The making of Barad-Dûr
© Lotrscenerybuilder 2009
Windows, archways, cornices, pilasters and balconies were cut from cardboard: most of them many-layered, none alike. It wasn't a problem to construct all these features but the translation of what we saw in the pictures into structures of paperwork took some improvisation.
At this level, however, the modelling was still clearly structured. As we continued our struggle downwards the fortress would expand ever more, with a proportional increase of details in every nook and cranny.
Small details such as horns, spikes, strips and ribs were added to create the impression of intricate architecture. Later on, a layer of structure paint would hopefully deepen this illusion even more (adding trillions of details is common strategy in the miniature business, whether it concerns warships, spacecraft or Middle-earth scenery: the more trinkets one puts onto a model, the bigger and more lifelike it looks on screen. Every ordinary utensil can be used on these fantasy props: MacLachlan for instance confided that they used halves of Ping-Pong balls for the domes of Minas Tirith - just have another look at the 'Istanbul'-shot in the FOTR movie!).
It took a couple of days to decorate these columns all the way round. We didn't have the patience to postpone the final painting until the moment the whole fortress would be completed. Instead, we decided to finish each stage separately; in the end we would apply a superficial, overall finish to integrate all parts into a single miniature.
The most demanding part of every building project is taking the ceremonial photographs. There's always more about a miniature than meets the lens! (the only model that didn't give us any difficulties was that of the Three Dwarven King Statues at Moria's Westgate: just one hour and a single spotlight sufficed to pin down the gloom & doom of Khazad-dûm). The first pictures of the 'topmost tower', however, showed some black looks… which raised our hopes.
(Go to Part 2 )