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Lego Super Mario The Mighty Bowser review

Even Princess Peach couldn’t resist the Mighty Bowser, a Lego Super Mario set fit for a King Koopa.

Lego Super Mario: The Mighty Bowser review image showing the Lego Bowser between two torches.

Our Verdict

Putting together the Lego Super Mario The Mighty Bowser was just as much fun as charging through the plucky plumber’s latest outing, Super Mario Bros Wonder. Complex build techniques earn it the 18+ moniker, but a plethora of playability features will delight younger Lego fans once it’s pieced together. Bowser’s sturdy as a rock, too. I dare say he could go three rounds with Mario and still weather a direct hit from a Bullet Bill. The Mighty Bowser is a fantastic addition to anyone’s Lego collection and a set Nintendo collectors won’t want to pass up.

Reasons to buy
  • Captures Bowser's likeness perfectly
  • Bursting with playability features
  • Boasts some really advanced build techniques
Reasons to avoid
  • Interactive Mario sold separately
  • You think Sega does what Nintendon’t

When it comes to instantly recognisable villains, Bowser is the Darth Vader of gaming – even grandparents recognise him as Super Mario’s big bad. If Lego was going to make a hulking 12.5-in tall monument to any video game character, it might as well be King Koopa. And much like Bowser’s presence in the Super Mario series, the Lego Super Mario The Mighty Bowser (71411) is one hefty set, comprising not far off 3,000 pieces.

But it’s so much more than just a cool-looking statuette and a contender for the best Lego sets for adults. It’s a posable figure, bursting with playability features, and can even be used alongside a Lego Super Mario interactive figure to act out a boss fight, as an epic final stage to your combined Lego Super Mario interactive playsets. The question is, can this Lego incarnation of Bowser hatch an evil plan to kidnap Princess Peach and sit atop our best Lego Mario sets buying guide, or will it be thwarted by a Lego reviewer masquerading as an Italian plumber? Let’s find out, wahoo!

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Lego Super Mario: The Mighty Bowser review image showing the set under construction, with the shell open.


Lego Super Mario: The Mighty Bowser specs:

Model number 71411
Build time 6 hours
Number of pieces 2,807
Number of minifigures 0
Recommended age 18+
Dimensions 12.5 x 16 x 11-inches (32 x 42 x 28cm)


Lego Super Mario: The Mighty Bowser review image showing Bowser breathing fire.


You can tell from the box art that Lego has absolutely nailed Bowser’s look. Just like the Lego BrickHeadz Sonic the Hedgehog, video game characters really do translate well to Lego. This is likely because any hard edges make total sense if you can remember Bowser’s visible polygon heyday on the N64. And yet, this set is evidently modeled after more modern Bowsers, akin to the character’s appearances in the Galaxy series or later.

It would have been easy to make the model look goofy or even creepy, and although I do think those pivoting eye sockets give it a bit of a Freddy Fazbear vibe, I’m struggling to think of a way it could look any better. I’m generally not a fan of large-scale Lego figures, but Bowser has made me a convert. This set really works.

The ball-jointed eyebrows are a genius touch, allowing you to pose Bowser as if he’s about to enact one of his evil plans, has just been bested by Mario, or anywhere in between. I love how the legs dangle when he’s picked up, as if he’s jumping, although the tail can sometimes get in the way as you try to set him back down. The mechanism that moves the head from side-to-side is great fun, as is the fireball projectile. Just be mindful that it can be hard to see where the fireball is directed from inside the mouth. It’s also easy to inadvertently activate the projectile when you just want to open the jaw. Both things to be mindful of if you allow children to play with this model.

And play they can, because it combines with an interactive Lego Super Mario figure, triggering a boss battle. However, getting hold of one of these figures isn’t cheap, considering they feature as part of $50 (£45) Lego Super Mario sets. Sure, other large sets in the range – such as the soon-to-be-released Bowser Express Train $119.99 (£104.99 –) don’t feature interactive figures, nor do smaller sets – such as Dixie Kong’s Jungle Jam Expansion Set – but they’re meant to be expansions. The Mighty Bowser is a standalone figure that will be picked up by plenty who have no interest in the rest of the range. And since it stands as the most expensive interactive Lego Super Mario playset and is nothing short of epic, I think an interactive Mario would have been the icing on one of Princess Peach’s cakes.

A worry of mine was how well the figure would stand under its own weight. And I’m happy to report that – plinth or no plinth – The Mighty Bowser stands as sturdy as you could hope for. Side on, you’ll notice that King Koopa is leaning quite far forward, but Lego has packed so much within the torso and shell, you can tip it roughly towards a 45-degree angle and it still won’t topple over.

And that sturdiness translates to the overall build. As Lego sets have gotten bigger and bigger over the years, fragility can be an issue, but Bowser himself might just be the sturdiest large-scale kit I’ve ever built. You can pick him up without fear of bits and pieces falling off. The most delicate parts of the model are his jaw and snout. But most other breakable areas are secured in place via Technic.

The stand is prone to breakages due to the delicate towers. But in Lego’s defense, they’re supposed to fall down during the interactive boss battle, so Mario can access a hidden POW Block. Ultimately, the stand will likely divide opinion. If you’re into the interactive game, then it’s a necessary addition that will look great at the end of a course. If you simply want to display Bowser as part of your wider Nintendo collection, at best, it’ll look cool, at worst you might simply choose to omit it altogether. Yes, the set could have been cheaper without it, but it’s unlike Lego not to supply some kind of plinth or plaque side-build for a set like this, so it probably wouldn’t have ended up being that much cheaper.

Lego Super Mario: Mighty Bowser review image focusing on the POW block in the Bowser set.

Ease of assembly

I pieced together The Mighty Bowser in six hours, a relatively brisk pace considering its sizable 2,807 piece count. The set is split across 22 bagged sections and comprises the display stand and Bowser himself. You begin by tackling the display stand, which involves laying down some large plates and lots of tiles. A pair of top-down diagrams in the instruction booklet makes piecing together the stand’s challenging cracked surface enjoyable when it could have easily proven frustrating. Once you’ve erected the towers on either side of the stand you move onto King Koopa himself.

Unsurprisingly, Bowser features his fair share of Technic pieces, used to achieve some challenging angles, as well as various mechanisms such as his swiveling head and hinged mouth. This also adds some much-needed rigidity, resulting in a commendably solid build for a set of this size. You begin with his body and neck, before installing a Technic structure that ultimately supports the rounded shell. Impressive use of cylindrical Lego pieces threaded onto Technic Axles form the shell’s white edging, while a plethora of tile pieces are used to create a largely studless exterior.

When building the tail, I found that a Wall ½ Circle 1×2 piece was missing from the set. I have built a lot of Lego kits in my time and have found missing pieces to be extremely rare, so I’m sure this was an isolated incident. Still, it was an integral piece that halted my build while I sourced a replacement.

Each leg is a fun build. They come together quickly and leave you with a finished article – a welcome change of pace from constructing the torso and framework of the shell. A Technic ball joint is built into each leg, when connected to Bowser’s body, this allows them to articulate with a limited range of motion. What’s clever is that they’re loose, so when you pick the model up they dangle, much like the real Bowser’s legs when he jumps during a boss battle.

You then move onto the mechanism that opens the jaw, which includes the fireball launcher, used to shoot a projectile from his open mouth, before working on the exterior of the head. Kudos to Lego for printing his eyes and including no stickers in this set at all. The hinged construction of Bowser’s mohawk is ingenious, as are the ball-jointed eyebrows.

The snout and jaw come next, the designers have done an incredible job using various tiles to completely obscure any studs here. King Koopa’s choker chain comes together nicely and fits loosely, yet securely, around his neck. You then finish the cylindrical trim around the shell, before adding the bulbous green dome and spines.

I was extremely impressed by how the designers managed to form the dome. It’s pieced together in three sections. Each section uses hinges to connect each segment of shell, forming a curvature when the section is slotted into the Technic frame, using a pair of axles. While the spines look like they could pop off at any moment, they also use Technic axles to slot in place, making them extremely sturdy.

The arms and hands come last. They come together similarly to the legs, but feature more articulation, in the shoulders, elbows and thumbs. The wrists and fingers only pivot. It’s a shame the fingers aren’t hinged, as this would have made it easier for Bowser to hold things. Like a Nintendo Switch Joy-Con, for example.

Ultimately, this is an extremely advanced Lego set that incorporates some of the most interesting build techniques I’ve seen in a while. If you’re not a seasoned Lego builder, it presents a decent challenge and is definitely deserving of its 18+ moniker.

Lego Super Mario: The Mighty Bowser. Image shows the point on which Lego Mario can interact with him.


The Lego The Mighty Bowser is priced at $269.99 (£229.99). This yields a slightly below-average price-per-piece ratio of 9.6c (8.2p). But when you consider the Lego Super Mario license and this huge set’s sheer presence, it doesn’t feel overpriced. I’ve also noticed some pretty hefty discounts on this set, making it an even better buy for your buck.

  • The Mighty Bowser was released in 2022 and could join the best Lego sets retiring soon, so now’s your chance to pick up King Koopa before the inevitable retirement price hike
  • Even if the playability of the Lego Super Mario range doesn’t interest you, this set would make a fine addition to any Nintendo collection
    You’ll need to pick up a Lego Super Mario interactive figure if you want to unlock this set’s full playability

Many of Lego’s most expensive sets carry an 18+ rating. But this set is clearly aimed at younger builders, too, since it doubles as a boss stage, when paired with a Lego Super Mario interactive figure. This is all well and good if you already have sets such as Adventures with Interactive Lego Mario (71439). However, these sets are clearly targeted towards children, with adults less likely to have an interactive figure lying around.

Lego Super Mario: The Mighty Bowser review image showing Bowser breathing fire.

Final verdict

I’m a big Nintendo fan and as far as I’m concerned, Shigeru Miyamoto’s creation is hallowed ground. But I have to say, The Lego Super Mario Mighty Bowser is mighty by name, mighty by nature and I’m mighty impressed with what Lego has come up with. The set really looks the part, is impressively sturdy and I don’t think it’s overpriced given the license and the hulking figure you end up with. Linking this huge display piece with the interactive Lego Super Mario game was a fantastic idea – even if Mario wasn’t included – and while the plinth/stand will likely divide opinion, you simply cannot dispute what Lego has achieved here.

The instruction booklet’s forward from the designers states: “we had to use new Lego car, boat and spaceship parts to achieve shapes and features that would have been impossible to create just a few years ago.” And I can quite believe them. If you’re looking for a set that epitomizes advancements in Lego build techniques, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better example than The Mighty Bowser. Whether you’re a hard-core Lego fan or Super Mario fan, this one’s essential.