Why does the orientation of the tie fighters window (including darth vaders) change from the internal to external views the external view makes no sense as it puts a frame smack bang in middle of the pilots view which is a piss poor design, however all the internal shots show the more likely view with the full pane in front of the pilot and the frame to either side. its really annoying as I'm building a scale cut scene of vader and his escorts in the trench run and I'm making the cockpits so they can be opened and looked in so which way do I orient the windows ??!? doing my nut in I can make it correct from external view or correct from internal view but not both !!!

[Edit - Steve-O: Added picture for visual reference of what he's talking about.] rotated cockpit piping

  • Got any pics showing both views? Dec 11, 2016 at 1:28
  • I see what he's talking about. When viewed from the inside, the pipes that compose the frame of the TIE fighter's window appear to be rotated about 24 degrees from how they appear when viewed from the outside. I've edited the question to include a picture for visual demonstration. What's interesting about this issue is that it seems to be consistently repeated even in Star Wars video games and other media. It doesn't look like the pilot's seat is at an angle from what I can tell. Did everyone else just do it to follow Lucas's (erroneous) lead, or is there actually an explanation for this?
    – Steve-O
    Dec 11, 2016 at 2:38
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    Why? Because one of them is a scale model and one of them is a life size prop. Which way should they go? IMO, (never having caught this during any of the several hundred times I've seen the movie) they should go the way they should go, as seen from the inside. You're aware that the hatch is on the top and that you wouldn't really be able to tell either way, right?
    – Mazura
    Dec 11, 2016 at 2:52
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    its a poor design if it was done the way it looks from outside because it obscure the pilots vision in his most important field directly in front of him this would give him a blind spot which is ludicrous for a fighter
    – tim cotter
    Dec 11, 2016 at 11:05
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    I'm going to see this every time now, and it's going to bug me. Thanks. Dec 13, 2016 at 18:46

1 Answer 1


I'm building a scale cut scene of vader and his escorts in the trench run and I'm making the cockpits so they can be opened and looked in so which way do I orient the windows ??!?

You make them the way you see them in the trench run, with the vertical bar splitting the window in half. Why? Because the primary point of view is going to be from outside the trench in your model, and you won't be able to see from the inside to notice the beam's in the way.

External models of tie fighters used in the movies always have the vertical bar, so if you're trying to be accurate to a fault, you need to do it that way.

If it's going to bug you and you are making it for yourself to enjoy, orient it the way you see it in the internal shot. No reason to drive yourself nuts. Note that you only see the window internally a couple of times, while you see the window oriented in the way that annoys you EVERY time you see a TIE model in the movies, so you'll be breaking the external view to make yourself stop raging.

There's no in-universe explanation (the windows don't rotate, it's not an optical illusion), it's just a discontinuity between the crew building the models for special effects shooting, and the separate crew making the sets for live action shooting.

If it makes you feel better, much of the footage shot in the cockpits makes little sense; the starfields in the back windows are often moving in the wrong directions, as is the Death Star surface (as Vader approaches the trench, you can see the surface filling the back window and moving laterally, which makes no sense).

I'd make my models look like the SFX shooting models, even if the design doesn't 100% make sense. The Empire is often style-over-substance, and they would use whichever design was cheapest and fastest and most unnerving to the enemy, even if it put a beam right smack in the middle of the windscreen.

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