logo for the Global Creatures companyBringing full sized dragons to life in the How to Train Your Dragon Arena Spectacular takes a prodigious amount of technical know-how and wizardry. The task of creating the dragons for the show could go to none other than Global Creatures, the technical masterminds behind the wildly successful Walking with Dinosaurs Arena Spectacular. No other company has the skill to create life sized dragons that not only look great but are able to move with the grace and detail needed to create a convincing live experience for the audience. The arena spectacular will feature 24 dragons ranging from suits and puppets to full sized hydraulically driven ground based animatronics on the arena floor as well as dragons flying overhead.

The show will feature 10 different dragon species, which is more than the seven species featured on-screen in the original movie. In addition to the Red Death, the arena show will include four of the popular dragon species from the movie. The sizes listed below are as the dragons will appear in the show.

Night Fury

  • Height at shoulders: 2.5 meters
  • Length: 8.5 meters
  • Wingspan: 10 meters

The rarest and most intelligent of the dragon species, the Night Fury is distinguished by its dark color, sleek body and piercing eyes, as well as its smaller size, heavy chest and short neck. Possessing the largest wing-to-body ratio of all dragons, it can fly higher, faster and longer than any other dragon.


  • Height at shoulders: 3 meters
  • Length: 7.5 meters
  • Wingspan: 5 meters

The Gronkle is distinguished by its robust body and relatively tiny wings that can flap with tremendous velocity, endowing it with the ability to fly backwards or sideways like a humming bird. While attacking, the Gronkle smashes and crushes enemies with its extendable tail, or by using its head as a battering ram.


  • Height at shoulders: 4 meters
  • Length: 12 meters
  • Wingspan: 9 meters

Don’t be fooled, because the beautifully coloured Nadder is also extremely dangerous.  It is flighty, aggressive, and has a quick and explosive temper, which is made all the worse by its preening vanity.


  • Height at shoulders: 3.5 meters
  • Length: 15.5 meters
  • Wingspan: 14 meters

The flagship of the dragon species, the Nightmare is the most visually terrifying and iconic of known dragon species. Its greatest weapon is a kerosene gel fire. To increase the ferocity of its attacks, it likes to set itself on fire. (Thank goodness for fire-proof dragon skin!)

Red Death

  • Head and neck total length: 12+ meters
  • Head: 5 meters wide and 6 meters long
  • Tail: 20 meters long

The Red Death is the gigantic dragon Hiccup and Toothless face at the climax of the movie and represents one of the largest animatronic creatures ever constructed for a live show.

Flying Dragons

The How to Train Your Dragon Arena Spectacular will feature seven flying dragons as follows:

  • Toothless the Night Fury: 3 versions at various scales
  • Gronckles – 2 of these dragons both 3 meters long and with a 2 meter wingspan
  • Nightmare – 1 that is 4 meters long with a 6 meter wingspan
  • Skrill – 1 that is 4 meters long with a 6 meter wingspan

Suits and Puppets

  • 2 Skrills – 2.5 meters tall x 4.3+ meters long
  • 4 Wrestling Dragons (suits) – 2 meters long
  • 2 Stinger suit puppets – 2 meters tall at hips x 4.5 meters long
  • 1 Kite dragon – 2 meter wingspan
  • Multiple nesting dragons (Zipplebacks)
  • 1 Egg Biter
  • Multiple shadow puppets
  • 2 Wrestling puppets

Large Dragons

the Deadly Nadder dragon from the How to Train Your Dragon Arena SpectacularEach of the five large dragons that will appear on the arena floor, like the Deadly Nadder pictured here, contains an impressive amount of hardware and technology needed to enable it to perform. Each one of these behemoths contains:

  • 132 meters of hydraulic hose
  • 90 square meters of fabric
  • 12.2 cubic meters of foam
  • 200 liters of paint
  • 7 kilowatts of power from 16 truck batteries
  • 1 kilometer of cabling in each body
  • 24 microprocessors controlling movement along with 15 hydraulic rams and 6 hydraulic motors each
  • each weighs 1.6 tons (weight of a standard family car)
  • each takes 3 people to operate: 1 Driver and 2 Voodoo Puppeteers, one operates head and tail gross motion, one in charge of minor movements: mouth, blinking & roars

With such a large gang of dragons, transporting them on the world tour is itself a major challenge. Packing the entire show up and moving it from arena to arena requires 40 semi trailers, each of which is 53 feet long. Staging the show requires a touring cast and crew of 80 people.

A show with creatures of this size and magnitude has never gone on the road before and is sure to be an impressive sight when audiences get a chance to see it. Check the Tour Schedule to see when the show will be coming to a city near you. This schedule will be continuously updated as new cities are announced. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook in order to receive the latest updates.

Related Videos:

Be sure to watch these videos of the Deadly Nadder dragon in action. This was the first dragon completed for the show and performed for the press at the media launch event:

Deadly Nadder dragon that appears in the How to Train Your Dragon Arena Show

See the Deadly Nadder dragon in action

Show producer Tim Johnson speaks at the media event

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