A regularly updated blog about my vintage Kenner Star Wars toy collection. Some stuff that I've recently acquired; some stuff that I've had since I was a kid. Some rare, some common, but all sharing the warmth, charm and character of the "first generation" of Star Wars toys - the ones we played with as kids in the late '70s and early '80s.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Darth Vader's TIE Fighter

When you're Darth Vader, you don't just fly around in any old TIE Fighter. Even though it only appeared in the first movie, Vader's special TIE Advanced spacecraft with its distinctive bent wings became as emblematic of the Sith Lord as his crazy emphysemiac breath mask. And so for Kenner, just as they released Luke's X-Wing Fighter, Vader's TIE wasn't far behind in the product queue.

The box on my example is a little the worse for wear, but it came from the childhood collection of my wife's American cousin, Austin, so has some sentimental value.

Typical 1970s kids on the box with bowl haircuts and tight-fitting turtlenecks. We all had them...

Perhaps the copywriter responsible for the box text put "LASER" in all-caps and quotes because he or she was mindful that "Laser" is actually an acronym: "Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation." However, he or she also wrote "SOLAR PANELS" in all caps so my theory may not hold.

In fact, the theory that the Kenner copywriter was some sort of science enthusiast is probably bunk, since "Space Sound" has to be an oxymoron...

Since the DV TIE was released along with the first twelve figures, it makes sense that only the Sith Lord and Stormtroopers appear on the box. Although, having said that, the Kenner package designers could be notoriously parsimonious with the variety of figures they featured.

This fantastic and widely used image also appears on the box art. Unusual, since most packaging features only images of the toy itself.

Speaking of which... here it is. Of course, as we all know, the DV TIE differs from the standard TIE Fighter only in colour of plastic moulding and its special wing design.

I love to set up the tableau from the box photo and it's usually possible to do without using any figure stands or other props - just letting the figures stand on their own. However, in this case, the Troopie* at far right was posed in mid-stride and my figures just don't stand that way without help! 

You'd think that a Force-choking maniac waving a lightsaber would get these guys' attention, but no. Two of the Stormtroopers are seemingly engaged in a deep conversation while the third is strolling around nonchalantly. Such is life on the Death Star I suppose. 

Typical copyright info, appearing with subtle differences across the Kenner range of TIE variants.

The view from the cockpit. Imagine drawing a bead on Red Five and letting him survive to blow up your ultimate space station death weapon? That had to have kept Vader up at night.

*"Troopie" is a nickname coined by Skye Paine of the Star Wars Collectors' Archive podcast with the intention of having it "go viral". Please don't EVER use it to refer to Stormtroopers. I did once, but I think I got away with it...


  1. Dear Sir,

    Do not think your use of the offensively diminutive 'Troopie' went unnoticed. We shadowy lurkers of the Internet are a typically silent lot, but will nevertheless unreservedly spring into action when established trilogy nomenclature is threatened by shameless linguistic vandalism.

    Good day, Sir. ;)