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Places to visit
in Middle-earth:


The Shire:

The Green Dragon

A Short Cut
to Mushrooms

Bucklebury Ferry

Ted Sandyman's Mill




The Trollshaws


Gilraen's Memorial

The Mines of Moria:

The Watcher in the Water

The Westgate

The Chamber of

Durin's Causeway

The Bridge of Khazad-dûm



Dol Guldur

The Anduin

The Argonath

Parth Galen


Helm's Deep

The Paths of the Dead

Morgul Vale:

Minas Morgul

The Stairs of Cirith Ungol


The Tower of Cirith Ungol

The Black Gate


The Sawdust of the Past

Khazad-dûm Revisited

The Making of...

The Wooded Road

The Watcher in the Water

Saruman's Stronghold

The Argonath

The Tower of Cirith Ungol

The Black Gate

Barad-dûr Part 1

Barad-dûr Part 2

Barad-dûr Part 3

Barad-dûr Part 4

Scenery Workshop:

Constructing "Durin's Causeway"

The Black Gate 1

The Black Gate 2

The Black Gate 3

The Land of Shadow


Gaming in Middle-earth

More Middle-earth:

Contact Us






Part three: The Towers of the Teeth

© Lotrscenerybuilder 2009

None could pass the Teeth of Mordor and not feel their bite!

We knew from the start that the real challenge of building the Black Gate would be the modelling of the towers. Not only did we have to devise a way to make a flat plate of MDF look like a brick work cylinder, but also there was the problem of the 'staggered rib crossings' (a kind of Flamboyant Gothic architectural design, we think). As you can see in the picture the stone ribs of the tower base are converging halfway up, only to pursue their heavenward course on a different track:

TowerTeeth1 border=

It was Alan Lee who came up with this architectural device when he painted the Black Gate, some years before Peter Jackson asked him to reinforce the Weta LOTR team. The idea was duly adopted by John Howe who thought there would be no point in "trying to reinvent the wheel" (TTT, Appendices, Part Four). For days we racked our brains about a way to fabricate these intricate rib crossings out of MDF and cardboard. In short, we did feel the bite of these towers!

"The Towers of the Teeth" is the third in a series of three articles which tell you step by step how to build a miniature of the Black Gate. This time we will show you how to construct the two watchtowers and the lateral walls that link them to the gate building.

The making of a matching Mordor environment will be the topic of a supplementary article.

By now you are pretty familiar with the handling of 4mm MDF. For building a Tower of the Teeth we will also use 10mm MDF plate. Since there will be some serious cutting & carving involved, we'd like to inform you again about the possible health risks involved in the use of MDF (Medium Density Fibreboard). Sawing, filing and polishing MDF produces a lot of dust which can cause irritation to your throat and nose, as well as to your skin. The presence of formaldehyde inside MDF can affect your respiration system in different ways. To avoid these effects, we prefer to do our sawing in the open where most of the dust is blown away by the wind. Inside our garage we use an old vacuum cleaner to carry off the dust. Also, it is wise to wear a mask to prevent inhalation of the fibres.

The templates that you need for the gatehouse can be found HERE

Materials used: Cardboard (1mm & 2 mm)
MDF (4mm & 10mm)
Wood glue
Structure paint (for us: "Decofit-P")
Black paint (for us: ColorWorks "Anthracite" spray can)
Filler (a large amount)
Tools used: Fretsaw (for us: "Skandia", saw blade no. 6)
Hobby knife
Sand paper (fine grain)
Set square
Ruler (for drawing & cutting)
Work table (optional)

High cliffs lowered upon either side…

We take it that you went through the first two articles already and that you have finished the "Gateway" and "Gatehouse" miniatures. In this third article we will call on construction techniques that were explained to you at an earlier stage. You might want to consult the first two articles now and then.

For starters, we are going to build the lateral wall. And after that, it gets even better…

TowerTeeth2 border=

You might have noticed that, from aerial point of view, the lateral walls that do connect the towers to the gate are not rectilinear but slightly curved. This curve is visible in the ROTK movie when the gate collapses after the destruction of the Ring. (The picture shows the right wing of the gate; we are going to build the lateral wall and the tower of the left wing).

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