Courtesy Weta Workshop
Stephen M. Silverman
October 29, 2012 12:00 PM

Headed Down Under? Don’t be frightened.

Wellington Airport, in New Zealand, has a new official greeter: Gollum, the misunderstood monster from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings novels and Peter Jackson’s movie adaptations.

His arrival comes just ahead of Oscar-winner Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which opens next month. Like Jackson’s Rings movies, it too was shot in New Zealand.

“Wellington Airport feels like the home of Gollum after spending so many months here during the last three films,” Sir Richard Taylor, of the Weta Workshop – which manufactured and installed Gollum from Japanese fine arts sculptor Masayuki Ohashi’s design – tells Wellington’s Dominion Post.

Sir Richard also said the installation is intended to introduce Wellington s film industry to the world.

By the New York Times‘s measure, the polystyrene figure spans 42 feet from head to outstretched arm (there are nine parts to him) and weighs more than 2,500 pounds. (The fish he’s reaching out to eat are each 12 feet long.)

In all, 18 sculptors, model makers, painters and other craftspeople assembled him – and, to see how they did it and put him in place, see the video below.

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