The Tie fighter was the symbol of the Empire’s oppression and ruthlessness. The scream of the twin ion engines is enough to make anyone run for cover. Over the years, the Empire turned out variations of the theme in an attempt to design more effective, specialized fighters. That effort developed Vader’s TIE Advanced, the TIE Defender and the TIE Crawler, all very effective starfighters in their own right. LEGO has done an excellent job at recreating these advanced TIE-type fighters, and they are the available in the 7664 TIE Crawler, 8087 TIE Defender and the 10131 TIE Collection sets, all part of the Expanded Universe LEGO Star Wars theme.
The limited edition 7644 TIE Crawler is the only multi-purpose TIE fighter, able to go from flying to ground support in an instant. Featuring the traditional ball shaped cockpit design with mounted twin laser cannons and a missile launcher, the fighter’s wings come equipped with tank-style treads. This vehicle, though it might seem large and unwieldy, is ideal for trooper support anywhere in the Empire. Also known as the Century Tank, these Imperial heavy tanks were used by the Imperial Remnant after the death of the Emperor. Traveling up to 90 km/h, these vehicles could rush to the aid of Imperial troops and arrive in time to beat back the Rebellion. The 7644 TIE Crawler set was used to introduce the new Shadow Stormtrooper LEGO Star Wars minifigure, with cloaking armor. Armed with the newest blaster pistols, these Imperial operatives were feared across the galaxy for their crack military skills. At 548 pieces, this set is rated for builders age 8 to 12. This is a very difficult set to build, with many small pieces and is not necessarily one that will stand up to rough play. While elegantly constructed, the wings are quite heavy and might cause some issues during play, though the set is still a must have for serious Star Wars lovers.
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The 8087 TIE Defender was the Imperial’s answer to the Rebel Alliance’s B-Wing and X-Wing starfighters. Heavily armed, the TIE Defender features an impressive four laser cannons, two ion cannons and 2 missile launchers. The LEGO version comes equipped with six flick-to-fire missiles (two on each wing) to greatly increase playability, so you can actually throw things at enemy starfighters. The TIE Defender was also equipped with a shield generator and hyperdrive, making it both more expensive and more independent than the traditional TIE fighter. That being said, these LEGO Star Wars minifigure pilots typically survived longer than their TIE counterparts, and gained a terrifying reputation for the fighter’s design. First scene in the campaign against Admiral Zaarin, this fighter was widely used by the Imperial Remnant. This amazing fighter consists of 304 pieces and is recommended for builders age 8 to 14 due to the special pieces and odd construction techniques used in its creation. The set includes the new, redesigned TIE pilot and a regular Stormtrooper. An incredible size, over 8 inches (20cm) tall and over 9 inches (22cm) wide, this set is a must have for all Imperial LEGO fans.
The 10131 TIE Collection is another set, however, that no Imperial should miss. Containing Vader’s personal Tie Advanced, two regular Tie fighters and the Tie/d fighter (piloted by a droid brain). These classic reproductions of the amazing starfighters are a great addition to any space fleet, enabling your people to wreck havoc and rain destruction down on the heads of their enemies. The simplistic fighters recreate the original Lucas creations, but have very few moving parts. The four ships are built from 682 pieces and recommended for builders age 8 and up due to their complexity, and include Darth Vader, two Tie pilots and the droid brain.