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LEGO TIE Fighter 2021 review: Near-flawless execution at a value-packed price

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LEGO’s latest lineup of Star Wars builds launched at the beginning of the month with four new creations headlined by the X-Wing we took a look at last week. And to go alongside the Rebel’s iconic starfighter, there’s also a reimagined version of the TIE Fighter, which we’ll be getting our hands on today to see how the newest version of the Imperial starfighter stacks up. Head below for a closer look and all of our thoughts on the new LEGO TIE Fighter.

Hands-on with LEGO’s latest TIE Fighter

Following the last full-sized TIE fighter from 2018, LEGO is back to kick off the year’s Star Wars kits with a new version of the iconic Imperial starfighter. A lot has changed in those three years, with LEGO’s most recent emphasis on a more budget-focused build, leading to a more compact version of the ship than we’ve seen in the past. 

Stacking up to 432 pieces, LEGO’s latest TIE Fighter debuts with an overall sturdy build with plenty of authentic details. The ship pairs with three included minifigures that we’ll circle back on shortly and features an opening cockpit, spring-loaded shoots, and other play features.

Highlights on the new LEGO TIE Fighter

While there’s a lot of things that LEGO executed pretty flawlessly here, the solar array wings are easily the highlights of the model. Flanking the cockpit on both sides, the builds accurately portray what you’d find with the onscreen inspiration. These use a pretty large portion of the kit’s overall part count, but puts all of the bricks to excellent use. 

There are some nice techniques to pull off the webbing design on the outside, which looks as good as we’ve seen from LEGO over its nearly 22 years of Star Wars models. The only real downside of the design is that LEGO doesn’t make one of the parts used for the outer ring in a light gray to match the rest of the build, so a section does a stick out. But aside from that, these are pretty notable aspects of the build and about as accurate as it gets at that.

The cockpit isn’t without its praise, though, as LEGO has done a pretty solid job at re-creating the TIE Fighter’s unique design. There’s the same printed windshield piece we’ve seen used time and time again at this point, which still does a great job at capturing the vehicle’s likeness in LEGO form. 

Then on the inside, there’s even some little controls and plenty of room for the included pilot to fit in. While the exterior is a bit lacking in some areas, the compromise to use pieces elsewhere on the model definitely pays off. 

The entire construction is also extremely solid despite being one of the more flimsy-looking ships in the Star Wars universe. LEGO has done a great job ensuring that it stays in one piece through play sessions and delivers a model that’ll easily stand up to swooshing around, and then some. 

LEGO’s budget-minded focus pays off 

Just like with the latest version of LEGO’s X-Wing, the new 2021 TIE Fighter features an overall build that is notably smaller than its predecessor. And following the same trend as the Rebel equivalent, LEGO has made the Imperial fighter we’re looking at today just as good a value, if not a better one.

The slimmed-down size is much better suited to minifigure-scale than we’ve seen in the past and looks notably better with the printed cockpit piece than past versions. It complements the X-Wing perfectly, and even though it’s one of the smallest TIE Fighters to date, still packs all of the expected details.

Included minifigures

Alongside the TIE Fighter itself, LEGO includes three different Imperial minifigures this time around. As you’d expect from the ship, there’s a TIE pilot that shares the same design we’ve seen from previous models. LEGO is also packing in a Stormtrooper, which has the newer helmet mold and all the same printing from the latest Star Wars sets. 

While the pilot is pretty essential for the TIE Fighter, it’s great to see the inclusion of a Stormtrooper too, especially at the price point. LEGO takes that one step further, though, by also including an exclusive NI-L8 Protocol Droid figure. The printing is pretty solid on the torso and even continues onto the legs. Even though it isn’t a fan-favorite character like General Dodonna in the new X-Wing, it’s still more than I would have expected LEGO to throw in with a set like this.

Should you buy the new LEGO TIE Fighter?

Entering at $39.99, the latest LEGO TIE Fighter debuts with one of the best values we’ve seen from the Star Wars theme in years. Not only does it pack a pretty respectable assortment of 432 bricks, but the part per dollar ratio puts it at just $0.09 here, which is well below what we’re used to seeing. And then when you throw in the minifigures, this is easily one of the most well-rounded packages you can get from LEGO right now.

9to5Toys’ Take 

Even though we’ve seen the TIE Fighter multiple times from LEGO over the years, the overhauled design here makes it feel like an entirely new creation altogether. It certainly stands out from past releases with a much more affordable price tag that doesn’t compromise too much.

There’s still an authentic design, and the included figures are just what you want to see from a kit like this. For the price, there’s honestly not much more that I could ask for from LEGO here on its latest TIE Fighter.

LEGO could have balanced the price and part count of this set in a number of ways, but ultimately the final model here with the new TIE Fighter seems like a sweet spot.

The way that LEGO was able to slim down the design while keeping all the essentials certainly pays off for both younger builders looking to get their first TIE Fighter or collectors building out their Imperial fleet. So at $40, this is an easy recommendation for just about any LEGO fan.

Buy the LEGO 2021 TIE Fighter at AmazonWalmart and directly from LEGO

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