TIE fighter!

So, a few months ago Sam (6) comes toddling into my office and says “Can we make a TIE fighter?”

And I say “You mean like get a modeling kit, where you put it together?”  And he says “No, I mean make it.”  And I say “You mean, like, make a TIE fighter?”  And he says “Yeah, like make one.”  And I’m like “Like, make it out of — what, exactly?”  And he’s like “Well, what are they made out of?”  And I’m like “Well, they’re made out of some kind of metal from another planet, dude.”  And he’s like “Well, but what could we make it out of that we have around here?”  And I’m like, “I don’t know — cardboard?”  And he’s like “Sure, cardboard, we could do that, right?  And tape.  And glue, right?”

Anyway, many months later, here is our TIE fighter, after countless production delays.  It wouldn’t fool a stormtrooper, but I think it looks pretty good for a cardboard TIE fighter made by someone who’s never made anything crafty before in his life (by which I mean me, not Sam).


For those of you troubled by the color scheme, there was a long discussion between the client (Sam) and the builder (me) about what color to make it.  In the movies, the TIE fighters are shown to be a pale bluish-gray.  The toy TIE fighter we own (a 1997 re-release item) is a tad more bluish, but the TIE fighters shown in Sam’s Lego Star Wars video game are shown to be a dark cobalt blue.  Then we found out that George Lucas actually wanted the TIE fighters to be the cobalt blue, but it was too close to the blue of the blue screens he was using for his special effects of the time so they had to make them gray.  Sam is a stickler for accuracy, so for him the gray of the movies isn’t accurate and neither is the bluer gray of the toys — the cobalt blue of the video game is the most accurate color scheme.

Sam’s initial plan was to have a working hatch on his TIE fighter, and an actual cockpit inside with controls and things for the pilot to operate.  Months of delays (while the builder worked on a TV show) forced him to accept a simpler version, and when he saw this mean-looking pilot hunkered down in his forced-perspective cockpit, all was forgiven.  One of these days I’ll buy a ruler and I’ll be able to accurately paint an octagon.

Watch out, Santa Monica!  There’s a rogue TIE fighter loose among your suburban palms!

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18 Responses to “TIE fighter!”
  1. popebuck1 says:

    Wow! That is genuinely impressive! Were you working from a specific set of plans, or just creating off the cuff?

    • Todd says:

      Totally off the cuff. The production required that all materials had to be found within a five-foot radius of my desk, so that it could be something I worked on while trying to think of plot points for a TV show. It’s corrugated cardboard, duct tape, one plastic rod to run through the fuselage, some wood glue to stick the solar panels on, acrylic paint and a Sharpie for details.

  2. medox says:

    I think the word I am looking for is “spiffy”!

    It reminds me of my little brother, who when he was younger could take a couple pieces of printer paper, scissors and tape — and improvise a model car in a half hour. I love it!

  3. greyaenigma says:

    Nicely awesome! I was afraid at first that he was going to create functional TIE fighter, then we’d all be in trouble!

    • Todd says:

      When it is within Sam’s power to build a functioning TIE fighter, don’t worry, HE WILL.

      • greyaenigma says:

        That’s not our moon!

        But that’s just what has me worried.

        I just hope the Pentagon doesn’t get their hands on him.

      • ghostgecko says:

        Awesome! Sam’s lucky, my dad would never do anything this cool for me.
        I was thinking he wanted one the size he could sit in. Probably shouldn’t suggest this this or dad won’t get any work done.
        Can I ask, which tv show?

        • Todd says:

          which tv show?

          My TV show, the one that hasn’t gone into production yet.

          • ghostgecko says:

            Awesome possum. So it IS going into production, then? Can we get a little hint what it’s about? I was out for a month or two so I might have missed it if you mentioned it before.

            • Todd says:

              It’s a long way from production. When we get a deal, my blog readers will be the first to know.

              • ghostgecko says:

                Fair enough. Will be waiting for that.

                I saw a mantis outside today and thought of you guys. I would have brought it in to photograph but I doubt it would have lasted very long among the cats.

  4. mcbrennan says:

    I love that. That actually looks really good. I made one like this when I was slightly older than Sam, and it…was a bit more, let’s say battle-damaged? But I used masking tape instead of duct tape.

    Complicating the color issue, the original ’77 TIE fighter toys were white. When the “Darth Vader TIE Fighter” came out (which was my favorite) it was a weird dark grey. When the reissue toys came out, my inner eight-year old was righteously indignant at the color change. Cobalt blue would have been much preferable.

  5. teamwak says:

    Wow, there’s even a pilot in the cockpit.

    There is no end to the talents of the Alcotts. Mantis wranglers, and now interplanetary ship builders.


  6. Will you use it in your movie?