Lethbridge Wind Gauge

Sean Nette

Computer Science 3710 Project

The landmark I chose to model was the Lethbridge Wind Gauge statue. I decided to choose this statue as my model for a couple reasons. It is a relatively simple statue, but with some small subtleties such as the curve and shrinking of the base structure as well as the chain that connects the sphere.

What I used:

Having never done any sort of computer graphic modelling before in my life, I decided to work with Blender based on recommendations from colleagues and friends and due to the fact that it was free. A large chunk of my initial time on this project was spent trying to learn how to control the interface within Blender as well as watching countless tutorial videos to try and get a feeling for what I could do and what my best approach for each part of the model would be. Overall my experience with Blender was positive although frustrating.

How it was made:

The base structure of my model was made with just a single cube. I subdivided the cube multiple times in order to obtain enough vertices to work with in order to create the gradual shrinking effect of the statue as well as the curve to attach the chain to. After subdividing the cube I decided the simplest way for me to make the statue symmetrical was to delete half the left half of the cube and then apply a mirror modification onto the remaining half of the cube. This helped a lot when it came to modelling since I only had to worry about making modifications once. I then proceeded to scale the cube along the y-axis to obtain the height. After a lot of struggle attempting to create the shrinking effect, I managed to get to a point I am fairly happy with by scaling small sections of vertices. After getting the height and scale I wanted I began to curve the top by translating and rotating sets of vertices. The base structure took me around 8 hours with watching tutorial videos, tweaking different aspects and having to multiple times just scrap it and start from scratch with a new plan of attack. The chain was created using a torus that I stretched out, I then extruded from the middle to create the crossbar of each chain link. After creating the first link, I duplicated it and rotated the two I made to create the first couple of links. After that it was easy to just duplicate the two different angles and translate them to the right positions to make the rest of the chain. The sphere at the end of the chain was just created with a simple UV Sphere mesh. The chain and sphere took considerably less time partially because I was getting better at navigating blender and partially because they were simpler objects to create. After I spent a couple hours trying to fix certain aspects of my model that I wanted to improve, I achieved a final model that I was happy with. The next step I took was to create a large plane underneath the statue, which I textured with a grass texture I found at: http://naldzgraphics.net/freebies/30-free-high-resolution-grass-textures/. I then made simple textures from the original image and put it on the statue. It took a bit of time to try to align the camera and sun in order to replicate the original image as much as I could. Overall I am very happy with what I was able to achieve in roughly around 15 hours of worktime within Blender.

Rendered Models:


The main difficulty I had with this project was actually learning how to use Blender. Even after watching extensive tutorials and playing around for hours within the tool, I still found it difficult at times to navigate as well as actually achieve some of the modelling techniques I wanted. The most difficult part of the model for me was the actual base structure, trying to get the right dimensions as well as the curve proved extremely frustrating at times. I would have liked to get it closer to the real thing, such as the size of the bottom of the structure, however I did not have enough time. Trying to achieve a decent curve also proved very difficult and again I would have liked to spend more time trying to perfect that.


This project proved to be both entertaining and frustrating throughout the course of my work on it. I am happy that I was able to learn the basics of how to use Blender and I feel that I have become much more adept after the time I spent on this project. Although there are certain things I wish I could have done better, and things I would have done differently if I were to start over, I am proud of what I was able to achieve.


3D Modelling Tool: Blender
Grass Texture: http://naldzgraphics.net/freebies/30-free-high-resolution-grass-textures/