Studio Scale Tie Fighter Build - Nice'N Model Designs

Discussion in 'Studio Scale Models' started by Corellianexports, Jul 19, 2015.

  1. Corellianexports

    Corellianexports Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I'm using an older kit from Nice'N and Model Designs. This is a kit I purchased around 2005 from the Junk yard. It went into storage and I recently came across
    it, so I started cleaning it up.

    Tie Fighter Icons Base:
    Tie Fighter Base.jpg

    I was actually surprised at the amount of cleanup this piece required. I've been working on it off and on since the beginning of this year. I have a friend who use to work at Icons and he happened to have an original mold which was falling apart. In fact, this is probably the last pull from that mold.

    Wings:
    WP_20150614_004.jpg WP_20150614_005.jpg

    Just about done cleaning these up. One corner is slightly warped. I'm not sure how to straighten it out without causing more damage, but I may give it a shot at some point
    with a heat gun.

    Pod with misc. parts, including interior with Pilot:
    WP_20150712_001.jpg

    It looks like the pilot may just be cast of a Hasbro figure. I'm hoping to find a Harrier Pilot to replace him.
    I don't know yet if the interior pieces are accurate or not. I'd like to hollow out the pod at least partially
    to get the pilot and interior pieces to fit. I'd also like to get lots of lights installed or at the very least, a couple of
    LEDs for the rear engines.

    Blaster parts:
    WP_20150712_002.jpg

    I just found the actual, LED clips this weekend. No luck finding the acrylic rods, but I did discover that there are no "orange" acrylic rods out there; only red.
    3/16" should be the correct diameter. Using some standard, red LEDs may be easier to use. Has any one actually lit these up?

    More photos coming. ;)
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2015
  2. healvis

    healvis Active Member

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    E.M.A do amber rods in acrylic. Nice kit I like it.
     
  3. Necronaut

    Necronaut Active Member

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    Could you use a pot of hot or boiling water, dunk in the warped part of the resin cast, then straighten it? I tried this a few times on some warped resin casts, and I had varying degrees of success.
     
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  4. TazMan2000

    TazMan2000 Sr Member

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    I recently used a heat gun to make some major adjustments on a TIE Pilot Helmet resin kit and it worked like a charm. Running it under cold water afterwards seems to lock in the shape. As with everything, take care and don't apply too much heat.

    TazMan2000
     
  5. Watson

    Watson Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Does that one have the molded on I beams around the wings? Mine didn't and it was MURDER
     
  6. Corellianexports

    Corellianexports Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I can try it but the real trick seems to be straightening it out. Do you use a clamp with a couple of wood boards or just hang it after dunking it in hot water?
     
  7. Corellianexports

    Corellianexports Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Ok. I'm finally back on this project. :)

    The rain clouds have lifted, so I'm was able to get outside and hollow out more of the cockpit to make room for the interior pieces.

    Progress photos pending. ;)
     
  8. Corellianexports

    Corellianexports Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Hollowing out the cockpit:
    WP_20180421_002.jpg

    Assembling the pilot:

    WP_20180421_004.jpg
    WP_20180421_005.jpg

    I couldn't find an actual Harrier Jet pilot figure, but the Tie Fighter Pilot/Figure should do.
    WP_20180421_006.jpg

    It looks like the chair used in the model isn't accurate at least compared to some original blueprints...but
    sstiefighter03 - Copy.png

    I came across this photo and it doesn't look like the original model had a chair, just a backing.
    There are some interesting model parts used to detail the cockpit. Any one know what they are or where they're from?
     
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  9. Corellianexports

    Corellianexports Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    WP_20180426_002.jpg
    I gave it some more thought and realized that modifying the pilot figure could be done fairly easy.
    And there's some thing about that prototype Tie Pilot that looks amazing, probably because Hasbro never produced one. :D
     
  10. Studio Kitbash

    Studio Kitbash Active Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Where is this original pilot figure from? Isn't that the same one used on the Y-Wing and/or X-Wing, the famous 1/24 "Race Car Driver" that was used all over. But I've never seen posted the original kit figure. Was it a Tamiya figure? If so, anyone know which one?

     
  11. Scott Graham

    Scott Graham Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    The original figure body was a 1/24 airfix harrier pilot, with (I think) airfix BF109 pilot arms. The head is believed to be a custom sculpt.
     
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  12. 3phase

    3phase Well-Known Member

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    I cut up the trooper pilot I got with my kit.

    wuh5Fht.jpg

    LyFawRH.jpg

    U70RpVO.jpg
     
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  13. Corellianexports

    Corellianexports Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Very nice!

    Here's how mine is looking so far:
    WP_20180505_004.jpg
     
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  14. Corellianexports

    Corellianexports Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    The front piece was too thick, not allowing much room for the dash part, so I sanded it down:
    WP_20180505_001.jpg

    The back panels were machined out of aluminum, along with the side panels, but....

    WP_20180505_002.jpg

    I realized that they could be seen through the canopy:
    WP_20180505_003.jpg

    I could see right away what ILM had originally intended, although I would have liked to have opened it up so the pilot could be seen
    from the top and rear.
    Keeping in step with the original filming model, all the parts had to be moved forward:

    WP_20180505_005.jpg

    And from the rear, the aluminum pieces can be seen..
    WP_20180505_006.jpg

    So I machined a new set that are longer, reaching the very top of the canopy.
    So this is what a top view should look like:
    WP_20180505_007.jpg

    It would be nice at some point to create an interior that matches the original blueprints with what was possibly McQuarrie's original concept
    with the pilot seated horizontally with the rear port directly behind him and the canopy directly above with full view of the interior.
    It could be done fairly easily with an off the shelf Tie Fighter model kit. Alas, another possible project to add to the long list of projects. :p
     
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  15. Corellianexports

    Corellianexports Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    WP_20180508_001.jpg
    The backing is just about done. The pilot still needs some more work.
     
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  16. Corellianexports

    Corellianexports Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Time to hollow out the back to make room for the electronics:
    WP_20180513_001.jpg
    A couple of taps with a hammer actually helped remove the main section:



    WP_20180513_003.jpg WP_20180513_004.jpg

    Not sure exactly how to attach the rear hatch at this point. I might use two key holes.
     
  17. Corellianexports

    Corellianexports Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    While doing some research on the SS Y-Wing model, I came across a reference photo of a Y-Wing pilot which looks a lot like the original Tie Pilot figure. :p
    WP_20180519_013.jpg WP_20180519_014.jpg

    It's a nice side view, so I'll be able to add some detail to my prototype.
    There's also a great shot of a Nice-N version within their Y-Wing instruction Manual for the Red Jammer:
    WP_20180519_015.jpg
    More great detail there. So now that I've verified that the pilots are basically the same, I'll have to make a mold of this one so I have a pilot for my pending Y-Wing project. :D
     
  18. Corellianexports

    Corellianexports Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    So while I'm waiting for the paint to dry on the pilot (which is turning out to be a long, drawn out process),
    I decided to take a look at the wings and get them ready for assembly:
    WP_20180519_011.jpg
    WP_20180519_012.jpg

    I've got the whole "left" and "Right" wings figured out after starring at reference photos of an original ANH Tie Fighter and the EFx version.
    Just for grins I also looked at some Icons references and for those who had doubts about that model, they checked out against the ANH/EFx photos, so they definitely did their homework. :)

    It looks like the best way to attach those small panels is probably going to be with an earth magnet which will probably be the same story with the rear "hatch".
     
  19. Corellianexports

    Corellianexports Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    1/4" diameter earth magnets had to be ordered, so while I'm waiting on those, I thought I'd fix the tiny details on the small panels:

    WP_20180521_001.jpg

    I'm using machined down rivets since the metal is softer than steel brads. Both are very close to the 1/16" diameter of the "pins" used on the original.
     
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  20. Corellianexports

    Corellianexports Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    While waiting for the primer on the pilot figure to dry, I decided to go back to the Death Star Base just to keep things interesting.

    WP_20180602_003.jpg

    There were some missing corners and a few bubble holes so I've started filling those in with some new, grey modelers putty I found at a local hobby store.
    I also came across a few small sections that had indentations, possibly from the heat of the drying resin.

    While working on it I realized that over the last 10 years or so, the dust and particles from the old newspaper clippings (packing material) had accumulated on the piece,
    so a good washing was long over due.

    WP_20180606_003.jpg

    It was also time to hit it with at least a single coat of primer to help find all the rest of the bubble holes, indentations, etc.
    Unfortunately, I couldn't find a single bit of information online about exactly what paint or shade of grey was used for these bases made by Icons
    way back in 1996/1997, so I contacted a couple of old friends who created the originals and verified that Krylon Grey was used.
    Incredibly, I had already started using Krylon Grey on this piece.
     
  21. Corellianexports

    Corellianexports Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    The work continues on the pilot figure...

    WP_20180602_004.jpg

    One big difference between the original TIE fighter helmet and the prototype is a major neck seal, which I've added.
    The pilot is looking a lot more like a spaceman at this point.
    I've also added some more putty to the sides of the helmets to help increase the size of the "head phones".

    One or two more coats of paint and I think that's going to about do it for the pilot and then it's back to the cockpit.
    ...and back to the Hobby shop to find those Tamiya paints. :)
     
  22. Corellianexports

    Corellianexports Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    So it's back to the Death Star base..
    WP_20180607_001.jpg

    It's starting to feel like a major restoration project. I'm just glad it's not a recast. :p

    WP_20180607_002.jpg

    Still working on the corners and trying to remove the bubble holes. The initial coat of primer is showing off all the pin holes and other problems.
    The good news is that some squares or modules still have some sharp details that can be used as a reference while trying to "fix" similar modules placed in different spots on the base.
    It does look like the master was originally made of foam with an outer coat of resin.
     
  23. Corellianexports

    Corellianexports Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Again I found myself waiting for the putty to dry on the pilot figure so I decided to move forward with the wings. I also wanted to make sure that I got the dimensions right for the new display case and acrylic rod:
    WP_20180611_002.jpg


    It was very exciting to finally get this model off the ground with both wings.:D

    The resin is sturdy enough, so I drilled and threaded the "arms":
    WP_20180611_001.jpg

    I used some left over furniture bolts and washers to complete the assembly:
    WP_20180611_003.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018
  24. Corellianexports

    Corellianexports Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    The 1/4" diameter magnets turned out to be the right size for the small, wing panels, so I used a 1/4" end mill
    to drill a small hole near the center of the panel:
    WP_20180613_001.jpg

    Sand one side of the magnet and with a single drop of super glue, viola!
    WP_20180613_002.jpg

    The magnet mostly attaches to the bolt.

    WP_20180613_003.jpg
     
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  25. Fett_Ish

    Fett_Ish Well-Known Member

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    You are doing a great job on this kit. I am worried the wings are going to sag though. I built the newer version that had an armature ( I got the resin with acrylic rod in the center) and as I recall, those wings were very heavy. I have upgraded to hero wings since and don't think they are any lighter. I did use magnets as you did and at the time was woried that even drilling into the armature for the bolt would cause a sag, so actually put another magnet instead. Regardless, its an impressive model and youre putting in a ton of work to make it better than it was, with the hollowing out etc.

     
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  26. Corellianexports

    Corellianexports Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Thanks :)
    I'm actually not too concerned about sagging. The main fuselage is cast out of solid resin and even thought I've hollowed it out a bit, it's very sturdy.

    So today I've moved on to the original, targeted parts for the earth magnets:
    WP_20180617_002.jpg

    They turned out to be an easier install that I had originally thought. A small end mill and a x-acto knife did the trick. Viola!

    WP_20180617_001.jpg
     
  27. Corellianexports

    Corellianexports Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Put the finishing touches on the interior and the pilot:
    005.JPG

    Holes for the blasters are drilled. Now it's time to find the acrylic rods.
     
  28. Corellianexports

    Corellianexports Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Looking at the cast parts for the ion engines, I realized that they're not sticking out at the correct angle.
    IMG_0006.JPG


    IMG_0007.JPG

    So I carefully removed them with a very sharp X-Acto Knife.

    IMG_0008.JPG

    I machined some engines out of round stock aluminum.

    IMG_0012.JPG

    IMG_0010.JPG



    The size of the hole is 1/8" and the outer diameter is 3/16. It actually looks like the original part may have been a rivet spacer.
    I like the idea of using aluminum since it's great at reflecting light. Eventually, I'll add some red LEDs.
     

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    Last edited: Jul 21, 2018
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  29. Corellianexports

    Corellianexports Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I decided to mold a small "pin" for the side panels since I need to make a mold of the pilot for my Y-Wing model:

    IMG_0013.JPG

    If anyone should need these parts, just send me a pm. The mold should be completed some time next week. :)
     
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  30. Corellianexports

    Corellianexports Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I just came across an early drawing of an X-Wing pilot. Notice the "5" on the helmet?
    215fc743ae74ab56aac806f4060577b3.jpg
     
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  31. Corellianexports

    Corellianexports Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Blasters:
    Looking at the ESB and ROTJ reference photos, I had noticed that the blasters appear to be brass tubes, which are probably found items.
    I found some of these tubes in a local Hobby shop, but since I only need 2" or 3" of material, I decided to use some left over aluminum
    and simply machine them.

    One of the nice things about machining these from scratch was the option of creating a "lip" or "step" to help keep the LED holder in place:
    Machined Blaster.JPG

    If you look at the ESB/ROTJ or Museum pics, you'll notice that the holders were pushed down against the model, slipping right over
    the tubing.

    Here's the finished product:
    Blasters.JPG

    Here's the ESB/Musuem reference pictures:

    ESBROTJ_COLLAGE.jpg

    - - - Updated - - -

    So the next step is to produce the actual laser.

    Here's a reference photo of the TIE used in ANH as Vader's right side "wing man":
    eBay_Star_Wars_TIE_Fighter_2.jpg

    The actual "lasers" are probably just acrylic rods that have been machined and since we know some metal "piping" was used, they must fit inside of it.
    Laser Turet.JPG

    So I used some 5/32" diameter, clear acrylic rod and machined it down to fit inside the tubing and then
    used a 20 degree angle to machine the tips. The trick is to use plenty of water while machining acrylic. It gives the finished part a nice, smooth finish.
     

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    Last edited: Aug 14, 2018
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  32. Corellianexports

    Corellianexports Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Cockpit complete with lasers/blasters:
    Cockpit with Lasers.JPG

    Since acrylic was used, I believe that ILM originally intended to light these babies up, so I've pre-drilled some holes for some small, green LEDs
    since the laser blasts are actually green in ANH:
    LEDs for Lasers.JPG

    Next up will probably be the engines and then some wiring. :)
     
  33. Corellianexports

    Corellianexports Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I dyed the clear acrylic "blasters" orange, which reminds me of the X-Wing Helmet lens, so it's possible the originals were dyed as well.

    My run of Icons style display cases completed about a week ago:
    Display Case Front.JPG

    Display Case Side.JPG

    This week I'm working on the LED wiring and side details for the wing "hubs".
     
  34. scotthothpatrol

    scotthothpatrol Active Member

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    Here's the ESB/Musuem reference pictures:

    View attachment 836703
    I have been looking for some accurate color refs. From what you remember is the blue/grey color in the photos faithful to to real model? thanks Scott
     
  35. DARKSIDE72

    DARKSIDE72 Sr Member

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    Yes but the color washes out given bright lighting conditions.
     
  36. Zombie Killer

    Zombie Killer Sr Member

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    I was always under the impression the orange lights were vintage orange LEDs. I had some of these that I know are from the late 70's-early 80's that I am going to use on mine when I finally build it. Here are 2 normal and 2 that I turned down..

    IMG_4832sml.jpg
     
  37. Corellianexports

    Corellianexports Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    This is probably the best reference photo I could find of one of the original ANH TIE models:
    eBay_Star_Wars_TIE_Fighter_2.jpg
    I took a good look and checked the size of a standard LED, but it seemed a little big for the clip.

    Also, if you watch ANH closely, you'll notice that the Advanced TIE gives off a white light instead of an orange or green one and with clear acrylic, even dyed orange, it's capable of giving off a white light with a clear LED behind it.
    The standard TIEs in ANH don't appear to have working lights for the blasters, possibly because they didn't know where or when the graphics would be added, which turned out to be green instead of orange.
     
  38. Zombie Killer

    Zombie Killer Sr Member

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    Fair enough on the lighting. I would have though all that would have been done post . As to the led size, it definitely fits, those clips were specifically designed for the large LEDs, The only thing is you have to file away the lip/ledge because the led is supposed to go in the clip backwards from what we want on the tie. Here are 2 other ref pics I have, The ANH one looks like LED to me, on the ESB you can tell it was probably acrylic, the ends are snapped off and you cant snap LEDs like that . Another thing to note, the ESB style look like the rod is inserted into a tube that's inserted into the clip where the ANH is bigger and has no tube around it. Either way im sure it will look great. If you want to go the LED route let me know.

    TIE-008.jpg

    sw_mos_tie_fighter_0016.jpg
     
  39. Corellianexports

    Corellianexports Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I agree. Looking at the ANH references, it's really difficult to tell if LEDs were used or not.

    The tubing for the blasters narrows so much that it's definitely possible that LEDs were used because it would be very easy to feed a couple of small wires
    through that narrow area. To use the acrylic rods, they have to be turned down a bit to fit.
     
  40. Jedi Dade

    Jedi Dade Sr Member

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    My $.02... and to be 100% truthful - this is mostly conjecture... They used LEDs in the sockets but they weren't lit. They likely had the intention of using them as light points for the fx... but like the fiber optics in the X-wings gun tips it didn't work out well in Film.. The lights were too bright, so they weren't used.


    This thread brings back a lot of memories... I bought one of Steve's first TIE kits... (like very first) and man it was a bear. His kits now are works of art, that go together beautifully, but back in the day you had to really know what you were doing - and I really didn't :eek.

    Mine was before this generation where the wings were split down the center into inner and outer halves, that you had to carefully clean up and join, then add the outer tracks and such... Such a PITA. Mine also had the solid center ball... Not having access to a drill press I left it solid.

    Jedi Dade
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2018
  41. Corellianexports

    Corellianexports Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    The weather has warmed up a bit so I was able to get out into the garage and get a little sanding accomplished on the Death Star base.
     

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  42. Corellianexports

    Corellianexports Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    We had a fairly dry November, so I was able to put an initial coat of primer on the wing details.
    I decided to break the bank and purchase the super expensive, Tamiya primer. It turned out to be high quality primer, perfect for models
    because it goes on thin, not hiding any details. And the details on these parts are extremely tiny.

    Along with the Tamiya primer, I also found some "sanding sticks". Also a bit spendy but they are coming in handy for getting into those tiny crevasses. I will try to remember to post a photo of them.
     

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  43. greeble_gremlin

    greeble_gremlin Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Jedi Dade is quite right. They did use orange/amber LEDs with the rounded edge turned to have a bevel.
    This information was confirmed by two different people (both here on the RPF) that had first hand, close-up inspection of a few of the original filming miniatures, including taking actual measurements off these models.

    Vince,
    very nice workmanship!
    I love your attention to detail,
    ... also nice website, those jumpsuits, look great.
     
  44. Corellianexports

    Corellianexports Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Thanks!

    While working on the Death Star base, I've come across a small, detailed piece which appears to be in a "step" formation.
    I think it's suppose to be level all the way across. Does anyone have a reference for the original part? It looks like it attaches to a rod or hinge of some sort. Thanks.
     

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