today is Jan 24, 2022

Saruman pondering his orb, once the cover of a Middle-earth role-playing book and suddenly a potent and popular new meme, is now available as a free 3D print file. That means you can both ponder and paint an orb of your very own today, if you like, the only limitation being the speed and capacity of your 3D printer. That makes this new STL file by Twin Goddess Miniatures the most powerful internet-based sculpture since the sad Keanu monitor topper.

If you’re not up to speed on how, exactly, the orb meme came to be we have a handy explainer for you. But, in short, the cover art for Valar Maiar: The Immortal Powers, a supplement for the circa-1982 Middle-earth Role Playing Game, has been repurposed for ... reasons. It shows Saruman, an evil demigod and the creator of the Uruk-hai, pondering an orb. The orb is likely a palantir, used by the dark lord Sauron to communicate with his emissaries across Middle-earth.

Saruman gestures with his hand claw-like over the Palantir — which shows the eye of Sauron wreathed in dark smoke — in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Image: New Line Cinema

But how should you paint your orb? Traditionally, the palantir is shown in the Lord of the Rings films with swirls of yellow and red. McBride’s version is a bright, almost opalescent blue. Your approach will likely depend on the quality of your printer, as not all painting techniques work on certain materials.

For best results, try something like the Elegoo Mars 2, which uses a smooth, UV-sensitive resin. You might also try your local library, which may also have access to 3D printers.