Star Wars TIE Fighter Restoration Project

I did this restoration a few months back, and am just now getting around to posting it  (Had a lot of “housecleaning” to do on the site!)

This is my favorite type of restoration, where the vehicle is structurally great, and “probably” works. I got this particular TIE in a trade. It was nice, but REALLY really dirty. Not just dirt, but oily layered dirt.

All I needed for this restoration was:
-bucket to soak pieces
-philips head screwdriver with a long shaft
-Mr. Clean Magic Eraser

I also ended up needing a zip tie, to replace one I cut.

For the most part – these are REALLY easy to take apart – Just a few screws and it breaks apart easy enough.  The motor and electronics all sit in the bottom part of the cockpit, so unless you want to remove and resolder (Which you may if the electronics arent functioning) I suggest just not getting that part wet. I pulled out the motor because it was frozen, and a liberal application of very fine motor oil got it working again!

Here is is taken apart. This took maybe 5-10 minutes:

Once it was apart, I soaked the pieces in soapy water  (except the piece with electronics – I just worked it with a wet brush and magic eraser)  and the dirt and grime started coming off.  I used Goof-off to get the old sticker residue off the wings, also – That took some elbow grease but wasnt too bad.

Before / after of what a magic eraser was able to remove:

Once all the pieces were cleaned and allowed to dry, just a few screws and it was all back together.  For the missing stickers – this particular TIE is just to hang from my ceiling next to my vintage Death Star Playset – Opinions about repros aside, this is literally a display piece, so I printed out some repro wing stickers and glued them in place with an archival safe, non permanent glue. (I used all the stickers that were vintage where I could, only replacing ones that were absent)  This way, if I ever DO want to sell the piece, the repro stickers can be easily and safely removed prior.

Cleaned up!

Granted, this is not the most thorough or detailed restoration, but it didn’t NEED to be. I did not use any difficult or advanced techniques here. Overall, from beginning to end I did this in under 2 hours, and it just goes to show what a little time and elbow grease can do to make a toy present better!



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2 Responses to Star Wars TIE Fighter Restoration Project

  1. Mack says:

    Hi there,

    Thanks for sharing your restoration project on line. I’ve purchased a falcon from eBay and want to remove the original stickers, clean it then put the original sticker back, is this even possible? I notice your mention that you did this in the post “(I used all the stickers that were vintage where I could, only replacing ones that were absent)” but perhaps you would be willing to share some info on the process, of not ripping them etc.

    Apologies if this is already on your site else where but I can’t seem to find it 🙂


    • admin says:

      No worries!

      To be honest, there are really only 2 options –

      Sometimes stickers are so old, they just fall off with very minimal effort. IF they are like that, you are in luck. But if they are firmly stuck on, you are pretty much stuck with them where they are.

      You can use lighter fluid or goo gone, etc.. and physically scrape them off if you want to replace them, but that will destroy the stickers!

      Good luck! Send me pics!


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