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Kit Review: AMT/ERTL TIE Interceptor

By John Lester - images & text © 1998

The TIE Interceptor is the latest variant of the trusty TIE fighter, first seen in Return of the Jedi. MPC (now part of AMT/ERTL) put out a snap-together kit of the craft back when ROTJ first came out which is still fairly abundant. Despite it's small size, it builds up into a nice looking ship and can easily be converted to other TIE variants. Unfortuantely, it suffers from some serious inaccuracies (imagine that: an ERTL kit that's wrong ... oh. That would be all of them, wouldn't it?). Still, the basic model is solid enough and with a bit of work and research one can fix almost all the problems.

Overall Impressions.

Score (1-10): 5 | Ease: (1-5) 2 | Verdict: Has potential.

This one's good for a six year old's first kit - needs work otherwise. However, it can be made into a faithful replica of the original with a bit of work.

What's Wrong

[TIE Interceptor Side View]

For starters, the cockpit area is just flat out wrong - at least according to the references I've been able to gather. Your best bet (and the course of action I've chosen after a false start or two) is to modify a cockpit from the AMT TIE (standard) twin pack. That one is closer to true, though you'll still need to fix a few details. Other problems include:

Click on image for expanded view.

  • (1) Engines - This kit doesn't have any! An easy enough fix, but for heaven's sake ... what was ERTL thinking? The pilot would get out and push?
  • (2) Cannon - The original uses the same hull as the TIE/ln, and has the same mounts for cannon on the chin (though no weapons are mounted there). These are missing on the model.
  • (3) Sensors - Forward of the engines is a similiar panel completely missing on the kit.
  • (4) Hull Detail - Various panel lines and bits of hull detail are missing.
  • (5) Upper Canopy - The clear insert sits too low, causing a gap much deeper than on the original.
  • (6) Rear Hatch - The clear insert here also sits too low - and mine had a noticeable depression. Assuming you build this area as depicted in the movie, it should have a flat, clear, hex-shaped window in the center of the hatch.
  • (7) Bottom Hatch - detail on this hatch (originally used as a cover for a mount used in filming) is inaccurate.
  • (8) Targeting Sensors - Cylindrical areas here, and on the wing-tip blasters, should be bored out. Details in the center area are inaccurate as well.


  • Box-top photo of studio model.
  • Shane Johnson; Star Wars Technical Journal, Del Rey/Ballantine, 1995.
  • Bill Smith, Doug Chiang, Troy Vigil; Star Wars: The Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels, Del Rey/Ballantine, 1996.

A special note on the hatches is in order. MPC made the rear hatch on the TIE/Interceptor an actual pilot's access, with a clear hex-shaped insert. As Mr Johnson was kind enough to point out, in ANH the hexagonal area on the rear hull of the TIE command pod is clear, a window in the pilot's entrance hatch. On a widescreen TV (with the letterboxed videotapes) one can see the walls of the Death Star trench whizzing past behind Vader's (and the other Imperial pilots') shoulder in the last battle scenes. This would mean that AMT/MPC actually got something right when the molded the clear window and rear hatch. However, sometime in the late seventies the function of this area was changed. Apparently, Kenner decided to use the top hatch (which was actually intended to hide a mounting point for the effects miniatures) as the access hatch to allow their action figure to be placed inside their TIE toy. Other folks perpetuated this mistake, until LucasFilm decided to accept it - and made all the reference pubs 'toe the party line'. Now the top hatch is the access hatch, and the rear area houses a solar ionization reactor. I chose to make the hexagonal area an access hatch - which means the center part will stay clear. If you wish to revise history - paint it dark grey.

Where to Find This Kit

If your local hobby dealer doesn't have one, check Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Toys'r'Us or similiar discount stores. These kits are *everywhere* ....

(Update - January, 2015: The above was true in 1998, when this was first published. Now .... not so much. You can still find these kits fairly easily on eBay and a t model contests/swap meets, but they are long out of production and no longer on store shelves -- Ed.).

Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the reviewer.
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Please direct comments, questions, corrections and picked nits to me at Starship Modeler staff.

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This review copyright 1997 by the Lester Press. Last updated 15 May 1998 (reformatted 23 January 2015)