When word reached the streets about a new series of Lego Star Wars fighters based on the original trilogy was in the works, I was happy. The movies have some great ship designs, and building an Imperial Tie Fighter is a something that every generation of science fiction fans (who are Lego enthusiasts) should have a chance to do.
The newest Lego version of the Tie Fighter is the best they have released in both looks and durability, but it does have some minor issues that prevent it from being perfect.
At 413 pieces, this set has a lot more potential for detail than the previous sets, and it delivers. The build uses a few build tricks to create a very pleasing model once it is complete. Especially nice is the light bluish gray border around the outside of the radiator panels. Along with being detailed, the 9492 Tie Fighter is big. It is noticeably larger than the older 7263 and 7146 sets.
The large radiator panels are mostly created using plates. Some of these are relatively uncommon black 6×12 modified tiles (or modified plates) that only have studs along three edges. I discovered one bad thing about these tiles right after opening the set. Due to their large size, and how the set is packed, two of them had a number of fairly deep scratches that really stood out. The scratches were probably caused by another tile during either packing or shipping. I’m sure that Lego would have replaced the plates if I notified them.
Four minifigures come with the set: an imperial officer, a death star trooper, a R5-J2 droid, and the Tie Fighter’s pilot.
“Alright, so a priest, a rabbi, and a wookie walk into a bar…”
Along with outshining its predecessors in aesthetics, this new Tie Fighter also performs better in terms of durability. It is not unbreakable, but it did hold up to a pair of young children (4 and 7) playing with it. The plates that make up the radiator panels can separate. Once that starts, the radiator assembly starts to fall apart. I also found that the entire radiator will detach if it is dropped. That is a good thing, because the complete radiator is easy to reattach (it is held on by two pins and an axle).
The building process was quick and the directions clear. The two radiators are identical and symmetrical, so you might as well build them both at the same time. A huge positive about this set is NO STICKERS!
My biggest complaint is that all of the black makes any dust stand out like a sore thumb, and for some reason my newly built Tie Fighter is a dust magnet. Not just little threads of dust either, it likes to collect extremely fine dust on those big black tiles. If you are going to make this a display piece, you should either dust it off often (with a can of air) or keep it in a display case.
All the black means that dust and smudges really stand out under close inspection.
Favorite part in this set: there are eight dark bluish gray 1×4 hinge plates. Least favorite part in this set: the two dark bluish gray slopes, inverted 65 6x6x2 quad with cutouts. However, without them the fighter would be less durable, and they did a nice job of incorporating them into the design.