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The making of Barad-Dûr

Part two

© Lotrscenerybuilder 2009

IV. 'Great courts and dungeons, eyeless prisons'(April 29-May 10)

"How the Hell do you do that? […] You have a great talent for isolating the basic components of each structure."
(Dorthonion's comment at The One-Ring WIP forum)


While the lower walls and battlements of the Dark Tower have a more or less uniform structure, the middle section is a hotchpotch of turrets, galleries, fences and (flying) stairways. It's almost as if the Orcs, after having raised the lower defences of the fortress, fooled around for a while (with The Boss painting the town red in Dol Guldur).

On first sight this cluster of buildings looked fairly intimidating but thanks to our earlier experiences we already had a clear plan of attack. For starters, we constructed a polygonal box of MDF which had to become the core of the middle section (we think it's easier to add elements to an existing core than to run up a structure 'from scratch'). The red circumference marks out the perimeter on top of the tower-base, which had to stay vacant.


The movie images show a kind of corrugated iron plating behind the centre stronghold. This was easily imitated by a series of small, vertical cardboard strips against the front faces (left in the picture). Most of the plating would disappear in due time behind rockeries. With a marker, we outlined these future formations. The wall on the right was placed slightly backwards in order to create shadowy recesses that made the architecture looking less predictable.


On the left we hung up a few turrets, along with a monumental balcony. Instead of inserting intact cylinders into the box we removed sections of the tubes. Further below, the entire face would get covered by the outcrops of the Ered Lithui.


Sections of smaller tubes were used for the towers in the front. To obtain the correct diameters we cut away vertical strips from the cylinder mantles and forced both ends back together.


At first glance, the architecture of the Dark Tower makes an incoherent and complicated impression. But if you take a closer look, say, halfway up the monstrosity, this medieval stronghold looms up: some castle-walls, embattled, pierced by embrasures and flanked by belvederes; an arched gateway gives entry to this part of the fortress - possibly the residence of one of Sauron's concubines.

It is the composition of some identical shaped arcades that makes up the gateway. It is the arrangement between the gateway, the walls and the belvederes that makes up the stronghold. It is the accumulation of battlements, strongholds, pinnacles and horns that makes up the Barad-dûr…

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