The final part of the WW2 Captain America costume is the shield. Now, observant readers will notice that the shield Cap used in WW2 (in the retold story, which this costume is from) is a triangular shape with a field of stars and vertical stripes. However, I took the anachronistic approach and chose to outfit Fuller with a round shield. First, the round shield is readily available for about $20. Second, I didn’t want him accidentally poking his eye out with the triangular shield. And finally, the round shield instantly identifies him as Captain America; which is important since, most folks won’t become aware of this costume design until the 2011 movie comes out.
So, I decided to buy a commercial shield and modify it for Fuller. I bought the shield from Amazon (FYI, it’s now on sale cheaper… crap!) The shield is 13″ in diameter, which means it’s sized for a kid, not an adult. This is fine since it’ll be Fuller’s and not mine. It’s a pretty nice shield, but it needed some modification to be cool enough for this costume. First, the straps were elastic and too close together.
In the comics, the straps on Cap’s shield are short enough to fit snugly over his forearm, but can be lengthened to go over Cap’s shoulders like a backpack. Marvel Comics has never explained the mechanics of this process, but often, the straps are drawn with buckles when worn on Cap’s back. I, of course, had to figure out a system where Fuller could both hold it and wear it like in the comics. The solution I came up with was to use some of the luggage clips and some “D” rings from the thrift store bags I bought at the beginning of this project.
The next problem I had to solve was that the shield is a little too flimsy. So, I took some epoxy and filled in about a third of the shield. I also set some spare plastic luggage clips into the epoxy as the straps’ bindings. After the epoxy dried, I filled in the remaining space with expanding spray foam insulation. Once the foam had hardened, I used a long knife to carefully cut back any excess foam and make a nice, flat back to the shield. As a finishing touch, I hot-glued a round piece of leather-like vinyl over the foam.
All-in-all, it turned out pretty good. It’s fits both his arm and shoulders very well. He can clip and unclip the straps as needed all by himself. The only thing I wish I’d done differently is used less epoxy. I only really needed to use epoxy to reinforce the shield, not completely fill the curved part of it. The spray foam adds plenty of stiffness, so less epoxy would have saved me time, money, hassle, and weight. But I can’t complain. It definitely turned out pretty cool.