Hasbro's 6" 1/12 scale First Order Tie Fighter is likely to be one of those products that we as fans may end up wishing we'd never asked for.
The Tie Fighter arrives in a giant box which mirrors the black and red design of the current phase 3 product for the Black Series. The front of the box has the Star Wars Black Series logo in the top left, and the grey-scale image of the Tie Fighter in the top right flashed with some red highlighting. The lower left and centre shows images of the product itself and to the right is a window in which sits the Special Forces Tie Fighter Pilot that is packed with the ship.
The right side of the box is a block red colour, again mirroring the single figures. And it is stamped with an ominous 01 in black text, indicating Hasbro potentially have a series of larger vehicles planned for the Black Series line. Under the numbering is the First Order Tie Fighter wording, replicated in 3 other languages. The top panel of the box repeats the Black Series logo and then has an insert showing the inner cockpit of the fighter. The whole left side of the box is a grey scale line drawing of the Tie Pilot, again with the very subtle but effective use of red highlighting down the helmet. Round the back there is a panel to the left (as you look) that repeats the 01 numbering in bright red and then has a four language bio of the ship. The rest of the rear is made up of varying panels illustrating the ship from various angles.
So let's crack the box open, and once inside you suddenly appreciate the size of the thing in front of you. The two wings are supplied separate and are in relation to the box are on their side. Under these you will find the cockpit wrapped in cardboard. Be careful not to discard the cockpit door or the two clip on aerial / gun arrays. The wings simply clip to either side of the cockpit, while the top aerial and lower gun also click into place. Finally the cockpit door needs to be clicked on - and that's it, your Tie Fighter is assembled.
So how does it look? Well the detail is superb, none more so than in the cockpit itself which is filled with two seats and an array of gizmo's and controls. The whole thing feels and looks solid, and is a fair weight when held (flown round the room going nnnnnnnnnrrrrrrrrrrrraaaaaaaaw). The downside is that the wings are slightly misshapen, a common issue reported on most models. It's not massively noticeable, but up close you can see the warping. The paint is also a tad disappointing. In fact there isn't any as such just the red paint down the cockpit that identifies it as a Special Forces Tie Fighter. I would have loved to see some weathering and washes to bring out more detail but I appreciate that this thing was already a £170 RRP and more paint would equal more costs.
The only other downside, and this may be only for fat handed people like me, is that it is really difficult to get the pilot - or indeed any figure - into the seats. The opening of the cockpit means that if you have larger hands you can't get your hand in to slot the pilot in place. Not sure how this could have been resolved, but it has caused me a degree of frustration and so far my pilot still hasn't got into his seat.
The figure is a lot nicer in hand than I expected having not been a huge fan of the new Tie Fighter Pilot design from what I had seen on the 3.75" figure. I am not going to do a full review of the figure here, that will be done via the base version that is landing in wave 3. The pilot is essentially all black, but there is some variation in shading and finish from the armour vs the flight-suit. The First Order decals are nicely applied, but sadly on my version the red stripes on the helmet were a little rubbed. Articulation is OK, but the head is held in place by the stiff breathing pipe. The legs are also difficult to get into the seated position to get him into the seat. The pilot comes with one small gun, and unlike his Original Trilogy counterpart there is no holster to hold it in.
The biggest (pun intended) issue anyone will have with this is the size. Even if you see the box you will ultimately be surprised at how big this thing is. And there is the problem, once you have it what do you do with it? Yes, lucky collectors with larger houses and dedicated collection rooms will be ok - but what about the rest of us who may be limited to a couple of Ikea cabinets?
Don't get me wrong, I stood (virtually) alongside all those fans clamoring for bigger and better product for the Black Series and for those vehicles, but like many I am now sat here with a huge Tie Fighter sat next to me really wondering what to do now. If you haven't bought this yet, then I suggest you take a real good look at the full size of this beast before committing. Even the box, if you were going to keep it packaged, will take up a good 2ft x 2ft x 1ft and I doubt would even go through a lot of loft hatches.
I was fine with the Speeder Bikes, Jabba, Tauntauns etc and would love Hasbro to go bigger from these to say the Sandspeeder or the Snowspeeder. Sadly I think that this scale has its restrictions and the larger ships like the Tie or indeed an X-Wing or AT-ST need to be for the super collectors only. Space is often more of a commodity than cash to collectors. £170 (or cheaper if you shop around) isn't a massive amount of money but the space that this Tie Fighter will take up in your collection room / house is massive and needs careful consideration.
All that being said I am not going to let the size issue impact the scoring. Providing collectors are clear on the size then as a package, and at the £170 shelf price, I am going to score this a 4 out of 5. The only downsides to the model is the warped wings and the lack of paint applications.