Our friends at Weta Workshop have released their latest newsletter and its jam packed with information. Tonight, we get two new pre-orders and a run down of when we will start seeing items for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. The first item that came up for pre-order is the next Hobbit Hole helping fans create their own Hobbiton with Gandalf’s Cutting. This great little piece is named for being the Hobbit Hole that is nearest when Gandalf enters Hobbiton. The other item that went up for pre-order is a beatuiful art print capturing The Argonath. This stunning print was created by Gust Hunter and captures the Kings of Old as the Fellowship goes by. You can order Gandalf’s Cutting for $40 and it will ship in late November and you can also order The Argonath art print for $35 which is in-stock.
Also within tonights newsletter, Weta tells fans when they can expect to start ordering products that are tied in with the second film in the Hobbit Trilogy. These products will start to be released from next Monday afternoon here in the US, which is next Tuesday morning in New Zealand/Australia. So starting from next week fans can expect to order at least one new statue, which will be the Elven King Thranduil himself.
Here is the full comment from tonight’s newsletter:
Next week signals the launch of the first items from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.
We have previously launched Bilbo and Bombur Barrel Riders as exclusive preview products, but 15 October signals the start of our range proper!
We have a range of products lined up for the next few months and while we want to keep some of them a surprise, one or two have seen the light of day at conventions and events.
King Thranduil 1/6 scale statue is one such piece and we will start taking orders for this striking Limited Edition piece:
Tuesday 15 October at 9AM NZ time!
Around the World that means the following times:
Posted in Collectibles, Collectibles, ComicCon, Conventions, Hobbit Movie, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Merchandise, Movie Fellowship of the Ring, Movie Return of the King, Movie The Two Towers, Shop, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, Weta Collectibles, WETA Workshop
US West Coast: Monday 14 October at 1pm
US East Coast: Monday 14 October at 4pm
Central Europe: Monday 14 October at 10pm
Sydney, Australia: Tuesday 15 October at 7am
As we know Weta Workshop is responsible for so many great things dealing with Middle-earth from the movies themselves to the collectibles we bring into our homes. So we wanted to take a chance to sit down with one of their amazing artists who, like so many there,has worked on both the movies and the collectibles. Today, we’re going to interview Steven Saunders who is responsible for the prosthetics for several of the Dwarves in The Hobbit as well as collectibles like mini-Arwen, mini-Strider, mini-Gandalf, Gandalf the Grey from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and Bombur Barrel Rider from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.
1. What sparked their interest in art?
Most of us start off interested in art but grow out of it as adults, I just kept going.
2. What medium do they like to work in best (paint, pencil, sculpting, electronic, etc)?
Once I started sculpting in clay I probably got hooked for life
3. Can they pinpoint for us any of their work we may have seen in past films or those coming up? Any character or creature design or landscape we might recognize?
I can mention a few of my favorites:
I did a great deal of prehistoric skeleton sculptures for Roland Emmerich’s 10,000bc. In the Hobbit films I sculpted the prosthetics for Dori, Gloin, Bombur, a few orcs, and a few goblins. On Elysium I sculpted prosthetics for both Matt Damon and Sharlto Copley.
4. What project (book, film, poem, song, etc.) would you most want to help bring to life with your art?
Frank Herbert’s Dune, Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials Trilogy, and Stephen King’s Dark Tower series. I was lucky enough to have already worked on a Tolkien adaptation project otherwise that would have been first on the list.
5. What tends to be your favorite subject to draw? In other words, if you were offered a million dollars to create a piece of artwork on whatever *you* wanted it to be, what would you create?
Time spent as a contractor doing reconstructions of extinct life for a South African Museum has convinced me that bridging the gap between scientific discovery and public awareness through pop culture could be the best possible application for my craft.
6. You work in a very competitive industry. What’s one tip you have for those aspiring to be in similar positions as yourselves one day?
Talent only provides you with a little extra initial potential. What you really need is to nurture perseverance, tenacity, practice constantly and the ability to work extremely well with others. Practice your craft constantly!
7. Do Weta’s artists get to keep a version of everything they sculpt? Say no.1 of every statue? Or would it feel weird to own and display your own work?
I have unpainted castings of my collectables at work but I enjoy buying my sculptures in the Weta Cave just like everyone else, still a very surreal experience as a collector.
8. As a high end sculptor that pays very fine attention to detail in your sculpts, how do you feel about the possibility of poor painting by contracted workers causing an outcry from some collectors on various fan forums?
We take very special care to ensure a very high standard of reproductions. I have been very happy with the paint jobs on my sculpts so far.
9. If you could choose only one, who would you say is your favorite middle-earth character? And why is this particular character your favorite.
That would be Gandalf I guess. He seems the most proactive in events but still very humble throughout.
10. You’ve now done several pieces involving The Lord of the Rings Trilogy or The Hobbit Trilogy. What would you say has been your favorite piece to work on or have we not seen it yet?
I am fond of my Hobbit Wizards Gandalf and Radagast, Barad Dur environment and the little Arwen.
11. Following up with the last question. Is there a something you’ve not worked on yet that you would love to work on be it an environment, statue, shield, etc.
12. Could you tell us how you got your start with Weta and what is been like working there?
I would like to think I got in through my quality of work and reputation but I think I really got a job offer through persistence. Weta is magical; I am at my happiest amongst a community of highly driven slightly crazy creative overachievers.
13. Can you point to any one particular artist who has most influenced you, or the direction your career has taken? And which of your contemporaries would you list amongst your personal favorites?
I draw inspiration from everywhere but if I had to pick one I think my mother and her support early in life definitely pulled me through. Contemporaries? Everyone at Weta but particularly the elusive Jamie Beswarick,
14. The Lord of the Rings has been around for over 50 years and The Hobbit has been around for over 75 years. These two stories have become huge in many fans lives. When did you first become familiar with Middle-Earth and what have you taken away from reading or watching the happenings in that world?
I read Hobbit and LOTR back to back as a teenager. I have always found it fascinating how we humans blur the lines between fantasy and physical reality. Tolkien’s writing manage beautifully to create a fantasy that feels like a real alternate history.
15. What is the hardest part for you as a sculptor in order to bring these characters to life? Do you do anything to help make it easier? Say, watch some of the movies to get things down.
For me the hardest part is to not start too many sculpts at once. I do watch the films every two years or so but find that a mountain of printed reference is all I need
16. Finally, If you could be any character from within Middle-Earth whom would you choose to be? Following that up why would you choose to be this character?
I could be a fat little Hobbit that goes on road trips twice a year to carve wooden sculpture first for Edoras and move on to do some stone carving in Minas Tirith then take the coastal road from the mouth of the Anduin via the Grey Havens all the way back to Hobbiton to spend the rest of my time gardening, drinking, eating and hanging out with my fat little Hobbit friends and family.
We want to thank Weta and Steven for taking the time to do this interview. I want to thank members of the Sideshow Freaks Message Board, Shadow & Flame Message Board, and my fellow TORn staffers for giving me some great questions to pass along.
Posted in Collectibles, Collectibles, Hobbit Movie, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Merchandise, Movie Fellowship of the Ring, Movie Return of the King, Movie The Two Towers, Shop, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, Weta Collectibles, WETA Workshop
“Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them,
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
— J.R.R Tolkien
Comic-Con 2012 brought us without a doubt one of Sideshow Collectibles best pieces ever. After months of teasing and getting fans ready for something big, we finally got the chance to see Sideshow’s Sauron Premium Format. For this amazing piece, Sideshow teamed up with artist Jerry Vanderstelt to bring to life his awesome print of Sauron looking over Mordor. This piece blew me away as I stood there looking at it among all the other pieces as Sideshow’s booth. Sauron is huge, detailed, and it felt like I was looking at the real thing. It was the perfect balance of both the beautiful image Jerry Vanderstelt painted and Sideshow’s ability bring a 2D image to life. (more…)
Posted in Collectibles, Collectibles, ComicCon, Conventions, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, LotR Movies, Merchandise, Movie Fellowship of the Ring, Movie Return of the King, Movie The Two Towers, Shop, Sideshow Collectibles
As some of you remember a while back I decided to share my collection with you all. Now, I’d like to share a fellow Ringer’s collection who decided that he also wanted you all to see the passion he has for Middle-earth. I hope you all enjoy Eric’s collection and if you would like to share what you’ve gathered after years of collecting don’t be afraid to let us know.
Here’s how Eric describes his collection:
My name is Eric from Maryland, USA. I’ve always had a love for weapons growing up. And so when United Cutlery started making the The Lord of the Rings movie swords and props, I thought it would be a cool idea to one day club our basement and make a Middle-earth themed place to hang out. I started collecting them in 2003. Most of the purchases were made between 2003 – 2006, but it was only about 6 months ago that we finally finished our basement. Until then, my collection was mostly in boxes. When collecting, it was my goal to have a poster of each main character and to have their weapon right beside that poster. In the TV room, we have the “fellowship” section. It showcases the characters at the core of the fellowship, with whatever memorabilia I could collect to represent them. In the gaming section of the basement, I have some of the original theatrical posters as well as an Elven Warrior, Rohan and Sauron sections. Some sections are still a work in progress and I have some room to hopefully grow the collection a little over the next two years. After seeing Elessar’s collection, ( which we really enjoyed viewing ), he invited me to share our collection. I thought it would be a good idea to share how we have celebrated Middle-earth. I hope you enjoy what we’ve done.
Posted in Collectibles, Hobbit Movie, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Merchandise, Movie Fellowship of the Ring, Movie Return of the King, Movie The Two Towers, The Hobbit