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Toothless' Saddle and Tail Fin

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Toothless' Saddle & Tail Fin were made for him due to the events of the first movie during a dragon attack on Berk. Toothless was rendered unable to fly on his own until Hiccup was able to replace the missing tail fin with a prosthetic one. To be able to fly and use the prosthetic tail fin, Hiccup must sit on Toothless, which resulted in Hiccup creating a saddle.  

Appearance

Originally, the tail fin was a simple, brown-colored fan that was connected by a series of pulleys and cables, and controlled by a foot pedal located on Toothless' saddle. After it was destroyed during the battle with the Red Death, a more sturdier, red-colored version with the Hairy Hooligan insignia was created by Gobber.[1]

The fin is pretty much remains the same after 5 years, except the symbol is a little different.

In Gift of the Night Fury, Toothless' old tail was replaced with a darker drown auto-tail that had no cables or whatsoever and gave him the ability to fly on his own.

Toothless also had a greenish- yellow fin when he, Hiccup and Snotlout were stranded on Outcast Island, this being an 'emergency' tail Hiccup kept in his bag in case the usual red one was damaged and Hiccup cannot simply conduct repairs on Berk.[2]

When Toothless' tail was damaged in Race to the Edge, Hiccup temporarily replaced it with the Dragon Hunters' flag. It was a slightly tattered beige flag with a red symbol. Upon seeing the symbol on his tail fin, most of the gang was in an uproar as they thought he had converted into a hunter. Later on in the series, he had a temporary blue tail fin with his face painted on it.

In the Film

Toothless' Tail is a special piece of equipment that Hiccup creates when Toothless loses his main left tail fin after being shot down. The design of the tail went through many variations until a working version was made.

The tail has a large leather saddle pad running down a part Toothless's back. This pad is clipped to two loops of curved metal that runs down and around Toothless's shoulders and front legs in order to keep it attached, secured with wide leather straps. Four lengths of cable made from ropes, two running down each side, allows Hiccup to adjust the prosthetic tail fin with control stirrups for his feet on either side of the saddle. Unfortunately, the tail was significantly damaged during the battle with the Red Death. When Hiccup wakes up back on Berk, both pieces of equipment have been remade by Gobber the Belch, with the left stirrup is replaced with a metal one that locks Hiccup's new metal foot perfectly into place, yet still allows him to control the fin. The new tail fin is red, and has a painting of a white skull on it.

Function of the Tail Fin

Before the movie, Toothless was able to fly by using his large wings for propulsion, broad maneuvers and lift, while his smaller tail fins allowed him to turn, and control altitude. However, when he lost his left tail fin, he became unbalanced and was unable to maintain stable fight. After feeling guilty about rendering Toothless flightless and wanting to learn more about dragons, Hiccup constructed an artificial replacement for the missing tailfin. However, unlike the original one, Toothless could not deploy the new tail fin on his own, and requires Hiccup to work the controls. After several sessions of trial-and-error, Hiccup was able to work out the basic dynamics of dragon flight. The tail fin itself is a simple fan that is connected the the tip of the tail with a harness, and is controlled by a series of cables. The cables are powered by pulleys that lead to a stirrup on the left side of the saddle. By manipulating the stirrup, Hiccup can open and close the fan, depending on how fast or slow he needs Toothless to fly. With practice, any rider can gain enough experience to fly Toothless properly, though in Stoick's case, it was a rough ride for both him and Toothless.

Basically, Toothless' tail fins work very much like the elevators and rudder of an airplane. Without Hiccup, Toothless is only capable of short hops or uncontrolled glides. For more complex maneuvers or true flight, he requires a rider, (normally Hiccup) to work the controls.

History

Hiccup first made the tail fin after he realized Toothless was injuried. The first versions were unstable and hard to control, they were "flopping" around and wouldn't stay flat which forced Toothes to constantly counter it. With every new version it was gradually improved. While final version of the tail was a perfect fit, he still needed help controling it. Hiccup also made a saddle for Toothless so he could help the dragon fly again. During the battle with the Red Death, it set the tail fin on fire, slowly burning it up. Gobber later made a new tail and fixed the saddle afterwards.

Models

Brown

The first tail, several variations of this tail were produced until Hiccup found what would work. Even the latest version before it was destroyed was too floppy meaning Toothless had to constantly counter what the prosthetic was doing. It was destroyed in the battle with the Red Death.

Red

Built by Gobber while Hiccup was recovering after losing his leg, this tail was much stronger and sturdier then it's predecessor. It has a stirrup designed for Hiccup's original prosthetic. It had been destroyed and replaced many times.

Black

On the first Snoggletog with dragons, Hiccup built Toothless a new tail that would allow him to fly on his own by using a complex gear system to mirror the right tail fin. This allows Toothless to fly on his own but means he only has basic control. After retrieving Hiccup's helmet, Toothless destroyed the tail preferring to fly with Hiccup then on his own.

Red II

Made for races, this tail is as thin as paper and stronger then any of it's predecessors. It means Toothless can cut and turn almost as if he had his own tail fin.

Yellow

The spare, this tail was used when Hiccup and Snotlout crashed on Outcast Island to escape after Hiccup built a new connecting rod as the old one was bent and then broke by Snotlout.

Yellow II

Made of a thin sheet of Gronkle Iron, this tail isn't good for long flights but perfect for gliding stealthily under boat's sightline for a sneak attack.

Blue

Flimsy and sensitive, this tail allows for tight turns in small spaces but not high altitude.

Green

Made of Gronkle Iron, this tail is used in hot places such as volcanoes. It was destroyed trying to get the Eruptodon egg to it's sacred nesting ground.

Red III

Designed for use with Hiccup's most recent leg, this tail features several of the features of the Red and Black tail. By locking it open, Toothless can glide alongside Hiccup while using his flight suit. It also has a much more complex gear system meaning Toothless can perform even more varieties of aerial acrobatics as long as Hiccup is on his back.

Trivia

  • In the movie, the skull is on both sides of Toothless' tail. In the rest of the franchise, it is just on the front.
  • The tail fin from the second film appears in the game Dragons: Rise of Berk as a collectable in completing collections.

Gallery

Dragons13
The image gallery for Toothless' Saddle and Tail Fin
may be viewed here.


References

  1. How to Train Your Dragon (Film)
  2. 1480062701402 Riders of Berk – "Defiant One"

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