Monday, March 11, 2013

Windhelm Shield

For my Stormcloak costume, I really wanted to make this shield. I love all the shields that represent the different holds, with their different colors and emblems. A lot of the Stormcloaks that go to war actually use hide shields and the like, since this is more of a guard's shield. But I couldn't pass this up, I love the bear design. Plus, it's the symbol of not just Windhelm, but the Stormcloaks as well. And when I get around to making the guard's helmet, I can go around as either a guard or a soldier.

So here's the finished piece. It's all fiberglassed over, and carved to look like wood; it isn't actually made of wood. That keeps it nice a light. I used a more brilliant blue than in the reference because the in-game graphics have more desaturated and blue overtones to set the mood of the game, which I can replicate in my photoshoot.

The back of the shield, painted to look like wood, with a comfortable leather handle cover, made from the same faux leather I used for the rest of the costume.

And here's a closer detail shot.

Alright, onto how I made it!

 Here's my friendly materials. The base was made of a single 1/2" thick piece of insulation foam, about 20" in diameter. There's 2 cardboard rings at the same size, width being 1". Finally a strip of thicker cardboard to go all the way around the edge which is about 3/4" wide. I glued these all together.

After that, I used 3 layers of masking tape all the way around to properly seal off the foam and protect it from the resin. You can also see the axe in this pic; I'll talk about that in the next post.

Here's the shield and axe fiberglassed over. I followed up with a layer of plain resin so I would have a surface to sand and carve into without ripping up the fiberglass cloth.

Since I only had 1/2" thick insulation foam, I glued two pieces together for the handle. I traced out the shape I needed, about 10" long, then cut it out and carved/sanded it into shape. Again, wrapped the whole thing in 3 layers of masking tape.

I stuck the handle on directly using fiberglass resin, and made sure there was enough covering over it in order to keep it strong.

Unfortunately I'm missing a few photos here - from the carving process, but I think it comes out more clearly when painted anyway. Using a dremel, I carved into the body to give it a wood texture as best I could. I used more rounded bits to carve into the rim to give it the hammered looking texture, as if the metal rim had literally been pounded at a forge. My little dremel had a lot of trouble getting through so much resin that I only got about 20 min. tops out of the battery before I had to recharge it again. I probably wore down the battery a lot on the project ^^;. But this process literally took a few months of work off and on. Once the shield was cleaned, I primed it all the way around with gray primer. Then I used a dark gray automobile spray paint with an extra bit of chrome shimmer for the metal, covered by a layer of semi-gloss clear to seal it (used on the handle too). Then a base layer of black acrylic on the wood, both sides.

With the black layer in place, I built up the brown wood tones. The black underneath was used to accentuate shadows. I mixed several different browns to build up the wood, using a cut piece of firewood I had for reference.

On the front of the shield I painted the browns all the way across, even though a lot of the front is blue. The reason is, since this is supposed to be a guard's shield, it would probably be made as quickly as possible. The blacksmith wouldn't take quite as long on something like this as he might the Jarl's own shield. So this means the painting job would be a little more crude, as evidenced by my reference image at the top of this post. If that's the case, you're likely to see bits of the wood underneath the blue paint too, so that's why it needed that base layer of brown right the way across. Admittedly though, since I knew mostly of it would be covered up, I painted it a bit more quickly in a solid color, somewhat transparently.

In Photoshop, I took the shield reference and blew up the bear design to the approximate size I felt it needed to be for the shield (15.5"x12"), and cleaned it up a bit. I printed it out onto a few pieces of paper, taped them together, then used stencil film on top to cut the design out. Once ready, I taped it onto the shield and painted it.

The final step was to spray some workable fixative on the front to protect the paint job, and sew on the leather handle. And that's about it! It took a while but I really enjoyed the process, and even though using real wood may have been easier so I could skip that whole long ass carving step, the shield benefits from being very lightweight yet still durable. Looking forward to doing more props like this in the future!

1 comment:

  1. This looks awesome!
    I want to make one for my brother's stormcloak cosplay, but I'm new to fiberglass so I don't really know what to buy. What would you recommend?