Making Minas Tirith 3

Minas Tirith in action at NWA Games 2005On these pages watch the progress to see how Minas Tirith came together . The city was to be constructed for 1/72nd scale (also known as 25mm figure scale) for use with the Lord of the Rings Battlegame by Games Workshop. It was not going to be an exact duplicate of the "bigature" for the film as I was constructing this on my own.

It had to be made for reasonable cost, playable for wargaming and able to be transported. Thus it had to be made quite robust, in several pieces and scaled down slightly so all parts could be reached during the course of a wargame, but still look right and contain all 7 levels of the city.

Design & Construction Details

Check the other pages for the story and photos of the construction of Minas Tirith. Each page is listed at the top left of each page, or just follow the pages through by clicking the link to the next page at the bottom of each page.

Right. Minas Tirith as it appeared at the NWA Inc. open day on 14th August 2004 with the home made Mumakil in the foreground. The 4 siege towers can be seen ready to launch an attack against Wall 1.

What Size To Make It?

Looking at the few images which showed crew at work on the model from the film, and a limited amount of information available on the internet, the size of the model appears to be around 4.2m in diameter at the base, and about 4.2m to the tip of the tower.

This was too large to store and transport. When sitting on a table for convenient wargaming, it would be too tall for the roof at home. So the dimensions had to be scaled down without making the city look too small.

The tables normally used at the club are 6' x 4' (1.8m x 1.2m) so it was sensible to base the size of the model around this. I also wanted the outer wall (Wall 1) to be correctly scaled both in height and radius, so the idea was to have a reducing scale for each level.

Since this was for wargaming and not just for show, it was also important to be able to reach the model from the sides.

Left. This gives you a better idea of the huge size of the model.

The decision was to have a 3' (900mm) radius for Wall 2. This would allow the city from Wall 2 up to the tower fit onto a 6' (1.8m) wide table. By stopping the city just a little back from the centre point, it allowed all the courtyard and most of the main building at the back of the courtyard to be included (on level 7 where the White Tree stands) and still allow all this part of the city to fit on a 6' x 4' table.

To allow the city to sit on the dining table at home, the height of the model (minus the tower) could be no more than 5'6" (1.68m) to fit under the ceiling. The tower would be made separately so it could be added when in a room with a taller ceiling.

It was decided to do only parts of Wall 1 but it must include all of the main gate. This stopped one idea which was to just do the southern half of the city (apparently the main gate faces east). These parts of Wall 1 would be done in greater detail than the rest of the city and not reduced in size. Thus the wall would be 2.1m radius with 240mm high walls.

These parts of Wall 1 would be of modular construction and more robust (to be made from foamboard rather than corrugated cardboard). This would allow these sections to be used for a variety of scenarios at normal club meetings (once I get around to making siege towers and Grond, the battering ram).

Model Design

Time was spent drawing the basic layout in the AutoCAD computer drafting program in 3D. This allowed comparison with photos of Minas Tirith from the film to make sure that it looked appropriately proportioned even though it was scaled down. It also ensured that the model would fit on a series of 6' x 4' (1800mm x 1200mm tables) as required.

The drawings are done in the computer at real size. For example, if the wall height is 240mm then you draw the wall in AutoCAD at 240mm high. This allows AutoCAD to calculate measurements for you on other parts of the drawing. This was especially useful to avoid having to calculate the lengths of curved wall sections for cutting out - at the click of a button AutoCAD calculates it for you.

I had to be careful during the design phase as I have a tendency to spend too much time designing and never quite getting around to making.

Right. A closer view showing some of the detail on the towers of the main gate.

The Rest of the City

Minas Tirith is split in two by a great rock. So that the model of the city would be able to fit through doorways, could be stored in the available space and fit into my car (although not all at once), the main part of the city was to be made in 5 sections.

NEXT PAGE ==> Main Gate & Level 1