'Flying billboard' world record

20:25, Nov 28 2012
MAKING MARK: Hamilton print company Admark created The Hobbit graphic for the Air New Zealand Boeing 777-300ER. Pictured are factory manager Somphane Vanxay and managing director Laurie Pilling.

A Hamilton company has been keeping secret its world record-breaking link to The Hobbit movie for 18 months.

But Admark, a family business located in Frankton, can now reveal that it created "the largest flying billboard ever" for the new Hobbit-themed Air New Zealand plane.

The 830 square-metre graphic - which features characters from the film and the tagline The Airline of Middle Earth - is the biggest to be applied to any aircraft in the world.

The company was sworn to secrecy until yesterday.

Admark managing director Laurie Pilling said a crew of 28, including computer designers, printers, finishing and application teams invested 400 man-hours in the project.

They had to break the image up into manageable jigsaw pieces, print it on a special self-adhesive film, and fit the pieces onto the aircraft at Air New Zealand's engineering base in Auckland.


"Basically, we wallpaper the plane. With very sophisticated wallpaper, I might add," Mr Pilling said.

The material used is barely thicker than cling film, but due to the size of The Hobbit graphic it weighed 126 kilograms.

It was designed specifically for aircraft and could withstand extreme conditions.

Mr Pilling would not be drawn on the price of the project. Admark has been doing Air New Zealand's graphics for close to 20 years and previously created aircraft decals for the Lord of the Rings films and the Rugby World Cup.