TIE Fighter Pilot - Star Wars Trilogy

RETIRED - This is no longer in my collection.

TIE Fighter Pilots represent the elite of the Imperial Navy, having undergone grueling physical and psychological testing to achieve their ranks. Only 10-percent of prospective candidates are chosen for duty. The rest are reassigned throughout the Navy as combat gunners and other personnel.
It takes a dedicated warrior with unending loyalty to strap in behind the control yoke of a TIE fighter and pilot the fragile, speedy craft into battle. Imperial combat pilots are well trained to overcome the inherent design flaws of the TIE fighter, and turn it into a formidable and deadly vessel.
TIE Fighter Pilots wear a flight helmet reminiscent of the Stormtrooper design, with breather tubes affixed to provide necessary life support in the cramped quarters of their TIE Fighters.

TIE Fighter Pilot Helmet
I started off with the Don Post Tie Fighter Helmet.
The Don Post Tie Fighter Pilot Helmer is great. But for a costume to troop in, the helmet needs to be modified.
I first thing that I did to the Tie Pilot Helmet was make the vent holes in the helmet's grin.
Then I drilled out the two holes for the air hose to fit in.
I then did a test fit to see if the air hose will fit nice and snug within the helmet holes.
I then carefully removed the lenses and cut away the excess area for the new lenses to fit. The new lenses that I uses are the set of bubbled lenses that I took from my Stormtrooper.
I then drilled the two holes for the new circular ear pieces that will be added on later.
I then sanded down the helmet to take off the default shine.
After a good washing to remove any dirt I primed the helmet with two coats of primer. The first coat was with a flat grey primer. Thsi allows you to see any imperfections that can then be touch up. The second coat was with flat black primer which is the base coat.
I then carefully painted the TIE Fighter Helmet with three coats of gloss black.
I let it dry for two days to make sure the helmet was fully dry before I worked any more on the Helmet.
I then painted the vent grin silver.
I also painted the front (teeth) grey. When the front teeth were all dry, I gave the newly painted Helmet a coat of gloss clear coat to protect the finish. I let it fully dry for a day.
I then hot glued in some screen under the grin vents.
I added on the side ear pieces which are washers, bolts, with acorn nuts.
I then hot glued in the bubble lenses.

I finally add on the Imperial Logo transfers which I receive from my friend Michael Glover over at Sci-Fi Armor.
This is the hardest part of detailing the Helmet.

*A little trick to get decals positioned where you want them before they stick is to apply Windex to the Helmet or area you are applying the decal to. The Windex will allow for movement and placement of the decal. If it starts to dry out spray more Windex right on top of the decal. Once the Windex is dry the decal is stuck.


To Finish off the TIE Fighter Pilot helmet I took some door edge molding and lined the rim of the helmet all the way around the edge. This gives the helmet a complete and professionl look.

TIE Fighter Pilot Chest Box
This is the raw TIE Pilot Armor and Chest Box Kit from Sci-Fi Armor. Although a most excellent kit, I will not be utilizing all the pieces or the hose(s) that came with this kit. I will be using different pieces of my own to finish the chest box and armor the way I see fit.

So lets begin with the chest box.

I assembled the front and back of the chest box. I filled in the seams with Bondo and sanded it down smooth.
I then drilled the holes for the dowel rod that goes through the box to hold the air hoses. I also drilled the hole on the front for one of the detail pieces.
I then glued on the air hose port (hides end of hose).

After a good washing I primed the assembled chest box black. When that was dry I painted it gloss black. I let the box dry for a full day.

I gave the newly painted chest box a coat of gloss clear coat to protect the finish. I let it fully dry for a day.


While the chest box was drying I started to work on the detail pieces. Here I primed 1"x1" wooden squares that will become the buttons.

They have been painted accordingly.

*Depending on what image or reference source you use the square Chest Box Buttons vary in color. I used the color scheme that was used in Return of the Jedi which uses a Grey button instead of a Red button.

Here are the casts of rocker switches that came with the kit. I sanded them down for detail and primed them.

They have been painted accordingly.

These are the two little buttons for the top of the chest box. I used hinged screw cap covers. I sanded off the hinge, primed, and painted them accordingly.

These are two gears that I bought from Hobby Town. They are used in RC-Cars. I tried to get two that looked somewhat like the ones used in the movies. I had to sand down the back side so they would lay flat against the chest box. I then painted them primer grey.
Now all the detail pieces are applied to the finished chest box. I gave the chest box another coat of clear coat to protect it. I then glued on the two silver details on the front.

Lets move onto the armor itself.


TIE Fighter Pilot Armor

I first sanded down the finished shine of the plactic used for the armor pieces. After a good washing I primed all the rmor pieces and then painted them gloss black.

I let all the pieces dry for two days. I then gave all the newly painted armor pieces a coat of gloss clear coat to protect the finish. I let the clear coat fully dry for a day.

From the plastic strips that came with the kit I made the four 2"x3" rectangles that are attached to the shoulders of the Armor. I sanded them down so they will be ready to be primed and painted later on.

I then added on the snaps to the shoulder details and painted them.

From the plastic strips that came with the kit I made the four 2"x3" rectangles that are attached to the shoulders of the armor. I sanded them down so they will be ready to be primed and painted later on.

I then added on the snaps to the shoulder details and painted them.

I attached two strips of 2"-wide black self-stick velcro to the back of the chest box and to the front armor piece to hold the chest box to the armor.
The Tie Pilot Armor and Chest Box is complete!

*In "A New Hope" the Tie Fighter Pilots have an extra hose that comes out of the Chest Box where the gears are and joins up with the Helmet hose than go to the backside. I did not do this. My Tie Fighter Pilot outfit is based on those in "Return of the Jedi" which excluded the side hoses.

Now to add the hoses for the Helmet to the Chest Box!


TIE Figher Pilot ComPad
Here is a vacuformed version of the ComPad.
After I cleaned it up and washed it I painted it flat black.
Now to paint all the buttons. I had to guess on how to paint the buttons sinced I do not have a reference of the original. So my paint job wil be based off of the toys.
After the paint dried I sprayed it with a clear coat sealer. Then I added sticky-back velcro to the back of the ComPad so it would stick to the velcro that is on the arm of the flgiht suit.

I then created the belt for the TIE Fighter Pilot.




The Black Flgiht Suit I purchased from Federal Army and Navy Surplus, Inc. which I sewed on the Imperial Logo patches
to the arms. The rest of the Costume is a pair of Black Boots and Black Gloves that I also used for my Rebel Pilot.