One of the most iconic of all Star Wars ships is the TIE. Having a nicely painted swarm of these little guys looks great on the table. Here is a tutorial on how I painted my Imperial TIE Fighters.
Before starting, understand that the TIE models are all going to be in bad shape. Every single one of mine had to be straightened. I figured out a quick way of righting these ships.
I took a blow dryer and held it close to the model to heat it up so the plastic can be manipulated. I placed the model in a jar otherwise it would get too hot to handle!
If you do this, be careful. Don’t hold the hairdryer too close to the bottom as there is a lot of air pressure in that small space and a sort of vortex will develop. A few times I laughed out loud as a TIE shot out of the jar and flew into the air. Luckily I managed to track the TIE with my eyes but I might have lost one flying behind a book shelf or something, so be mindful of that if you’re planning on using my method.
If you are bald and don’t own a blow dryer, you can use boiling water to get TIEs into a workable state instead.
After the TIEs were heated up they could be worked like jelly for quite some time, 5-8 seconds if memory serves, and still workable for a few seconds after that. While the TIE is in it’s jelly like state, use your fingers to work the wings and make them straight. As a carpenter friend of mine use to say, your hands are the best tools you have, so use them!
After the models were straightened and any mould lines removed with a file and knife, I primed the TIEs in black using P3 Black Primer. In my opinion, it’s the best primer around for preserving small details on models, I highly recommend using it.
It’s a fantastic primer and applies very thin coats as I’ve mentioned previously in other articles.
After many coats of primer (better 5 thin coats than 2 thick ones!) I drybrushed the TIEs with Vallejo Neutral Grey (Codex Grey for GW).
Below are two pictures of what they looked like after the first drybrush.
I then applied another lighter grey drybrush mix of Silver Grey + Neutral Grey 3:1.
You can see in the pictures below the grey areas are more pronounced after the second drybrush.
In the picture below you can see three painted black panels, and three left to go.
Sometimes you might want to go back and touch up either grey or black. Depending on how bad your gamer OCD is and how many TIEs you have to paint, just remember the scale of these little guys and the fact that they only have 3 hit points.
You won’t notice any small mistakes when they are on the table, and most likely 3 hit points won’t last long anyway 🙂
Here are my Painting Notes:
• Drybrush Neutral Grey (GW Codex Grey)
• Drybrush lightly Silver Grey + Neutral Grey 3:1
• Paint two red dots on the back GW Blood Red
• Paint two guns on the front Orange Fire
• Paint edges of the Solar Panels Neutral Grey
• Paint inside solar panel Black
• Paint in the Black parts of outside solar panel face
• Touch up edges with Neutral Grey
• Paint connecting lines on the inside of the panels, from the body to the corner Neutral Grey
In my next article I’ll go over how I painted an Imperial Logo on my Howlrunner TIE.