Ryujin 3.5 Lessons from a Master

I am honored to have been allowed to learn how to fold Satoshi Kamiya’s  Ryujin 3.5 by an extraordinarily talented folder who goes under the name “MrOrigami”.

When finished, it should look like this:

He sends me lessons, I must complete them neatly and photo-evidence back to him before he sends me the next lessons.

This blog post chronicles my progress so far. It is a long and winding road towards folding the whole thing from one square of paper – that road consists of a myriad of skills, techniques and components all designed to tuck away 70%+ of the sheet revealing just the dragonny bits.

The Crease Pattern is terrifying (but if you look closely you can see head, body in 2 sections, claws and tail … well, I can):

I hope I am skillful enough to learn how to fold it … we shall see. Explore PART 2 of this project.

Lesson1 – Blocks to fans, fans to blocks, blocks to summits and back again (4 different lessons in one)

Lesson 2 – Transition units – that transform wide pleats into smaller ones

Lesson 3 – Scales and shaping – the model has 2000+ of these little blighters, better get good at them

Lesson 4 – Scales and belly pleats

Lesson 5 – The Tail

Lesson 6 – A Diamond stretch

Lesson 7 – Shoulder scales

Lesson 8 – A Leg

I found out that I had been given an old version of lesson 8 – so got an updated one that included shaping of the toes, so re-folded to try it out:lesson8V2withToes

Lesson 9 – Shoulder transitions

Lesson 10 – Spine Break (to make room for shoulders)

It is not all plain sailing – Lesson 11 is a bugger – a pair of legs and shoulder assembly that is (so far) beating me – First attempt at least found one of the feet on one side of the shoulder patches but I could not find the other foot among the plethora or crinkles – I think I will be more coordinated next attempt, and have learned a lot about careful persistence with this lesson (logic tells you all these folds can not co-exist, but they find a way):

Lesson 11 continues to perplex me – wondering why attempt 2 was so difficult, I try to collapse the feet after doing the shoulders only to realise I had done the shoulders UPSIDE DOWN, meaning all the pleats were running in the wrong direction … live and learn I suppose

Lesson 11 – complete: What an intense fold – so much happening at once and a terrifying glimpse at what is ahead. This is attempt #3, it is not very tidy in places and I will probably attempt it again (just to prove to myself it was not a fluke) but fairly happy to have wrangled so much paper away:


LOL. So I sent my photos of proof to my Sensei and he asked if he had sent the MODIFIED versions featuring legs and toes…no said I – bugger.

Another 12 hour fold, this is lesson 11 Version 2 completeLesson11V2Complete

You can see he is now a set of legs and shoulders, knees and toes – the bundle of paper in the middle will be sheathed in lovely scales, no idea how yet but you get thatLesson11V2CompleteUnder

With some wire, a little MC and some patience, these legs and toes have HUGE modeling potential

…and the folding continues, carefully. EXPLORE PART 2 of this project.

44 thoughts on “Ryujin 3.5 Lessons from a Master

  1. Hi Wonko!! could you give me a advise to fold the shoulder scales?? and the tail??, I coded the tail, but I think I made something wrong

      1. Yeap!! I’m working over a crease pattern, but I can’t fold the shoulder and the legs on a clean paper, Probably you could give me some advise how the start the pre crease. By the way I figured out how to fold the tail!! and shaped it!! Please help me with your lesson 7, 8 and 9

        1. I am sorry, I am not at liberty to share the lessons that were shared to me by their author – contact Mr Origami directly and see if you can begin the lesson sequence I am part way through myself. I have found there are no short-cuts with this model – the complexity and brilliance of the design take time to master

  2. A question: Which version of lesson 9 did you use for your final model? 9A or 9B? I am tempted to use 9b, as it’s best if it’s easier to collapse the legs cleaner, but that’s not the way kamiya did it… Which way did you use? Is the precreasing any different?

    1. The purpose of both is to get the pleats in the right directions and orientations from the mess that is under the shoulders. The first time I tried (and failed) I sort of just smushed it (as the gusset is nearly invisible), but subsequent attempts has seen me converge on a tidy 9B – it is waste paper (so much of this model is waste paper management), tucked inside so you can get away with a variety of approaches, so long as it sits flat

      1. Thanks btw i saw that before. i shaped it but sadly my tail is just reversed. SK make the reversed official cp? (Grey lines =mountain, black lines: valley). Im precreasing now, is 40gsm paper too thin?

  3. I SUCCESSFULLY colapsed the bottom half, but HOW to shape the shoulder space, the connection of the body is too bulky. Thanks!

    1. This blog is not a tutorial on how to fold a Ryujin but rather some of the process I followed, are you using instructions from MrOrigami? They are pretty self-contained

        1. super impressed you are working from the CP – some of the bits would not make sense I think just looking at the resultant CP – the leg assembly is particularly torturous and requires a collapse amidst collapse of other buts, the neck attachment and head are a nightmare of wrong-way-roundedness – I wish you luck

  4. Hi, could you help me, I’m trying to cut a big square from a kraft roll (90cm), but I can’t cut it precisely, what is your method to cut best square from the kraft Roll? Thank you so much!

    1. Hey. Large media is a pain to work with, you gotta be patient and gentle with initial construction folds.

      What I do is firstly make an assumption that the roll edges are true (straight) – I unroll a section and fold it back on itself, lining up the edges then creasing to get a true perpendicular. I use an envelopener (purchasable from OrigamiShop.com) to split that crease, but a careful razor or sharp knife could also work.

      Then I fold a triangle down to one of the roll edges – this gives me where the square will end (triangle = 1/2 square on diagonal). Using this new landmark, I fold the paper back on itself, aligning the edges and aligning with the diagonal landmark and that gives me a perfect square. I then split it off the roll.

      This method wastes the initial foldback (and do not skimp here, foldback enough so you are convinced the edges are aligned properly – as much as 1/2 a squares worth) but once you have a true perpendicular you can then reliably fold squares from the roll.

      Hope that helps

  5. Sorry mate but I say with all sincerity with which teacher quen I can contact to make this model …
    I am an artist and this is one of the figures I’ve wanted to do for some time.
    Grateful if you tell me just who I contact.
    Thank you.

    1. Daniel Brown (calls himself MrOrigami) on the Hong Kong Origami Society website – he is tricky to get in contact however due to the number of requests for what you are asking – he will require proof of your skill level

    1. Read comments above regarding seeking help from MrOrigami (Daniel Brown). As I have stated many times, the lessons are not MY property, so I have no right to distribute them, sorry.

  6. Hello,
    the Ryujin is on my bucket list. I have read your comments on tracking down Mr. Origami. A friend of mine is part of Hong Kong Origami society, and has never heard of him. Any other suggestions on finding him?

  7. Wonko please help me find Mr origami i searched Daniel Brown on flickr however i couldn’t find him. Tell me how you got in contact with him and how you persuaded him to send you lessons. Pleaseeeee i will really work hard i really want to do this

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