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Face-Design Shield

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My shield says "Nyahhh!" to you, sir!

Most shields by their nature have a large, flat surface. This gives artisans and artists the opportunity to do something with that surface.

While some are left blank, there are few that are given the bare essentials (like the colors of their faction as an example), but some are given amazing and intricate designs as a way to show off the smiths and artists skills but to also make it's wielders stand out. This trope covers a subset that choose their design to be based on faces/heads, from something humanoid or animalistic either used for intimidation or to denote their loyalties. It's usually something painted on by artists but smiths sometimes make the face/head a separate piece attached to the shield.

Although there's a few unorthodox examples of this trope, sometimes the shield with the face is the face (or head) of some strange being, but for a slightly more mundane example the shield is be designed to be based on a head or face of something, usually an animal of some sort.

No, this isn't about face masks. This trope can also be compared with Rage Helm.


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    Films — Live-Action 

  • In the Lone Wolf books, this is a common feature of the illustrations by Gary Chalk. The Magnamund Companion has some notable examples too.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Power Rangers:
    • The Mastodon component of the Megazord in Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers acts as the shield in season 1.
    • The Elephant zord when combining with the main Megazord in Power Rangers Wild Force, has the head (sans trunk) act as a shield when turning into armaments for the Megazord turning into a Knightly Sword and Shield combo.
    • The Thundersaurus Megazord in Power Rangers: Dino Thunder could use its Triceratops head as a shield, but rarely did so. For the rangers themselves, the Blue and Triassic Rangers' personal weapons are shields shaped like ceratopsian heads (Triceratops for Blue, Styracosaurus for Triassic).

    Myths & Religion 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • In the first edition's Monster Manual, an illustration for the kobold has a fighter with a giant ant's head on his shield.
    • Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition has a Lion's Head Shield, which can roar and bite enemies.
    • The 3.5th Edition Magic Item Compendium has an illustration of a shield with a sculpted skeletal demonic face. Appropriately, it is described as a +1 menacing shield, that is a Supernatural Fear Inducer.
    • Paladins of Bahamut can have said deities face, his holy symbol, on their shields.
  • Games Workshop games:
    • The Daemon Princess of Khorne Valkia the Bloody from Warhammer and Warhammer: Age of Sigmar has the head of a Daemon Prince that had insulted her mounted on her shield. The daemonís hypnotic eyes still gaze at all who approach Valkia, causing her opponents to hesitate in their attacks.
    • Warhammer:
      • As part of their reverence for their ancestors, some of the dwarven units feature have the heads of the ancestor gods carved onto their shields.
      • Several of the shields for Chaos Knights and Chaos Warriors feature daemonic faces to show their allegiance and intimidate their foes.
    • Mazarall The Butcher from Warhammer: Age of Sigmar carries the Ancyte Shield, a bladed shield containing the essence of the daemons he has defeated and consumed over the centuries. The surface of the shield surface is covered by a twisted face stitched together from the skin of a former victim.
  • The page image is a Greek hoplite miniature figure for tabletop wargaming, which normally come as unpainted castings (plastic, resin or metal) in scales ranging from 15mm (1:87) through 20/25mm (1:76/1:72) to 28mm (1:56). These may then be painted as well and as accurately as possible, given the skill of the gamer. That shield design could have been painted on note . However, a supporting industry to the gamer has emerged in the form of designers who will sell sheets of decals containing complex shield and flag designs, to be attached to the figure as appropriate. The header image most probably has a decal rather than a hand-painted shield.

    Video Games 
  • Age of Mythology includes the ancient Greeks as a faction. As can be seen from the model representing a soldier of the time that's the image for this page, their troops of course can have these in the game - namely, an upgrade from worshiping Athena of the Aegis Shield she was known for carrying has its attainment visually represented by putting the design of Medusa's head on the shields of infantry benefiting from it.
  • The Mirror Shield in The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask had a face etched into it. A screaming face.
  • Very prominent in World of Warcraft — just to show three examples: Humanoid, Lion, Skeletor.
  • One item in Warcraft III is the Frost Wyrm Skull Shield — an undead dragon's skull with handles on it.
  • In the Final Fantasy series, there is the Aegis shield, a shield that brings terror to all who behold it, and contains a demon within. Said demon's face is on the shield.
  • The Dragon Quest series has numerous examples.
    • The Boss Shield and Tempest Shield have standard intimidating faces.
    • The Slime Shield bears the face of everyone's favorite Mascot Mook.
    • The Harmour/Evil Armor enemy class has a skull face shield
    • The Shielder enemies have shields bigger than their bodies with living faces.
  • In The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, both varieties of Daedric shield, as well as the Orcish shield, have some pretty angry looking faces carved into them.
  • The Defender Heartless in Kingdom Hearts possesses a shield with a living, giant dog's head growing out of it. And it Randomly Drops as one of Goofy's stronger shields.
  • One of the Dragon Age II pre-order items was the Lion of Orlais shield which had the face of a... well, guess.
  • Arcane Shield from Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura is a wooden shield with a skull face "surfacing" from it.
  • Guild Wars has several — the Ascalon Aegis (and it's variants), the Guardian of the Hunt, and most prominently, the Gingerbread Shield are just three such examples.
  • Bayonetta 2 has a bit of an extreme example with the angel Valor. Rather than his shield bearing a face design, the shield is literally his face!
  • The sun on Solaire of Astoria's Sunlight Shield in Dark Souls has face, the same on the tunic he wears over his chain mail.
  • Higher-rarity shields in For Honor tend to have faces on them as a form as they get progressively blingier, though this is mostly restricted to the Knight's shield-using heroes. Or you can unlock the special face embossing (for Knight characters at least) to PUT a face on shields that don't normally come with them.
  • The Gladiator from Doom Eternal has a shield with a living face on it. The first half of the battle involves weakening the boss enough for the Doom Slayer to destroy the shield by stabbing it in one of its eyes.
  • Shuihuzhuan: Liangshan Yingxiong has shield-carrying enemies whose shields have tiger-faces painted on the surface.
  • The Knights of Valour series have recurring Shield-Bearing Mook enemies, whose shields bears the motif of a tiger-like demon's head.
  • Persona 3: Aigis's Ultimate Persona is Athena, and as such, the shield that orbits the Persona's main body has Medusa's face engraved into it.
  • Digimon New Century introduces Xingtianmon, whose shield has a stylized depiction of a weeping face. This isn't just for show as Xingtianmon can shoot a stream of tears from the shield as one of its attacks.

    Web Videos 
  • The logo of the Knights of Good on The Guild has a shield with a smiley emoticon.

    Western Animation 
  • The paladin from the Dungeons & Dragons (1983) cartoon series has a pegasus on it.
  • Monkian from Thunder Cats has a shield with a face that shoots cannonballs.
  • Conan the Adventurer: Conan's sports a phoenix — except in this case, it isn't a design but an actual young Phoenix, Needle, using his powers to become two-dimensional and rest on the shield.