This is my Super Mario riding Yoshi puppet! I prefer to call it a puppet rather than costume. With fake Mario legs on the puppet & my own legs inside the Yoshi legs, It gives the illusion that you are riding a real life Cartoon Dinosaur! To add to the realism, Yoshi has a full opening & closing mouth and exending toungue
Inspiration for the costume mechanic was the goblin riders from the silly battle sequence in Jim Henson's Labyrinth.
It took about 4 months from start to finish, with about an extra month for Research & Development. Final estimated cost was around $450.
Primary materials were:
memory foam, for the skin PVC pipe & plastic canvas, for the skeleton a whole lot of hot glue & duct tape, to keep everything together paper mache of a dodgeball for the yoshi head plastic hangers, screws, bolts & red leggings to create accordian mechanism for toungue Spray paint for color. Latex paint wouldve been best, but the deadline had to be met Most importantly, since a fake one just wouldnt do:
the willpower to walk around for 5 months while growing a big handlebar mustache!
Showing off the puppet at Wizard World Comic-Con 2010 in Austin, Tx:
Making alot of Sketches, taking measurements, & going to Lowes & Home Depot to write down prices & figure out a budget. the best way to get something like this done is to spend a month drawing & thinking before you really commit to a plan. then start building, but not with the actual materials...
I made the skeleton prototype out of foam noodles & duct tape. Not too much duct tape, as I needed it to come apart easily. It made it easier to assemble & re-assemble until i got it right. Once that was done, I proceeded to the PVC pipe skeleton
I covered the Skeleton with plastic canvas & duct tape, to add shape & give the foam skin a solid surface to conform to. It kinda resembles a canoe, with holes on the bottom for my legs. the PVC pipe sticking out in the front is where the head will go.
Folded foam into pelvis area to conceal legs separation. At this point, the costume began gaining weight rapidly, so a Support Belt was added, so the weight can be distributed between my waist and shoulders, and a little less on my back.
Added long strip to make the saddle (not pictured). Glued overalls to the inside of saddle
Foamed hands & arms with same technique as body & legs. Pushed foam into the body & glued shut. Hands & fake mario legs rest on eachother to give both stability. Added strip on ankles & extra layer on Yoshi toes to make feet look like big shoes.
Glued eyes onto head. added layer to eyes to make eyelids.
Made a Y-shaped skeleton for the mouth out of PVC pipe. Used threaded PVC male & female adapters to hinge the mouth together (see drawings in step 1). With the Hinge, the mouth can swing open & closed.
In the middle of the Y skeleton is where the toungue will be glued...
I based the mechanism on Ultra-Hand, a Japanese toy from the 60's. Interesting trivia about that: Ultra-hand was and manufactured by Nintendo, & created by Gunpei Yokoi, who also created the Game Boy. So its full circle for Mr. Ultra-Hand.
I made one on my own with plastic closet hangers from Lowes. I cut the Hook part off so it resembles a plastic rod, like in the drawing. I then fastened them together with metal screws and bolts, then covered the bolts with hot glue, so it doesnt unscrew itself off.
I covered the mechanism with a red legging, & glues the tip of the legging to the tip of the mechanism. When the mouth is pulled open, I pull down the handle on the toungue (kind of like a pair of scissors) and shoot the toungue out.