TIE-Spotting. *First post updated*


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Ok, After a realy loooooooong prop/model break I’m finally gearing up to build some models again. Both subjects are TIE’s! One is a wee one the other one is bit bigger.:)

Anyway, I’ve read thru a lot of old TIE threads, many which have been very active during my leave. A lot of cool info regarding colors but not much on individual markings and detailing. I decided to take a deep plunge into the wonderful world of TIE’s and with my sorting hat on I went thru all my ref books as well as the pic collection on my hard drive. All in an effort to try and figure out what options regarding versions and markings I have for my two TIE’s. I was actually rather surprised to see that there hasn’t been that many different TIE models published in books or exhibitions. What follows are the different models I’ve been able to spot and also where some of them have been used. Please note that non of the exhibition pics were taken by me. They have all been published online but if the original owners don’t want to see them used I’ll take them down. Also, the scans from my books were all taken with my Iphone 4 camera and are only ment to illustrate which pictures I’m refering too since the quality are crap. They do not show the amount of details they do in the books. You need the same books to be able to see the pics properly.

Here’s what I have so far. Please feel free to join in if you know of more models! Also, if this has been covered before and I totally missed it just let me know and I’ll delete the tread. Yes, I’m aware that there’s a looooot of TIE threads going on!:)



First up is that one featured in the Technical journal book. Sports a plain hull without any dark grey markings at all. Seems rather dull and boring but as far as I’m able to tell that seems to be the genaral rule (there is some exeptions) for ANH TIES. No dark grey markings what so ever. Since most seems to have been painted this way it’s impossible to link any specific models to different publicity shoots or screen caps. They all look the same. Conclusion, ANH TIE’s are boring!:lol EDIT: Well, not quite!:lol


Second. The Chronicles TIE. Now here’s a interesting exception! This ANH bird does have certain details painted with a darker grey shade. Sadly I haven’t been able to find a pic of this fighter from the rear so I have no idea what’s going on back there. Another interesting thing about this one is that there is two small yellow square markings just above the right canon. These kind of small markings are also included in the Fine Molds decal sheet for there 1/48 model. Also, it seems like the mounts that holds the clear orange canon rods are left unpaintd black plastic. Does anybody know if better reference is availible for this model?


EDIT: Here's ascreencap which ID's this model as one of the birds that was used as Vaders wingman.


I've also come to the believe that this workbench picture from the ESB section of the Chronicles book actually shows this model from the rear (or possible the pentagon fighter).



Here's the FineMolds 1:48 scale decal and markings sheet for this version. It seems like it's actually rather accurate. FineMolds seem to have some rather good reference availible!


Thired. The Edlund damaged wing TIE. Not much to be said here no dark grey markings on the front. Has any rear pictures of this model been published? Seems pretty much like a standard ANH TIE.


Fourth. The Pentagon TIE! Awesome ID made by "Jedimaster"! This version is actually included as an option in the FineMolds kit. Personally I figured it was some lame Expended Universe markings but as Jedimaster pointed out it actually excisted! Good score!


And here's the FineMolds sheet for this version.



First we have this beautiful model which I refer to as the ESB hero. Now this is how a TIE is suposed to look! A huge amount of reference pics of this model is out there since it toured the world several times. It’s also the one featured on the Blu Ray turn table, although with a miss aligned wing. Plenty of dark grey markings but it also has the filed down cockpit dashboard which makes it simple to ID. As stated by others before, the file down was probably to allow a front mounting point.

I haven’t been able to ID this one in the film but it can clearly be seen in this ESB ILM composit.


It was also used for this ROTJ ILM composit. I’m sure it was used for several other publicity composits that ILM did as well but it’s hard to tell when the TIE’s are small in the comp.



Second is the awesome damaged wing TIE featured in the Sculpting a Galaxy book as well as the Cronicles book. I’m actually willing to bet that this is the ”ESB hero” hull reused! If one looks carefully it looks like the dashboard has the file down. Would also make sense since this model was filmed spinning both from the front and rear. Sadly all the ref I have on this one is rather over exposed which makes spotting the dark grey markings tough. Another interesting detail is that the damaged wing is an ANH left over.



I choose to place this mysterious but well documented model under ROTJ because that’s how it appears today, with it’s almost black window and Interceptor canons. However, this model appears both in the chronicles and sculpting book labeled ESB. An higly interesting point is that in the ILM (black background) reference photos it lacks both the orange ANH/ESB canon tips as well as the Interceptor canons. It just seem to have two brass tubes sticking out.

This model can be linked to at least one ROTJ ILM publicity comp.


I guess the real mystery here is to figure out if this model was actually built for ESB and then refitted for ROTJ to serve as a TIE and maybe even interceptors? Could it be that the ILM pics of this model have been misslabeled ESB in both the above mentioned publications? Does anybody know if any new TIE’s were actually constructed for ROTJ? Personaly I highly doubt that. The hull actually shares all the markings except for one with the interceptor that ILM shot against black for their main interceptor reference.


Seems like there wasn't any new TIE's built for ROTJ after all. The long running rumor about the ROTJ TIE's shared the same black canopy frame as the Interceptor can now be de bunked. The answer was in the film all along! Here's a quick comp of Vaders shuttle approach and two Interceptors freeze framed from the film. IMO there's no doubt that the two TIE's are clearly one of the ESB hero models re-used. Just look how pale grey the canopy frames are compared to the Interceptors. I'm convinced...Are you?

And finally, here's the famous post ROTJ table pic with Lucas and crew. Only two models seem to remain in the archive and it's indeed the two that's been touring the world. Both can be linked to the odd "Interceptor body" and the "Hero ESB.

If anybody has more pics or info that would help nail down more TIE models please chim in!


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I don't have anything to add here, just happy to see you back! I was always a huge fan of your work, and can't wait to see what you do with this!

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I'm also eager to see where this goes. I'm about to start on a Fine Molds 1/48 scale Tie and this will help me decide which way to go with a paint scheme. Thanks Steve!

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Nice work mate . It really is the time of the tie. Jason has his two commission builds, beaze has do e a great fine molds and mike has just announced the tie hulls are ready for steves back orders. Tiz a good time for some tie builds to come. Looking forward to this.

ANH TIEs had decals, yeah. On the ball and the hatch, and the wing struts...


Jason, I missed that thread, I rarely visit the junkyard since I already have more junk then I can handle! :lol Awesome work on those sheets! When you say ANH Tie's had decals do you mean Tie's as in several? The pics you have as reference on your sheet looks a lot like the chronicles one in this thread, it's the same, right? Do you think more then one model was finished with decals?

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I do think that more than one had decals, but since they were repainted for ESB, we'll never know, unless better ref surfaces. Yeah - looks like Chronicle TIE to me.
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What a cool thread! Although it's probably going to be more challenging to identify individual TIEs more than any other Star Wars Studio Scale Fighter! Regarding the almost black cockpit windows on TIE Fighters, I recall that the first time that the "black" appeared was in ROTJ with the TIE Interceptors. I had always guessed that, to save time & resources, they built the two large SS Interceptor models using 2 of the existing 4 hero TIE Fighter spheres & struts (in other words, they only had to build the new wings). Then they painted the cockpit frames black, to add to the "new look".

That's just a guess. But going a step further, I also speculate that TIE's with black frames are strictly ROTJ vintage (even though they still used TIE's with the original gray frames at in 1983 as can be seen in the opening shots when they are escorting the Tydirium).

Is it possible that they switched wings back and forth? That the TIE Fighter with the black cockpit was the sphere & struts taken from a TIE Interceptor?

P.S. - personally I like the gray cockpit frames better. I think the darker gray makes the cockpit look like just a big, featureless black dot from a distance.
I'm with you all the way. I'm even willing to take it one step further, I don't think there is such a thing as a rotj TIE. Has anybody ever seen one or better yet can post a pic or screen cap!?

The one I labeled here as rotj is probably a left over esb which got repainted and "rearmed" and then got some interceptor wings smacked on. For some reason the wings then got switched back again. I could be wrong, no doubts about that but it would explain the story regarding the "Frankenstein" TIE. I think this was even sugested way back when pics of this model started to float around.

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OK, I think I have a new ID here! Check this out!


Matches pretty good with Vaders wingman. Be aware though that in all shots when the TIE races towards the cam it's a different (plain) one.


Man, I do whish there were some reference for the back of this one!


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The one on the left has similar markings and we know that the film was flipped all the time. Also below there is a serious lack of tie fighters in the model shop at the time of ROTJ.

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Steve notice also in your top pic on the underside wingstrut on the right there is a white decal that appears to have a red dot on it. This may help with the side shots. Also on your bottom pic there is a light colored marking on the top front of the ball on the right. This matches the tie on the left in my top pic. If that makes any sense. This also means that during filming the models were switched from vaders left to right as the markings are on the same side of the ball in both shots.

Edit: the red dot is actually a triangle as per Jasons decal sheet.
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Also found some other interesting pix. Anyone who has the 365 days book turn to the tie page. At the bottom there is a pic of the x-1. The hatch is not the one that is currently on the model in the archives. But it is a match for the Edlund one that gene posted in the efx color thread. Also on that page is a pic of a tie that appears nowhere else to my knowledge. The interesting thing is the marking on the ball. Does anyone remember the decals for the tie model kits? There was this pentagonal decal that didn't appear in the film. Well this filming model has one on it's port side...
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What size are the 3 smaller tie interceptors at the bottom?

There is also a mini tie bomber?

And finally what are the little ties on the floor? I am assuming just ties to fill the ROTJ screens? I count 11...and if we assume that floor space is covered square...could be 20 or so of these mini ties. Also, they appear white, and not blueish?
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The ones on the bench in the bottom right corner are actually toys. I think they were Kenner back then. If you look at the pic of Lucas surrounded by all the models you can see the tab on the back of them. The bomber on the stand is studio scale but the one on the bench is prob one of the toys also. Hard to tell. As for the smaller Interceptors .. Just production miniatures I guess. If you look closely in the above pic there are two MPC x wings also.
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Were the Kenner models used in the actual shooting?
I know mpc/ertl xwings were in a few shots.

The ones on the bench in the bottom right corner are actually toys. I think they were Kenner back then. If you look at the pic of Lucas surrounded by all the models you can see the tab on the back of them. The bomber on the stand is studio scale but the one on the bench is prob one of the toys also. Hard to tell. As for the smaller Interceptors .. Just production miniatures I guess. If you look closely in the above pic there are two MPC x wings also.
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Thanks for the picture! Never seen that one before! That might be Lorne Peterson in the back, center, standing.

Well I can make out 2 Studio Scale TIE's, 2 SS Interceptors, and at least 4 smaller Interceptors, plus a ROTJ burned (pyro?) Y-Wing, and in the distance, Red Five still existed (painted as Red Four at the time). To the right of Red Five there appears to be another SS X-Wing (probably Red Two or Red Three, the only ones left). I Also see the SS TIE Bomber and a smaller one of unknown origin below(already discussed). right under the SS TIE Bomber is a smaller TIE Fighter also of unknown origin. I heard that the small white TIEs were only used for planning the shots - but they sure had a lot of 'em.

Not sure which Kenner TIEs are bieng referred to, but the early versions had out-of-scale wings (the sphere was much larger or the wings were much smaller, take your pick). Those don't look like the Kenner toys that I am familiar with (the ones where the wings were spring-loaded and could come off at the push of a button). And they were painted blue-gray until much later.
Also below there is a serious lack of tie fighters in the model shop at the time of ROTJ.
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