....too tall. Maybe someone with a studio scale tie could measure the height and width of their wings? The vintage wings are 15 and 1/4 high x 12 and 1/2 wide. Something is definitely off proportionately when compered with pics of studio scale models as well as my 1/48 scale Fine Molds and 1/72 scale Bandai Ties.
Maybe; I'd be interested to know for certain, although I don't think I would attempt to correct it for this project. It looks close enough for me.
I've already cut out the window glass as well as the black "glass" on the top hatch.
I plan to do the latter, but I'm leaning toward keeping the glass in the cockpit window (and replacing the glass in the top hatch). I'm not trying to recreate a studio model, and a real TIE would have glass (or "transparisteel" or whatever they call it in-universe) windows.
I still have to glue the cockpit section together and fill the seams. Other than that I'm just going to give the whole thing a paint job and call it good.
I just can't help myself, so I have to try to rebuild some of the details. I'm trying to look into photo-etching and decide whether doing that process myself is feasible or whether I should just create the artwork and have someone else do it. Even replacing all the details would require only a small sheet of brass. I suppose I could do a larger sheet to give me room to screw up some of them -- which is probably inevitable -- or potentially have some left to sell off if they are good enough.

Are you going to do any work on the interior of the cockpit? The interior of the Vintage TIE looks more accurate for the most part, especially the walls, but I''m not sure what would be required to make them fit inside the Solo exterior. The latter features a relatively accurate chair. I should say, it features the back of a chair, with a seat that is flush with the floor. The Vintage TIE has a much more elaborate chair with what I presume is meant to be a thruster used in ejecting the cockpit, but it looks nothing at all like the seat in anything in the studio model of cockpit set, as far as I know. I'll do what I think I can in the cockpit without killing myself, since if I don't light it it will be hard to see anyway. I expect that I will seal the hatch when I'm done.

How are you modifying the connection points to the wings? I'd love to know. I am thinking of using the hexagonal pieces that came with the Solo TIE and modifying the Vintage pieces to accept them, since they are more accurate.

SSB
 
Last edited:

sbaxter

Active Member
Looking around, I haven't been able to find any part maps for the TIE. However, in looking over the original ANH Falcon, I found some bits I think I recognize. I am under the impression that the Hasbro TIEs are smaller than the studio models, so using the same parts wouldn't work -- but I have found that being able to see original parts out of their Star Wars context sometimes gives me a better idea of what I'm actually seeing, and might make recreating those things a little easier.

Part ID TIE-01.jpg

I am thinking the gizmos inside the red ovals are from the 1/700 Tamiya Shinano kit, and the green-colored part near top-center -- or part of it, at least -- is from a 1/35th Tamiya Sherman. Can anyone confirm or refute either of these?

SSB
 

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

Top