|Vader's shuttle, en route to the Death Star|
According to Wookieepedia, the "Lambda-class T-4a shuttle, or Imperial Shuttle, was a multi-purpose transport...considered an elegant departure from the standards of brutish Imperial engineering. The shuttles were often used by high-ranking Imperial officers and dignitaries such as Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine, but were more commonly found ferrying stormtroopers or cargo."
In real life, the Imperial Shuttle was a combination of full-size prop, miniature and matte painting.
|At Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Bill George (standing) and Charlie Bailey begin work on the model (prior to kitbashing). According to J. W. Rinzler's The Making Of Return Of The Jedi, Bailey "made the bulk of the craft [while] Bill George built the wings."|
|Bill George paints the wing|
|Don Dow, effects cameraman at ILM, sets up a shot of the Shuttle|
|Matte painting by Frank Ordaz - the only "live" elements are the guards in the foreground|
|Chris Evans' excellent matte painting of the Death Star hanger for Palpatine's arrival. |
top image - the painting / bottom image - screengrab
|Han Solo: Keep your distance though, Chewie... but don't look like you're trying to keep your distance. I don't know, fly casual...|
|The Imperial Shuttle, as it appears in the finished film|
I wrote extensively about the various matte paintings in Return Of The Jedi on the occasion of the 30th anniversary and you can read that blog post here