How to craft: Athenas Aspis - Tutorial/Workthrough

Piiiiuhhhhh, long time I had no time to craft something Borderlands related, but now the time has come to built a second Aspis shield and I thought you guys might be interested how I do this^^

Its not a very detailed tutorial, more a workthrough, but maybe some points will help the one or other cosplayer to get her Aspis done fast & effordable.

Here my first done Aspis shield prop. This is what we´re going to craft again now^^

What do you need?

  • Rubber foam sheets / Worbla /Cardboard/ Neophren plates / foam plates - any of these materials work. I used Rubber foam sheets, 2mm strong.
  • Hotglue
  • Cutter / scissors
  • Paper, A3 or bigger, for cutting templates/stencils/patterns (which word is right here???!!!)
  • Paints (I only use Citadel-Colors from GamesWorkshop, but acrylics work too)
  • Plastic cover from a sweets bucket / any round plastic about 8-10inches diameter
  • Velcroband (for wristband)
  • 2 magnets (to attach Aspis on the wristband)
  • Alot of time
  • A certain portion of Badassitude

I use hotglue because its best for foam materials, but don´t let it get to hot! It might melt your foam or plastic. Mostly I use hotglue because it comes with a gun. Who wants to use a glue stick when he can get a gluegun?!

Well, here a picture of all things I use this time

The white patterns are the old ones I used for my first Aspis. Its quiet a bitchy work, since I did it with pen, ruler and compass, but if you good in digital stuff it should be an easy task to make patterns.
Currently I work on bigger patterns for a slightly bigger Aspis. This beauty will get 30cm in diameter, a tad smaller than the real thing.

To the paints: Yes, I do it with 5-7 colours. You can use more of course, but I rather mix them.

Soooo, lets pretend you have your stencils/patterns done and cut them out. Now lay them onto your foamplates, take a pen and draw arround.

Done? Awesome! Now you should have the outlines of the single parts you´ll need for the Aspis
These are as following:
-Big Base - 23cm diameter
-Outer Ring - inner diameter: 17,5cm ; outer diameter + spikes: 28,7cm /30cm
-Big inner circle - 14,5cm diameter
-Small inner Circle (will bear the Omega logo) - 9,5cm diameter
-Small details to set on the outer rings “teeth” (grey in the picture below!)

  • Plus: at best one additional big base you set on the backside for more stability.

The plastic topper will be your backbone, giving the whole thing some strength. If you use cardboard it won´t be neccessary.

Cutting rubber foam is a nasty thing, especially when it comes to perfect circles. Don´t gicve up early, you´ll have to try more than once, believe me.
I cut 9 circles, only three were okayish, one good.

Sooo all parts are cut out, first big step is solved. Now comes the hardest nut, painting the BL-style. If all goes as planned it will look like this:

I´m already now at the paintjob and made some pictures I´ve to look through before I continue this workthrough.
You´ll get a color list for Citadel-Colors and I´ll try my best to show some nice easy techniques for painting.

Soooo, here photos of the brushes and paints I will use for the paintjob.

If you use Citadel, here a list of colors you´ll need:

  • Ceramite White
  • Abaddon Black
  • Mephiston Red
  • Dark Reaper
  • Russ Grey
  • Celestra Grey


  • Wild Rider Red
  • Mechanicus Standart Grey
  • Macgragge Blue
  • Thunderhawk Grey

Since rubber foam sucks alot of paint you´ll have to paint in several layers, especially when it comes to paint with bright colors on dark foam. (for example: red paint on black foam = min. 3 layers)

CitadelColors are just BADASS, but they are badass expensive - for base painting you´ll empty the one or other bottle, each costs about 4,50$…

  • Pros:
  • great colos
  • mixable
  • mixable with water (no nitro needed to clean brushes!!! Revell sucks!)
  • works on everything. Really. Have not found a surface that does not work yet:D
  • Contra:
  • Expensive
  • Expensive
  • Dry out if you let them stand arround to long - add a few drops water once a month!
  • Expensive.

If you use acrylics you should water them down a little, to avoid that the layers get to thick.

Brushes I use

For the base paintjob take cheap school brushes - you´ll pay a fortune for artist brushes for nothing. For ground painting use a big soft brush.
For details, lines and outlines I use
-Citadel Fine Detail Brush
-Vallejo 4
-Vallejo 5
For dirty accents I use a old shabby Vallejo 2. You can use any old shabby brush.

More follows asap!
I´ll edit this topic as soon as possible!

If theres any question just leave a comment ^o^/


That looks amazing!

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Thank you alot! <3
It was one of my biggest Borderlands Projects so far. I just hope Aspis No. 2 will look just as badass as the first^^

You’re making even more :smile: That’s some serious dedication, but with a talent like yours I don’t doubt that it’ll look even better.

Are you thinking about making any other props? Maybe a COM.

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Yes^^ The pictures of the ready Aspis were my first, and now I thought its cool to show how I did it, uploading different pictures how I craft No.2
Thank you so much :smiley:

Indeed I have! I still have a HUGE list of Borderlands-stuff I want to craft and I already made alot of different things, be it props, fanart or jewelry.
Here another topic where I posted most of my fancrafts and art
-> Torgue vs Shark and other Madness - My Fanarts

These are the lifesized props I made so far:
Maya Fox COM - I use it for the books I read

Krieg Legendary COM

Neogenator Shield (I photoshopped the item cart in^^ Its indeed a picture of a real prop I made, you can see it in all the mistakes I made xD)

Currently I´m working on Aspis No.2, a glowing Zer0-sword, and a Krieg mask.
I don´t know when I got time for these projects again >.< So little time, so many crazy ideas^^


Now most pieces are base painted - for the outer ring and the red circle it needed 3-4 layers of paint…

And this is how the basically painted pieces look if stapled in the right order.
Until all pieces are full painted they´ll stay unassembled. Only finest details are added after gluing them together.
Why? Easy: If you screw up part A you can just make it new, if you screw on Part A when Aspis is already glued together, you´ve to start everything again.

All is painted with a size 10 brush with soft hair (aquarelle brush) in multiple layers.
For the small centre circle I used a stippling technique to achebve the ratcvhet look - just stip your brush in slghtly brighter or darker paint than the base color. Than stat to “stab” the suface in a most wild and unaccurately pattern. Only if you get dirty, it will look really dirty^^

Hope I can add more soon!
If you guys have ny question regarding the paintjob just drop a comment! :slight_smile:

What about vallejo paint?
Its also expensive but technically cheaper than citadel.
Its cheaper than a shakeweight too.

Citadel isnt that expensive honestly, I paint warhammer models a lot it keeps longer than 99% of paints and works better.
My problem is I mix isopropal alcohol with 90% of what I have but it drys out the thing in a month.

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Vallejo is neat, indeed, but sadly theres no retailer in my area and toll fees make ordering international a bit of a hassle. But these are all reasons, so basically: you are right. I like that Vallejo has more pigments, Citadel fades fastly when watered down.

I started with Revell colours, since my father used them for models, but I hated it instantly and a friend (painting W40K figures too^^) recommended Citadels. Now I use that stuff fo literally everything, from miniatures to lifesize props.

Vallejo is better for Latex works though! I only have a skintone and a brown I use for prostetics, its great to dye latex without damaging its intergrity.

Good thinking with the alcohol - I only do this with my COPICmarers, these b*tches are drying out far to fast too.

Well I only have a 575,000 point nekron army.

Amazon doesnt have a good price?

More progress!!! Finally it looks like it should! Now all I need to paint is the red Omega symbol.
I´m sorry I did not came to post more pictures in between, but I had to much things to do >.<

Now all shades, light reflexes and lines are done - each detail is done most accurately. I use a very thin brush for the black outlines and lines, its a size 4 Vallejo/ Super Fine from Citadel. If it works I imgine black fineliners or ink pens could work too, but I´m a traditionalist^^

And here a picture with the full painted black-grey chips. Still need to glue all parts together, I just arranged it for the photo :slight_smile:

Hope you guys like it so far!

Final steps at the paintjob! The Omega-symbol:

First I sketched the Omega-logo onto the surface using a thin pencil. Then I filled it out, using “Mephiston Red” as base color. When it had dried I added brighter red accents in “Wild Rider Red”

Now I´m at the hardest step - drawing the thin black outlines with a brush and black paint /;O;/

If everything runs as I planned I´ll finish the Aspis tonight - so stay tuned^^

Omega accomplished! :blush: I´m so happy how it turned out, I had my doubts if I could do this again…My first Aspis was already a pain in the butt, but doing things twice exactly the same way is even more painfull sometimes >.<
The fine lines are nemesis, I wished to be a laserprinter at several steps. And it seems I am! O.O



Now I´ll start to put all parts together and to craft a bracelet with a magnet inside, to wear it comfortably^^

The frontside is now fully done, now comes the backside.
Here all pieces I used for it:

-big base (painted with red glowing details)
-plastic base

  • gear-wheel like part; comes on top of the plastic base
    -two-toned grey circle
    also theres a strong magnet (small circle) and the Velcro I use to attach Aspis on its bracelet.

If everything is constructed and fully spawned it should look like this:

On the photo I left the bracelet attached - I made it from two strands of black broad elastics with a strong, Velcro-covered magnet sitting on top.
That way you can stick the Aspis onto your bracelet, Velcro+Magnet will keep it attached pretty safely.

Photos of the finished item follow this afternoon^^


10 layers of foam sheets, over 40 layers paint, approx. 34hours paintjob, 6 hours planning, construction + cutting

Hope you guys like it!

I don´t know which artist was responsible for the design of Athena and the Aspis, but at this point: Thank you, unknown badass!!!
I rarely had so much fun in crafting and painting an item as I had with my 2 Aspis-props so far.
If immitation is the highest kind of flattery - please feel flattered! :two_hearts: