Welcome back to day two of our comparative review of the LEGO and BrickForge Spartan arsenals. As we mentioned yesterday, there were three main instruments that allowed a hoplite to fight effectively in the phalanx, the Corinthian helmet, the aspis or hoplon (shield), and the doru (spear). We will now turn our eye to the shield...
The aspis or hoplon was the circular shield which formed the impenetrable defensive barrier of the phalanx. A convex shield often made of wood and covered in bronze, Spartan women would present these shields to their warriors before battle saying, "with this, or on this," meaning come back victorious or die trying.
|Spartan Hoplon: BrickForge (left); LEGO (right)|
The innovation of the shield was in the design of the grip. Instead of centering the handle on the shield, the handle was offset and a leather strap added for the forearm to slip through. This gave the hoplite additional leverage and force when forming the phalanx. Neither the LEGO or BrickForge piece used a handle design that mimicked a real hoplon, likely due to minifigure articulation and the limitations it would have in shield placement. Both pieces use a similar handle design in the center of each shield. Both pieces fit snugly within the minifigure's hand.
|Hoplon in fighting formation: LEGO (left); BrickForge (right)|
The LEGO shield is medium dark flesh in color and flat with a hallow stud in the center of the shield. Items can be attached to the hallow stud on the front of the shield if desired. The shield measures 2 cm in diameter and has a ridge around the rim. It was not uncommon for hoplite shields to have designs on the front of the shield. The warriors had the Greek letter lambda on the front of their shields for 'Lacedaemon' the ancient name for Sparta in the film '300'. You could place decals or painted design on the shield, but they would have to accommodate the hallow stud in the center.
The BrickForge shield, shown here in bronze, has a convex design with plenty of room for decals or painted touches. The shield is slightly bigger than the LEGO part with a diameter of 2.2 cm, theoretically providing more coverage. The BF round shield comes in several flavors including black, blue, bronze, brown*, dark blueish gray, dark gray*, dark orange, dark tan, light gray, red*, silver*, tan, and white.
Additional Stats - BrickForge Round Shield
Custom House: BrickForge
Location: United States
International Shipping: Yes (details)
Colors Available: Black, Blue, Bronze, Brown*, Dark Blueish Gray, Dark Gray*, Dark Orange, Dark Tan, Light Gray, Red*, Silver*, Tan, and White
Retail Price: $1.00 USD
Additional Stats - LEGO Round Shield
Availability: Worldwide but in limited quantities
Colors Available: Medium Dark Flesh
Retail Price: With Series 2 Collectible Minifigure, $1.99 USD (MSRP)/ Average BrickLink price (figure with accessories) $8.14 USD** / Average BrickLink price (shield only) $1.15 USD**
*This item is currently out of stock.
**BrickLink prices as of 9/13/2010