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  1. Member Since
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    Jan 4, 2013, 9:58 PM - [The Hobbit] 'Key to Erebor' scale replica from WETA #1

    Hey guys! Thought I'd share a couple of pictures of this beauty, and also give some information on the prop. It's one of my first prop replicas, and a steal for only $40NZD

    Here's a quote from the WETA store:

    "This prop replica has been cast from moulds of the original prop taken directly from the 3 Foot 7 Art Department. It is cast in metal (Zinc Alloy) and comes on a stand made of polyurethane."

    It is amazing to behold, and I will probably be framing it in a lightbox with my replica Thorin's Map (once it arrives). The only downside with this prop is a small trademark, but it's only visible on one side of the key.

    If you would like any more pictures of the packaging etc, or have questions feel free to ask.

    EDIT: oops! Sorry about the image size. I've scaled them down a bit.



  2. Kit Rae's Avatar
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    Jan 4, 2013, 11:18 PM - Re: [The Hobbit] 'Key to Erebor' scale replica from WETA #2

    It is relatively easy to refinish to match the gritty and worn look of the actual prop too. The prop has some nicks and dents, dark tarnishing, and even what looks like rust in a few places. The sharp corners are very worn down looking too.

    This is after about thirty minutes of touching up the paint and adding some dry brushing for the rust and tarnish, then polishing through paint down to the raw metal in places, using rough, then fine sand paper. The tip of the key is actually slightly longer on the prop, but I did not bother extending it. The stock key is 95% the same.

  3. zorg's Avatar
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    Jan 4, 2013, 11:37 PM - Re: [The Hobbit] 'Key to Erebor' scale replica from WETA #3

    Ahh cool, I didn't know these were available, I know someone that would love this.

    Thanks for posting.

    Thanks also for the weathering tips

    -z
  4. Member Since
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    Jan 4, 2013, 11:59 PM - Re: [The Hobbit] 'Key to Erebor' scale replica from WETA #4

    Yeah great work on you're key. I'd give it a go if I wasn't afraid of ruining it.
  5. Stivie's Avatar
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    Jan 5, 2013, 12:44 AM - Re: [The Hobbit] 'Key to Erebor' scale replica from WETA #5

    I did a little weathering on my today, its pretty straight forward. I just need to find some rust colored paint. Any suggestions?
  6. zorg's Avatar
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    Jan 5, 2013, 9:36 AM - Re: [The Hobbit] 'Key to Erebor' scale replica from WETA #6

    i ordered one since i had weta dollars sitting in my account.

    i think its gonna be a present for someone.

    really low price on these, they could easily sell these for more.

    -z
  7. Kit Rae's Avatar
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    Jan 5, 2013, 1:34 PM - Re: [The Hobbit] 'Key to Erebor' scale replica from WETA #7

    Stivie said: View Post
    I did a little weathering on my today, its pretty straight forward. I just need to find some rust colored paint. Any suggestions?
    Rust is usually a mix of light browns and reddish browns. The little bits of rust on the prop look like a very light brown, like babys*it. I use old testors petroleum based enamels, called flat brown, or military brown. I used that and standard flat black for the paint wash, with a bit of a brownish gray gun metal metal metallic washed in a few places. dab the brown on, but blend it by dabbing the edges with a paper towel or cloth, for that rusted iron look.

    The stock key is painted black with silver dry brush evenly painted over it. You can simply sand some of that away down to the metal with 220 grit paper, then 400, without even using paint. It still looks better than stock.

    The key is zinc/zamac, so it is not hardened. The nicks and dents can be cut in with a fine edged cutting file, or even carved in with an Exacto knife.

    All of the corners can be hit hard with 220 grit to wear them down. then polish smooth with 400. The flat surfaces take a bit more subtelty, and if you go too far and make a hard edge between the black and metal, you can blend it out with some silver dry brushing.

    I can't post pix of the prop, but the back side is shown in The Hobbit Visual Companion book. It's a bit fuzzy though.
    Last edited by Kit Rae; Jan 5, 2013 at 2:00 PM.
  8. Kit Rae's Avatar
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    Jan 5, 2013, 1:40 PM - Re: [The Hobbit] 'Key to Erebor' scale replica from WETA #8

    A few more pix to see the rust, corner wear, and nicks.


  9. Member Since
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    Jan 5, 2013, 4:36 PM - Re: [The Hobbit] 'Key to Erebor' scale replica from WETA #9

    either you have very small hands, or the sizing on this is SIGNIFICANTLY larger than the one i got for christmas from barnes and noble/ the noble collection
  10. Stivie's Avatar
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    Jan 5, 2013, 6:42 PM - Re: [The Hobbit] 'Key to Erebor' scale replica from WETA #10

    Thanks Kit for all the great info! The Barnes and Noble version is just the same as there key chain version, very small in comparison to the Weta version.
  11. Kit Rae's Avatar
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    Jan 5, 2013, 9:29 PM - Re: [The Hobbit] 'Key to Erebor' scale replica from WETA #11

    I think the one for sale on the Noble website is the same scale as Weta's. The shapes are both slightly different from each other, but both seem to deviate from the prop slightly. There are a few details on the Noble version that are more accurate than the Weat, and others are not.
    Last edited by Kit Rae; Jan 5, 2013 at 10:16 PM.
  12. RPF Premium Member C0mmand3rC0dy's Avatar
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    Jan 5, 2013, 10:30 PM - Re: [The Hobbit] 'Key to Erebor' scale replica from WETA #12

    I absolutely love my Weta Key that I ordered from Think Geek, the stand is a nice touch too.
  13. RPF Premium Member benhs1898's Avatar
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    Jan 5, 2013, 11:22 PM - Re: [The Hobbit] 'Key to Erebor' scale replica from WETA #13

    Kit Rae said: View Post
    I think the one for sale on the Noble website is the same scale as Weta's. The shapes are both slightly different from each other, but both seem to deviate from the prop slightly. There are a few details on the Noble version that are more accurate than the Weat, and others are not.
    This should be completely impossible as the WETA version is cast from the original molds PLUS I've seen the Noble version and it is terrible. Wrong size and several incorrect details.
  14. Jm419's Avatar
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    Jan 6, 2013, 2:17 AM - Re: [The Hobbit] 'Key to Erebor' scale replica from WETA #14

    benhs1898 said: View Post
    This should be completely impossible as the WETA version is cast from the original molds PLUS I've seen the Noble version and it is terrible. Wrong size and several incorrect details.
    It's advertised as coming from the original molds, yes. Whether or not that's true is another matter - seeing as how dimensions don't match the key Kit has access to, either there are two different sets of molds - which would be bizarre - or we're not being told something.

    Regardless, it's a nice prop. I'm considering it, once my next big one is home.
  15. Kit Rae's Avatar
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    Jan 6, 2013, 8:41 AM - Re: [The Hobbit] 'Key to Erebor' scale replica from WETA #15

    Saying "original molds" is a bit of PR talk used as a selling point. You can't actually "cast" a non-ferrous metal replica like this from the original Silicon rubber molds. I suppose you could do it once, but you would end up with a burned rubber mess with a lump of metal in the middle. Mass produced zinc alloy or aluminum replicas like this are cast using hardened steel molds in a casting machine that is made for repeated molten alloy castings in the tens of thousands.

    It's not a big deal as both replicas are 90-95% the same shape as the original prop I have seen, the same prop as the one in the book scan posted above. Look at the tip point shape on the key to see the main difference, and the apex shape where the diamond at the key tip meets the neck. Not really big differences though, and I think Weta's is the better of the two.

    There may have been two props made at different scales, since Gandalf handed the key to Thorin. In the film they don't look to be a different scale from what I recall, but if there were, one may have been slightly different. Still, doubtful either one was used to directly make the steel molds for the replica. I do this type of work for a living, so I can explain more if anyone is interested, but it gets into boring tech talk about how steel mods are made.
    Last edited by Kit Rae; Jan 6, 2013 at 1:08 PM.
  16. nimitzbrood's Avatar
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    Jan 6, 2013, 8:49 AM - Re: [The Hobbit] 'Key to Erebor' scale replica from WETA #16

    Actually I wouldn't mind knowing more. I worked for a decade for a place that did milling among other things. Do these things get made directly from a CNC'd die or is there some other process?
  17. RPF Premium Member benhs1898's Avatar
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    Jan 6, 2013, 6:25 PM - Re: [The Hobbit] 'Key to Erebor' scale replica from WETA #17

    At any rate, the NC is terrible and is probably the furthest from accurate. Just in terms of quality it shouldn't even be considered. Weta is the one you would want to trust. "Original molds" or not they designed the stuff.

    It is way too small and the tooth is filled in instead of "linked".

    BTW, how do we know the key wasn't made of metal originally?
  18. Kit Rae's Avatar
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    Jan 6, 2013, 8:31 PM - Re: [The Hobbit] 'Key to Erebor' scale replica from WETA #18

    benhs1898 said: View Post
    It is way too small and the tooth is filled in instead of "linked".
    The prop is about 135mm/5 1/4" long. Weta's is about 131mm, mostly because the key tip is 1/8" too short. The one on Noble's website below is 5 1/2" long, so theirs is actually slightly larger than the prop. I don't know if the diamond ring at the tip is filled on this one.


    I think the small one you are talking about with the diamond hole filled is this, the cheapy little key chain version with the map that Barnes & Noble sells.


    benhs1898 said: View Post
    BTW, how do we know the key wasn't made of metal originally?
    I would assume the original master prop was made of steel. It actually looks like it may have been shaped from brass, then plated and painted.

    nimitzbrood said: View Post
    Actually I wouldn't mind knowing more. I worked for a decade for a place that did milling among other things. Do these things get made directly from a CNC'd die or is there some other process?
    I may do a post about how mass production prop replicas are made later, but I'll make a separate thread, since it will be long.
  19. Talyn626's Avatar
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    Jan 6, 2013, 8:38 PM - Re: [The Hobbit] 'Key to Erebor' scale replica from WETA #19

    Nice pics. I've got this ordered and on its way.
  20. RPF Premium Member benhs1898's Avatar
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    Jan 6, 2013, 10:27 PM - Re: [The Hobbit] 'Key to Erebor' scale replica from WETA #20

    Kit Rae said: View Post
    The prop is about 135mm/5 1/4" long. Weta's is about 131mm, mostly because the key tip is 1/8" too short. The one on Noble's website below is 5 1/2" long, so theirs is actually slightly larger than the prop. I don't know if the diamond ring at the tip is filled on this one.


    I think the small one you are talking about with the diamond hole filled is this, the cheapy little key chain version with the map that Barnes & Noble sells.



    I would assume the original master prop was made of steel. It actually looks like it may have been shaped from brass, then plated and painted.


    I may do a post about how mass production prop replicas are made later, but I'll make a separate thread, since it will be long.
    Ohh, hmmm, I guess we'll see then! But NC isn't exactly known for delivering when it comes to accuracy.

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