Packed in two enormous crates, the two halves of Sir Keith Park were air freighted to London where English engineers assembled it and put it in place on the plinth at Trafalgar square, ready for the unveiling by London Mayor Boris Johnson.
Richard Taylor says:
Having an opportunity to work on such a distinguished sculpture for the memory of such a remarkable New Zealander is truly one of the great opportunities that have been offered to us at Weta. We are incredibly proud to be apart of this project."
The statue will stay on the plinth for 6 months, so if you are planning a trip to London before May, please make sure to make it part of your itinerary. It's right outside the National Gallery, so why not visit that as well?
One of Weta's perhaps lesser known efforts last year was the creation of an enormous statue for the fourth plinth at Trafalgar Square in London.
This plinth is used to showcase notable artwork or commemorate someone who might perhaps struggle to measure up to the prominence of Lord Nelson atop his column, but who nonetheless deserves to be acknowledged by a grateful free world.
Sir Keith Park was such a man.
Born in Thames, New Zealand in 1892 the son of a mining geologist, he ventured out into the world with the military. Went to places like the Somme and Gallipoli and eventually came to be given the moniker "The Defender of London" by the Germans in the Second World War in his role as Air Vice-Marshal of the RAF.
That's quite a life.
Weta was of course thrilled to be asked to work with the sculptor, Leslie Johnson, to create the enormous statue.
Based on the 1 metre maquette that Les Johnson sculpted and got approved by the Sir Keith Park Memorial Campaign, the full size statue was made at Weta Workshop in Wellington, New Zealand. Richard asked whether Rob Gillies, one of the Workshop's long serving technicians and onset art directors would like to look after the job from start to finish. Rob, who has recently become our Workshop Supervisor gladly took on this role. Rob and the team at Weta Workshpo then constructed the internal steel frame that forms the backbone of the structure.
The five metre body was then moulded in fibreglass and assembled around the steel skeleton. The top and bottom halves of the statue were kept separate - the bottom half was filled with concrete (2.5 tonnes of it) up to the waist. The upper body was filled with rigid expanding foam.
The statue then had a bronze finish applied by Weta's paint specialists.