The Ring is destroyed; the Dark Tower has fallen; Sauron is gone…
Their task complete, Frodo and Sam lie spent upon a spur of rock as Mount Doom heaves beneath them. Rivers of searing, molten rock cascade past the exhausted Hobbits, consuming their fragile island sanctuary. Victory, they have bought for Middle-earth; for their friends; and for the Shire, but at the greatest cost, as the hope they have won for the world comes by sacrificing their own. As the friends lie still together, resigned and at peace, free of the Ring’s burden, they know death must come soon.
Yet all is not lost, for with Mordor’s skies clear of enemies and the baleful gaze of Sauron dispelled, salvation comes upon the wings of the Great Eagles and the faithfulness of a friend long thought dead. Riding upon the broad feathered back of the Windlord, Gwaihir, Gandalf the White swoops unlooked for from the heavens riven by flame and smoke to save Middle-earth’s saviours, bonds of fellowship unbroken even by fire and death.
I constantly studied eagles in slow-motion flight. It’s amazing how the feathers ruffle and lift in surprising ways as they come in to land and are in constant movement. I wanted to transfer all this knowledge to the sculpt but that could have made Gwaihir look a little scruffy so I had to tone it down to make him look regal and more artistic. Gary Hunt – Senior Sculptor, Wētā Workshop
CREATING SALVATION AT MOUNT DOOM – WITH GARY HUNT
Creating this piece was a massive job. The giant eagle sounded like a great idea when it was first pitched, but during initial scaling tests, it was clear that we had underestimated the sheer size of such a majestic creature. Understanding the amount of work and meticulous detail required for this grand piece, we turned to sculpting and Middle-earth master, Gary Hunt. “Even though I have digitally sculpted 2 eagles previously, this wasn’t enough to prepare me for the work I would have to do for an eagle of this scale! Originally, a 1/6th scale version was discussed; this would’ve made the wingspan over 2 metres and just the initial tests alone scared me! Getting the amount of photorealistic detail onto each feather was going to be a hard task, but luckily, I had a fantastic team behind me to help.”
Utilizing a variety of reference materials, from comprehensive feather maps to a (safely acquired) taxidermy NZ falcon, Gary initially created approximately 40 individually sculpted feathers as a base. Then from that base set, he re-sized, bent, curled, rippled, notched, and split each and every single feather, taking into account weight, speed, updraft, motion, and placement. “To fit that amount of detail on to so many feathers that were constantly editable required me to work between 10 massive files simultaneously, in addition the underlying sketch as a template. Primary feathers, Secondary and Alula, tail, head, neck, talons, left leg, right leg, chest, back, front tiny wing feathers both right and left, and then the base plus the characters.” With help from the incredibly talented artists and technicians here at Wētā Workshop, Gary and the team managed to faithfully and accurately bring to life this extraordinary scene, reliving a powerful moment from an unforgettable journey: Salvation at Mount Doom. Please note: images show a pre-production prototype. As each sculpture is hand-painted, variations may occur.
FEATURES OF THE MASTERS COLLECTION:
- Masters Collection #7
- Extremely Limited Edition of
- Material: Made from high quality polystone
- Dimensions: 46.85″ x 39.76″ x 20.86″ (W x H x L) 119 cm x 101 cm x 53 cm
- Weight: 30.865 lbs (14 kg)
- Sculpt led by Middle-earth veteran Gary Hunt, with assistance by Bawal Saggi, Kathryn Parr, Charlotte Key, Leonard Ellis, Mauro Santini, and Steven Saunders
- Depicts the final moment of despair, and subsequent ray of hope, for the Ringbearer’s party
- Includes 3 characters, 1 creature, and 1 dynamic environment
- Unique lighting features combined with expert paint application brings the molten lands of Mount Doom to life
- Release date: 2nd Quarter 2024
ABOUT MASTERS COLLECTION
Designed for discerning collectors, our Masters Collection represents the pinnacle of Wētā Workshop craftsmanship.
Embodied in each of these extraordinary statues, you’ll find an exacting attention to detail. Materials of the highest quality. The latest technology, meshed with the finest handcraft. A reverence for the source material that can only come from artists who have lived and breathed Middle-earth for over twenty years.
More than collectibles, these are sculptures of fine art.