Magnets Used In Props and Costume Design

You may have seen in previous posts, that we are big Star Wars fans! Eric, one of our Technical Experts, who is also a huge fan, has recently been working with one of our customers, Huw, on his latest costume and prop applications. 

Huw is part of the Worldwide 501st Legion Star Wars Costumers.  501st Legion Star Wars Costumers is directly linked to Disney/Lucasfilm; they build all their own costumes to exact screen correctness.

In Huw’s words, “It’s a labor of love in most cases, and a case of sourcing parts from all over the World.” 501st Legion Star Wars Costumers 3 stands are ‘To Promote Interest in Star Wars, ‘To Facilitate the Use of Costumes’, and ‘To Contribute’.

The first costume application is a Star Wars – Rogue One Death Trooper helmet. For this, Huw purchased a pack of our 10mm dia x 4mm thick N42 Neodymium Magnet – 2.3kg Pull.

To start, he positioned the magnets on the inside of the helmet and marked them.

He then milled holes into the inside of the helmet to minimize the thickness of the material so the magnet’s pull strength will go through the material to maintain the outside shape of the helmet.

Then he glued the magnets into place. Once in place, he then glued an additional 3 magnets to the rangefinder. The rangefinder can now be attached and detached from the helmet, as demonstrated below along with the final result.

Magnetic Costume Parts
Magnetic Costume Parts

But it is not just Star Wars costumes and props that Huw brilliantly crafts, next up is his Captain America shield application! As is the case in the Captain America movie, Captain America wears his shield on his back.

In order to replicate the shield securely sitting on his back, Huw purchased a 50mmx 25mm x 10mm thick N42 Neodymium Magnet – 32.2kg Pull.

He needed a strong magnet that would hold the shield’s weight of 5kg, whilst allowing him to remove this when needed. He needed to work out where the magnet needed to be placed, so the shield sat on his back correctly.

This was done by trial and error by taping the magnet into place and testing it until correct. He also needed to ensure you could not see the magnet when he was holding the shield.

Luckily, where the magnet was positioned was sat in between the two forearm grips, so his forearm hides the magnet when in use.

Magnetic Costume Parts

Before applying the magnet, Huw advised his shield 5mm aluminum was originally painted to represent the ‘gold’ of the stunt shields. In the film, they made 6 foam rubber shields for the fight at the Hydra factory to save the stuntmen from being hit in the face by a very unyielding aluminum shield, but they couldn’t have the gold mirror back to them.

So, the first thing he needed to do was to remove the paint and roughen the surface up. Next, with some well-mixed epoxy resin (Araldite Clear) he glued the magnet in place.

Magnetic Costume Parts

Next was to create the harness to which the shield would attach. For this, Huw used a WW2 US Combat harness and he placed another of the 50mm x 25mm x 10mm thick N42 Neodymium Magnets into the crossover of the straps.

To finish, he then wrapped the whole back of the shield in a gold automotive wrap. He advised this was a lengthy procedure as the concave curve of the back of the shield made this hard to do. But we think you’ll agree with the pictures his hard work and patience paid off!

Magnetic Costume Parts

Check out his application in action! These pictures were taken at last year’s MCM ComicCon London, the lady in the picture is Huws wife and she went as Agent Carter. He said they got stopped a LOT for photos, and the children just loved how the shield could be taken on and off for action shots.

Huw has informed Eric he will be back to purchase some further magnets from us for his next project, the ‘Endgame’ shield. (the one that Thannoas smashes to piece in the film) He is currently waiting on various parts to be delivered from around the before he can start.

Huw’s plan is to hide a pot magnet under the leather strapping of the hand grips. But until then, we would like to thank Huw for sharing his well-executed pictures and information about his costume-making. The team was so impressed and can’t wait to see more pictures from him soon. We would like to wish him all the luck in his next project!

Magnetic Costume

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