Moria – famed Dwarf kingdom and mine wherein Mithril, rarest of Middle-earth minerals snaked its way through the Misty Mountains in rivers of silver. Rivalling Erebor in its prime, the great Dwarf city of Dwarrowdelf was a celebration of the wealth and power of Durin’s folk. But time alone would tell, the Longbeards delved too greedily and too deep…
Far beneath the ground, tunnelling for Mithril in sunless black rock, the Dwarves disturbed something that had remained safely entombed since ages past, a being of unfathomable terror, relic of a time of gods and giants, a creature of which the like should never walk again in Middle-earth and for whom there were few equals remaining in the world, a Balrog of Morgoth. A demon composed of shadow and flame, the Balrog could be harmed by no blade or device of Dwarf design. By the hundreds, Durin’s people and the Dwarf King himself fell before the beast, after named Durin’s Bane.
When the Fellowship of the Ring sought to pass beneath the Misty Mountains and thereby thwart the attentions of the fallen Wizard Saruman, it was against Gandalf’s grave misgivings, for the Grey Wizard suspected what haunted in the shadows of Moria. Secrecy alone might secure their safe passage, for if the Balrog were alerted, Gandalf knew their escape would only be bought at great price, and he would not again pass through the Dwarf realm’s doors.
CREATING THE BALROG AT WETA WORKSHOP
When design work began on The Lord of the Rings in 1997, the look of many of Middle-earth’s most evil creatures was open to interpretation. Loose descriptions in the books, plus rough sketches by seasoned Tolkien artist John Howe, helped guide Weta Workshop concept artist Ben Wootten in his development of the Balrog. The demonic form took shape almost entirely as sculptures, rather than illustrations.
For Ben, the complexity of the Balrog’s figure, complete with horns and fiery maw, was easier to resolve in 3D form, rather than a 2D image. Director Peter Jackson also responded well to 3D and the freedom it allowed to observe the creature from all angles. One of the very first maquettes of the Balrog’s head became the model for the finished creation. When its body was complete, the sculpture was scanned by Weta Digital to bring the demon to life on screen.
Two decades after he helped design fell creatures for The Lord of the Rings, Weta Workshop sculptor Jamie Beswarick revisited the Balrog, this time capturing the unfathomable terror as a highly detailed polystone and resin bust. The Balrog’s snarling visage was created using the same traditional physical sculpting techniques honed on the trilogy.
Senior painter Jules German faced the unique challenge of maintaining the Balrog’s flaming ferocity whether the inferno was illuminated or raged unlit. Staying true to the original paint scheme designed by Gino Acevedo, Jules used dark heavy acrylics on the demon’s skin, horns and teeth. High-end automotive paints usually emblazoned across the bodies of hot rods was applied to the demon’s molten cracks and roaring tresses using spray cans and airbrush. The highly-pigmented paints set the colours ablaze whilst retaining the translucent quality of the resin maw and mane.
When illuminated, the Balrog is truly a demon composed of shadow and dancing flame. The Flame of Udûn joins Weta Workshop’s line of creature busts that can be wall-mounted or displayed on an accompanying stand. This collection of fantasy film art is the work of nightmares.
FEATURES OF YOUR BALROG BUST
The Balrog bust can either stand on a flat surface or hang on the wall. Just loosen the bolt, turn its head 180 degrees on its base and fasten the bolt again.
This Limited Edition bust of 888 is made from high-quality polystone and resin, and features unique LED lighting to create an illuminated flame effect. Set your Balrog ablaze using the accompanying USB cable (wall charger not included).
Please note: images are of a pre-production prototype. Each bust is painted by hand and slight variations will occur.
Dimensions: 11.02" x 19.29" x 11.81" (W x H x D) 28 cm x 49 cm x 30 cm
Weight: 18.07 lbs (8.2 kg)