Zebra (or Donkey)

More like a white-faced horse

Stephen Weiss; 1982 OUSA (FOCA) Convention Annual Collection

Grade: B+

This is the last of the animal models in the 1982 book, and I really liked it, even though I struggled with it.  The proportions are excellent, something a lot of equine models don’t get quite right, and the slender legs and tail look very good.  The creator suggests 15″ paper, and I’d recommend the largest, thinnest, and most moldable paper you can get.  In my case that was 10″ foil, and I wished for a larger square.  Diagrams are hand drawn with explanatory text, and the folder is advised to pay very close attention to whether the line indicates a mountain or a hidden foldMy first attempt went wrong at step 7, where the model is folded in half down the spine, and a lot of things have to be shaped all at once.  I missed or misunderstood the instruction to “reverse-fold the inner triangle”, which resulted in a major tear and a quick pitch into the circular file.  Though the move is both diagrammed and noted in the text, it’s a little difficult to understand and the front legs will not swing into position unless it’s done right.  In the next step, I had to make a couple of tries before realizing that only the inner point gets reversed for the head, even though it is indicated fairly clearly in the drawing.  Final shaping as shown in the next-to-last drawing went quite well, though the many layers of the front legs made narrowing difficult.  I’d love to try this with a really large piece of black-and-white striped paper, and will be looking for some the next time I visit a specialty paper store.



In this case, a whale is a fish

Traditional: 1982 OUSA (FOCA) Convention Annual Collection

Grade: B

I’m not sure why this was titled a “Whale”; I’m pretty sure it’s the fish for which the fish base was named.  Diagrams are obviously aimed at the absolute beginner, as it takes 9 steps to explain the fish base.  I used 6″ kami, though I think simple models like this look better in smaller paper (larger paper is easier to photograph, though).  It benefitted from a night under a heavy book to help it lie flat.  This model would work well with mixed media craft projects, and would miniaturize well, so it might be a good choice for artists trading cards.

Two Swans

Oddly, they’re both from 6″ kami

Ranana Benjamin; 1982 OUSA (FOCA) Convention Annual Collection

Grade: B

The “Easy-Easy Swan” (left) and “Saucy Swan” (right) are both simple models that are small variations on bird models we all learned as beginners.  “Easy-Easy” starts with a triangle made from a square cut on the diagonal, while “Saucy” starts with a fish base.  The hand-drawn diagrams for both models are a little confusing in that the shading leads the folder to think that both sides of the paper might show.  I chose a paper that was blue on one side and magenta on the other for “Easy-Easy;” I needn’t have bothered.  Although the diagrams are very much in the quick-sketch style, they present no difficulties in following the folding sequence.  “Easy-Easy” wanted to tip forward until I adjusted the neck position backwards a bit, and “Saucy” looks a bit unstable, though it is folded as the diagram indicates.


Make it of 10″ Japanese foil.  Trust me.

Stephen Weiss; 1982 OUSA (FOCA) Convention Annual Collection

Who doesn’t have fond memories of the Roadrunner cartoons and Wile E. Coyote’s endlessly futile attempts to catch the speedy bird?  My engineering society in college used to watch them and analyze his designs (over, ahem, beverages).  Although there’s nothing particularly difficult about the folding techniques, it took me three tries to get a model I was completely happy with.  As may be guessed from the toothpick-thin legs, thin foil is a very good idea with this model.  My first attempt with 6″ kami was fine for working out the procedure, but the finishing details and especially those legs were impossible.  I succeeded with 6″ foil, but I like the 10″ result better.  I watched a few of the old cartoons for old times sake after folding this model, and although I always thought the Roadrunner was purple, he appears to be blue and gray.  Of course, the real birds are a variety of tan shades, but the purple appealed to me.  Beep Beep!


Black and white

Peter Engel; 1982 OUSA (FOCA) Convention Annual Collection

Grade: B

Going by the creator’s dedication, this is apparently an Emperor Penguin.  I had two challenges with this model.  First, although I succeeded in folding it with 6″ kami, a larger sheet would have helped a great deal.  Rounding the head was difficult because of paper thickness, and access to interior pockets in this small scale was difficult while finishing the feet.  The second challenge was that the diagrams were difficult to read in several places because the dark shading (indicating the colored side) obscured other markings, such as reference points and sub-step designations (a), (b), etc.  Aside from the shading, the diagrams are well drawn with good explanatory text, and the folding techniques is reasonably straightforward.  I failed to “round the belly” as suggested, but the model stands well on its feet and I thought my sample came out well.


All together now:  Awwwww!  Cute!

Kunihiko Kasahara; 1982 OUSA (FOCA) Convention Annual Collection

Grade: B

I’ve been wary of two-piece origami models ever since I folded too many rather inferior two-piece models (involving cuts and glue), back when I was learning the art in the sixties.  But this model’s excellent use of the colored and white sides of the paper, plus the winning tilt of the head, go a long way toward overcoming that prejudice.  The diagrams are clear and well explained, and the folding is barely beyond pureland in simplicity (there are a number of squash folds).  Judgment folds are needed in a few places.  The head balances on the pointed tip of the body, so there’s no secure attachment between parts, but that gives the folder the option to tilt the head as desired.  I used 6″ kami, but I think 3″ paper would be a better choice.  Since I live near Washington D.C. and one of our local celebrities is the adorable panda cub Bei Bei, I’m required to like this model!



Alice Gray; 1982 OUSA (FOCA) Convention Annual Collection

Grade: Model C+; Diagram Incomplete

Oh, dear.  This is the worst Alice Gray model I have encountered so far in this journey through the early Collections, and it was reprinted in the “Best of …” as well.  The instructions state “CAUTION: This looks very simple, but both ear and tail are tricky.  You’ll have to pay attention to both words and pictures to get them right.”  Unfortunately, there are no words or pictures for the final shaping; my impression is that about 2 steps were simply omitted.  The model begins with the half bird base, which seems to be a Gray favorite starting point.  I used 6″ kami halved diagonally.  I didn’t think foil would look good, although it would facilitate shaping; wet folding might be an option.  The diagrams only take the folder to step 4, which is shown at upper right above and looks more like a fish than a mouse.  Fortunately, a diagram of the finished model is shown, and I figured out the ear shaping and tail narrowing from that.  The model would have benefited from a night under a heavy book at the end of step 4, as the ears want to lift away from the body and the body wants to spread open.  The diagrams and instructions are clear as far as they go, and the model has very good proportions and looks nicely “mousy,”  but this is not a model I would recommend to anyone.