Trollshaws Ruined Farmhouse

Materials, Equipment and Paints Used:
Hirst Arts Mold #701
Plaster-of-Paris/Herculite II Casting Powder
Thick Cardboard
Balsa Wood Sheet
Balsa Wood Rectangle Rod
Wooden Coffee Stirring Sticks
Small Stones
PVA Glue
Sharp Craft Knife
Cutting Board
Chaos Black
Java Bean Paint
Nutmeg Spice Paint
Woodland Fawn Paint
Barley Black Paint
Flintstone Paint
Green Flocks
Burnt Earth Static Grass
Burnt Course Turf
Woodland Scenics Fine-Leaf Foliage
Fine Leaves - Autumn

The hobbits were glad to leave the cheerless lands and the perilous Road behind them; but this new country seemed threatening and unfriendly. As they went forward the hills about them steadily rose. Here and there upon heights and ridges they caught glimpses of ancient walls of stone, and the ruins of towers: they had an ominous look. Frodo, who was not walking, had time to gaze ahead and to think. He recalled Bilbo's account of his journey and the threatening towers on the hills north of the Road, in the country near the Troll's wood where his first serious adventure had happened. Frodo guessed that they were now in the same region, and wondered if by chance they would pass near the spot.


Before the encounter with the three trolls in the Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the party comes across a ruined farmhouse, to which Gandalf explains, “a farmer and his family used to live here,”. This scene takes place in the Trollshaws, a dangerous borderland between Bree and Rivendell.

The Trollshaws were the upland woods, consisting at least partly of beech trees, that lay to the west of Rivendell between the Rivers Hoarwell and Loudwater. They were the haunt of Trolls, three of which famously waylaid Bilbo and his companions during the Quest of Erebor. Years later, Frodo and his companions found them on the way to Rivendell, but the Trolls, from the distractions of Gandalf, had been turned to stone by the sun. On the hills of the Trollshaws were shallow caves, and on the top of some of the hills there were castles and towers that had been built by the Men of Rhudaur.

It seems there were few if any Trolls that lived in the shaws by the late Third Age. They were probably driven back into the Ettenmoors (which was Troll country) to the north, by the Dúnedain Rangers and the Elves of Rivendell.


The farmhouse is not mentioned in the book itself and is an addition for the movie, so the best way to get reference pictures is to pop in the disc to your PC and grab some screen shots.

The Ruined Walls

The walls where made from blocks cast from Hirst Arts Mold #701. I arranged the blocks into a pleasing structure before gluing them in place using PVA. The main feature here was the fireplace, the mantle of which was made from a piece of Balsa Wood cut into shape. The edges had nicks and groves cut into it.

The wall sections where glued on to a basing material, here I used corrugated cardboard, which is not the best material to use but was all I had to use at the time of the build.

Next sections of Balsa Wood rectangular wood where cut to size. The height of these is the same height of the jutting up sections on the walls above. These will support the roof later on. I used three of these beams, two at the front that would have been a doorframe when the house was completed and one at the back.

Small stones where glued around the base and on the walls to make things look a bit more ruined.

With the main structure of the house glued into place I drew the outline of how I wanted the base to look, and then using a craft knife cut this out. Because I used corrugated cardboard I had to use polyfiller to fill in the gaps around the side of the base.

The Roof

The roof was made from rectangular sections of balsa wood about 1/4" thick. The ends where cut so they rested on the support sections of the wall sections, and joined together forming the peak of a roof.

Wooden Coffee Stirring Sticks where snapped up to roughen the ends up and these glued in to place horizontally across the roof in places.

Horizontal beams where cut, and the ends angled so they fit nicely in between the roof beams. Two of these where glued in placed, with the back near the fireplace not having a horizontal beam.

The Base

The base was covered in PVA and gravel and then sand was sprinkled over the base.


The entire piece was basecoated in black. I used tester paint pots available from Wilkos (A store in the UK) as they are cheap and a good size for terrain making. The colours I used where Java Bean (similar to Rhinox Hide), Nutmeg Spice (similar to Mournfang Brown), Woodland Fawn (similar to Karak Stone), Barley Black (similar to Skavenblight Dinge), and Flintstone (similar to Dawnstone).

The base and wood where painted in Java Bean. The base was then drybrushed using Nutmeg Spice and then Woodland Fawn. The wood was drybrushed Woodland Fawn.

The wall had bits of Java Bean dabbed over it and whilst the paint was still wet it was painted using Barley Black, leaving the gabs in the bricks black, it was then drybrushed with Flintstone and then with Woodland Fawn.


The edges of the base where covered in the same flock that I used on my gaming boards. This was also glued in small fine patches over the base. A burnt coloured static grass was also glued to the base. Burnt Earth course turf and Woodland Scenics Fine-Leaf Foliage was glued around the base to represent the foliage and plant life that would have grown over the discussed farmhouse. Fine Leaves - Autumn where scattered about the base.