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Star Wars Tie Fighter

Star Wars: TIE Fighter Owner's Workshop Manual Review

Posted by Steve on May 23, 2019 at 08:32 AM CST

Star War TIE Fighter

Imperial and First Order Models

Just as the Galactic Empire used great fleets of starships to expand Imperial control across the galaxy, the subsequent authoritarian government, the First Order, used even more technologically advanced ships to unify planetary systems and crush all opposition. With both regimes, the most abundant and ubiquitous ships in their respective fleets were the notoriously lethal TIE fighters.

The TIE Fighter Owners’ Workshop Manual presents a thorough history of Sienar Fleet Systems’ twin ion engine space superiority fighter, from early concepts and prototypes to the mass-produced starfighters that fought countless battles against insurgent groups. The history of TIE fighters—including bombers, boarding craft, and shuttles—is fully illustrated with numerous photographs, schematics, exploded diagrams, and computer-generated artwork by Star WarsTM vehicle experts Chris Reiff and Chris Trevas.

Text is by Ryder Windham, author and co-author of more than 70 Star Wars books. This Haynes Manual is the most thorough technical guide to TIE fighters available and is fully authorized and approved by Lucasfilm.

Coverage includes:

• Sienar Fleet Systems and the TIE series
• Imperial TIE Fighters
• TIE Starfighter series
• First Order TIE Fighters
• Weapons and defensive systems
• The pilots, training and gear
• Size comparison chart

Star Wars TIE Fighter

“And above all, the Emperor wants our starfighters to incite fear.”

-Grand Moff Tarkin

Ever wonder how many consumables are in a TIE/in? Or how many passengers can fit aboard a TIE boarding craft? Or the top speed of a TIE/vn? Or how many AT-DP walkers a Gozanti cruiser can carry?

Well, wonder no longer because thanks to Haynes Manuals and Insight Editions we’ve got another Star Wars themed manual to enjoy! This time, they are monkey wrenching their way into the hearts of gearheads across the galaxy with a look under the hood of the Empire’s most recognizable ship, the dreaded TIE Fighter.

If you read last year’s Haynes “Star Wars YT-1300 Millennium Falcon Manual”, or any Haynes manual for that matter, then you’ll definitely get the idea with their latest release, “TIE Fighter Manual” The formats are identical (that’s not a bad thing) and I’m happy to say this manual is as good as the YT-1300 edition, if not better.

This premise, where gearheads and Star Wars fans converge, isn’t necessarily a new thing. There has been plenty of material over the years discussing the various ships that take up space in this galaxy. But there’s no question, when it comes to practical manuals, the British series Hayne’s Manuals does it better than most and have been since 1960.

And the fact that they included Star Wars in their library tells you how ingrained this franchise is into our society, and how much thought was put into these ships by those who designed them. Every aspect of these ships has been thoroughly vetted, torn apart, and examined by folks who know what they’re talking about, and they all pass the smell test.

I love the TIE/in Fighter for the same reason I love the T-65B X-Wing, their look and shape. I find their symmetrical features so entirely pleasing to the eye that I often describe them as “beautiful”. Whereas ships like the very asymmetrical Millennium Falcon and B-Wings always looked odd to me growing up. Nope, the TIE is my ship of choice and I was glad it got the Haynes treatment.

You’ll learn everything there is to know about this ship and in accordance with many of the reference books of today, it includes a little exposition and narrative as well.

Meet Raith Sienar, engineer, shipbuilding tycoon, and the head of Sienar Fleet Systems. Sienar not only designed and built the TIE Fighter, but countless other ships for the Republic/Empire.

The book does mention his competitor Kuat Systems Engineering, but only when it concerns Sienar Fleet Systems and how Sienar acquired key assets from Kuat. Two designs from Kuat that influenced the TIE/in were the Eta-2 Actis-class light interceptor and Alpha-3 Nimbus-class V-wing starfighter.

In a franchise not short on iconoclast and instantly recognizable images and sounds, the Sienar Fleets Systems TIE/in Fighter is perhaps one of the most so. It bears little resemblance to any real-world machine and has a look and sound so distinct; you couldn’t mistake it for anything else.

Star Wars TIE Fighter

“The noise will be the last sound they hear before the starfighter opens fire.”

-Grand Moff Tarkin

The design of the TIE is based on Raith’s years of engineering expertise, not to mention the Empire’s unwillingness to spend, spend, spend. Some may be surprised to learn that the familiar TIE sound was manufactured to instill fear in those that are within earshot of it, not simply by-product. We of course know that in reality, it's a combination of a car driving on a wet road and an elephant screaming.

This book covers the entire TIE line including the TIE/D (Defender), TIE/rp (Reaper Attack Lander), the TIE/sa (bomber), and the TIE Advanced v1. Even the TIE/mg (Mining Guild Starfighter) and the Gozanti-class cruiser both make an appearance.

But more than just ship specs, Ion Engine schematics, and accelerations speeds, we also get a close look at the pilots themselves, including training programs, flight suits, and aerial maneuvers.

And with the assistance of the always present Lucasfilm story group, this book gives us more than just technical data. We get anecdotal passages from the likes of Grand Moff Tarkin and General Armitage Hux, and enough little Star Wars trivia to fill a bucket. No surprise coming from Windham, who has written countless Star Wars related books, novels, short stories, and comics.

Windham, who has written more Star Wars content than most, has done surprisingly little in the new Disney era but has given us a few gems the last few years. “Stormtroopers: Beyond the Armor” was fantastic, as was the previously mentioned “Star Wars YT-1300 Millennium Falcon Manual”.

Star Wars reference books are becoming more popular as with each new edition, the quality keeps improving. No longer strictly for hardcore fans, trivia buffs, and RPG’ers, the story element to these books has only gotten better since the conception of the story group.

These manuals, and others like it, are a great example of factoids espousing story in a fun and cohesive way. This makes the book beneficial on two levels, strictly as a detailed reference book you can use when writing your TIE Fighter opus. Or, as a fun thread to pull when learning more about how ships in the Star Wars galaxy play an important role when determining political, military, and socio-economical classes.

Indeed, the birth and evolution of the TIE Fighter, from the Republic’s rule all the way to the Imperial reign, is like charting a course through history. And it didn’t end with the fall of the Empire, the remnants of which formed the First Order whose military was led by General Armitage Hux…

“Because just as we have adopted certain Imperial ideals, we have also learned from Imperial errors.”

-General Armitage Hux

The book covers the changes made by the First Order to their series of TIE/fo, which are important when comparing the two groups from a philosophical standpoint. The First Order didn’t see their pilots as expendable like the Empire did, rather as “key military assets”. So, their version of TIE Fighter had deflector shield generators and increased structural integrity, protecting the pilots and making their craft more maneuverable in lower atmospheres.

This key difference also highlights the fact that the First Order didn’t have an endless coffer of personnel and credits like their predecessor did. Their ships needed to last longer as did their pilots so the initial expense of providing shields, was deemed worthwhile.

These manuals don’t work without the art, so kudos once again to Chris Reiff and Chris Trevas who did a spectacular job of allowing us to see every nook and cranny of these ships. Chris and Chris handled the art for the Falcon Manual and have very lengthy portfolios when it comes to the world of Star Wars reference books.

And besides a handful of screenshots, we get some pieces of concept art, one by legendary artist Doug Chiang, and one by equally legendary artist Joe Johnston. Joe’s piece is particularly interesting because it is the actual TIE Fighter production art from 1976, and appropriately ends the book. If you’ve been in the game for a bit you’ve likely seen both of these pieces.

Star Wars Tie Fighter

Like I said, these reference books work on many levels so as time passes; you’ll end up seeing more of them on bookshelves. The canon/continuity factor amps this up considerably, and as with most of the ancillary products now, if you don’t read them, you’re not getting the complete picture.

So, while single minded in its approach, at $24.99 USD this book is still a pretty good bang for your buck, and I look forward to more, especially a T-65 X-Wing/Incom Corporation edition.

"Star Wars: TIE Fighter Owner's Workshop Manual" is available in North America on May 28th courtesy of Insight Editions publishing. You can order your copy HERE.

For more information on this and other releases, go to

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Star Wars: Tie Fighter: Owner's Workshop Manual

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