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  • Rob


I don't always travel by hot air balloon, but I choose this epic Vader-inspired one when I do. Those wacky Belgians at pestered George Lucas, and he eventually gave them his blessing to create the epic Vader balloon.

As soon as they got Lucasfilm’s approval, they contacted the world's largest manufacturer of hot-air balloons, based in the United Kingdom. A replica of the Darth Vader helmet and a vectorial file representing the Vader helmet in 3D were sent to their engineers to help them recreate every detail.

Once the first draft was created, several shape and colour modifications were discussed and made to ensure that the balloon would look as much as possible like the real Darth Vader helmet. Colours were chosen to optimize 3D effects once the balloon was in flight. For aesthetic reasons, grey shades around the face are slightly different from the official shape.

Once their team and LFL accepted the final visual draft, the manufacturing could begin, a process that took eight weeks.

To keep the project secret at Lucasfilm's request, the English manufacturer called it 'Head One'. This name allowed them to keep the project secret until the balloon’s first public appearance and was also used for the official Belgian registration.

When the balloon was inflated for the first time on March 8, 2007, several details were unsatisfactory, and it was sent back to the manufacturer’s workshop to get the modifications done. The second inflation took place on March 14, 2007. The last details were settled in order to make the balloon a perfect Vader helmet look alike.


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