With the recent launch of our new Argonath statue, we sat down for a chat with two folks who were critical to its design from the very beginning: Art Director Daniel Falconer and Lead Sculptor Gary Hunt.
Daniel: The Argonath are a pair of epic scale statues that stand on the River Anduin, built by the ancient Numenorien’s when they colonised Middle-earth founding the realms of Gondor and Arnor. They’re made on a scale that nobody else in Middle-earth was capable of creating at the time.
Daniel: It’s the 20th anniversary of Fellowship of The Ring, so we wanted to look for the most iconic moments to try and celebrate them. It certainly doesn’t get much more iconic than those original movie posters that showcased the Argonath, so we shortlisted it very quickly as something we wanted to revisit. This gave us the perfect opportunity to give it the scale and grandeur that it deserves. Also, at that scale, we were able to put in a lot more detail than was ever possible on the previous smaller ones.
Gary: We were sort of restricted to the base size initially, but were given the green light to make this version of the Argonath even bigger than originally intended. With the larger scale we could add more of those subtle details. We also brought the two statues closer together as well, very slightly, due to a restriction of the base, so we also had to change the landscape.
Daniel: The first Argonath collectible was sculpted by Mary MacLachlan, Mary was one of the model makers that helped make the Argonath and various other bigatures for the films.
Gary: But instead of sculpting out of polystyrene, like for the film set bigature, she would have started in plasticine. And the rocks…
Daniel: They were plasticine as well, but I think she just beat them with other rocks to put texture in them.
Gary: …that’s also my technique.
Daniel: Is that the way you did it!?
Gary: That’s the way I did it yeah.
Daniel: That’s awesome, it shows those techniques transfer from large down to small, there’s that authenticity.
Gary: I sculpted the Argonath digitally, and I had the choice to sculpt the rocks digitally as well, but I thought I could get a better realisation of rocks just with plasticine and hitting it with real rocks.
Daniel: I don’t think there’s a better technique really, it just looks so genuine when you do it that way.
Daniel: Yes, it’s one of the awesome things about the way we can work now. For example, when we got the greenlight to make it bigger, if we’d been sculpting physically, we’d have to start from scratch again. But with digital sculpting, we can easily enlarge it, then just touch up all the extra details as needed.
Gary: You make it sound easy, but we put in a lot more detail into this one.
Daniel: Well that’s the fun part, having collectors find all the details that we’ve poured into these statues.
We’re excited to celebrate all things old and new for the 20th Anniversary of The Lord of The Rings: Fellowship of The Ring. You can see more of Gary Hunt's body of work, including Lord of the Rings collectables here.