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See a Lord of the Rings City Made From 420,000 Matchsticks

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As unlikely as his preferred building material may seem, Iowa-based artist Patrick Acton is making a name for himself constructing seriously elaborate, architectural models made from matchsticks, of all things. While Acton's already completed about 65 projects to date—using an estimated 4M wooden matches to build such wonders as Notre Dame Cathedral and Hogwarts—none are quite as jaw-dropping as this highly flammable recreation of Minas Tirith, the fictional city from Lord of the Rings. Built from 420,000 matchsticks and an additional 24,000 small wooden blocks that form the Mount Mindolluin backdrop, the city is his most elaborate yet—standing at least six feet high.

Acton's technique is simple, considering the grandness of the end product, as he simply bends each matchstick with pliers, sands them slightly, snips the sulfur top, and stacks them in an methodical fashion. Hardcore Tolkien fans should be able to pick out scaled-down and stacked buildings like the Citadel, the Tree of Gondor, and the White Tower of Ecthelion. Everyone else—at the very least—will no doubt marvel over the many weird and wonderful ways artists can turn just about any object into an architectural feat.

· 420,000 Matchsticks Form Lord of the Rings' Minas Tirith [My Modern Met]