On the fifth day of their journey, the Hobbit Fan Fellowship arrived in Wellington, home of Weta Workshop, Weta Digital, and the other subsidiaries responsible for bringing Middle-earth to life. Peter Jackson gave them a private screening of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, but first, they encountered a certain fire-breathing visitor at Wellington Airport.
Real Middle-earth Diary 5
Posted online on November 7, 2014.
Smaug–or at least, his head–had been traveling overseas at the Weta booths in various conventions, first at Comic-Con San Diego, July 24-27, 2014, then at Salt Lake Comic Con, September 4-6, 2014, then finally at New York Comic Con, October 9-12, 2014.
But Smaug needed a final resting place, so, at least for the time being, he’s been given a home at Wellington International Airport. Here he is under (re-)construction:
Smaug the great dragon of Middle-earth at Wellington Airport timelapse
“Smaug the Magnificent, considered to be the last of the great dragons in Middle Earth, has made himself comfortable in Wellington Airport’s busy terminal.
“Lying in wait amongst a rocky facade, Smaug watches over passengers checking-in with his piercing yellow eyes.
“With a total length of 4.25 metres from nose to the back of his head, the 75% to scale Smaug has been developed by Weta Workshop and Wellington Airport to accompany Gollum & the Great Eagles in welcoming visitors to the Wellington region and New Zealand.”
Posted online on Nov 5, 2014.
And here’s Smaug being put together at a more leisurely viewing pace:
Smaug the great dragon of Middle-earth at Wellington Airport installation
Smaug the Magnificent, considered to be the last of the great dragons in Middle Earth, has made himself comfortable in Wellington Airport’s busy terminal.
Posted online on November 5, 2014.
Then came the fans, just in time for Smaug’s unveiling.
Smaug the Terrible unveiled at Wellington Airport Today!
Posted online on Nov 5, 2014
“In front of 200 fans from all over the world, Weta Workshop’s Richard Taylor and his crew unveiled the latest Middle-earth creature at Wellington Airport. Complete with Special Effects!”
Local news coverage came from 3News, in a piece by Simon Wong, “Hobbit fans get first glimpse of Smaug at Wellington Airport,” posted November 6, 2014, here.
The New Zealand Herald, with comments from Sir Richard Taylor, posted coverage here. “Smaug unveiled at Wellington Airport,” 4:00 AM Thursday, November 6, 2014.
What’s next? The movie itself, coming to cinemas December 17, 2014.