The making of Barad-Dûr
© Lotrscenerybuilder 2009
VIII. 'Founded upon a mighty mountain-throne' (July 17-24)
"He had made his slow, sneaking way, step by step, mile by mile, south, down at last to the Land of Mordor".
(from: The Fellowship of the Ring, page 88)
Up to now we had been using our spare time in the evenings and weekends to build our Barad-dûr. In spite of that we had finished nearly all of the tower's hardware by mid-July. What remained was the completion of the Mordor surroundings: the Ered-Lithui mountain spur, the lava moat and the Gorgoroth surface. When the summer holidays arrived, our project gained momentum. With seven days being the usual time span to create a natural environment, a deadline was set for the end of the week.
To build up this gothic wedding cake we had to construct an endless series of separate components, ranging from the 'huge' horns of the topmost pinnacle to the tiny battlements that crown the shooting-towers. It isn't the size, though, that's decisive for the amount of labour involved: it's the number of particles of a certain component that has to be worked on and worked up. It took less than an hour and a half to construct the bridge above, cutting strips, spikes and all. However, between the first glance at the screen to study the bridge and the instalment of the very last spike, more than six hours went by. Because, at every step, we have to think first before we act.
Texturing and painting took another ten minutes, to make the miniature look
like a bridge over troubled earth.
The fortress was put against a plate of MDF; a line that represented the ridge of the mountain spur was drawn onto the board. As the walls of Barad-dûr are rising from a chasm, we had to establish the ground level: it's the horizontal, dotted line beneath the crest.
A floor plan was cut out from another plate of MDF. The idea was to have the lava river running at ground zero, with the adjacent rocks gradually sloping up against the walls. The positions of the two front towers and the pillars of the bridge had to be measured accurately from the main gate.
There was a can on the shelf with a drop of foam left from an earlier job and a clear warning on the label: ""Best before December 2005" but of course you must not believe these manufacturers as they only want to fleece you. We followed our intuition and ended up with a mess.
Meanwhile we made some improvements to the main tower. The test photos had made clear that the tower was too slim of stature, notably in its lower quarters. Therefore, one of the vertical buttresses was removed to undergo an extreme make-over.