Two weeks later and a whole bunch of improvising helped me realise that may not have been a wise choice but I have something that is at least based on Hoang Trung Thanh’s model but not faithful to it.
On folding the range of pleats I added a ziggy zaggy spine, decided on 3 rows of scales and invented a method of locking the leg units (each leg is a separate sheet of paper) into the body pleats. I also stuffed the body (with neutral facial tissues) for a little shape and added a nice row of belly scales which I think make it look pretty nice.
The head instructions were un-followable (to me at least) so I sort of wrangled a new head with some lovely horns and a nice open mouth.
Had I known how much uncertainty and improvisation I needed to complete this model, or the amount of my life it would eat I probably would still have given it a go eventually.
I am really pleased with the final model, it is really imposing and huge – standing 40cm tall, the Ryu is 62cm long nose to tail and looks like it is taking off (I think Chinese dragons fly without wings – who knew?)
I managed to wrangle a wire spiral stand and the Ryu slipped onto the wire quite naturally (I was expecting a fight) – I think it looks better twisted and will continue to try to find a way to take a photo of it that does justice to its intricacy.