Hobbiton Chronicles: Frankensteining in Hobbiton ...

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  • Holy P! I can't believe how many things I've missed
    It's a good thing we got you Min cause it would be a real shame if they never got noticed

    Number 12 has gone through a lot of big chances it seems. Not sure if I like all of them but that might just be me being my weird self

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    • #36 Smial During Its White Plywood Facade Eras


      Number 36 is the only smial that did not get torn down and redone during the 'Scouring of the Shire". We are not sure why, other than to possibly keep a bit of the history of the 'true' Hobbiton around. Why #36 is totally beyond us, as it too had it's problems with soil movement, cave-ins and the likes.

      #36 and the 'very tall' hill beside it. March 22, 2003


      A wonderful close up of this smial. Picture was also taken March 22, 2003.
      You all see what we do right? Look for #36, it is there . . .


      Above the 'broken' white plywood.


      By December 7, 2003 the land had shifted and the smial was in trouble


      This pictures tells so much about how the plywood facades were constructed, the way the door and window openings were done, and even a glimpse of the side of the plywood facade.
      But it shows a bit more beyond that precious, yes, yes it does.
      Picture taken; December 7, 2003.


      Most of you will be able to spot the #36 in the bottom right corner of the picture, giving you an idea of just where this piece of the picture comes from. Did you also spot the partial rectangle and letter of some sort in the upper left corner of the white plywood. More signs that these where put together like that of a numbered jigsaw puzzle.




      A penciled in arc. If only we had pictures from just after the polystyrene was taken off, what the plywood could have told us.


      This is the only smial, that we have seen, that had any other plywood, other than that of the main smial facade. When one goes back to look at #36 without all the flowers etc around it, one will notice that it had a short rock wall. One can also see traces of that wall in Dave's and Leonard's miniature of #36. As there is still polystyrene left behind on this plywood, we presume that this was the backing for the wall. If you look at the 'complete' picture above you will see that these plywood 'boxes' are on both sides of the facade.


      Picture was taken by Red in 2006. Thanks so much Red for letting us use your wonderful picture.
      It helps to show that for 3 years this smial was not doing too badly considering just how old the 'Grand Old Lady' was.
      However in you can see that the plywood is 'buckling' under the weight of the earth on top of it.



      The next 3 years were not nearly as nice to this 'Grand Old Lady' ...
      Picture taken by Scriff; April 2009.
      With the weight of the earth on 'her shoulders', the right side collapsed. Luckily for this side the 'inner' window frame was strong enough and helped to keep the right side up. The left side was not nearly so lucky and has fallen apart. The kind folks at Hobbtion Movie Set tours had used reinforcing steel bars to help keep the left side semi-intact.


      #36 - 1st era white plywood facade, was still standing, December 3, 2010. Now it shows of the location number, placed on it by 3foot7.

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      • So very painful to see that poor, poor Smial

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        • Bag End During It's 2 White Plywood Facade Eras


          We never found a single word, pencil/pen mark on any of the first era Bag End facades. We thought we might be able to get a glimpse of the 'room' the facade was for. but for all our searching and scouring we came up empty.
          Bag End seemed to be the last of the smials/hobbit holes to receive a whole new white plywood facade. We were most surprised that we did not find a single picture of the Bag End facade being either taken down or under construction. Which leads us to wondering if it was not done while the tour was 'closed'?

          Since we are hoping that you are checking out the differences between the first and second era facades, we will be placing first era above the same section of the second era Bag End facade.

          As most people read from left to right we will begin on the left side of Bag End.
          Apologies if some of the pictures are not the best quality, some needed to be zoomed in so that you could see the 'section' of Bag End better.

          First 3 sections on the left;
          Study, Bedroom, Dining room, Parlour
          1st era:


          2nd era
          Thanks again to Scriff for taking such awesome pictures and allowing us to use them.
          Any pictures taken from April 2009 were taken by Scriff. Not sure what we would have done without them, as you will soon find out!
          April 2009



          Kitchen:
          1st era, note the clay tiles as a 'roofing material'.


          2nd era
          April 2009



          Parlour
          1st era


          2nd era



          Main Door
          1st era;
          August 21, 2004


          1st era;
          Note the polystyrene that is still glued on in the top left corner of the facade
          March 22, 2003


          2nd era
          April 2009



          Main door, 'spare' Study, 'spare' Bedroom
          1st era
          March 22, 2003


          2nd era




          The entire Bag End facade;
          1st era
          March 22, 2003


          2nd era:


          We informed you, as no one had stated it, that one of the differences between the 1st and 2nd era for #11, was that the 1st era had a door and window 'casing', while the 2nd era did not. The only smial that retained the window and door casings in the 2nd era was that of Bag End.

          Comment



          • Getting caught up and what great posts Min!

            I'm really enjoying looking at all the photos for changes between the eras. There are so many. Many more than I would have expected. Thanks for all the effort you have put into this thread. It has given me many may hours of enjoyment.

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            • Maybe I'm missing things but it looks like the fewest changes were made on Bag End.

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              • Thanks Ithildin. I must admit it is our 'happy place'. A place were, LSB and myself, love to go to when the world becomes all crazy, complicated and 'insane'. We love 'this place' and it is so wonderful that others are enjoying what we love so much and are willing to come along on our adventure with us.


                Considering how large, how many different facades, windows etc Bag End has, I would say it has fewer than most. I personally like the fact that they even used the tiles over the kitchen. I would say that they did the kitchen the best of all the facades they redid in Hobbiton, if one excludes the lines used for their polystyrene 'puzzle'.
                Thing that LSB and I wonder about is, is it close enough to what it was, that we now have an extremely good idea as to the number of windows, size of windows, shape of windows and location of window etc. The one we wonder about the most is that of the dining facade. Did this area have the large centered window with just the one smaller one on the right hand side? Or was there one on the left hand side that the dirt and grass mostly covered up, and was not 'copied' when they redid the dining room facade?
                We are still looking for pictures, in the LotR movie, or as 1st era white plywood that will prove this to us. Hopefully some day this mystery will be solved.

                Comment



                • The Smial 'That Almost Never Was' During Its White Plywood Facade Eras

                  This 'smial' had 3 white plywood era's, unfortunately LSB and I have never seen a 'decent' picture of this 'smial' during the 1st era, and only then about 2 years ago.

                  This is a screen shot from a video that was taken pre-Hobbiton tours.


                  Zooming in on the 'smial that almost never was':


                  Since we have never seen a 'decent' picture of it during the time of construction or the filming of LotR we truly know very little about it. Even Daniel F. has stated that "a picture of this hobbit hole has eluded him".


                  It wasn't until just a couple of years ago that we realized that not all that we saw in Hobbiton is the way we thought. Up until that point we figured that the following picture was likely the 1st era for this hobbit hole, even though the weathering was really quite different.

                  We did start discussing that just maybe the 'whiter center part' could have been added at a later date, and Hobbiton tours used the 'demolished' pieces seen in behind on the left side to figure out what the front had actually looked like.


                  By studying 'newly found' pictures of many different smials from the 1st white plywood era we noticed one thing all smials had in common. They all had door and window 'casings', or at least parts that would have made up the window and door casings. While none, other than Bag End, had these during the 2nd era. Yes now you know why this finding, that we mentioned back while discussing the differences of #11 two plywood eras was so important to us.
                  The door and windows in the picture above do not. We now have the proof needed to state that yes, this center whiter part is new and we are looking at the 2nd era white plywood facade. Although the above is the only decent 2nd era picture we found for a very long, we did find ones taken before this:


                  2nd era
                  Picture taken March 2003

                  Both of the side pieces we are thinking are original plywood.

                  2nd era
                  December 2003

                  As you can see by December 2003, the left side original plywood is gone.
                  We now feel that the original decent photo of the 2nd era was taken after the above one.

                  3rd era
                  Taken at the time of redoing the white plywood for this hobbit hole/smial

                  We know that not all the 'rubbish' boards that are seen on the left side are from the first and second era facade of this smial, but we do wonder just how many secrets do lie in that pile?

                  3rd era
                  Looking on from the front


                  3rd era
                  Picture taken in 2009 by Scriff

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                  • I haven't caught up on this in a while. But now that I have - it's so fascinating. But what blows me away more is your knowledge and the research that has gone into it. Just brilliant.

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                    • It's crazy how many of these holes had the hillside collapse on them. Is there that much rain or is there something about the soil that it won't hold together?

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                      • Originally posted by Ithildin View Post
                        It's crazy how many of these holes had the hillside collapse on them. Is there that much rain or is there something about the soil that it won't hold together?
                        I was wondering about that as well. My eyes may not be as good as Min's and LSB's but it looks like the inside was empty in most cases so it could be due to the fact that there was nothing strong enough to keep the roof up?

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                        • They weren't really constructed to stay up for years and years. That and quite a lot of rain...

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                          • Originally posted by TheWhiteHand View Post
                            I haven't caught up on this in a while. But now that I have - it's so fascinating. But what blows me away more is your knowledge and the research that has gone into it. Just brilliant.
                            Thanks for such wonderful praise TheWhiteHand.
                            It really helps when there are two of us forever looking and discussing the the different pictures and info that one or the other of us finds.



                            Originally posted by Ithildin View Post
                            It's crazy how many of these holes had the hillside collapse on them. Is there that much rain or is there something about the soil that it won't hold together?
                            Originally posted by Vicksken View Post

                            I was wondering about that as well. My eyes may not be as good as Min's and LSB's but it looks like the inside was empty in most cases so it could be due to the fact that there was nothing strong enough to keep the roof up?
                            Originally posted by Stig View Post
                            They weren't really constructed to stay up for years and years. That and quite a lot of rain...
                            Stig is 100% correct.

                            One needs to remember that the smials were only to be erect for a very short period of time, not much more than a year, as the agreement with the Alexander farm was to put the land back to the way it was pre-filming.

                            This means that the facades including that of the 'hole created' only needed to 'last' a maximum of 12 months. Construction of Hobbiton started in March of 1999 and filming in Hobbiton took place Dec. 1999 - sometime in March 2000. It was not until Dec. 2002 that the tours officially began running, this is 21 months after the smials were to have been demoslished and the land restored to the way it was.
                            Also remember that it was due to incredibly large amounts of rain, that the last 17 holes were not disassembled and the land put back to the way it was.
                            The roofs and facades didn't stand a chance against the environment and gravity.

                            Comment


                            • #35 Hobbit Hole During Its White Plywood Facade Eras


                              Like the white plywood era for 'The Smial That Almost Never Was' this smial also has 3 white plywood eras. The sad part about this smial is, we have yet to find any pictures at all that shows this smial pre-Hobbiton tours. However we are much luckier with #35 as we do have, semi-decent pictures of what it looked like during the time of LotR and these just do not jive at all with the pictures of the white plywood, until ... (that comes later).

                              The first picture we found of #35 white plywood era, #35 is the one on top of the hill.

                              About the only way we knew it as being #35 was it's location.

                              2nd era
                              Above picture cropped and zoomed in:

                              The outbuilding with the chimney that was on the left side are gone. The black stuff on the left we think is the material that went between the grass and the roof tile.
                              It looks like it goes back 3 depths, which we knew #35 did not, it didn't even have '2 depths' to its facade. The door doesn't look completely circular either.


                              More pictures started to pop up on the internet and these started to help put the pieces together.
                              2nd era
                              March 2003

                              The back most depth appears to be caused by the facade 'bowing' inward at the outer edges and a shadowing effect.

                              Then this picture was found!!
                              This picture and the knowledge of 'door casings' nicely brought 'home' just what happened.

                              To make things look 'better' for the tours, Hobbiton Tours had added the new white plywood front, to the center only plywood only, and for some reason, left a gap between it and the original front facade. Did they think this smial had a closed in porch? Why had they not just copied the original plywood, and placed the new white plywood right against it? Why go to the extra effort of creating this 3D enclosed porch including having to add the roof to it? Questions we will likely never know the answer to.
                              What you see hanging down inside of the white 'new facade' is the old doorway and casing for the original facade. The bright white one has no door casing, 'informing us' that it was never part of the original facade. As we had already figured out from screen shots.

                              By any chance, does the new white center facade piece of #35 remind you of anything??


                              How about that of 'the smial that almost never was'? Seen in the picture below with the 4 horizontal 'holes' closed in'.



                              3rd era brings with it a very interesting facade for #35
                              April 2009, thanks again goes to Scriff for this picture as well as the next 2.

                              Knowing that Hobbiton tours added the chimney to #16 to make it look more 'screen accurate', they must have thought that the 'closed in' porch must have been part of the original facade?

                              3rd era
                              April 2009


                              3rd era
                              April 2009


                              3rd era
                              Dan Hennah and Brian Massey doing a survey and in discussions in 2009 or 2010 - just before work on The Hobbit Hobbiton started.



                              "There and Back again"
                              Almost the same picture as the first only this time all white plywood smials are from their 'final' era;

                              Showing you once again that it is the location of #35 that we have been discussing.

                              Comment


                              • It really looks strange without the left side building with the thatched roof and chimney.

                                Comment


                                • I'm confused. Yes, it looks better in the 3rd era but why not stick to what was on screen? Unless they only had a VCR they must have been able to freeze the movies?

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                                  • Originally posted by Ithildin View Post
                                    It really looks strange without the left side building with the thatched roof and chimney.
                                    That it does, as well as with the 'closed in' porch.
                                    The roof of #35 was not thatched during LotR, that happened when 3foot7 rebuild Hobbiton for The Hobbit.


                                    Originally posted by Vicksken View Post
                                    I'm confused. Yes, it looks better in the 3rd era but why not stick to what was on screen? Unless they only had a VCR they must have been able to freeze the movies?
                                    Excellent question Vicksken. As when they redid #16 the final time Hobbiton tours took the time to add the chimney. Why didn't they have #35 more screen accurate, as it was one of the few smials that actually showed up in the movie.
                                    One could also ask why they did keep the windows for the smial #7, #8 and #10 the same, as this would have been much easier than doing the chimney for #16 or figuring out what #35 was like.

                                    Comment


                                    • White Plywood Facade Eras' Summary

                                      There were 17 white plywood facades that survived then scouring of the Shire back in 2000.
                                      One of these never had any changes done to the facade: #36
                                      Three of them, #16, #35, and #40, had 3 different eras. All three of these had some 'remodeling' done prior to the doors of Hobbiton Tours officially opened.
                                      Sixteen of them, all but #36, were completely redone within 14 months of the Hobbiton tours beginning.


                                      These white facades could be found in 3 areas of Hobbiton:

                                      Hill Lane and Bag End; west side:

                                      At the 'beginning' of the tours

                                      Top Row; Bag End, Middle row; #36, #2 and #2a, Bottom row; #1 and #4

                                      After the renovations were complete
                                      Top Row; Bag End, Middle row; #36, #2 and #2a, Bottom row; #1 and #4


                                      Hill Lane and Bag End, east side:

                                      At the 'beginning' of the tours

                                      Very top; Bag End, Middle row; #2 and #2a, Bottom row; #4 and #5

                                      After the renovations were complete
                                      Very top; Bag End, Middle row; #2 and #2a, Bottom row; #4 and #5


                                      Woody End and The Hill:

                                      At the 'beginning' of the tours

                                      Top row; 'The Smial That Almost Never Was' and #35 In the 'U'; #6, #7, #11, and #12

                                      After the renovations were complete
                                      Top row; 'The Smial That Almost Never Was' and #35 In the 'U'; #6, #7, #10, #11, and #12


                                      There have been a few discussions on the forum as to whether Hobbiton should have been left the way it was during the time of the movies, mainly referring to door colours and the additions to the mill.

                                      Knowing what LotR #36 looked like at the end of it's time in Hobbiton, and seeing what some of the white plywood facades looked like before they were replaced, we are very curious as to what you think about the white plywood eras.
                                      Should Hobbiton tours have left the facades as they were no matter how 'broken down' and decrepit they looked? OR
                                      Was it a good idea to redo the white plywood facades?
                                      I guess what we are essentially asking is, would you have rather toured through a dilapidated fallen down dirty white plywood facaded Hobbiton, in which what you were seeing was the actual white plywood from the filming or a nice white'ish' erect plywood facade where the old one once stood?

                                      Comment


                                      • Well, I for one would rather of toured the redone white plywood facades. It's a shame the originals were is such poor condition because that would have been the preferred if they were in good shape. But Better the redo with the changes than to have to walk though and see all the sad destruction to our beloved Hobbiton.

                                        P.S. Even though I would vote to have Hobbiton be like it was in the LOTR films. I do really like #35 thatched roof instead of the original. Heresy!

                                        Comment


                                        • I really enjoyed reading through this thread! It took me awhile, but was so worth it. I learned a lot and got to see amazing pictures. Wanted to say thanks Min and LSB and to those who helped with the pictures. I don't know if i will ever make it to see in person, but i feel as if i had a wonderful guide through Hobbiton in this thread!

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