Making Isengard

Isengard3D10aLord of the Rings - Making Isengard. These articles show the different stages of the making of the Isengard scenery. The information here can be used to make other terrain boards. See from design, through construction to painting of both the scenic bases and the impressive Tower of Orthanc.


Making Isengard - Design

Isengard3D08.jpgIsengard was designed in AutoCAD, a computer drafting package, wich allows you to visualise in 3D. This is useful to check what the finished model will look like, before cutting, gluing or even purchasing any materials. Read how this was done.

It is not necessary to go to these lengths, but even a simple sketch is helpful in avoiding a major design mistake at this early stage.

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Making Isengard - Making the Terrain Modules

060331%20Isengard%20Terrain%2004.jpgIsengard consists of a serises of terrain boards 2' by 2' (around 600mm x 600mm). These are square boards with a wooden frame for protection. Just using polystyrene foam is a lot quicker, but the corners quickly get damaged unless there is some form of protection. Foam is also subject to warping caused by the shrinking of glue and paint as it dries.


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Making Isengard - Building the Tower


060325%20Isengard%20Croydon%2003.jpgThe Tower of Ortahnc is the tall tower at the centre of Isengard. A series of roads radiates from the base of the tower. In the Lord of the Rings books by J R R Tolkien, the tower was round and smooth. So smooth that the Ents could not find a crack to lever the stones apart. Which was the only reason it was still standing when Aragorn returned to find the rest of Isengard in ruins, whilst Merry, Pippin and Treebeard had Saruman and Wormtongue hiding in the tower. Although easier to build, a smooth round tower would not be as interesting (or as recognisable) as the spiky tower in the Peter Jackson films. The model here is based on the one in the film.

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Making Isengard - Painting Terrain

Module%201b%20Stage%2013.jpgTime to paint the terrain modules after the coating had dried. The modules were all painted in acrylic paints. The black was a 4 litre tin of liquid acrylic matt black (whatever brand was cheapest) bought from a hardware store. The paints used for touching up of black and any other colours were the range of Chromacryl Student Acrylic paints bought from an art & craft store. They are cheap but good quality and come in a good range of colours. They are the consistency of soft toothpaste so I find them easier to mix and a perfect consistency for dry brushing than compared to more liquid paints.

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Making Isengard - Mountain Backdrop

Mountain backdrop for IsengardThe mountains behind Isengard provide a magnificent backdrop to the great Tower of Orthanc and the battles that occur there when the Ents march to their great battle with Saruman the Wizard.

The mountain backdrop to Isengard was made out of a chunk of polystyrene foam. I used a hot wire cutter to create the general shape of the mountain. Then I used the hot wire cutter to put corrugations in the surface for that mountain look.

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