Yes, you read that right. And your eyes are not deceiving you. LEGO builder Ghalad managed to combine an obscure nuclear seaplane from the Soviet Union with a classic Star Wars TIE fighter. The resulting digital build is something you could have expected to appear in the sequel trilogy of Star Wars films.
It’s unlikely you’ve heard of the Lun-class Ekranoplan, a Soviet-era seaplane capable of launching nuclear warheads through tubes based on top of the plane. It was developed before the age of ballistic submarines, filling the gap between land-based nuclear bombers and sea-based launch platforms.
Of course, the Imperial Galactic Empire must have its own version of this war machine. Ghalad delivers with his TIEkranoplan Heavy Assault bomber, stuffed to the rafters (quite literally) with missiles and other weapons. The angled solar wings look fantastic, clearly establishing the Imperial look. I also admire the mass of launch tubes behind the cockpit. Behind these launchers sits a rear gunner emplacement, seen here.
Ghalad envisioned this ship as a space-worthy vessel but would approach its targets flying only a few meters above the ground. It would be especially effective against treasonous cities on water planets such as Mon Cala and Aquarius.
Maybe we’ll see an adaptation of the TIEkranoplan show up in an upcoming Star Wars movie. I certainly hope so.