The Good: Generally decent sculpt, All right accessories
The Bad: Low collectibility, Later, better resculpts, Extreme balance issues.
The Basics: The red carded TIE Fighter Pilot is an inflexible, unbalanced, generic Imperial who is fair, but was recast later in a better fashion.
The magic of Star Wars merchandising is that the most obscure characters and character types end up as action figures. How easily that can be accomplished did not occur to me until I gave the Power Of The Force TIE Fighter Pilot figure a good lookover. The figure is essentially the Death Star Trooper's body with a helmet like a Stormtrooper or, more accurately, an AT-AT Driver, though it is recolored. Unfortunately, in the Power Of The Force line, that means that the figure of the TIE Fighter Pilot carried some of the same weaknesses as the other figure that shared its body. Strangely, though, this seems to have even worse balance, making it more worthwhile to pick up one of the more articulated resculpts.
The TIE Fighter Pilots were black-helmeted, otherwise unarmored Imperials who flew the TIE Fighters with Darth Vader in A New Hope (reviewed here!). These helmeted men were ordered by Vader to come with him and otherwise were seen piloting the fast Imperial ships that dogged the Rebel X-Wing fighters over the Death Star.
The 4" TIE Fighter Pilot figure is rather cool save that it's balance is terrible, It has been improved upon by the subsequent Hasbro TIE Fighter Pilot in the Saga line, which is another reason why I did not recommend this one. However, for those making a vast Imperial army, this sculpt works fine for background soldier in large assembly displays.
The TIE Fighter Pilot is a man who pilots the TIE Fighters and thus does not need much armor. The figure stands 3 7/8" tall to the top of his helmeted head. The TIE Fighter Pilot is dressed in a generic black jumpsuit that makes it almost indistinguishable from Imperial Officers, save that it has TIE fighter controls on a panel that is attached to his helmet and hangs in front of his chest. The outfit has no shading or detailing outside a silver belt buckle and an Imperial symbol painted on either shoulder (one assumes it was a patch on the actual costume). The figure is made entirely of hard plastic.
This toy is a decent sculpt, looking precisely like the seldom-seen pilot. The TIE Fighter Pilot is utterly unimpressive in his coloring detail, as far as tones and shading go, but this is consistent with the source material. These monolithically toned, black-clad pilots with the glossy black helmets pilot the clean TIE Fighters, so it makes sense that it is very clean and sharp. The detailing of the insignias - there is also two on the top of the helmet - are nice and well-painted with consistency and a good eye for detail.
TIE Fighter Pilot, generic soldier of the Empire, comes with only two accessories: a blaster rifle and a standard Imperial blaster. The blaster rifle appears to be the same one that would be used with the Death Star Trooper (reviewed here!) a year later. The 2 5/8" black firearm has a giant barrel and scope that makes it appear realistic. Because of the figure's inflexibility, it cannot do any sort of two-handed grip and as a result, this is more decorative than practical weaponry. This is a giant, flat gun with no coloring detail to it. It is cast in monotonal black plastic.
The Imperial blaster is a one and a half inch black plastic gun that is light on detailing and absent any color detailing. This fits in either of the TIE Fighter Pilot's hands and looks appropriate there.
The four inch toy line was designed for play and the TIE Fighter Pilot is a little better than fair in that regard. The figure is poorly articulated and he has poor balance. Flatfooted, the TIE Fighter Pilot is forced to lean back quite a bit to keep it balanced. Bumping the surface the TIE Fighter Pilot is standing upon makes this one tip over pretty easily. It is hard to pose this figure - which was usually seen on screen seated - in any fashion that looks like it is performing any real action.
The TIE Fighter Pilot lacks significant articulation to make him interesting. The TIE Fighter Pilot is barely poseable. He comes with only six points of articulation, all of which are simple swivel joints. He has joints at the groin socket, shoulders, neck, and waist. The elbows do not extend, so all arm posing is straight-armed.
The TIE Fighter Pilot is ideal for use on playsets where one might be able to keep him seated, save that many of the new playsets and ships will not accommodate figures that sit straight-legged.. The TIE Fighter Pilot has holes in both of his feet to allow him to be plugged into stabilizing holes. Only so supported can the TIE Fighter Pilot be posed holding the heavy blaster rifle raised.
The TIE Fighter Pilot is part of the Power Of The Force four-inch series, a series of Star Wars action figures that was incredibly common. The TIE Fighter Pilot was overproduced, appearing on at least two different cards as an identical sculpt. This is the original, red-carded Power Of The Force figure without the Freeze Frame or hologram sticker. Released as part of the initial 1996 line-up, the TIE Fighter Pilot is a poor investment and it may often be found inexpensively and might well be better for fans looking to play than make money eventually off it.
The TIE Fighter Pilot is another faceless denizen of the Empire, but this version is hard to want to stock up on, as it holds little value - in dollars or play value!
For other Star Wars: A New Hope figures in the "Power Of The Force" line, please check out my reviews of:
Death Star Gunner
Cantina Aliens 3-pack
Death Star Escape 3-pack
Luke Skywalker In Stormtrooper Disguise
For other toy reviews, please be sure to check out my index page on the subject by clicking here!
© 2011 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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