Hi everyone this post was sent in by a lifelong gaming friend John G – enjoy.
The Tower of Orthanc
After the destruction of Númenor in the year 3319 of the Second Age of the Sunthe, the only Númenóreans to escape were the forewarned Elendiland and his sons, Isildur and Anarion,who led nine ships of the faithful Elendili to safety in Middle-earth. They took their ships up the Anduin River, where many of their people already lived, and founded Arnor and Gondor.
In time Gondor’s five principal cities became Minas Anor; Minas Ithil; Osgiliath; the riverine port of Pelargir; and the coastal city fortress of Dol Amroth. Among other works, during this busy century they would also have built the Tower of Orthanc inside the Ring of Isengard which guarded the Fords of Isen and Gondor’s northwestern border at the southern end of the Misty Mountains.
Things were relatively quiet there for many centuries into the Third Age until Gondor’s waning strength led after the Battle of the Field of Celebrant to the ceding to the Eotheod of the largely uninhabited province of Calenardhon, creating the Kingdom of Rohan in the year 2510. In establishing their kingdom, the Rohirrim dispossessed the Dunlendings, driving them into the western foothills of the Misty Mountains. Gondor made no objection, as to them the troublesome Dunlendings were anathema through being akin to the Dead Men of Dunharrow, cursed long before by Isildur.
Gondor however retained a small garrison in Isengard. Over time the Dunlendings had begun to filter into northern Westfold again, making settlements in the mountain glens east and west of Isengard and mixing with the much diminished remnant of Gondor’s garrison there. The Dunlendings finally grew bold enough to raid the Rohirrim in Westfold and had also infiltrated and seized Isengard by 2720.
In 2758 the Dunlendings, supported by a fleet of the Corsairs of Umbar who raided upriver in force,surprised and defeated the Rohirrim who retreated into and were besieged in the fortress of Helm’s Deep. Gondor sent aid which drove off the Dunlendings in 2759 then assisted Rohan’s new King Fréaláf to besiege Isengard, which only fell when the Dunlendings were starved out late in the year.
Saruman the Wizard, then still of good faith, helpfully offered to settle in Isengard to defend it. As the fortress was still Gondor’s the offer was accepted by Beren, Steward of Gondor. Fréaláf acquiesced as this freed the Rohirrim to return to guarding the Fords of Isen from incursions from the west or upriver.
Things went quiet again until Saruman’s corruption and betrayal led to his assault on Rohan in 3019 during the great War of the Ring. To Saruman’s dismay, after his army had marched away Isengard rapidly fell to an utterly unexpected assault by the Ents of Fangorn Forest, leaving him only the impregnable Tower of Orthanc.
So that’s what I’ve scratch built out of scraps over the past fortnight for my 15mm Army of Isengard.
Tower of Orthanc – Early Days
Orthanc was described as four mighty pillars of gleaming black, incredibly hard stone, welded into one. Mine is of foam core pieces glued to a cut down cardboard tube. Tolkien said it was 500 feet high. In 15mm this equates to 150cm so for practicality I’ve made it about a quarter of that height.
Editors note: I think we have an old bottle of spicy tomato source in the cupboard that would make excellent glue as well.
Tower of Orthanc – Basic Four pillar Structure
At the summit the pillars opened into four gaping horns with sharp points. These are also of foam core. I’ve given the roof a parapet as it was originally used for astronomical observations so a windbreak would have been needed. Orthanc had only one door accessible to the ground by a long stair, with a balcony above it.
Orthanc had many windows, mine has spare dice trays.
Tower of Orthanc – detailing added
Tower of Orthanc – Ready to Roar
So there you have it, the jewel of Saruman’s domain, just waiting for those nasty Ents to turn up and spoil the party! (A really great action pic – editor)
John G. August 2020
Works by J.R.R. Tolkien –
The Lord of the Rings – The Two Towers George Allen & Unwin, London 1954
The Lord of the Rings – The Return of the King George Allen & Unwin, London 1955
and J.R.R. Tolkien works edited by Christopher R. Tolkien –
The Silmarillion George Allen & Unwin, London 1977
Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth Allen & Unwin, London 1990
Editors Note: Thanks John for the article, orcs add variety to the posts on Zombies, but I am not sure by how much!!! Love the tower. Don’t you love it when another project bites the dust.
Have a great weekend guys, and I hope to see your latest painting and modelling projects soon.