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SYFY WIRE Captain America

Iron Man and Captain America collide in real-life mash-up shield inspired by Contest of Champions

By Josh Weiss
Captain America Iron Man

On an alternate Earth, a guilt-ridden Steve Rogers incorporated Iron Man technology into his outfit and shield after the death of his friend, Tony Stark. From that point forward, Captain America was known as "Civil Warrior." At least that's how the story goes in Marvel Contest of Champions. Teaming up with the mobile game for a special collaboration, James Hobson (aka YouTube's Hacksmith) set out to build a Cap shield with an Arc Reactor glowing in its center. Oh, and it's got a working laser, too.

"Being a huge fan of both heroes, getting to combine the two was a dream come true. It's always fun figuring out what real-world technology we can reuse and re-package into a project to 'Make it Real,'"  Hobson, who's basically a real-world Tony Stark, tells SYFY WIRE. "It's my favorite part of being an engineer — innovating existing tech in new exciting ways."

He explains that the brainstorming began as soon as MCOC reached out:

"I quickly decided on the most powerful LEDs and most powerful laser diode I could get my hands on. Testing these components was a ton of fun, and confirmed I had an idea that was going to work. From there, it was the fun job of modifying a Captain America shield and making all the parts fit. Despite having over 74 components, it was a rather simple design, and fairly easy to put together."

Development lasted about a week and the final product was built in just two days.

Watch the construction and demonstration of the shield in the video below:

Since Cap's weapon of choice is really meant to be a streamlined piece of defense, Hobson had a real challenge "stuffing it full of electronics and abilities to make it an offensive weapon." Had he been given more time, the Hacksmith would've installed "a polycarbonate window into the arc reactor element of the shield," so that it could take a lot of punishment without damaging the more sensitive bits inside. Ultimately, Hobson resorted to "a little movie magic."

"We actually made two shields, one without the LEDs and laser for any of the defensive shots (cinderblocks, walls, etc.) and one with the tech for doing moves like Overload," he reveals. "Hypothetically, the main shield with electronics could still have been used for the entire test, but we only had a set number of LEDs and one (very expensive) laser module. For the purpose of the video, we wanted to make sure we didn't destroy the electronics before filming the whole video. I think it would have been fine, but we wanted to play it on the safe side."

Since Hobson has done more projects inspired by Cap and Iron Man than any of the other Marvel characters, recreating Civil Warrior's move set was "a no-brainer." It combined two worlds he knew and loved so well (you can check out some previous examples here and here).

"As far as details go, he's got the three main moves, which we were able to replicate, for the most part," he says. "The main one we focused on was of course Overload, where he blasts the Arc Reactor similar to Iron Man's Unibeam move. Unfortunately, [since we were] unable to make a small fusion reactor overload and blast raw energy at our foes, we had to go with a powerful laser, which was still able to make an impressive move, just not as scientifically accurate."

Ok, let's get to the question we know you're dying to ask: how would this super-charged shield fare against Thanos on the battlefield?

"Considering how fairly evenly matched Cap, Thor and Iron Man were against Thanos, I think Civil Warrior would be able to hold his ground against Thanos," Hobson concludes. "I mean Captain America WITH Stark Tech? Throw in wielding Mjolnir, and we have a 3-in-1 hero!"

If you log into Contest of Champions over the next two weeks, you'll gain access to a 2-Star Civil Warrior for free. The game is also free to download.