September 9, 2009

Tomb Raider Papercraft

Can't get enough of your favorite video game? Bored waiting for the next one to come out? Guest blogger ninjatoes introduces Tomb Raider papercraft. This pastime requires patience and dexterity—qualities most gamers have plenty of—but it's lots of fun and can yield stunning results. For tips on getting started, read on....

Hi everybody! Stella has asked me to write a little bit about my hobby, so I guess I'll tell you what it is first: Tomb Raider papercraft.

"Tomb Raider" is the game you love playing so much, and "papercraft" is where you print a page of parts (preferably on some thicker paper), cut them out and fold them, and then glue them together to make your very own 3D model of your favourite game/anime/movie character/whatever.

And I really mean "whatever", because you can really make just about anything out of paper:

You can really make anything (or anyone) out paper.
(Click thumbnails for larger images.)

At first, I only built other people's models that I found on the internet, but later I also started making my own. Nothing fancy though: I didn't have the skills or tools then that most papercraft designers had, and I just drew the parts by hand, testing and adjusting them each time until they would fit the way I imagined.

Handmade papercraft models.

Later on, I discovered a tool called Pepakura Designer, which lets you import a digital 3D model and unfold it into a 2D template that you can print and cut out and build!

You can imagine the suddenly endless possibilities I saw...! ;o)

Tomb Raider 2 snowmobile templates
made with Pepakura Designer.

Nowadays papercraft has become pretty popular online, with many people creating their own papercraft models and even more people building them. I think most people know me because of my Zelda models: my young Link model still seems to be many people's favourite, because he really looks like he jumped straight from the game onto your desk!

Because it's so popular, maybe that's why many people think it was the first one I made using the computer, but that's not really true. The first model I made using Pepakura Designer was actually the Venetian motorboat from Tomb Raider 2!

That's right, folks, the boat was first!

As far as Tomb Raider goes, I still love the classic trilogy, especially the blocky style that made up Lara's world. With some work, it makes excellent papercraft material. Whenever I make a papercraft model from one of those older games, I always try to retain the polygonal/blocky look in the paper model by making sharp, crisp folds along the edges, to make it look like it comes right out of the game!

Instructions for the blocky T-Rex head from Lara's
treasure room!

In the next-gen games though, Lara's 3D model got much more complex and "realistic". Being the papercrafting Tomb Raider that I am, I wanted to see if I could also recreate the new, curvier Lara.

Next-gen, more curvaceous Lara.

Ignoring most of the fold lines, Legend Lara is made up mostly out of cylinders, which is probably the easiest papercraft shape there is. With a much more curvy look that I later used on many of my newer models, she looks pretty good, but she is a bit lonely amongst the other more blocky looking models.

Next-gen Lara seems a bit lonely...

I guess I'll have to make another "curvy" Tomb Raider model soon.... ;o)

Well, I think I'll leave it at that for now. I could go on for ages, but I don't think Stella would appreciate me taking over her weblog completely.

I hope you get inspired by the pictures. Sometimes people feel intimidated by the many pieces that can make up a papercraft model. Cutting out and shaping all those parts before glueing them together often is a lot of work.

Who wouldn't want a 90's style videogame
T-Rex on his desk?

Most people find (sometimes to their own surprise) that they have a much longer attention span than they thought possible when it comes to recreating their favourite heroes in paper form though, so should you want to try it out some time, here are some links to get you started:
Have fun building, and raid on!

greetz ninjatoes


  1. those t-rex look identical with the ones from the games!it looks lik they were cut from the screen & put into reality!
    great stuff!if i were in 2000 i would have had the patience to make this things from the site...

  2. This is too cool! It combines my love of all things Tomb Raider with my fiendish paper-loving ways. I'll have to try it out.

  3. Enormous gratitudes toward Stella and Ninjatoes. As I saw these stuff yesterday night, I can't help but searching anything about these paper craft things until afternoon :-)

    It is really cool and attract my interest that I decided to start making one.

    And thus, here I am, making Yamaha YZR paper craft model (white). Really eager to finish it at all. I'm looking forward to finish it and make another stuff.

    Thank's a lot for both of you!

  4. So glad you like it. I don't think I have the patience for papecraft, but I'm happy to live vicarously through Ninjatoes. ;) Have you seen the new wetsuit Lara? She's fabulous!

  5. Yes, I have. As expected from Ninjatoes :-)

  6. Wow.... GREAT!!! Really love it.

  7. hi stella, love the page. wondered if you could help me find orcberto's lara croft model with the circular base. his site has been down for who knows how long. going to make it life size with sheet aluminum and that one has a better face i think.
    any help is appriciated.

  8. Your model "Lara" look so so so so hot. Lovely post so intelligent you are. Nice and good visual power you have as this creative ability.
    dean graziosi

  9. It's nice to hear other people enjoying my papercraft Tomb Raiders models too, thanks to Stella for asking me to write a little piece for her! ;o)

    I mentioned in the post some other links too, but the one from Orcberto doesn't work anymore because Geocities stopped their hosting service a few years back... :o(

    Many personal Geocities homepages were backed up as part of a big volunteer project though, and luckily, Orcberto's site and his paper models was one of them! ;o)

    You can find the backed up version of the site by replacing the .com part with .ws:

    So there you can still find Orcberto's paper models (he has some others besides Tomb Raider ones as well ;o)

    Have fun papercrafting (and tomb raiding - but only in the games of course...! ;o)