Marvel Mario Kart

Anybody who doesn’t get all tingly in the shorts at the prospect of this game is dead inside.

Take the addictively fun, all-ages appeal of Mario Kart (Nintendo’s go-kart racing/combat game) and swap out the plumbers for the spandexed awesome that is the Marvel U…

Endless heroes & villains to choose from, multiple costumes for each and built-in power ups for every guy.

Even the tracks would trigger fanboy freak-outs. Just think of the Marvel-themed race course possibilities…

The deathtrap interiors of Castle Doom, the dino-filled Savage Land, the low-G ruins on the Blue Area of the Moon, and forget Mario’s Rainbow Road–test your skills on the Rainbow BRIDGE and race toward that Asgard finish line!

Wanna play? AWESOME! You can’t.

Yeah, the game doesn’t exist. But it should. Until that crime against humanity is corrected, we’re gonna have to make do with the customs I’ve cobbled together.

Let’s get to it…

The karts are gashapon toys I picked up on ebay. When buying ’em, modding Marvel karts was the furthest thing from my mind. See, years ago I was building a custom Mario Kart board game as a gift for a friend’s young son. He’s a total Mario Kart fiend and I was hoping a 3-D Mario racetrack–similar to my 3-D HeroClix maps–would make his head explode.

The trick was finding just the right scale Mario Kart figures. The Toy Biz line from the ’90s were way too big (the racetrack would have had to been HUGE) while Toad (above) came from a line that was too small (choking hazard!) and fragile (remember, this was for a young child). I needed to find a line of Mario Kart toys a hair bigger than Toad, one that could handle some wear & tear. Further ebay surfing turned up a line of karts roughly 30% larger than the above fig, perfect for my project.

But what to do with the half dozen smaller karts that I had already picked up? They were too cute to junk, so I tossed ’em in my bottomless HeroClix scrap bin. There they sat for years until–bored one day–I dug ’em out and made with the chopping and the gluing…

——————– Spider-Man ——————–

HAND CHECK! Aw, c’mon Spidey…this is a kid’s show.

Webhead here is a HeroClix figure from the Critical Mass expansion. His arms were chopped at the elbow so he could fit in the driver’s seat and, since his original paint job was all dark & moody, I gave him a fresh coat of bright & happy red. Spidey–all the HeroClix figures featured here–were attached to the karts with Krazy Glue.

The Spidey symbol on the kart was lifted from the internet, printed out and glued to an index card with Elmer’s. Let ‘er dry, then cut out and hit the white edges with a marker (orange to match the symbol–red was too dark). Finally, glue the symbol to the kart with Krazy Glue.

Fantasy Booking Time! As in Mario Kart, Marvel Kart could offer endless power-ups that the driver can snag throughout the race. Most would be items any character could use (Cosmic Cube, Infinity Gauntlet, Serpent Crown, Captain Universe, Power Cosmic, etc.), but every driver could also have unique power-ups.

Spidey…? His special powers boosts could be 1) Attach web parachutes to the back of other drivers to slow them down, 2) Go airborn with web-swinging action to avoid track obstacles or 3) Gain a spider-sense that allows his controller to hit specific button combos to avoid incoming enemy projectiles!

——————– M.O.D.O.K. ——————–

The first character I knew I was gonna mod as soon as I started this project…?


Just the thought of pumpkin head here in an undersized go-kart made me smile.

“Fat guy in a littllle coooat.”

Yeah, something like that. We miss you, Chris Farley.

The Mutant Mayhem HeroClix set offered up M.O.D.O.K. and he proved the most uncooperative of all the mods. Squeezing him into that little kart meant his legs had to go and his entire bottom/back area had to be reshaped. No fun.

His logo is an A.I.M. beekeeper helmet grabbed from the internet and attached to the kart following the same recipe detailed under Spider-Man (as were all the kart logos).

Fantasy Booking! M.O.D.O.K.’s unique power-ups would allow him to 1) Zap an opponent with a beam of mental energy and scramble their brains (controller ‘up’ is now ‘left’, ‘down’ is ‘up’, etc.), 2) A vertical jet thrust that allows melon-head to fly over course obstacles (and players) and 3) a psychic blast that temporarily swaps the minds (controllers) of two target players!

——————– Captain America ——————–

Cap would be perfect when using cheat codes or exploiting track shortcuts. If you get caught, who are the other players gonna believe; the accuser or Captain FREAKIN’ America? U-S-A! U-S-A!

The super soldier here started life as part of the Armor Wars HeroClix expansion. Chop him at the waist, reposition that shield-slingin’ arm and Cap is ready to run any and all Communist sympathizers off the road. The star symbol on the kart was just a piece of clip art swiped from the web.

Fantasy Booking! Cap’s power ups would allow him to 1) KA-BONG!, nail an enemy with his shield, 2) a second “super” throw that would give a player the chance to hit button patterns and ricochet his shield from opponent-to-opponent (with each subsequent ricochet/button combo growing increasingly more difficult) and 3) A power up that allows Cap to deflect an incoming attack to a different player!

——————– Red Skull ——————–

…gluing a swastika to a little pink Nazi go-kart. It’s sh*t like this that makes me question what it is I do with my free time. Ah, f*ck it. Let this photo be my lasting, confusing legacy to the world.

Johann here started out as part of the Avengers HeroClix expansion. Just a chop at the waist, glue him in the driver’s seat and–with the exception of answering uncomfortable questions as to why you’re printing out little swastikas–you’re good to go.

Fantasy Booking! Skull-centric weapons include 1) A handful of the dreaded “Dust of Death” that skullifies an opponent and causes them to skid out, 2) a massive missile (with Bucky tied to it!) that takes out all players ahead of him and finally, 3) a power up that causes the Skull’s kart to morph, temporarily transforming itself into a faster, more resilient Skull-kart…THE SLEEPER AWAKES!

——————– Hulk ——————–

Ah, there it is: this is one of those “slightly bigger” karts I discussed under the Toad pic at the beginning of this post. The Hulk’s set of wheels is a good 30%+ bigger than the other karts.

Let’s get a side-by-side comparison with one of the other drivers…

I originally was going to use this kart for M.O.D.O.K.’s oversized tuckus, but thought better of it: the more ill-fitting and uncomfortable M.O.D.O.K.’s kart, the more he shakes that tiny purple fist in rage. Fun!

So Hulk here is from the Xplosion HeroClix expansion and he really, really hates that shirt. A quick chop at the waist and he’s ready for the driver’s seat while a radioactive symbol lifted from the web completes the mod.

Fantasy Booking! Power ups include 1) Hand-clap shockwave to send opponents flying, 2) Mega-punch to obliterate course obstacles and 3) The ability to “bump” an opponent’s kart–grabbing them–then lifting them off the track (!) and using them as a bowling ball against other players!

The Hulk would be too much fun to play.

——————– Green Goblin ——————–

Out of all comic book supervillains, does any baddie have more of an a**hole-face than Green Goblin?

I love the character, but he looks like this guy…

"Movie night with Gwen...? Rent 'A Bridge Too Far.'"

Anyway, Gobby started out as part of the Fantastic Forces HeroClix expansion, but his paint scheme was too dark and spooky for the bright & cartoony tone I was going for. (Yeah, yeah…the swastika on the Red Skull kart throws that “bright & cartoony” tone out the window. Just, whatever, go with it.)

So new paint job for Gobby, a piece of pumpkin clip art for his kart logo and he was good to go.

Fantasy Booking! Goblin man-purse (which, when said fast, sounds dirty) is a treasure trove of unique power ups:  1) Razor bats that shred opponents tires, 2) Pumpkin bombs that send rival karts flying and 3) A power boost that gives Gobby’s vehicle wings, turning it into a flying kart version of the Goblin Glider!

——————– Mole Man ——————–

Magoo here comes courtesy of the Secret Invasion HeroClix set. Minor modding in the form of a chop at the waist to fit him in the kart and a repositioned left hand so his staff didn’t touch the ground.  Final touch: Moloid kisser as kart logo.

Speaking of Moloids, adding one to this mod ended up making it one of my favorite customs.

I ♥ Moloids. They’re like the original Minions from “Despicable Me.”

This lil’ yellow guy hails from the Secret Invasion ‘Clix set and he’s 49% excited to be riding on a go-kart and 51% dreading what terrible, disposable mission the Mole Man has in store for him. Bye, Moloid. : (

Fantasy Booking! Power ups include 1) An energy blast from Mole Man’s staff that fries an opponent’s engine and stalls them out, 2) Summoning a subterranean monster that drags enemy karts underground and 3) The ability to toss a Moloid onto a rival kart where he’ll scamper about, throwing the weight/handling of that kart off and making it nearly impossible to drive until its driver “shakes him off” by tapping controller buttons!

…and that’s that.

Overall these figures were pretty easy to cobble together. The hardest part was removing the Mario characters without damaging the fragile plastic karts.

So now I’ve done my part: someone else go spend the millions necessary to buy the Marvel video game rights and then program/market/manufacture this sucker.

Dibs on M.O.D.O.K.

Marvel Zombies

Marvel Zombies–flesh eating zombie superheroes–such a simple but fun idea. My first impression on hearing the news was a little eye rolling; zombie superheroes…? C’mon, how good could it be? But man, that first issue of Marvel Zombies made me a believer. If you dismissed the idea and never gave it a chance, I recommend tracking down that first mini series and giving it a read. Evil, entertaining stuff.

When the Marvel Zombie HeroClix figures were announced I was pumped; dismembering my gaming group and eating them alive? I’m in! But not for $100 a figure. Turns out the original Zombie figs were limited edition chase figures. I like ‘Clix and all, but a hundred dollars a pop? Yeah, no thanks. I went poking around my tupperware full of HeroClix extras to see if I couldn’t play re-animator with some plastic scraps…

• Zombie Colonel America •

Ingredients: Base body is Ultimate Captain America (Ultimates), his noggin came from a Zombie Centaur (Mage Knight) and his right hand was donated by Dove (Crisis). Rotting bite marks made by “chewing off” small chunks of the figure with a pair of pliers, then using small shreds of tissue–held in place with a pinprick of Elmer’s–to give the wound a ragged fleshy appearance…

When I was happy with how the TP looked a drop of Krazy Glue was added to harden the materials. Be sure to quickly blot the excess glue and that no piece of tissue is sticking out too far on its own…it’s fragile stuff and will snap of easily. His brain was made with the same trick: I just lopped off the top of his melon, hollowed out the top a bit with modeling tools and then shaped him an itty-bitty TP brain…

Costume trimmings like boot flaps are made with index card paper hardened with Krazy Glue, then the whole mess was hit with acrylic paint and some matte sealer to keep ‘im safe. Custom Colonel America dial here.

• Zombie Wolverine •

Ingredients: Base body is a Wolverine (Infinity Challenge) and…man, not much work went into making this guy look like a monster…

The Infinity Challenge Wolverine figure is an ugly f*cking sculpt. Vampire teeth, disheveled looking design, this boy’s a mess out of the box…

All I did was lop off an arm and attach a random bit of plastic to look like one of his adamantium bones was poking through. Assorted bite marks were accomplished with the same trick outlined in the Colonel America wrtite-up above. Custom Zombie Wolverine dial here.

• Zombie Hulk •

Ingredients: Base body is a Hulk (Infinity Challenge) with random open wounds created as detailed in the Colonel America write-up above…

The exposed knuckles on his left hand and the pinky on his right are scrap pieces of plastic…

I’m sure all the Marvel Zombies could use some deodorant, but the Hulk looks like he’d smell especially terrible. Anyway, custom Zombie Hulk dial here.

• Zombie Iron Man •

Ingredients: Not a lot of modding here. I took a Zombie Iron Man (Mutations & Monsters), dirtied up his armor with an acrylic wash and then lopped off the fiery exhaust coming out of his torso…

I’ve never liked the way that looked, that Shellhead had a jet engine coming out of his undercarriage. Instead, I gave him an exposed pelvis and hip bones courtesy a Skeleton figure (Mage Knight). Let’s take a closer look at his boney parts…

Delightful. So how does he fly around without legs? MAGIC! Zombie Magic! It’s the best kind. Or he uses his repulsors as propulsion. Whichever. Custom Zombie Iron Man dial here.

Zombie Colonel America Dial Zombie Giant Man Dial Zombie Hulk Dial Zombie Iron Man Dial Zombie Spider-Man Dial Zombie Wolverine Dial

• Marvel Zombie Stuff from around the web •

Remember those old 1960’s Marvel Superhero cartoons? Yeah, someone went in and injected them with zombie terribleness. They’re awesome. Check ’em out: Captain America, Thor and Fantastic Four.

More flesh-eating madness: the fan-made Marvel Zombies movie.

And finally, a Marvel Zombies chronology & cover gallery.