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GROND - Siege of Minas Tirith Battering Ram - (Hobby Post)

RUPERT MITCHELL 28mm LOTR Blog

This blog post details how I built a home made Grond model to use with my mainly Games Workshop 28mm LOTR figures. I originally uploaded the post to Facebook a few years ago and am saving it here as a back up.

Grond features in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings - Return of the King. It was the massive battering ram Sauron's minions built in Mordor for the sole purpose of smashing the main gate of the Gondorion city of Minas Tinas.

If my recollection of Tolkien mythology is correct it was named after Grond - Morgoth's Weapon - Hammer of the Underworld and had evil spells of ruin cast about it. Trolls and Great Beasts propelled the wheeled frame holding the suspended blackened iron wolf ram across the Pelennor Fields until it was eventually positioned before the gate of Minas Tirith. There it's swinging flaming maw did great damage and allowed the forces of Mordor to flow up into the first level of the city. 

The first batch of pics show the finished model with the remainder detailing it's construction with comments. The completed model including Great Beasts is about 50cm long! Difficult to store, rarely used, easily damaged - what's not to love!

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GW orc in picture gives you an idea of the size of this thing.

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Trolls like the Great Beasts are from the Eaglemoss factory painted part-work series of LOTR figures. I've since added more from Dark Alliance.

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I made these removable painted cotton wool smokey fires to sit in each of Grond's 6 braziers. I also use these things (stuck to small coins) as markers for use in my Fire & Fury wargames. I may use a similar cotton wool piece to fill the wolf's mouth to represent the burning coals shown there in the ROTK film.

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CONSTRUCTION...

(The comments and photos were originally added bit by bit as things progressed.)

Below - Very early stages but the mainly balsa frame has already taken on the look I wanted.

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The balsa battens glued together in the foreground are mainly for scaling purposes so I can get an idea of the size the ram will be when made. Have not yet decided how to proceed with making the actual ram yet - may or may not use balsa.

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Another day's work done on the basic frame from earlier. Have now added the wheel housings, chain mountings for the ram and Great Beast rigging at the front, walkway posts, column brazier spikes and various devices to represent the spells that were cast about Sauron's machine.

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Wheels. I have ordered some lego wheels off eBay so may use those instead when they arrive. In the mean time I made these from 1p coins and balsa. One of the pleasing thing about this project is that with a few exceptions I have been able to make it from parts found in my various "bit's boxes".

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The frame is now pretty much ready for painting. Will undercoat with Vallejo Game Color #51 Black then dry brush #45 Charred Brown and highlight with a lighter brown like #43 Beasty Brown. Will the pick out the iron work with a reddy metallic colour yet to be chosen.

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 Here the frame of the battering ram has been undercoated black. Next stage: Charred Brown.

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Charred Brown added. I find it quite hard to see where I have missed sections when painting a dark brown over a black undercoat but the photo flash has come to the rescue and has illuminated a few dodgy patches. Next stages - light brown highlights, re-apply black undercoat to those areas designated metallic, apply metallic iron/rust and then to tackle the real difficult bit - the Wolf's Head battering ram itself.

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Beasty Brown applied and metallic sections re-undercoated. I may give it a black or dark brown wash next.

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Two coats of a "dirty" black wash now applied. Walkway rail also in place. Metallic paint to be applied to metal work and gloss then matt varnishing and the frame is done.

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The Great Beasts - These fellows hauled Grond across the Pelennor Fields. They are ready painted metal figures from Eaglemoss. Harnessing to be done so these can be rigged up to the frame. I will make them detachable so that the ram can be placed right up against the Minas Tirith gate - pushed the final few feet by mountain trolls.

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The cheapo resin wolf ornament bought from eBay has arrived! Lol! The challenge now is to cut it up, apply much milliput and paint and see if I can make a wolf shaped battering ram that is in anyway acceptable! If you never see these chaps again you know I failed.

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Frame is now complete having been finished off with Tinny Tin metallic and matt varnish.

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Here's the battering ram near completion. I cut the resin wolf ornament off it's base, divided it into several sections, elongated these sections by inserting balsa battens as filler pieces, added dowling peg legs (with florist wire claws) and copiously applied Milliput to shape it and fill all gaps. I then Superglued on crumpled up pieces of kitchen tin foil to get a suitable texture. I also extended the muzzle with Milliput a little and replaced the original teeth with more threatening looking cocktail stick tips. The next stage will be to undercoat it black and then apply Vallejo Game Color #60 Tinny Tin

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Chain. I always smile at where this hobby can take us. I required much chain for this model (to suspend the ram and harness the Great Beasts) and was pondering where best to get some. My quest ended when on a rare shopping trip with my better half we ended up in a local department store - I spotted some cheap necklasses in a clearance sale reduced from £12.50 each to just 80p each so snapped them up. This was well worth enduring the mirth of the checkout assistant. Once home I removed the hideous pendants they once featured and dipped them in a bath of metallic paint and ink to try and make them more rusty coloured - which only partially succeeded.

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Great Beasts. Now based on 9cm square laminated cork drinks coasters. I Super Glued them on, applied a filler to level the surface and painted them Vallejo Game Color #43 Beasty Brown. Sand and flock to come next. These guys are solid metal and are pretty heavy.

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The Ram. Since last picture the wolf ram has been undercoated black and three washes of metallic paint applied. I have also added the three fixing loops where the supporting chains will go. These also serve as good temporary supports when drying the paint. To finish it off I will apply a heavy black wash and matt varnish it.

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Harness Rigging. One of the final parts of this project is the rigging for the Great Beasts so they can pull the frame and ram. I looked at how Napoleonic cannon limbers were pulled and will use a simplified version for my needs. The photo shows the wooden bars cut to size and undercoated black. I used garden centre plant support sticks for these. The next stages will be to complete the paint work and apply some metal fixings that I think florists wire may do the trick for. Finally the Great Beasts will be rigged up with chains and away we go.

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