Saturday, May 8, 2010

Lego My Tie Interceptor!

My nineteen-year-old nephew, Jonathan, was doing a little spring cleaning in his bedroom recently. While cleaning out his closet, he came upon a model of a TIE interceptor (from Star Wars for you non-geeks) made out of Lego. He had bought the miniature starfighter when he was twelve years old, had patiently assembled it, and it had adorned his bedroom for several years before finally being relegated to the closet. Now, he decided that he had finally outgrown it, but it seemed a shame to simply throw out the replica which he'd spent so many painstaking hours assembling and which, for that matter, had been not inexpensive when acquired, especially for someone with the income of a twelve-year-old. But what else to do with it?

Why, give it to his forty-seven year old uncle Andy of course! It would look right at home next to his voice-command Artoo-Detoo, his die-cast Titanium series Millennium Falcon, his Darth Vader chopper toy, his AT-AT walker, his vintage battery-operated tin airplane, his latex Batman cowl with matching Batmobile and his large collection of Simpsons paraphernalia, too numerous to list. And indeed it does!

Truth be told, I don't really have an appropriate place for the thing myself, especially considering that it's not exactly small! It measures about 15 inches long by 10 inches wide by 11 inches high. The only place that my wife will let me keep it, of course, is in my already cluttered attic but, what with all that other stuff, I've run out of free surfaces. Still, my inner nerd absolutely refused to allow me to turn it down.

On a slightly more serious note, let me say for the record that I've always liked the look of the generic TIE fighter ever since they were first introduced in the original Star Wars movie (now commonly known as Episode IV: A New Hope). It was refreshing to me to see a spaceship design that abandoned the stereotypical rocket ship or flying saucer look. Heck, it doesn't even look aerodynamic which, of course, is completely unnecessary for a space vehicle. The large solar panels are a semi-credible means of collecting energy for power generation (at least within reasonable proximity to some kind of star) and its small size and unusual shape gives it a tiny profile, making it a tricky target to hit, at least from the front or back.

Of course, I do see some practical problems with the design. Between the forward-facing-only window and the huge panels on either side, the pilot's field of vision would be extremely limited. If you're anywhere other than right in front of him, he can't see you. I wonder how many TIE fighter pilots have died, never knowing what hit them?

The Empire seems to have some kind of hangup about limiting their soldiers' field of vision in general. Those stormtroopers probably don't have much of a peripheral vision inside those helmets of theirs either. That's probably why none of them can seem to hit the broad side of a bantha with those blasters of theirs. Darth Vader himself could sympathize with their plight, since his helmet and mask caused the same problem. I've worn a Darth Vader helmet and mask (a confession which I'm sure hardly shocks you at this point) so I know whereof I speak! The Dark Lord of the Sith needed his Force powers just to figure out who was standing around him!

Anyway, practical design flaws aside, I still think that TIE fighters are cool and, dammit, one way or another, I'm making room for my new toy in my attic. Thanks Jonny! You're my favorite nephew!

No comments: