In Return of the Jedi, the Death Star II’s Reactor Core was built as a single, large practical model.
Fun fact: To fill out the ceiling of this huge model, ILM used a staggering 1,500 fishing rods.
Here are some behind-the-scenes photos of ILM bringing this practical model to life in the film. In the final movie, this interior space looks absolutely cavernous as Lando and Wedge fly in to launch their devastating missles into the Core….. but in real life, the ILM model makers had to crawl in on their hands and knees to bring this model to life, as seen here.
These photos, to me, show the true definition of “Movie Magic”. And what these guys that worked on the Original Trilogy really accomplished using practical models and effects is still astonishing, to this day.