1093: “An Origami Journey”

Avid noticers of this blog will realise that, since 2011, I have been rapidly expanding my abilities as a folder. Like most people, my first ever origami experience (apart from largely unsuccessful paper planes) was an origami crane (Tsuru) – taught to me as a boy of 11 yrs by a Japanese exchange student. A few years back I completed my task of learning how to fold Satoshi Kamiya’s “Ryujin 3.5”. This fold is not unrelated to both events:

Brandon Wong's "An Origami Journey"

Crane to complete Eastern Dragon is quite a journey, learning all sorts of new techniques and refining skills along the way and this fold celebrates that very journey. Originally designed and folded by Brandon Wong (@ThePlantPsychologist) – I first saw his fold on Instagram, and then photos of it on OrigamiDan (a discord server I am a member of) and vowed, one day, to fold it.

Brandon very kindly published the Crease Pattern along with photos of his fold, and right now I am rapidly learning to solve crease patterns so the perfect storm emerged after retiring I have time to tackle more ambitious folds.

Brandon Wong's "An Origami Journey" 360 view

After gridding the 90cm square, I set about laying in the exacting additional creases needed, including a puzzling pythagorean hinge line and some baffling level-shifters. Collapsing was a …. process. Apparently I “parachuted” the model – starting at the edges and working towards a bulging centre is termed parachuting (which is something I must address) until it more or less sat flat. After checking in with Brandon (isn’t the internet amazing) he suggested a fix for the only collapse kludge I had on his right shoulder.

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1089: Caiman

A caiman is an alligatorid belonging to the subfamily Caimaninae, one of two primary lineages within the Alligatoridae family, the other being alligators:


When is a Crocodile not a crocodile – when it is an alligator, apparently.

This model has taken me an age for a number of reasons. The model, a genius design from Jeong Jae II (taken from the book “Origami Pro 6 – Wild Amazonia”) has over 300 diagrammed steps (worse, many are “repeat x-y, in reverse upside down”) and every part of the square is worked, then re-worked in many and exacting ways. I wanted to understand and enjoy the processes I was performing and some of them took time to do precisely.

Not rushing to “set” a crease is an important tenet here – until the crease is set there is still time to change it, once set it is permanent damage to the sheet – I tried really hard to set the creases in the correct place.

Caiman views

Scaled/pleated models always fascinate me – the design strategy behind HOW these are designed are completely beyond my comprehension – pleats and scales take a LOT of paper, so planning what is done and where is exacting. Following the set of instructions is complex enough but there are some who could fold this monster from a crease pattern (CP) alone – but not by me – that still is beyond my ability.

A quality design looks good with folds alone – and when I had laid in all the creases and roughly shaped it, the model was already wonderful. I did a little bit of cleanup – closing gaping seams with spots of glue, closing the underside of the tail to give it volume and wires in the legs for permanent posing. Remarkably little was needed to make this presentable.

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Spotted Ryu

Playing with Hieu Dang’s money Ryujin, I decided to try and fold it money-size, but with fewer bits of paper:

spotty ryu

I measured a korean dong note, then cut bits of paper 3×1, 2.5×1, 2.5×1 (body segments) and 3 note sized bits (head, 2xlegs) and set to folding.

a nice pair

The scale was tiny, it took about 3 weeks on and off and the result is lovely. With the Hanji ryu it is like a perfect pair – I imagine the larger is the female, the smaller spotty one is the male.

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