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Bloober Family

A small family of pale squids that enjoy harassing Italian plumbers at every opportunity. They can be found swimming about in many underwater locations throughout the 1990 Nintendo Super Mario Brothers 3 video game. Any physical contact with one of these nautical pests will result in a painful sting, so either avoid them entirely or attack from a distance with fireballs.

Adult Bloober: Newsprint, tissue paper, white glue, and acrylic paint.

Baby Bloobers: Tissue paper, white glue, and acrylic paint.

Base: Tissue paper, cardboard, white glue, hot glue, wire twist ties, plastic, and acrylic paint.

Adult Bloober: 4.8 cm/1.9 in. x 3.4 cm/1.3 in. (highest point x widest point)

Baby Bloobers: 1.8 cm/0.7 in. x 1.4 cm/0.6 in. (highest point x widest point)

Base: 6.4 cm/2.5 in. x 12.7 cm/5.0 in. (highest point x widest point)

This project ran from 10/3/08 - 10/14/08. However, I didn't work on it everyday during that time period (I had to wait several days for both halves of the Baby Bloober clay mold to harden before I could proceed further), so the actual time I spent physically sculpting/painting is something less than the twelve day span indicated.

Bloober Family photo collage.

Front and back view of the adult Bloober's rough sculpt.

This was my initial approach to making the Baby Bloobers: sculpting them separately. Upon reaching the point in the sculpting process you see in the photo, I decided to start over with a brand new Baby Bloober sculpt and make three castings of it. My reasons were two-fold: (1) I absolutely despise having to sculpt identical things multiple times, and (2) I needed to perform some more casting experiments anyway as part of another, unrelated project.

This is the first mold I created to mass produce the Baby Bloobers. It's made out of a purple modeling clay that I've used on previous occasions for simple, one-sided, hot glue castings. The Baby Bloober pictured is the brand new sculpt, painted with black gloss to help keep it from sticking inside the mold. Unfortunately, this clay, while fine for hot glue castings (which cool and dry very quickly), proved too moisture absorbant for my Kleenex and white glue mixture, even after I allowed the clay to air-dry/harden for several days. While I did get one complete casting out of it, the mold was ruined in the process and had to be destroyed.

These are the results of my first two castings, one from the previously described clay mold, and another from its successor, a hot glue mold. While hot glue doesn't hold detailed impressions as well as clay (note that the Bloober's eyes didn't come out very well at all), it does have the benefit of being water-proof and rubbery (which allows one to remove castings easily--observe how clean the hot glue castings are in comparison to the clay ones). Hot glue can also be easily recycled by melting it down again, which is another factor that makes its use favorable. All of the castings still required some additional processing after being removed from the molds--most notably gluing the two halves together and then smoothing out the seam--but, even so, it still saved me a lot of work in comparison to what I would have had to do if I sculpted them individually.

This is the rough sculpt for the diorama base. I built the sculpt up on the cardboard sheet shown prior to cutting it out. The underwater flora, fabricated from transparent soda bottle plastic, weren't added until after the base was painted.

For comparison purposes, below are several relevant images from the Nintendo Super Mario Brothers 3 video game and manual.

SMB3 Bloober adult animated sprite.    SMB3 Bloober child animated sprite.

SMB3 Bloober instruction manual art and description.

Mario encounters a Bloober family underwater in World 3.

(In no particular order of importance.)

  •   Super Mario Brothers 3 Nintendo video game and manual.

  •   Yoshi Nintendo Game Boy video game manual.

  •   GameFAQs various Super Mario Brothers 3 game guides.

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