BUILDING THE BLACK GATE
Supplement: The Land of Shadow
© Lotrscenerybuilder 2009
"Broken rock and blasted earth ..."
We packed the space between the gate elements and the sheet piling with newspaper balls; strips of tape kept them into place (archaeological digging here by some Orc will either yield the January 16 Market Report or the Superbabe Gallery - depending on the chosen spot).
There are a few taped scraps of paper in front of the walls as well. The main reason for using these paper 'foundations' is to save on foam. But it also helps you to build up your rock formations with only small spurts of foam from the can.
Let us remind you of the fact that the manner in which polyurethane foam expands is fully beyond your control. If you're going to squirt about like a maniac you will definitely lose your gate. It is of vital importance to keep the 'bare' - i.e. not rock-covered - parts of the walls completely free of foam. There's zero chance you're going to remove this stuff from the cardboard ornaments without damaging things. Therefore, keep an eye on the bulging process; if necessary, use cardboard strips as a barrier between the foam and the wall (like we did on the Gatehouse structure- it's in the picture).
Warning: do not ever touch the bulges during the expanding process; it will ruin the inner structure of the foam and you will end up with a mass of sticky nastiness!
You might want to try a few dummy spurts on a waste piece of wood to see what happens… it takes about an hour for the foam to settle down. Just remember: small spurts! Every blob will expand into a ball with at least eight times *) its initial volume.
*) cubical calculation
The foam will need a few more hours to cure completely. Only then you can start with the modelling of the slag hills. Now sculpting rocks isn't exactly our specialty. We used an ordinary hobby knife to make incisions in the foam before tearing away small quantities. It's up to the pictures to give you an idea of our strategy. Of course it's a matter of personal taste. Feel free to use your own tricks if you think they're superior to ours.
Small broken stones, borrowed from the drive next door, were added to the sculpture. Ordinary wood paint worked just fine to glue these stones to the foam.
Next we put some glue (watered down) to patches of the foam and board before pouring on small amounts of Games Workshop Modelling Gravel.
A layer of structure paint was applied to everything but the gate.
Lastly, we sprayed the tower units with ColorWorks High Temp Anthracite paint.
By request of Mr Underhill & his gardener we added a small slag mound to the Morannon board, right in front of the Carchost Tower. With filler we masked the seams of the corner-cuttings.
A painted panel that in a former Era had passed for the River Morgulduin was brought out again to become transformed into a matching Gorgor backdrop.
Like the tower units, the Morannon board was jazzed up with clusters of broken stones, modelling gravel and structure paint. After that, it was sprayed with CW Anthracite paint like all other elements before.