…and the “Sorcerer’s Stone” Training Grounds Tower!

We’re gonna start today’s post with the good stuff: before-and-after sliders comparing the COS-through-OOTP training grounds tower I finished last time to the original training grounds tower! (I’ll show you the process of creating the latter afterward.)

For each slider below, the SS version of the tower is on the left and the COS-OOTP version is on the right. Notice how little the lower areas of the structure change, and how much the upper areas of the structure change!

Before I built this original version, I realized that I didn’t have the adjacent areas built in the SS model, which would make it look kinda funky. So I first took care of some housekeeping: duplicating stuff from the POA model to the SS model, creating new collections (folders) for different structures, etc.

The Defense Against the Dark Arts tower moved in Prisoner of Azkaban, so I created a copy of it and moved it to its original position. I also removed some asymmetry from the Durham wing that was introduced in Azkaban to make room for the Dark Tower:

God, I get so nostalgic for those candle snuffer roofs on the Durham wing from the first couple films.

Anyway, as you’ve seen with the sliders, the lower areas of the COS-OOTP training grounds tower are identical to the original design from SS; they just redesigned most of the upper areas. So I brought a copy of that training grounds tower into the SS model and started ripping off all the top parts that were different. Here’s a fun render partway through that messy process:

Ugly, innit? Well, if you want to make an omelette, you’ve got to crack some eggs.

There, now the metaphorical eggs are beginning to set! Nearly done:

The roof is tricky because in addition to the gable, there seem to be some flat areas, but I don’t have any good shots from above. This is another area where my ideal levels of accuracy and precision simply aren’t going to be possible, unless some kind soul manages to send me reference photos or technical drawings of this spot that hasn’t been part of the miniature for almost 20 years now.

This seems to be the best inference possible from the available information:

Its central courtyard is particularly mysterious. It corresponds to a space at Alnwick Castle that was used in a brief scene in the first film, but the shape is so different in the miniature that it’s impossible to know what sorts of architectural details were in there. In the video game, the courtyard is omitted altogether, continuing the flat roof over the entire thing; you can see it at 3:07:02 in this video. But that castle has numerous other inaccuracies, so I take it with a grain of salt.

One of the things that’s starting to stick out for me is the lack of flashing on all my roofs. It definitely hurts the realism. I’m going to need to fix that at some point.

Anyway, here’s one last shot of the finished tower! Next, I’ll probably finish up the SS-era curtain walls. See you next time!


33 thoughts on “…and the “Sorcerer’s Stone” Training Grounds Tower!

  1. It’s so beautiful! I adore the PS version of the TGT and the PS/CoS’s central gallery tower and I really can’t overstate how mgical it is to see them return.

    If it’s not too presumptuous to ask, could you do another orthographic projection of the Philosopher’s Stone version please? It’d help a lot with my map project since the one lighting map for that version is not terribly helpful in places like the central tower’s round parts and the round turret at the back of the TGT.


      1. That’s very helpful, thank you!

        As an extar question, the large round tower on the cloister side of the TGT has its walkway quite abit further out than the wall of the tower iself – is the bit where the roof changes texture in the plan view the same as the diameter of the tower wall?

        Oh and if you have any similar views of the gallery’s central tower, those’d be very appreciated too.


      2. My pleasure! Yeah, the dark gray is the part of that walkway that’s visible from above. The eaves cover part of it when seen from this angle.

        I’ll try to do one of these for the central tower in a little while!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Thanks! Especially so quickly!

        What’s next to work on btw? More training grounds, or other parts/versions of the model?


      4. You’re most welcome! As for what’s next…I’m probably going to try to finish up the remaining curtain walls in the SS/PS version. After that…maybe the transfiguration classroom/Durham Cathedral chapter house? Not sure yet.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. The transfiguration classroom would probably make the most sense after the training grounds, yeah. I still wonder why they removed it for the Dark Tower instead of just sticking the latter on top of its flat roof – the Dark Tower has no discernible entrance so it makes the cell on a tall stick aspect just kinda weird even though it does look good.


      6. The Dark Tower really is funky. It does seem to have an entrance with some steps on the east side, but they’re super hard to make out. I’ve never seen a good shot of them.


      7. Huuuuh, I didn’t know that. What have you found to indicate they exist? Even if it’s blurry I’d love to see it.


      8. Check out the partial early GoF floor plan!

        You can also glimpse them in the POA overview elevations visible in the Studio Tour: https://hogwarts4dhome.files.wordpress.com/2021/03/screenshot-2021-03-07-155908.png

        Lastly, you can very briefly and vaguely see it during the GoF dragon chase sequence after Harry falls from the marble staircase tower. Here’s part of a screenshot from the open matte version of the film, brightened and color-corrected: https://hogwarts4dhome.files.wordpress.com/2021/03/gof-dark-tower.png

        None of the three of these would be enough on their own, but together they give a pretty strong (but low-resolution) impression of a staircase. This was a relatively recent discovery for me, and hasn’t yet been added to my model. I’d love to get a better look at that entrance someday!

        Liked by 1 person

      9. Thanks for sharing! I had no idea. Also in that shot it looks like the back side of the cloister is solid wall. I’d always assumed it was double sided with the arch-windows (do they have a special name, the cloister kind?) like it is on the HBP model. So many things you never notice – like how in Dumbledore’s death fall off the Astronomy Tower it’s blurry but so far as I can tell the Training Grounds Tower is still there.


      10. HELLO.
        It is an amazing work! Congrats!!!!!
        How ca I get an image like that in HD to have a big print with a tower and a bridge from Hogwarts.
        Is it possible to get it?
        Can you get back by mail?


  2. It is so beautiful! You’ve done a great job as always, and thank you for taking those shots from overhead and of the big turret at the front; these images the material I needed to finalise my design for the tower.
    You’ve really made my day, thank you!


  3. I’ve been following your work since the very beginning and I must say I have no words to describe how much I love it! Its amazing how you manage to recreate every part of the castle, even if there are no many pictures of them! Some years ago I bough the Noble Collection miniature of the castle and I was so disappointed because of its inaccuracies that I decided to modify it as much as possible and I’m happy to see that at most of the points we have arrived to the same conclusion!
    As the previos user said, every time I receive an email with an update from your blog you make my day! So thank you!


  4. Every time the SS training grounds tower rears its ugly head in my direction it’s against my will. FUGLY. No poise.

    Anyways what changed with that north wall of the quad where you would need to remove or remodel the entire thing?


    1. The suspension bridge and its associated gatehouse on the Quad side move entirely from CoS to PoA, from the Gryffindor Tower end to the Stone Bridge Tower end. It also loses a parapetted tower atop that gatehouse, and gains an extra dormer. and this amount of reshaping basically required the entire wall to be rebuilt on the model since it’s a physical model. I always wondered why since it leaves the little Training Grounds exit builting from the suspension bridge orphaned yet still on the model.

      The PS/CoA version of that wall is very trick to get references on, sadly, since it’s so old and not many shots include it up close.

      Just about visible in the top left in this flyover:

      And on the right here:

      And here on the right of the ravine, but it’s at night so not the best view:

      The difference is easier to see by comparing the blueprints:

      See how far the suspension bridge and its Quad-side gatehouse move? The model designers would have had to physically dismantle and replace the entire wall to get around there being a big hole, which creates a lot of little differences.


    2. What The Englanderish said! 😀

      (And yeah, the original training grounds tower is not the most aesthetically pleasing structure. I’m nostalgic for it, but I can see why it only lasted one movie.)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I guess I’ll have to be the only one who stans the original TGT lol. I like both versions, but the original’s larger shapes and curves is more in line with the original PS/CoS whimsical castle aesthetic, whereas the CoS-OotP version is much more towards the PoA-onwards tall gothic remodel. They’re at home in different aesthetics, and IMO the CoS revamp on the TGT is maybe a film too early since it doesn’t fit that much with the rest of the castle until PoA comes around. It basically depends what type of castle architecture you want, and how it relates to the tone of the film.

        Did you try the PS version of the tower in those old-style-Ps/CoS brick textures you did way back, btw? I’m curious how dramatic a change that makes to it.


      2. I agree with everything you said about the different designs fitting the different aesthetics, for sure.

        As for the textures…it’s funny, the more production photos I’ve found from the various films, the more I’ve become convinced that the miniature’s coloration didn’t actually change that much. That’s not to say it stayed completely the same with each paint job, but I think the differences were MUCH subtler than what we see in the films. I now believe most of the shifts in coloration come from different lighting and color grading. Because of that, I haven’t really maintained my old pair of colorations; instead I’m trying to just match the most neutrally lit photos of the miniature I can find, and those end up being pretty similar throughout the films.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Ah I see. Does blender allow for ambient lighting effects and colour grading for shots? I’m now immensely curious what the later gothic structures look like in a PS/CoS effect and other shenanigans…


      4. Blender allows you to light things however you like, and then I’d probably use Photoshop for adjusting the colors (or DaVinci Resolve for video). I may play around with that at some point!

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Ah. So I suppose that bridge tower was originally the girl’s dormitory. It’s funny how distorted the castle has become since the original movie – and how after each movie it becomes less and less of an actual ‘castle’. Though I still much prefer the gothic aesthetics of the later films, even if that means sacrificing all those lakefront views and realistic fortifications. Kind of.

        Anyways, are you familiar with the original set plans (or whatever they are) that were being sold here? They’re pretty cool to look at.



      6. I don’t believe it’s supposed to be the girls’ dorm – that would still be in the nearby Gryffindor Tower both before and after remodels, though it’s purely academic either way since it hasn’t appeared in any of the films.


      7. I didn’t realize that tower was where the Gryffindor girls’ dormitories were till recently, but yeah, that seems to have been the intent! Check out the first scene in the common room in the first film, or the white card model at the Studio Tour. You can see that there are two bulges in the wall for two different towers, and Percy says that boys are on the left (matching the white card model) and girls are on the right. Of course, that tower on the right disappeared from the exterior model in the third film, so it no longer makes sense at that point, but it does seem to have been the original intent.


      8. I don’t think that works – the bulges are very close together, in contrast to the towers that have a much larger gap between them than would make sense, as well as very different heights. I just presumed they were internal circular structures within Gryffindor Tower.


    1. It’s kind of funny…when I first started using Blender (around 2006 or so), I was letting 1 Blender unit equal 10 feet. I don’t remember exactly why I chose that, but I’ve kept that system for a lot of my stuff to this day – partly to keep different projects on the same scale for easy comparison, and partly just because I’m used to it.

      But I consider this a vice…if I were starting out now, I’d insist on using Blender’s feet and inches!


  5. Today I feel like an unfinished part of me was completed today. This is my favorite post of all, I feel as if a great forensic scientist rebuilt something that has not existed for 2 decades with a lot of Respect, Love and Work. I Really like it when you get something that we can’t get by looking movies (like the greenhouse dome).

    I feel like I love the organic origin of this tower in the first movie, but… as a “silhouette of the castle” the truth is horrible compared to the one that came later. The COS version gave imposing to the backside, you just have to see the shots from the quidditch Stadium during the match and almost everything seen in GOT.

    I wonder how many levels the training ground has? if you see alnwick it seems to have 2 levels and that corresponds to some scenes of the movie, but in the models it only seems to have one. I also wonder if you will make a single color of grass, or the stripes as a football field?

    I’m dying to see the suspension bridge, it makes me desperate to know that We will have 2 or 3 post untill that, without taking into account that you could take another sabbatical year XD


  6. To add to the “path to the dark tower” thing; I’m absolutely convinced it exists and if I’m not mistaken, I’m seeing what looks like a door in the middle arch of the Durham transept:


    1. You can glimpse that door in other shots too. I think it’s stil on the model. Where did you find that shot by the way?


  7. Awkward AND off-topic question, but in the deathly hallows version of the castle on the west-facing side of the quad’s interior, are there crenelations/a projecting parapet similar to what is seen on the other side of the wing (the east side of the quad, where there are the battlements)?


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