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Creating Your Own Custom Shield
Armor plating, mail and helm are fine, but the protection offered by a well designed shield can never be understated. Creating a custom shield for your Minifig warriors is actually a rather simple process but may require a little sacrifice.
The materials we’ll get to, but the basic tools needed for this include a Dremel or other rotary tool with a thin cutting disc (include safety glasses!), hobby knife, file and various grades of sand paper. Like every other custom element, it starts with your imagination of course.
For this tutorial, I will use the “leaf” shield I conceptualized for a member here during one of his earlier projects. Begin sketching out the shape and scan it into an image editing program to clean it up and scale it down to an appropriate size for a Minifig. Remember to save it so you can create a decal for the finished shield later. Once this is done, print it and cut it out exactingly with a hobby knife.
With a can of spray-on adhesive, coat the cut out and apply it to your shield material. Styrene would be an ideal material so you can choose the thickness of your shield. However, I sometimes prefer using actual Lego plastic. For this particular shield, I used a cylinder-half. This also gives the shield a perfect curve which I sometimes find more aesthetically pleasing depending on the design.
Once the template is completely dry, very carefully perform a “rough cut” using the rotary tool. Get as close as your can without removing any of the template or your fingers.
Starting with the roughest grit sand paper, remove the excess material to get the shape exactly the same as the template.
Remove the template and clean up the surface with an adhesive remover. Do any finish work with finer grits of sand paper to achieve a smooth finish and rounded edges.
Now the warrior just needs a way to wield it. Anything the fig can grip will do, from the plate levers to walkie-talkie handles. My preference is to remove the handles from the Lego treasure chest. Again, remove the handles with the rotary tool and clean it up with sand paper. If attaching to the curved cylinder, as in this example, you will have to further shape the handle by rounding the back with sanding. Find the proper position for the handle and attach using a very strong adhesive such as super-glue.
A little priming, painting and sealing and the physical shield is complete. Ready to absorb those blows form your warrior’s enemy.
Further customize the shield by using the original template and an image editing program to create an emblem. Obviously, there are various other techniques and tools that can be used to create more complex designs. A set of shaping bits or scribers can be purchased at virtually any hardware or hobby store for example. Or, roll a ball of Sculpey bake it and sand off half the circumference. Makes a perfect boss to add to the shield. Really, the only limits are your imagination!