TIE Advanced Build Log (Nice-N Base with Modifications)


Sr Member
I never seem to have the time to build stuff although I spend a lot of time here living vicariously....

Being a perfectionist by nature I’ve been caught in the loop that by the time I’ve got the time to create my ‘grail collection’ of Studio Scale Star Wars ships, it will take me so long to build my skills back to where I’m competent that I’ll be dead.

So last year I commissioned Andy (flyscriber) to build my Salzo Mk IV X-Wing as Red 5. The results were perfect and exactly what I wanted.

So now everything has to meet that standard. Which means Andy’s going to be getting a lot of resin from me over the next few years.

This year, the choice was Nice-N (via Mike Salzo) Y Wing, or Nice-N TIE Advanced. To keep balance in the Force, we went with the TIE Advanced. The idea was that it would be a quick and easy build as the subject matter isn’t madly complex, and the kit was very modern.

There are a few other fellow travellers with this replica who might recognise some challenges. Here’s the story spread over loads of posts.

(Note that Andy’s camera tends to have a pink caste towards the centre of the frame.)
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The kit is very well made and reflects the (sparse) reference photos well. The finish is a sandy texture unlike a very smooth model from Mike Salzo (my only other reference point in this type of kit.)

01 Parts Laid Out.jpg

The first step is to remove all pour stubs, and then sand all the body and wing panels with progressively finer grit up to 800 grade.

Many of the separately supplied surface details and the various detailed pits also exhibit this texture. A fair amount of time has to go to cleaning these up before the any assembly starts.

There is some work to do to ensure the top and bottom halves fully align. There are big keys to ensure alignment of the hull halves. However, most of the keys are actually too large for their corresponding holes, so a lot of trimming is needed to get the halves to fit perfectly. Some alignment tabs had to be removed completely to allow for manual alignment during final glueing.

The top and bottom cockpit holes also need to be opened up gradually to ensure a good interference fit with proper alignment.

02 Upper Hull Prep 1.jpg03 Lower Hull Prep 1.jpg04 Upper and Lower Test Fit 1.jpg05 Upper and Lower Test Fit 2.jpg

01 Parts Laid Out.jpg

02 Upper Hull Prep 1.jpg

03 Lower Hull Prep 1.jpg

04 Upper and Lower Test Fit 1.jpg

05 Upper and Lower Test Fit 2.jpg
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The armature runs along both wings and features 1/2” UNF threaded holes to allow mounting from each each wingtip, front, bottom and top of cockpit. There is an extension piece which extends to the tail and allows mounting from the back.

01 Armature from Front 1.jpg02 Armature from Top.jpg03 Armature from LHS Wing.jpg04 Armature Botton Mount in use.jpg

The threaded holes for the rear mount were not square to the main axis of the bar which made the rear extension about 2mm out of line at its farthest point. The rear mount armature was made to fit the model with a slightly cranked rear member with a 1⁄2 inch nut welded into it.

05 Armature from Rear Showing Offset.jpg

Where the two parts intersect there are only about 4 turns of thread holding the rear extension in place when the front armature is in place. This is secured with a locking nut and threadlock.

01 Armature from Front 1.jpg

02 Armature from Top.jpg

03 Armature from LHS Wing.jpg

04 Armature Botton Mount in use.jpg

05 Armature from Rear Showing Offset.jpg
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Some modellers of both the Nice-N TIE and X-1have noted that the cockpit is not a great fit in the ball. This may be a greater or lesser problem depending on the vintage of the kit.

In this December 2017 example it does look a fraction small in comparison to the original. The side walls don't seem to be high enough in the cockpit as you can see the transition to the top section through the opening.

The next issue is that the internal armature encroaches into the cockpit area. This requires some dramatic metal removal to allow it to fit without placing the pilot too far forward.

00 Armature showing through front.jpg01 Armature Modification Close Up.jpg
02 Cockpit Mod from Above.jpg03 Cockpit Mod from Above LHS.jpg

The inner floor plate is impossible to fit in a nice way with the cockpit and armature clearance so this has been left off the final build. The cockpit now inserts from the front, and is anchored in place by the shelf / battery holder (see later post). This makes the alignment of the inner cockpit and the gap at the bottom much nicer.

There is some discrepancy in the upper and lower half's of the main body at the front, so the front hole is enlarged to allow the cockpit to slide to the left (as viewed by the pilot) and remain centred when final assembly takes place.

04 Cockpit and Front Frame Test Fit.jpg

The cockpit has gaps on either side between the roof section and the walls. This was not modified as the original shows a gap inside.

The interior and armature is clearly visible through the slots in the top hatch.

05 Top Hatch before modification showing armature.jpg

Reference photos don’t show much of what is really going on here, although the suspicion is that it really is wide open. To hide the armature and the lighting electronics, the slots are boxed, and then an inner cap fitted to close off the cockpit.

06 Modified Top Hatch Lower.jpg07 Modified Top Hatch Upper.jpg08 Modified Top Hatch in Position 1.jpg09 Modified Top Hatch in Position 2.jpg

00 Armature showing through front.jpg

01 Armature Modification Close Up.jpg

02 Cockpit Mod from Above.jpg

03 Cockpit Mod from Above LHS.jpg

04 Cockpit and Front Frame Test Fit.jpg

05 Top Hatch before modification showing armature.jpg

06 Modified Top Hatch Lower.jpg

07 Modified Top Hatch Upper.jpg

08 Modified Top Hatch in Position 1.jpg

09 Modified Top Hatch in Position 2.jpg
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One of the wings was quite warped, so needed a multi stage correction. First the the wing was heated slowly to get the whole part fairly flexible and then clamped overnight. This resulted in about a 50% reduction in the distortion.

01 Wing After Initial Correction.jpg

A jig was then built to clamp the wing more securely with a notch to allow the main wing supports to be supported close to the major joint. Another heat/chill cycle was done using hot water, then immediately clamping and cooling with cold water. This fixed the issue and gave a nice straight edge.

02 Correcting Wing in Jig.jpg

The two wings are now very similar when viewed side by side.

03 Comparing Wings.jpg

Some of the T strip moulding on the wing is a little too thin when compared with the archive photographs.

04 Missing Wing Detail.jpg

This was chiselled off and replaced with styrene T strut which should be accurate to the original.

The wings were initially mounted with spacing washers to clamp the wings to the main armature without applying pressure to the cast resin then checked for relative alignment, taper etc.

05 Wing Alignment Test.jpg

01 Wing After Initial Correction.jpg

02 Correcting Wing in Jig.jpg

03 Comparing Wings.jpg

04 Missing Wing Detail.jpg

05 Wing Alignment Test.jpg
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Hmmm. Inline images should stand the test of time. But getting them to stick when I do a lot of consecutive posts is sometimes problematic.

I check each post carefully and they were all fine 12 hours ago. I’ve corrected them.
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The decision was made to light the engines but not the guns. (I think this is the case with the original model.)

The engines are standalone detail pieces, and only one was perfectly cast. The others needed some additional work to match the studio reference. The engine nozzles on the supplied parts seem longer than the studio model.

The greeblie apertures were drilled out for lighting. One option was to use an LED in each engine. However, future maintenance would be impossible so a test was done using a light pipe.

The is red acrylic tubing illuminated by a strip of RGB LEDs. In the test shot the visible end has just been sanded and the end heated - hence the small bubbles.
01 Light Tube Test Standalone Engine Greeblie.jpg02 Light Tube Test Standalone Engine Greeblie.jpg

The engine greeblies were attached to the ball and then holes were drilled all the way through. The light pipe ends were finished by turning down in a lathe and then polishing to a high gloss. The light pipe was then connected into place behind the cockpit.

03 Light Pipe.jpg

Lighting is driven from a 9v battery inserted into the ball and controlled by an RF remote control.
The remote can change the colour options on the LEDs, but the light pipe only transmits red. In practice this means fine control of the light intensity as well as giving the option of making flashes, pulses etc.

04 Battery Box.jpg05 Remote.jpg

Light bleed was an issue with the very thin resin tubes of the kit engines, so they were drilled out and replaced with 5.5mm aluminium tubing correcting the length issue.

06 Resin Engine Light Bleed.jpg07 Resin Engine Light Bleed.jpg
08 Metal Engine Fitment.jpg09 Metal Engine Light Test.jpg

02 Light Tube Test Standalone Engine Greeblie.jpg

03 Light Pipe.jpg

01 Light Tube Test Standalone Engine Greeblie.jpg

04 Battery Box.jpg

05 Remote.jpg

06 Resin Engine Light Bleed.jpg

07 Resin Engine Light Bleed.jpg

08 Metal Engine Fitment.jpg

09 Metal Engine Light Test.jpg
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Several people have reported issues in getting paint to adhere to this model, and it has proved very difficult to get a satisfactory solution.

This is not just a problem for painting because even CA glue has a hard time grabbing the surface well.

As noted at the beginning surfaces were sanded to remove the grainy surface texture left behind after the 3D print. This was done 3 times to get an 800 grit finish.

Andy usually uses automotive primer on resin and it typically yields impressive results. (I’ll put up the Salzo Mk IV Red 5 when I get my DSLR upgrade done.)

Armed with the knowledge of the potential issue, automotive base coat was first applied to the cockpit shelf since this part wasn’t going to be used in the
final build. Once the paint was dry masking tape was pressed to the paint and then pulled gently away.

With minimal pressure on the tape, automotive base coat came straight off.

Plan B was Valejo paints in case they happened to contain some kind of chemical which matched the resin. No dice. Then some other variants of auto paints were tried and they were exactly the same.

Plan C was clear plastic primer for automobile bumpers. The etching nature adds a little surface texture which is why Andy has avoided it in the past. So the etch primer was airbrushed on and then covered in automotive base coat, and it seemed to worked fine resisting plucking even with gaffer tape.

01 Automotive Primed Base.jpg

However, the same technique on another part of the model still resulted in the paint coming away. So the issue varies from one part to another.

02 Body Pluck Test 01.jpg04 Wing Pluck Test 01.jpg

Figuring that the surface wasn’t allowing any penetration to the paints, the whole body of the model was washed in premium thinner, which is an aggressive Toluene, Xylene and Methanol mix. Tamiya plastic primer was then shot directly onto the surface as it was drying hoping to let the lower surface of the primer be thinned by the almost wet surface and absorbed into the resin a little. This proved to be successful with the lower part of the main body.

However the top half of the body shed paint like a snake even using this method.

05 Tamiya Primed Upper Fail 1.jpg06 Tamiya Primed Upper Fail 2.jpg

So the top half of the model was washed in the thinners for a little longer and the spray technique used again. This second attempt was much more successful.

07 Tamiya Primed Lower.jpg08 Tamiya Primed Upper.jpg

On that basis, every part was primed separately so that adhesion issues could be addressed on a case by case basis.

Each part was also based coated with Tamiya TS-32. Once assembled the plan was to wet sand back, and then do a final pass of TS-32 to finish it off before weathering etc.

To quote Andy:

“In the past I have had weeping casts which were impossible to paint as they always remained sticky. This is not the case with this kit, as there is no tackiness to the surface and it sands well. I am presuming it is a mix/ batch issue as some parts take the paint well, and others do not.”

To quote Jason Eaton from the thread X1 tie fighter's choice?

“Guys I'm not new to resin. I cleaned it well. After multiple tries with different primers, the Upol Acid Etch 8 seems to be sticking. You know - after wasting WEEKS.”

02 Body Pluck Test 01.jpg

04 Wing Pluck Test 01.jpg

05 Tamiya Primed Upper Fail 1.jpg

06 Tamiya Primed Upper Fail 2.jpg

07 Tamiya Primed Lower.jpg

08 Tamiya Primed Upper.jpg

01 Automotive Primed Base.jpg
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I never get tired seeing these scale models.Thanks for sharing !
Your attachments from post #8 don't show though
Getting inline images to stay in these posts is worryingly similar to getting paint to stay on a TIE X-1. Hopefully all stuck this time.
Hello vectorzero! Did you make the extension piece by yourself? It is just simple question as my kit does not include it, just in case.
Also there were other missing pieces like decal and waiting for them from Steve to send them long time again. Anyway it is not main subject.
No worries. The armature extension was not part of the kit. I ordered mine in December 2017 and received it a few weeks later in 2018.

See Andy’s explanation of what he did in post #18 below.

The decals were part of the kit, but I believe propcollector has more accurate versions. Again, see Post #21in the thread I have referenced above.
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Given the cast guns were not too great it was decided to replace them with more original components.

Research suggest that the guns are 5mm LEDs in a standard 5mm LED holder - CLP125BLK.

The CLP125BLK is still available, but having sourced some, they were too shallow in the upper area compared to the casting.
00 Cast Part Compared with Supposed Donor Part.jpg
Quite a lot of Internet Research yielded a supplier with something that looked a lot closer. For those in the UK, the part is here.
Compared to the casting this was much closer.
01 New Found Part.jpg
New gun mounts were made using threaded studs into the main hull and metal screw on shafts holding the new LED holders. Some resin parts were modified to reflect the slightly tapered original LED parts (orange on the original). A 1mm hole was drilled in the end as seen on the studio model.
04 Gun Screw on Cap.jpg05 Gun Studs.jpg06 gun_screw_in_place.jpg
The completed assemblies screw into position and can be removed at any time for replacement if needed.
08 Finished Guns Lower 01.jpg09 Finished Guns Lower 02.jpg

00 Cast Part Compared with Supposed Donor Part.jpg

01 New Found Part.jpg

04 Gun Screw on Cap.jpg

05 Gun Studs.jpg

06 gun_screw_in_place.jpg

08 Finished Guns Lower 01.jpg

09 Finished Guns Lower 02.jpg
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Some of the more complex elements of the X-1 are hard to cast. In particular the Nichimo U Boat part on the rear deck and the M10 Tank Destroyer part on the rear cockpit.

The latter is common to the TIE, and thanks to Joe White for the reference shots at studioscalemodellers.

99 Joe White TIE Part Map.jpg

The parts map also threw up the missing (vintage) Shinano part 29 from the right rear upper side of the cockpit.

01 Shinano Donor for Rear Cockpit Greeblie.jpg00 Missing Rear Cockpit Greebly.jpg

So two U boat kits (never buy an incomplete model - the one part you really wanted is the part that won’t be there), an original M10 and a vintage Shinano later all these parts are now correct and in place.

03 M10 Part in Place.jpg

There is some slight variation in the upper fuselage half. Mounting the M10 part as a direct replacement of the cast material looked wrong, so the part was placed by eye to be as symmetrical as possible. The U Boat part is quite tall and the plastic part looks much better than the casting.

05 Rear Deck with U Boat Part in Place.jpg

The upper and lower cutouts in the rear wing root, and the ‘holes’ the rear apron section are problematic. The details are small, and the castings aren’t super crisp. It’s really unclear from the reference shots what the parts could be.

09 Mystery Parts in Rear Apron Pits.jpg

The clearly identifiable cast parts were retained, such as the Panzer radiator elements, but the parts bin was raided to source some additional and sharper parts to keep the texture and level of detail consistent with the studio model. I’m happy with the result as it looks right, and to me conforms to the spirit of the original filming miniature.
10 Apron Hole LHS 01.jpg11 Apron Hole RHS 01.jpg12 Apron Hole RHS 02.jpg13 Apron Hole RHS 03.jpg

99 Joe White TIE Part Map.jpg

00 Missing Rear Cockpit Greebly.jpg

01 Shinano Donor for Rear Cockpit Greeblie.jpg

03 M10 Part in Place.jpg

05 Rear Deck with U Boat Part in Place.jpg

09 Mystery Parts in Rear Apron Pits.jpg

10 Apron Hole LHS 01.jpg

11 Apron Hole RHS 01.jpg

12 Apron Hole RHS 02.jpg

13 Apron Hole RHS 03.jpg
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The front detail recesses on the wings are pretty bad, as most of the empty space is taken up with some nasty resin which looked like it was going to be very tricky to remove.

01 Wing Detail Pit 01.jpg02 Wing Detail Pit 02.jpg

The recesses were redesigned in CAD, and the panels printed out so they could be assembled in styrene.

03 Insert Comparison.jpg

Checking the original ILM model against the kit supplied inserts, it looks like the Nice-N model parts are too shallow. You can see the greeblies from the top looking down on the Nice-N, but not on the original. Another 3 to 4 mm depth was added to the insets to hide the greeblies a bit more when viewed from above.

The main parts were sourced from a 1/48 Bandai Panther G as well as the Heller 1/400 La Seine. Thanks again to Joe White’s part maps. We had an excursion into the Tamiya 312 B for the curved part, but that turned out not to match, so was scratched from brass. The balance was a combination of kit resin and scratch built parts.

05 Completed Left Pit Unpainted.jpg07 Completed Inserts Wide Shot.jpg04 Unfinished Right Pit In Progress.jpg
The final look is a lot crisper and worth the effort as this is the best known view of the ship.

09 Finished Inserts Wide Shot.jpg08 Finished Left Recess Close Up.jpg

01 Wing Detail Pit 01.jpg

02 Wing Detail Pit 02.jpg

03 Insert Comparison.jpg

04 Unfinished Right Pit In Progress.jpg

05 Completed Left Pit Unpainted.jpg

07 Completed Inserts Wide Shot.jpg

08 Finished Left Recess Close Up.jpg

09 Finished Inserts Wide Shot.jpg
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A number of areas needed finishing before main painting could begin.

The wing edging was finished off on both the main panels and the ‘sandwich’.

01 edge 1.jpg02 edge 2.jpg

The lower hatch was revisited to ensure accurate fit of the removable section which covers the lower mounting point.

03 lower_hatch.jpg04 lower_hatch_1.jpg

Finally the edge of the apron was finished by attaching the edging. The area around the rear mount was filled and sanded to clean things up, but more work will be done to provide two versions of the end cap. One will have a circular hole to allow the mount to attach without exposing the internals. The second will be the complete end cap to cover things up if any of the other mounting points are in use. The intent is to fabricate a new master for these options using the correct donors - a 1/48 FA-200, and the various parts from the 1/48 Bandai Panther G.

05 rear_filled_and_edging_added.jpg

01 edge 1.jpg

02 edge 2.jpg

03 lower_hatch.jpg

04 lower_hatch_1.jpg

05 rear_filled_and_edging_added.jpg
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Hi swmodelfan1977
Just a quick note vectorzero. Thanks for posting this, I just cant get the time on 2.5meg :)
The rear extension for the armature wasn't included in the kit. I made one up from some metal tube (I think 1 inch diameter) with an inserted 1/2 inch bolt welded in place for connecting to the main ally tube with a locking nut to secure it into position, and a 1/2 inch nut welded into the rear end. I could adjust the position of the tube/ bolt assembly to fit the body before welding it up. This took up any discrepancy and fitted without applying pressure to the cast resin.
You can just see it in the top right of this image, showing the bolt with locking nut against the main crossmember. Sorry for the lack of images on this issue.armature.jpg
Cheers folks
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Doh! Thanks for the correction. I’ve amended my response in the previous post and pointed to your post for the correct information.
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The base coat was sanded back with 1200 grit. The process was to bring the main body up to about 50% of its final finishing, then tackle the wings before doing the final detailing on the main body to bring it all together.

Some of the surface scratching seen on the studio model was added, but aiming only for that which was likely to have been filmed, and not the subsequent dirt and marks due to storage and handling over the years.

All the work is very subtle - lots of tiny panels, detailing and scratching. The blue edge has been taken off the main body colour a little by the subtle weathering and the lighter highlights around the detailing.

The issues with adhesion led to a particular approach to avoid applying pressure to the paint if possible. Normally each panel would be masked individually for a super sharp finish but many have been done by hand to avoid lifting paint.

Changes in panel colour were done with a variable mix of TS-32 and grey Tamiya primer all masked off and airbrushed. Individual raised details were hand painted using the same mix to give the subtle changes in colour.

Weathering was done using a Tamiya flat black and dark brown mix, thinned to 50% using Tamiya thinners.

A final airbrush pass with TS-32 was used to blend the weathering into the model again.

01 cockpit.jpg02 front_ob_2_painted.jpg03 Inner_wing_painted.jpg07 top2_painted.jpg08 guns_painted.jpg
04 hatch_painted.jpg05 top_hatch_painted.jpg06 top_rear_2_painted.jpg09 lower_part_done.jpg

The model is resting at the moment before finalising the stand. I’ll post more shots as things progress, and then try and get some final shots using a full frame DSLR and consistent lighting. Thanks to flyscriber for the amazing work so far.

10 front_top.jpg11 front_body_part_done.jpg

01 cockpit.jpg

02 front_ob_2_painted.jpg

03 Inner_wing_painted.jpg

04 hatch_painted.jpg

05 top_hatch_painted.jpg

06 top_rear_2_painted.jpg

07 top2_painted.jpg

08 guns_painted.jpg

09 lower_part_done.jpg

10 front_top.jpg

11 front_body_part_done.jpg

02 front_ob_2_painted.jpg

07 top2_painted.jpg

08 guns_painted.jpg
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