Making a Bowser Hunting Trophy




When you've played as much Mario as I have you can occasionally get the odd thought that you might actually deserve something for all of your time well spent. Like big game hunters you want to flaunt your prowess with trophies of your best accomplishments, right? Since I've beaten Bowser more times that I can count I figure I need a Bowser trophy, and really, who could blame me?

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Step 1:

I started with getting the game model for Bowser from Mario Galaxy, since I thought this was the best 3d version of him. If you open him up in Crafty you get a confusing wire diagram like the one pictured above, but crafty lets you save out in other formats. So Crafty converts my MTL file to a more familiar OBJ.

Step 2:

I opened the OBJ file using Art of Illusion, and you get a nice gray-scale full body of Bowser, which I then set to wire frame because I only need the head, and he's somewhat easier to dissect this way. This was all new to me, and there was a gratuitous use of the "undo" button as I stumbled through. No regrets though.

Step 3:

After removing the body I set it back to the skinned version, just to make sure everything is how I want it. (this is A LOT of trial and error.) Then save him out again. I also took the opportunity at this point to remove his horns and save them out separately for a viking helmet project I may actually work on someday. Multitasking!!

Step 4:

Now you take your head, and open it with Pepakura Designer. This fantastic program (well worth the dough) let's you "flatten" a 3d image and print it out for papercrafts and oddball projects. It's handy on several levels. At this point you can scale the head up to life size. I figured this using Super paper mario, where you see most of the mario characters on screen together and estimated his approximate height. Later I found out there's a Bowser forum with all of this information on it already, but it was far too late and I don't care if it isn't perfect. Who's gonna look at it and say "it's about 3 cm too small isn't it?" right?... Right? Hmm..

Anyway, at this point you can adjust the arrangement on the pages to maximize your paper use and print away. Pepakura has an edge matching utility that numbers your open edges for you. It's a life saver. Use it.

Step 5:

...and now for the time consuming part. I know, right? Carefully cut out and assemble your head with good old Elmer's school glue. This is going to take some time and get frustrating but there is hope! Pepakura has a free downloadable viewer that lets you check your placement off of what you've printed, because long after you've gone cross-eyed figuring this out everything starts to look the same. Here's some random pics from along the way. And I've cleaned house since then.

Step 6:

Here's the part where various schools of thought vary. Most applications this way follow through with fiberglass and bondo, smoothing everything out and making it perfect. The thing is, Bowser a video game character. I like the fact he's a little pixelated, or that his polygon count is showing. So I did fiberglass him just enough to realize that I need more practice with fiberglass. and I eventually filled him with expanding foam, since at times he seemed in danger of collapsing under his own weight. I was a messy process, but I learned a lot along the way and that's part of what all of this is about, right?

Step 7:

Next, after some primer and touch-ups comes the fun part. Paint job time.There are more reference photos of Bowser than you can shake a digital stick at, and all of them seemed to be a bit different. So there are now questions like: Is his hair red or orange? what color are his eyes? does he have a visible scale pattern? Am I losing my mind? How much am I going to have to do to make all this up to my wife? Some of these have answers. It also allows for some personal interpretation that lets your trophy really be YOUR trophy.

When it was all said and done I mounted him on a plaque hastily cut out of MDO and coated him a few times with a gloss sealer because shiny is good. I am still "debating" with my wife over where he goes now. I plan on adding a brass tag to the plaque as soon as I teach myself to engrave. And that is that. Good luck!!

Now to do a full size Koopa...

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    22 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction

    loved this project, I would love to give it a try.

    could you send me the pdo file?


    4 years ago on Introduction

    can you send me the pepakura files please?


    6 years ago on Introduction

    can you send me de pdo file please


    6 years ago on Step 7

    Hey can you send me the pdo file please I really like to build this email is


    7 years ago on Step 4

    I could send email ( file pod.
    From already thank you very much.

    Dr Qui

    7 years ago on Step 7

    "Now to do a fill size Koopa..."

    Go one stage better and make a red Koopa shell and mount it on a skate board. Like who wouldn't want to bomb around on a red Koopa shell just like Mario.

    2 replies
    Capn BadgerDr Qui

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Ha! I was thinking more giant red-shell bumper-kart... hmm.. like I told poofrabbit though, I get lots of Ideas I may or may never start. The Koopa I pulled the game model already, and have converted to a obj already though, so it has a better chance. The main problem I ran into on that was game models tend to "overlap" which doesn't help when you're doing it in the physical realm. Usually fixable with a good pair of scissors, but the purest in me wants to re-work it. Had the same problem with Bowser's teeth. They were all the same size when I started. I may be one of the first people to do dental work on a what's-it from the Mario universe. There's one for the books. Thanks for the comments and compliments!! Good luck with the leather project. Let me know how it goes.

    Dr QuiCapn Badger

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    skateboard, razor scooter, home made go cart, they all would be extra cool with a Koopa shell on

    I was recently given a pair of huge antlers it see what the would turn like on the wood lathe , but they are just to big and impressive to cut up so i plan to make some e sort of trophy from them to stick on the gable of the shed for a laugh. the shed is allot more tidy now this is the mid shed tidy up and rebuild that I'm in the middle of.

    I have some large bulks of ancient pitch pine that was the roof beams of the old cottage that got demolished, I think i can come up with a design for a stags head made from those and it will also give me a chance to try my hand at some wood carving too.

    2012-04-24 16.24.45.jpg
    Dr Qui

    7 years ago on Introduction

    Pure quality!

    A number of years ago i found a Japanese site that had a paper craft 3D Bowser that I spent about a month cutting out and gluing. At the time I wanted to upscale the head part to mask size and make it from leather, back then i was a PC tech and just didn't have the time, I'll have to put that idea back on the work pending pile again.

    I hope you haven't played fable, or you will start selling your house with the trophy still on the wall for a profit, then kick the door in to steal it back and buy the house back and repeat ad ifinitum until you make loads of money. :-)

    Excellent work.


    7 years ago on Step 4

    Really god instructable, but seems impossible to me, can you post the results of pepakura as pdf.

    1 reply
    Capn Badgerxavanty

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Since I made him as big as I did most of the parts trail across multiple pages. I'm not sure how that would work in a pdf format. Also, I'm not even sure how to convert it that way. While checking it out for you I did find that I could've exported it as an EPS file and printed it on a large format on the mutoh at work and saved me several hours of work, so that sucks.
    As far as "impossible" goes, I promise you it's not. I'm self taught all the way. That's the beauty of a website like this one, there's always someone willing to teach. I seriously doubt I'll ever actually post the PDO file here though. It's an insane amount of work, and this actually took days worth of work stretched out over a year. I did it all so I could learn how to do it myself because I wanted one like no one else. I hope this doesn't make me sound like a jerk. There are lots of free bowser papercrafts available on game sites and papercraft sites all over the web. Thanks for the comment and compliment. Good luck!


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Oh hey, also....dremal makes a fantastic multi-speed engraver, very easy to use and you can practice on about any scrap metal. ;-)

    1 reply
    Capn Badgerpoofrabbit

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for the comments!! I've already added "Learn to engrave" to my to-do list somewhere between "japanese caligraphy" and "hoverboard." Good thing I never stick to my lists, huh? Thanks again!!