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Matt Smith (Prop Designer):
"A Dwarven pipe was one of the first things I got to draw on The Hobbit and I was imagining what it might be made out of. When it came back from being made it was stunning: beautifully crafted out of carved walnut wood with ivory and silver. I suppose I thought it would be carved in polystyrene or something, so my expectations were blown.”
Alex Falkner (Weta Workshop Props Model Making Supervisor):
"Counting all the various doubles, we made something like 500 weapons for Thorin and his companions, far more than we made for all the hero characters of The Lord of the Rings a decade earlier…”
Emily-Jane Sturrock (Armour and Weapons Lead Stand-by):
"With Dwalin’s axes, for example, we had heavy versions for hitting with; mid-weight versions that gave an adequate sense of heft for an actor to hold in a scene, but which you wouldn’t want to carry for a long time; a flexible, lightweight pair to be worn on the back for stunt work; and a lightweight pair for the actor to wear on his back or run with in his hands. Graham McTavish could tell the difference between them instantly.”
"I remember when we had our initial discussions with the Weta Workshop design team about dreaming up weapons for our characters to carry. It was marvellous in that abstract context and you found yourself thinking, ‘Oh, I want this gigantic thing that can crush people!’ Of course, a few weeks later when you’re shooting the eighth take of scene 88 the ideal weapon you want to be running with is a pen knife and you can’t help wondering, ‘Who was the genius that suggested I carry a giant hammer?’”
"Thorin had a royal Dwarf sword that represented his birth-right and past, the past in which he began the journey to re-claim Erebor. It was called Deathless in reference to Durin the Deathless, father of the line of Durin to which Thorin is heir."
"Thorin can wield a bow as well, but Kili seemed to have cornered the archery angle for most of the films as far as the Dwarves were concerned. Rumour around Middle-earth has it that he’s a better shot than that Legolas guy or Bard what’s-his-name."
"Fili unloads a lot of gear to Bilbo when we first arrive in Bag End. It’s quite funny because he’s a walking armoury, but in reality he’s more of a specialist. He might have his other blades as some kind of back-up, but his main weapons are his paired Dwarven swords and it’s them that he relies upon. Fili is a swordsman."
"I got to learn that my character wasn’t about these high-tech weapons. Like all the boys in his family, Bombur is more of a scrapper and that shifted my understanding of the character. This Dwarf isn’t a trained fighter like perhaps Fili or Kili might be. He hasn’t had the kind of life experiences of someone like Nori and he hasn’t been to war like Thorin or Balin and Dwalin. He is a working guy. He has a ladle and a pot, which can be effective weapons when push comes to shove, but they’re tools. […] I think Bombur considers himself a bit of a weapon. He’s not fussy. He picks up a few things along the way."
"Even in our fight training I said to myself, I’m just going to go crazy and keep punching and stabing until someone pulls me off. That’s Bifur—when he gets into it he loses himself completely. He’s fearless and relentless.
Contrasting that, he’s also a craftsman of astonishing skill. He makes toys that are intricate and beautiful. I love that.”
"Gloin carries a set of axes that anyone who has watched The Lord of the Rings and paid attention will recognize as Gimli’s. It’s another of the many links between the trilogies that we have established and it makes perfect sense for the character, given how much family means to Gloin and to the Dwarves."
"I forget where the idea came from originally, but the suggestion of a fighting stick seemed to be a good one to me. Putting a leather strap on it meant I could lean on it or rest it on the ground and hang on to the strap. It could be used for ligting, carrying or whacking. It turned out to be a wonderful weapon."
"We looked at the World War Two new recruits and how these young men with fresh faces had no idea about the war they had just signed up for."
"I rather like that Ori’s slingshot is the kind of weapon that doesn’t really look like a weapon. A kid could buy a replica and it’d really just be a good old-fashioned, wholesome pea-shooter."
"Speaking to Dori’s eccentricity is his choice of weapon. His signature weapon is absolutely extraordinary. I’m only sad we lost the bolas at the Goblin caves. I loved my bolas!"
"I’m not sure Nori even knows who his father is. His father was probably some travelling Dwarf who came through and stayed the night and left. I’m not sure what that says about Dwarf society. There aren’t as many women, so there aren’t as many opportunities!
I settled on the notion of a fighting staff. It was based on a Maori taiaha, a long wooden weapon with a pointed end and a flat, bludgeoning end. I imagined a weapon like this might actually be a tool that could be used by miners to dig out rock with one end and smash it with the other. If it worked on a rock it’d work just as well on an Orc’s skull.”
Next pages: Weight, Heat, Safety & Comfort; Barrel Escape Dwarf Costumes
Collective tag link: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Cloaks and Daggers
1600px versions: Dropbox repository (updated as I post more pages, might take a few days for new pages to show)
Notes: These photo excerpts are meant to be used by fans as references for the creation of The Hobbit fanwork (cosplay, art, fiction, nonfiction, etc.) Feel free to repost, use, and edit any of these photographs as you wish. Credit back to me is unnecessary.
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“Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” (X)