Fans of “The Hobbit” can finally get a full glimpse of the Dragon Smaug. How? On the side of an aeroplane.
That’s right, Weta Digital (“Hobbit” director Peter Jackson’s visual effects company) has created the image of the Dragon Smaug on both sides of an Air New Zealand Boeing 737 plane.
The 54-metre-long Smaug was unveiled today in New Zealand and tomorrow the aircraft will begin its journey from Auckland to Los Angeles, where it will arrive for “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” premiere.
The plane’s reveal marks the first time that viewers have got a full look at the dragon. Fans only glimpsed the beast’s eye in the first “Hobbit” film and the trailer for the latest addition leaves Smaug tantalisingly hidden.
Jackson dubbed the project awe inspiring.
“To see Smaug fly off the big screen and into the skies like this is pretty exciting,” he said. “We’re proud to debut him here in New Zealand, where our team has worked so hard to bring him to life.”
Eric Saindon, visual effects supervisor of Weta Digital, said bringing Smaug to life on the plane wasn’t an easy task.
“Capturing Smaug’s presence and the amazing detail in his design while accommodating the windows, doors and wing shape was quite a different experience for us,” he said.
“It was great to see Smaug brought to life, and he appears even larger in the film!”
This is not the first Air New Zealand plane to be adorned with “The Hobbit” livery. At the release of the first film, “The Hobbit: And Unexpected Journey”, another aircraft was also decorated with images of characters and settings from the film.