Winners of the Hobbit Fan Contest were treated to a surprise when they visited Wellington Airport Thursday, ahead of their special screening of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. Sir Richard Taylor was on hand to unveil a massive sculpture of Smaug (specifically his head – measuring 4.25 metres from front to back) to the 200 lucky fans.
The unveiling is captured in the Fan Contest video below (Real Middle-earth Diary 5), and you can see the fans’ reactions as Smaug is revealed complete with opening eyelids and smoke emitting from his nostrils.
The eyes themselves were accomplished through the use of an animatronic latex and polyurethane foam mechanism with a rear projection eyeball. Speaking to 3 News, Taylor referred to the character of Smaug as “the ultimate creation of Tolkien’s imagination”.
“Having a chance to bring this creature into Wellington Airport, along with other characters we have done, was an opportunity not to be missed.”
Wellington Airport also offered a wonderful glimpse at the construction of the project through this time-lapse video, courtesy of their YouTube page.