Monday, August 18, 2008

Imperial TIE Fighter Pilot (ESB 1980-82)

Poor TIE Pilot. This character was featured in the first Star Wars, usually right before getting blown up. Yet, he didn’t get a figure until ESB. Maybe this was a boon, since no TIE Pilot was actually shown during ESB. Yet, those glory-hog Snowtroopers got a lot of face time! Bastards.

The TIE Pilot came on an ESB, then ROTJ card, and came with a blaster pistol that looks a lot like a phaser from the old Star Trek series. His head did not turn, like most of the helmeted Imperial figures, but he still managed to look cool. Like other pilots, he did not get a figure shot but a vehicle shot on the background picture. When will they learn to look at the man and not the machine!?

Now this was a figure that came out a film later then the actual vehicle he was supposed to pilot. This happens again with the AT-ST driver. The least Kenner could have done was made a TIE Bomber (featured in ESB) to come out at the same time. But ooooh, no. They don’t come out with one until 2003, and then they make it a Wal-Mart exclusive. What? I can’t be bothered to get all dressed up to go to a Wal-Mart – who are they kidding? Then again in 2007: a Target exclusive. Well, I really can’t afford clothes to go in there.

Why should you own this figure? Five reasons:

1. You’ve had the TIE Fighter since it came out – finally get a pilot! Then crash it.

2. Helmet. Imperial. Automatically cool.

3. The man in black, who takes no flack. Oh, yeaaaaaah.

4. Show that frickin’ upstart from Tatooine who’s boss. Oh, wait, his X-Wing has shields. My bad.

5. It’s really hard for one person to hold both the Falcon and a TIE Fighter at the same time to have a dog fight. Why not just fly the figures around instead. It’s like the same thing! Right?

Only ten percent of recruits that joined the TIE pilot program actually made it into the TIE fighter corp. Others were dispersed to do other military functions. TIE pilots had a full life-support system uniform, because TIE fighters didn’t actually have life-support. Unlike a ship such as an X-Wing, TIEs were ferried to their location by a supporting ship, like a Star Destroyer, so their actual flying time tended to be short. However, if they were shot down, their survival tended to be minimal, thus they were normally not given personal weapons or rations.

In the subsequent novels, there were a couple of TIE pilots that got a few pages, Baron Soontir Fel, and a TIE pilot that crashed during the original Battle of Yavin. He was discovered years later by Han and Leia’s kids when Luke founded a Jedi Academy on Yavin.

Want the full story? Wookieepedia article

79th in alphabetical order

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