I always thought that the patriotic paint on Captain America's shield is normal human paint. But, when I see it unaffected after battles, I lose this faith.

Is the paint of Captain America's shield also of alien origin? If not, how did it remain intact after Thor hit it with his hammer in Avengers movie (there are countless examples)? I don't think the shield has some kind of protective aura.

  • It doesn't look like it's painted at all; it looks like the metal itself is coloured. If that is true it probably means his shield is actually made up of several parts that have then been fused together to make the whole. Commented Apr 1, 2014 at 14:12
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    @AnthonyGrist No way (assuming you aren't joking). In Captain America: The First Avengers movie, you can see the shield without paint.
    – user931
    Commented Apr 1, 2014 at 14:15
  • @SachinShekhar: is your question limited to the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Commented Apr 1, 2014 at 14:17
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    @SachinShekhar No, I wasn't joking. I'm just saying what it looks like to me, and that's coloured metal (most if not all of the promotional shots have what looks like light being reflected from the surface). Not saying that it's not painted, just that the way it looks doesn't really reflect that. Commented Apr 1, 2014 at 14:41
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    Yikes... human paint!! Commented Nov 29, 2014 at 15:28

3 Answers 3


No, but it is sturdy stuff

From the wikia:

It was painted in its familiar red-white-and-blue pattern using titanium oxide paint (though it has been repainted since then).

Titanium isn't exactly vibranium, but it can take a beating. General wear on the paint is probably fixed behind-scenes/between issues. We see in its "cracked" version that the paint is definitely chipped:

enter image description here

In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, they seem more willing to chip the paint away:

enter image description here

  • 17
    IRL, there's really nothing special about titanium dioxide paint except its bright white color. In fact, you probably have some on your walls, given that it's the most common white pigment nowadays, and also used as a opacifier in colored paints. It's also commonly found in sunscreens, and sometimes as a food additive. In any case, the durability of paint really has more to do with the matrix in which the pigments are embedded than with the pigments themselves. Commented Apr 1, 2014 at 17:47
  • @IlmariKaronen In other words, it's pretty hard to chip even ordinary paint off an invincible shield?
    – Brilliand
    Commented Apr 1, 2014 at 21:15
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    That picture is rather confusing because if the light-source is from the top (it certainly appears to be) then it looks like some gray is chipped-off revealing red beneath it, instead of red paint coming off. Could just be a Necker Cube thing, but it's visually confusing. Commented Apr 2, 2014 at 0:14
  • @MeatTrademark In the top right corner, the red bit clearly covers the scratch underneath. In other words, the red is paint on top of the metal. I wonder how the metal got scratched though.
    – Mr Lister
    Commented Apr 2, 2014 at 8:38
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    @MrLister: No it looks like the silver was scratched and a hole appeared in that scratched material to reveal red underneath. That the silver could be scratched at all is more evidence of that issue, though given the context of the image I think we can guess. Commented Nov 29, 2014 at 15:30

Vibranium is technically not of alien origin. There are places on Earth where Vibranium can be found such as Wakanda.

As for the paint on the shield, its mentioned to be made of Titanium Dioxide, giving it a corrosion and erosion resistance. Perhaps the paint is preserved due to the "amazing" qualities of the Vibranium alloy to absorb impact strength?

Titanium Dioxide: http://www.azom.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=1336

  • 1
    Titanium Dioxide citation?
    – user931
    Commented Apr 1, 2014 at 14:17
  • Mentioned in the Marvel wiki but I cannot find an issue that mentioned it.
    – Valten1992
    Commented Apr 1, 2014 at 14:26
  • The link you just added is about real world and you can't say for sure that it'd withstand Mjolnir's hit.
    – user931
    Commented Apr 1, 2014 at 14:33
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    But if we were to factor in Vibranium's ability to absorb kinetic energy perhaps it could absorb most of the force without much damage to the paint.
    – Valten1992
    Commented Apr 1, 2014 at 14:46
  • Despite its presence in Wakanda and Antarctica, virbranium/anti-metal is theorized to be of extraterrestrial origin.
    – Brian S
    Commented Apr 1, 2014 at 15:39

No, the paint on Captain America's shield is merely a human-derived durable color paint that must be reapplied between missions. The shield is invulnerable, the paint is not.

With that said, Marvel does not make any efforts in the comics to explain why the shield can take incredible attacks of heat, cold, radiation and not lose its coloration during a battle.

Even in a battle with Thanos, the shield never lost its color. As readers, we are to suspend our belief in the paint on the shield and accept it will always be painted or repainted as soon as possible.

enter image description here

Note, even with the energy attack that ultimately destroys the shield, all the splinters STILL HAVE COLOR.

  • If one wants to be picky, in the pair of frames at the end of your answer, it also looks like the artist took liberties, though one might be able to interpret it as Thanos' attack with his right hand fractured the shield and a backslash with his left shattered the shield (the left arm windup being fast, between frames) and Cap's torso was pushed back (extended left arm) and his right arm pushed out of frame. Conveying drama seems more important than "technical accuracy", especially in a comic.
    – user11683
    Commented Apr 2, 2014 at 14:58

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