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Hobbit fans in New Zealand got the first full look at the dragon Smaug. It’s life-size image was unveiled Monday on the side of an Air New Zealand Boeing 737 before flying from Auckland, N.Z., to Los Angeles on Tuesday for the premiere of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.
It’s the first time that Smaug has been seen in its entirety. The first film in The Hobbit trilogy featured just Smaug’s eye, leaving its appearance up to fans’ imaginations.
The creation of the bespoke 54-meter-long Smaug on both sides of the plane was done for Air New Zealand by director Peter Jackson‘s visual effects company, Weta Digital.
Jackson said the enormous scale of the single dragon running the entire length of the aircraft is -awe-inspiring.”
“To see Smaug fly off the big screen and into the skies like this is pretty exciting. We’re proud to debut him here in New Zealand, where our team has worked so hard to bring him to life,” he said.
Air New Zealand’s planes were also decked out in The Hobbit livery for the release of the first film in the trilogy in 2013.
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