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#2352 TECHNIQUE ANALYSIS: TIE Fighter by @inthert_builds

Alt text / image descriptions are available for the images in this post.


What Star Wars MOC builder hasn't tried their hand at a TIE Fighter? LEGO themselves have made at least 34 versions over the years! However, this build by @inthert_builds packs unprecedented detail into an extremely compact size. Swipe to see some of the impressive techniques used and don't forget to give his account a follow!


This amazing build tackles a common subject in an innovative way. Let’s study this build to bring our SNOT game to the next level! An image of a TIE Fighter from Star Wars. It’s 22 studs high and is unusual in that the black solar panel wings are built with bricks instead of plates and tiles. There are almost no exposed studs on the entire build, giving it a skeel and sculptural look. An image of the black wings taken apart, hinting how they’re built of bricks. Swipe to see the techniques!

The “solar array wings” are built with SNOT bricks. The build direction changes multiple times to make everything align. An image of half of a TIE wing, laid out on a table in an exploded view, so the construction techniques are easy to see. The support frames aren’t just on the surface – they go all the way through the model! Did you know clips (48729) can attach to this hinge (44301)? The same clips grasp a 1 by 2 tile on all four corners so that two appear on each side of the wing. An image of a black bracket, 1 by 1 by 2 thirds, with arrows pointing out how it’s used to change the build direction.

An image of part of the wing, which features a very shallow slope of black angled bricks. How did the builder achieve this tricky angle with “cheese grater” slopes? An image of three 1 by 2 18 degree slope bricks, stacked using simple bricks and plates. A beginner might try stacking the slopes on regular bricks and tiles, but this creates a “jagged” effect. An image of a more sophisticated build using the same 18 degree slope pieces, making use of the bracket from the previous slide. The 18 degree slope is perfect and smooth. Experienced builders know they can get a half-plate offset (one sixth the height of a brick) by using a bracket. But this creates an angle that’s too sharp! An image of the same build with a 1 by 2 tile used, highlighted, showing how this allows an offset by any amount. The actual solution uses a 1 by 2 tile, which has no bar on the bottom, allowing a stud to slide into any position!

All those critical angles meet at this juncture point, viewed here from the outside with the decoration removed. An image showing a central hub where six wing segments and six wing struts all meet. Complex joinery is used to make everything delicately connect. The mechanism is brilliant! The build direction changes nine times within the space of just a few studs. Here’s how it’s done. An image showing a computer render of six key pieces of the build. Two 1 by 2 bricks with technic hole act as the “bread” of a sandwich, the top one being upside down. Each of them have a stud inserting into the same “sandwich filling,” which is a 1 by 2 plate modified with technic hole. This plate has on top of it a 1 by 1 round plate with vertical bar, which itself inserts into a 1 by 1 round plate with horizontal bar, which is then clipped into a 1 by 2 plate with horizontal clip.

Here are some more details we didn’t want you to miss. This sub-build goes almost completely unseen, on the inside of the wing where the wings meet the arms. An image of several stacked plates, wedges, and tiles. One tiny D-shaped tile is wedged between two studs of a jumper plate. To achieve a smooth transition from the wings to the cockpit, an old variant of the 3 by 4 wedge plate is used, part 4859. In 2006, it was replaced by a version with stud notches, below. An image of the cockpit, wings removed so you can easily see the buttress-like smooth transition making use of the wedge plate. An image of the new wedge plate, with jagged stud notches, which do not allow it to be used for a smooth sculptural purpose.

The cockpit is super compact but at the same time is quite round. An image of the cockpit, looking almost spherical. Two tiny round parts peek out from the bottom, and it’s not easy to see how they are attached. Did you know the lever/antenna fit in here? It sticks out the bottom to represent the laser cannons, a small but important detail. An inset image showing the bottom of a 3 by 3 curved slope brick. The stud notches, or cut-outs, allow a lever (which has been removed from its base) to be jammed in there. The twin ion engines are represented by Infinity Stones! An image of the back of the cockpit, showing two glowing red bricks on either side. An inset image of a gemstone lego brick, marked 36451a. There’s even space for a pilot! An image of the cockpit with the front window taken off, showing an imperial pilot in a black space suit.

Apparently, the final build is quite fragile. LEGO is limited for official models because they have to stand up to play. It’s great that MOC builders push past those boundaries to create works of art like this! An image of the TIE Fighter at a dramatic angle, flying up and to the right. If you agree that this builder deserves more attention, follow them on Instagram @inthert_builds and visit them on Flickr: Inthert.

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