Original Conceptual Model for Kenner's TIE Fighter
You see here what is very likely the original model for Kenner's TIE Fighter toy. It appears to have been built using vacu-formed plastic, styrene and various parts culled from model kits. You've no doubt already noticed that it differs in many respects from the toy that was eventually released to stores. Most notably, there is a round gun element hanging from the central body portion, which was substantially simplified on the production toy.

Models such as these represent some of the earliest three-dimensional work done on a toy, and several other Kenner conceptual models can be found on the Archive. This piece was created as Kenner was in a mad rush to get their Star Wars line to market in mid-1977. It was worked on simultaneously with the X-Wing Fighter and Landspeeder models, the other two of the first trio of Star Wars vehicles to be released. Following this largely-conceptual phase of development, the design would be refined further, and eventually patterns would be produced, from which the final production molds would be cut.

This image comes from the mail-order catalog of a retail store; the store probably requested promotional material before Kenner had photographs of their final toys on hand, and thus the conceptual photos had to suffice. This type of thing was actually quite common for Kenner early-on in their association with Star Wars, conceptual models having been used on everything from blister cards to product catalogs to--a place where their appearance is entirely understandable--internal Kenner spec sheets. If this model, as well as its companion Landspeeder and X-Wing models, appears vaguely familiar to you, it might be because the very photos of them that you see here on the Archive were used as the basis for the artwork of these toys that was used on the 12-Back blister card. If you compare this TIE Fighter model with the 12-Back artwork of the TIE, you'll notice that even the weird gun element is present in both.

Description by: Ron Salvatore
Photo: Ron Salvatore
From the collection of: Ron Salvatore
Country:United States
Film:A New Hope
Category:Prototypes / Product Concepts


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