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…?

M.O.D.O.K.

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.

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Alien

The first Alien flick came out in what, ’79…? These guys have been around so long you kind of get desensitized to ’em, but they really are creepy as f*ck. Proof that they out-monster even the classics: Would you rather be locked in a Coldstone Creamery with one of those things or the Wolfman? Easy, you’d go with the Wolfman every time. Wolves, likes dogs, are canines and canines are powerless before ice cream. I’ve seen a German Shepperd turn on an entire family for the drippy remains of a single ice cream cone. You could distract the Wolfman with one handful of rocky road and make good your escape while the Alien would just slap it out of your hand and spit-glue you to the soft serve machine.

Tough to transition from that rant to Heroclix figures, so we’ll just jump right in…

As part of the HorrorClix line (think Heroclix but with 80% more dismemberments), WizKids released the Alien Queen and a buttload of alien drones. Some minor figure modding , a little dial tweaking and I felt they fit in better with my spandexed ‘Clix. Let’s get the ball rolling with the Big Momma…

Alien Queen

The Queen originally came as part of an over-sized base that ate up four sections of the map, but I thought that a bit unwieldy. I x-acto’d her offa that and Krazy Glued her to a double-wide, a base similar to figs like Marvel’s Lockjaw or DC’s Chronos. The modding didn’t end there as I played God and redid all her powers…

A quick peek under her dial and we see that the Queen can stymie opponents by masterminding incoming attacks to her faithful drones (they’re like popcorn that way). Even in death the Queen can win you the game; when she’s KO’d, all them sizzling juices she’s got inside splash all adjacent non-Aliens for 1 damage.

Queenie’s most entertaining power…? Whenever you KO an opponent’s figure, that fig is replaced by an Alien Egg. Why is that a good thing? Scroll down a bit to the “Alien Egg” section and see why that’ll ruin Hudson’s day.

Her box stat grants her the terribly unpleasant Charge/Super Strength combo, so feel free to smash through walls or overturn cars before ripping opposing synthetics artificial persons in half.

Lots of Leap/Climb so the Queen can scale walls, deep defenses like Impervious, Invulnerable and Toughness to survive bumpy elevator rides and when her snapping jaw gets blowtorched, switch to her tail (Blades) to deliver a messy KO. Full Alien Queen dial here.

Alien Egg

These spuds may the least dynamic of the Alien figures. They came molded to the Alien Queen’s original, oversized base, but some minor chopping, a bit of Krazy Glue and VOILÀ, lil’ baby egg sacks for you to cherish and love. And hey, what they lack in visual bells & whistles they make up for by adding tremendous tension to the game by forcing opponents to shift strategies and race against a countdown clock…

See, whenever the Alien Queen KO’s an opponent’s figure, that figure is replaced with an egg. At the start of the Alien player’s turn, the egg begins counting down. After three turns *SPLORCH!*, replace the egg with an Alien Drone under the control of the Alien player. Yeah, kind of crazy, but it’s fun watching players either trying to save a kill for the Alien Queen so she lays an egg OR–for the opposing players–having to constantly switch their gameplan to deal with the slimy, pulsating presents the Queen keeps squirting out onto the battlefield. Full Alien Egg dial here.

A’ight, gonna take a quick break from all the Alien ‘Clix stuff to freak out for a sec: I had no idea this (deleted) scene existed in “Aliens”…

That’s Ripley at the end of the movie when she’s running around and looking for Newt when D’OH!, she bumps into a still-breathing Burke phlegmed to a wall. He whimpers about being impregnated, Ripley–disgusted that “Mad About You” went on for seven seasons–hands him a grenade and continues on her search.

That’s crazy. “Aliens” is my favorite flick of all time and I didn’t know that moment existed up until a few weeks ago. MADNESS! Also, it’s a dumb scene and I’m glad it got the boot.

Moving on…

Alien Drones

Ugh…THESE guys. As ferociously unpleasant as the drones were in “Aliens,” James Cameron also pulled off the neat trick of making them irresistibly squishable. As terrifying as they were, you also wanted to put on a big honkin’ pair of boots and stomp ’em like bugs. They’re almost–ALMOST–as mashable as these little f*ckers.

HeroClix figures can be hit-or-miss sculpt-wise, but the entire Aliens line is top notch. Loads of itty-bitty detailing…

…plus there’s seven different drone sculpts to choose from. Army-building a team entirely of these critters gets you a diverse looking squad.

Not a deep dial on the drones, but that’s done on purpose to keep their point value down. This way you can take a buttload of these guys; where’s the fun in playing ONE Alien? One of the great joys in life is making like ants on the Discovery Channel and swarming an opponent.

To make up for the shallow dial, each click packs a nasty punch. Stealth for sneakin’ around, Leap/Climb for climbing around walls, Blades for an unpredictable bite/tail strike and a Toughness/Agility combo to make your opponent’s attack anything but a sure thing. The drone’s box power combines Battle Fury to protect against mind control attacks while Charge lets your Alien squad stay on the offensive.

But wait, there’s more! Yeah, yeah, I know…this is a lot of powers for one figure. Trick is whenever I mod a figure (or dial), my primary goal is to get the “feel” of the figure right and not sweat the laundry list of rules. I want my Aliens to play as Aliens. Anyway, when a drone pops they–like the Queen–splash all adjacent non-Aliens for a 1 damage acid bath. Their final power helps the swarm tactics that make these little muchachos so much fun to play: every drone action counts as a “half action,” so two drones performing any action only counts as one of their controlling player’s actions. Haha, GET ‘IM! Full Alien Drone dial here.

AvP: King of Kong

I can’t decide what the two aliens on the right side of the above photo are looking at it; is it the severed head of their buddy impaled on the end of the Predator’s staff OR is it the crazy high-score that one Predator just racked up on Donkey Kong? Also, the “it ate my last dollar” pose on the Predator at far left is heart breaking.

Before I go, some random Alien stuff from around the web…

Okay, who’s hungry? You can have a slice of this wonderfully bloody chestburster cake, a helping of this excellent egg pod/facehugger desert OR figure out how to cut a piece out of this impossibly cool standing Alien cake. ALSO: Pez.

Play time! You wanna be the Lego Power Loader or this awesome origami Alien?

Dress up! Two very spiffy Alien costume here and here, plus check out this wicked cool full-body Alien Queen marionette costume.

Adorable! I can’t tell if this is more clever than it is cute or more cute than it is clever. Whatever the case, I love it: Alien nesting doll.

Funny booksl! I never even knew this existed–the Heavy Metal Alien comic book adaption by Archie Goodwin & Walt Simonson.

And finally, some Alien vs. Predator nonsense. There’s their mean-spirited bathroom encounter, why you can never trust an Alien at poker and their ultimate showdown: AvP chess, pool and swingball.

Old Gregg

One part Sigmund, one part Family Guy’s Quagmire, one part downstairs mix-up. He’s Old Gregg, the Mighty Boosh escapee who haunts the waters of Black Lake and…actually, words won’t do this justice. Grab yourself a nice, creamy Bailey’s, sit back and check this out.

…so you either found that hilarious and ended up watching the entire thing OR you’ve made a mental note to stop clicking the links from this blog. Me, I think Old Gregg is 100% pure awesome nonsense. Bored one night, I fired up the DVR, got caught up on Celebrity Rehab and cobbled together my own scaly little man-fish.

A talanted artist, Gregg works exclusively in water colors. And in mounting corpses on his wall as a warning to others.

Littered at his feet? More water colors, this time of Bailey’s (smooth & creamy) and the Funk.

Ridiculous.

Ingredients: His legs are courtesy Marrina (Armor Wars), the skirt is from Supergirl (Unleashed), upper body from Nick Fury (Sinister) and his head is Pete Wisdom (M&M). Necktie and hair are thin strips of index card paper held in place with a pinprick of Elmer’s and hardened by a drip of Krazy Glue. The Funk’s face is a Skrull Commando (Clobberin’ Time) attached to a random whittled HeroClix torso, teets courtesy of several pairs of Chameleon feet (Unleashed). His watercolors—one of which is as close as you can get to Bailey’s without your eyes getting wet—are small strips of index card paper (three sheets thick) hardened by Krazy Glue. Acrylic paint, a spritz of matte sealant and it’s time to play some games…some love games. Custom Gregg dial here.

"Me mutant power is a downstairs mix-up."

Old Gregg vs. Donkey Kong

And that’s that. Want more man-fish? Check out the top 10 funkiest Old Gregg things from around the web…

10. The Old Gregg Soundboard

9. No Country for Old Gregg

8. Bailey’s Dispenser

7. Old Gr-Eggs

6. Tagged by the Man-Fish!

5. ‘Twilight’ just got funky

4. Halloween costume. And, apparently, caffeine.

3. Cake

2. Cuddle with Gregg

1. The Return of Gregg (Live)

BONUS: Old Gregg doll

Conan

Man, Savage Sword of Conan had some pretty badass covers. Full SSoC cover gallery here.

Anyway, how are there CrossGen HeroClix but no Conan ‘Clix? The interest may not be there for the full Marvel or DC treatment, but c’mon, there’re enough characters for a boxed set or two. Red Sonja, Wrarrl, Thulsa Doom, Belit, Thoth Amon, Valeria and all sorts of monstrous beasties. And that’s not even counting all the Conans…King Conan, Warpaint Conan, Behold-my-nipples-I’m-only-wearing- a-loincloth-Conan, it’s endless. But nope, no Cimmerians. So I built one…

This was a pretty easy custom figure to put together, I just…

…okay, I gotta jump back into those Savage Sword covers for a second. I grew up on those things–almost had a full set–and early on I came to the conclusion that out of all the characters in fiction, none are harder to surprise or freak out than Conan. He’s seen more crazy sh*t than the X-Men, Dr. Who and Scully & Mulder combined. What’s fun is to imagine Conan’s inner dialogue when dealing with the crazy:

Here, Conan celebrates Caturday. “Der iz no ‘Z’ in ‘cheezburgah!'” You tell ’em, Conan.

A perfect snapshot of the craziness that is Conan’s life. Here our barbarian pal gets into a shouting match with a pterodactyl (while riding it!) as giant Vince McMahon looks on.

Okay, enough with the silliness, back to the Conan mod already in progress:

The toughest part of customizing this figure was deciding what weapon to give him. I’ve always dug the look of a short handle double-sided war ax, but in the end I went with a broad sword. It’s the weapon he’s most commonly associated with and…

…okay, wait, two more Savage Sword covers:

ABOVE: Why Conan is banned from the Monterey Aquarium. “Ha! Gotcher nose!” That is one confused eel.

The above image is–HOLY SH*T, WHO THE F*CK KILLS PEOPLE LIKE THAT?!? Okay, I get the whole “barbarian” thing, but come on, stuffing a flaming hot oil lamp down someone’s throat? “You like apples? HOW YOU LIKE DESE APPLES?!? HAHA!”

The same thing’ll happen to the PETA rep who throws paint on Conan’s animal-hide loin cloth.

Alright, I got the SSoC covers out of my system. Back to the mini plastic Cimmerian…

Ingredients: Base body is a Ka-Zar (Sinister) with…well, not much changed. I swiped the right hand & sword from some random Mage Knight figure (it’s been awhile, I don’t remember which) and the gauntlets are small strips of index card paper shaped with an x-acto, held in place with a pinprick of Elmer’s and then hardened with a drip of Krazy Glue. Acrylic paint, a light coat of matte sealant and Crom was pleased. Custom Conan dial here.

As an aside, if you’ve ever toyed with the idea of trying your hand at miniature customizing, this Ka-Zar-to-Conan mod would make for a good first attempt. You can see in the above pic how close the mod (Conan) is to the untouched base body (Mr. Zar). You’re looking at minor Frankensteining with the hand swap and minimal paint apps. If you wanna get crazy, give ’em a shield in his left hand, one of those smaller round wooden jobs. He’ll need one against this guy…

“Crom! Give me all yer wine and cheeses!” The big Warduke-lookin’ guy is Wraal, by the way. Fun villain, more on him here, more Conan vs. below…

…and thus this charade draws to a close. To distract you from the lack of heavily-modded content this week, here’s a bunch of other Conan stuff from around the web.

First up, a quick vid from the Conan MMO that’s impossible not to laugh at. Seriously, this sums up most of my MMO experiences.

Here’s Arnold providing the best DVD commentary ever.

Arnold again, this time giving the business to a bear in Central Park.

The greatest non-Conan Conan game ever made.