Wednesday, April 17, 2013

How to make a Hylian Shield Pt. 2

Now that the face of the shield is done it's time to paint the back. In part 1 I didn't state how I made the border on the back of the shield. To do this I used simply used masking tape to create the shape and then used a thin layer of filler around the edges to build up a smooth border, being sure to remove the tape whilst the filler was still curing. Left to harden and then sanded it looks great, and the rivets are added the same way the rivets were added to the face of the shield (see pt. 1 for details). This was then spray undercoated in matt black and left to dry.

Base colours are painted on. Both silver and brown are applied with a heavy drybrush. You want to make the wood dark brown but leave black in the detail, as it comes through as texture and depth as it increases in contrast between highlight layers.

Layers of progressively lighter brown are added with an increasingly dry drybrush technique, with the final two highlights added by drybrushing vertical strokes to give the wood grain direction. This is so that it doesn't look like a slice of ply, but rather a number of boards or a thick piece of hardwood.

The metal border is five layers thick, using a different technique and/or direction with each layer so as to randomise the pattern and give it a consistently random metal texture. Clean up the edge where it meets the wood and you're done.

I decided not to make a wooden handle on the back, and instead made a leather/suede handle and leather thonging strap. The strap was plaited and half hitch knotted at each end, whereas the handle was a rectangle of suede wrapped with the black leather, half hitched at each end on the underside. The suede ends were then trimmed to be round, and some brads that I had in my parts box were added to look like metal studs. I then attached them to the back of the shield with a small amount of two part adhesive, clamped them in place and left them to cure.

Note: I used adhesive as this is a small decorative shield, but if you're planning to make a larger version that you plan to hold or use for cosplay I recommend that you affix the handle/strap with screws and adhesive.

I wanted the base to be minimalist and made out of hardwood because of its weight, strength and beauty. I managed to score a piece of 40mm thick Merbau off cut to use for the base, though I would like to note that I only used Merbau as it was an off cut. Merbau is one of the least environmentally friendly timbers in the world thanks to their depleting numbers and the methods used to extract them, and I wouldn't buy it or anything made with it new. However, as this piece was going to become wood chips I figured it would be better to rescue it and turn it in to something beautiful. Merbau is depleting quickly for many reasons, one of which is the fact that it's a gorgeous deep crimson colour and is extremely dense and heavy.

I decided that I didn't want a support on the base of the base as it would clutter the look, so instead I cut the base of the Merbau at a slight angle (around 7°) so that it supports itself.

With a mitre saw I cut three 5mm deep lines in the front of the base to represent the Triforce, after which I used a rotary tool to scribe a triforce shape in the middle front of the base, which was followed by a heavy sanding of the entire base. Holes were then drilled for the three pegs that I'd add to the base in order to support the shield. The pegs were added by dipping the end of a length of doweling in gloss lacquer, pushing it in to place and then using a saw to trim it to the appropriate length. Once complete the base and pegs were coated twice with high gloss lacquer and left to dry.

Note: It's better that you cut each peg too long and then adjust it when the lacquer has dried, because if you cut it too short you'll have to start all over again.

The pegs, being lacquered wood, are hard and will damage the shield if it is left on the base. To avoid this and give the base a rustic look that seems as though it belongs in Kokiri Village, I used some black leather thonging to bind rectangles of red suede to each peg. Once bound the thong was tied off with a double hitch close to the base of each peg and trimmed flush. 

Finally, I used some clear tape to mask clean edges for the Triforce that I'd scribed in to the centre of the base and then painted in gold.

The Finished Product

If you've got any comments or questions about anything to do with this project please comment below and I'll get back to you as soon as I can.



  1. wow really nice work,

    I like that you decided to paint the rim of the shield a flat silver rather than dry brushing over black or some such. Makes it feel much more game like.

    great work, now you need to make a mini master sword to accompany.

    1. Thanks Max, it was fun to make.

      A game aesthetic is what I was going for, which is why I used gloss and colours I knew would would become heavily saturated when the shield was finished.

      Quite a few people have asked for the Master Sword, so I might do just that!

  2. Hey, I just found your blog - Your stuff it great! So creative and clever. Keep it up :)

    1. Thanks Melanie, much appreciated!