Starship Modeler - The complete information source for modelers who build sci-fi, fantasy and real space subjects

Building and Detailing the TIE Interceptor

By John Lester - images & text © 1998

Building It

Never start work without a plan. Assemble your references, take the parts out of the box, and figure out what has to be done before the next step can start. In this case:

  • Cockpit - Scrap the one that came with the kit and install a new one based on the new TIE/ln release. Details will need to be added to the forward glazing; a control yoke will need to be made; and a new rear bulkhead fabricated. Silver lining: these details also work with the standard TIE kit.
  • Command Pod ("Fuselage") - Fix the innacuracies with the rear hatch and upper canopy glazing. Also, add details missing from the hull, fix the sensors, and add engine details.
  • Solar Panels/Wings - Fix details on the wings, including the blasters and targeting sensors.


I used the command pod from the TIE/Interceptor kit and gave it a new cockpit from AMT's two-ship TIE/ln (standard) kit. You can skip all this and use the entire center portion from the TIE/ln (standard) and attach the TIE/Interceptor's solar panels - that's far easier. However, I have other plans for the remaining TIE (standard) shell.

[New Cockpit]

Compare the new cockpit with the kit original.

This is a small kit - and there's darned little room to work with inside the 'command pod'. Assuming you're going to fix the cockpit using one from the TIE/ln set, start by lopping off the two long mating pins inside the pod halves to give yourself a little more room. There are three small detail pieces to add to the forward cockpit framing. The clear glazing and forward bulkhead have to be glued to the bottom half of the hull, and any fixes to the upper viewports completed, before proceeding.

You'll also have to paint the interior and the forward canopy glazing and framing. After the paint is dry, glue the cockpit sides and pilot's chair to the floor. The rear bulkhead in the TIE/ln kit is wrong - clear out the solid plastic between the ribs before painting and gluing to the rest of the cockpit. Because of the way the canopy glazing and forward frame fit inside the hull there isn't enough room to fit the forward part of the cockpit from the TIE/ln kit unaltered.

You'll need to trim the edges of the bulkheads, shave off the attachment tabs on each bulkhead, and cut off the top part of the rear bulkead frame to make it all fit. You'll also need to cut off the large stub jutting out from the bottom of the kit's forward bulkhead. Glue the cockpit assembly to the forward canopy framing. The bottom of the floor pan should rest on the stand mount sticking out from the bottom of the forward frame. You can trim the remaining cockpit part to fit now - I left it off since it can't be seen at all on my model. I also added a control yoke made from paper clips and putty.

Command Pod

The outer hull pieces are a bit easier to correct. Start with the clear parts in the over head and rear hatches. Both clear pieces in my kit were extremely thick and sat too low in their respecive mounting areas, leaving a noticeable gap between the clear and grey parts. Additionally, the clear insert to the rear hatch was bowed inward, not flat. In both places, I shaved off the mounting pins. If you are not going to have openings to view the cockpit detail, simply glue the inserts in place. Otherwise, cut the appropriate sized clear parts from .020 inch clear styrene and glue them in instead.I used the kit's clear inserts. After the glue dried, I sealed the edges of each part with white glue. After this had dried, I mixed and poured Envirotex clear resin (obtained from the model railroad section of the local hobby shop) in each opening to fill in the gaps. I also tinted the resin with a few drops of Tamiya Smoke clear black). I then set these pieces aside to dry overnight.

Once the resin had cured assembly speeded up considerably. I glued the comand module halves together, then filed and sanded the seams. Next on the agenda were fixing hull details. I constructed the sensor and engine parts for the TIE/Interceptor from .010 sheet styrene and 1/16" rod, using parts from the TIE/ln as a guide. I also built up most of the missing details on the hull using from . .010 sheet, using several shots I found of the studio models as reference. The chin cannon mounts were built up from two antenna mounts from a 1/35 scale HMMWV kit (if you don't have something similiar use putty and 1/16" rod). Additional panel lines were scribed with the tip of a hobby knife. Finally, everything was lightly sanded and washed with mild soapy water to remove finger oils, dust, and other residues that might interfere with paint adhesion.

Solar Panels

After all that work, the solar panels were a breeze. I simply hollowed out the wing-mounted blasters and targeting sensor tubes. Some of the detail in the targeting sensor area is wrong - there should be 2 smaller tubes and some tiny detail outboard of the existing ones, for instance - but it wasn't worth the trouble of cleaning up. The solar arrays were also lightly sanded and washed. They were painted separately to allow for masking/painting of the solar cells, and glued to the command pod when all the paint had dried.

Painting It


The cockpit and all interior surfaces were painted medium grey (Testor's FS 36270 Neutral Grey). The seat cushion and control yoke were painted flat black. Everything inside was given a wash of flat black to make the details stand out. I picked out the various molded-in buttons and lights with gloss white, yellow, red and green. Finally, I drybrushed the cockpit floor and the edges of the instruments on the bulkheads with a steel color to simulate wear.

Before attaching the forward clear glazing, I painted the framing flat black. I then went over this with the Neutral Grey. The black helped to prevent the grey from looking translucent - and looks great when looking through the cockpit from the rear.

[New Cockpit]

Command Pod and Solar Panels

While the the fighter appears to be silver or gray on the screen, the studio models were actually painted Pactra Stormy Sea Blue. This color, which is more grey than blue, has not been made in fifteen years or so. The models looked grey because the tremendous amount of light used in filming them brightened the apparent color considerably. After priming the model with a base coat of Testor's Flat Light Aircraft Grey, I chose to make the overall outside color a mix of Testor's Flat Aircraft Grey (FS 16473) and just a couple drops of Inetrmediate Blue (FS 35164). This I let dry for several days, before masking around the solar panels and painting them gloss black. Finally, I glued the solar panels to the command pod.

Displaying It

Nothing fancy here. As usual, I impaled the model on a thin, clear acrylic rod and mounted that in a wooden base. I pick up a dozen or so small wooden plaques in various sizes at the local craft store for 50 cents to a dollar, sand them smooth, and stain them various shades. Plain - but I want attention focused on the model, not the base.

Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the reviewer.
Read other reader's reviews of this kit      Submit your own review of this kit.

Please direct comments, questions, corrections and picked nits to Starship Modeler staff.

Go back up | Starship Modeler Home | Site Map | Star Wars | Feedback

Star Wars names, characters and all related indicia are the property of Lucasfilm Ltd.
This review copyright 1997-1998 by the Lester Press. Last updated 15 May 1998 (reformatted 23 January 2015)