Aircraft Model Ballet

The ILM model shop turns into a 'professional' aircraft manufacturer for 'DIE HARD 2', with its own paint shop.
All the models were standard aluminium and fiberglass, but due to the tight time frame a 
few airplane miniatures were built by outside contractors.
See the ILM miniature unit of visual effects supervisor Michael McAlister orchestrating 
a flying ballet of colossal airplane models in the middle of a heavy snowstorm.
See an explosive air show conducted by a South American drug lord.
Mojave desert Airport ...we are ready for take off!

Franco Nero (General Esperanza) - Director Renny Harlin - William Sadler (Col.Stuart)

A model miniature DC-8 in the final assembly. 
A first coat of paint, neutral gray. 
The actual painting is done in the paint shop, from a professional refinisher (Tim Greenwood).
ILM - Mojave desert workshop. 
Charlie Bailey and Jeffrey Olson were the supervising model makers at 'Mojave Airport'.
Finishing touches for a Lookheed TriStar miniature of the fake airline 'NEA', Northeast Airlines.
No official logos or designs of current airlines were allowed to be used.
How cool is that? The 'Windsor' DC-8 suspended by crane, secured by wires.
A miniature choreography of a jet in windswept clouds.
But the plane comes in too deep ...
The 'Windsor' DC-8 is prepared for the crash landing in the Mojave desert.
The gigantic 22-foot miniature (20-foot wingspan!) is hanging in a special flying rig, 
loaded with pyrotechnics for a big 'BANG'.
The special effects rigging was in the hand of 'cable King' Dave Heron.
A fireball in the Mojave desert. The crash of a miniature packed with flammable liquids, 
kerosene and gunpowder. The 'Windsor' was rigged to break apart in a series of explosions.
'Crash and Burn Productions'.
The 'NEA' TriStar is prepared for a flight through the clouds, suspended by crane, 
10 to 20 feet above the ground.
The crew used several Navy Foggers and mineral oil for clouds of white smoke.
All these scenes were filmed at night, cold nights.
The conductors of this event (McAllister, visual effects dop Kim Marks,..) were on a scissor 
lift above the clouds.
Runway 1 is free ...wait a minute! No, no, no, runway 1 is not free!
The main camera was suspended on a custom boom arm.
'Holly, are you alright?'
The crash landing (broken wheels) of the L-1011 on a plywood track in white gypsum sand (simulating real snow).
Snow (+continuity) was a huge problem on the show and the crew tried different possibilities (soap flakes, 
crushed ice, ...).
Parking position - The dolly for the L-ten-eleven (L-1011 TriStar).
The C-130 of General Esperanza (Franco Nero) is a heavily modified C-123 with phony jets.
All flight scenes were filmed with the miniature as the full-scale C-123 (mock-up) was not able to take off.
The drug lord floats through the clouds.
McLane (Bruce Willis) straps himself into the ejection seat and blasts straight up...
One of the key action scenes in the movie.
A tricky composition of different shots.
The rolling through the air ejection seat was shot on a bluescreen stage.
The seat, with Bruce Willis in a harness, was attached to a motorized rig (photo) and could 
rotate like a propeller.
Modeller Jeff Olson built a 1/4th scale puppet of Bruce Willis in the ejection seat.
At the end of the sequence you see this puppet on a miniature parachute floating down the real thing.
The 23-feet monster miniature of a Boeing 747 Cargo jet suspended in a take off position for
shots of the fire trail reaching the wing.
The mold of the 'Die Hard 2' 747 was later used to recast a 747 for the movie 'Executive Decision' 
and probably for other movies ('Air Force One'?).
The cherry picker ballet.
For the explosion scene of the 747 Cargo the miniature will be loaded with pyrotechnic 
materials and suspended on a crane. Detonated electronically in a sequence of blasts.
Matte Artist Yusei Uesugi at work, at an early stage, on his giant 13-feet wide matte painting 
of the crowded Dulles International Airport.
The matte shot will be a relatively long wide vista one, which usually kills the effect.
To prevent this from happening, the finished composition will have 6 live-action plates and a 
variety of little effects. You get to see something.
Colonel Stuart (William Sadler) at the premiere of the smash hit 'Die Hard 2'.
The premiere of 'DIE HARD' on will follow soon!