An almond farmer from Turlock, California, has built a life-size replica of a Star Wars TIE fighter—and it’s as cool as it sounds.
Erich Gemperle, who’s a dad of three in addition to being a hardcore Star Wars fan, told KCRA-TV he noticed one day that one of his water tanks looked curiously like the fictional spacecraft. A year of labor and $13,000 later, he has his own 46,000-pound model fighter.
“It was just a matter of time and strength to get it done,” Gemperle told the TV station.
Sitting on a farm in Turlock, nestled in a clearing between rows of almond trees and a barn is a daunting 14-foot steel spaceship.
This #StarWars TIE fighter was handcrafted by Turlock almond farmer Erich Gemperle.
— kcranews (@kcranews) May 25, 2018
He built the 14-foot TIE fighter—which has a functioning driver’s hatch—using a water ball tank and thousands of dollars worth of steel. The design is based off a large toy model, plus Gemperle’s extensive knowledge of the Star Wars movies, which he’s been passing on to his kids.
— Mason Silva (@MasonSilvaKCRA) May 25, 2018
After finishing the pet project, Gemperle paraded his TIE fighter through nearby Modesto.
“Everybody just got a kick out of it,” Gemperle said.
Maybe next, he’ll go for a life-size Millennium Falcon.