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.

3-D Gorilla

Stephen Weiss; 1982 OUSA (FOCA) Convention Annual Collection

Note:  “Flying Goose” by Alice Gray precedes this model in the book and is repeated from the 1981 Convention Annual Collection; I reviewed it on December 6.

I wasn’t quite sure what paper to use for this model, but looking at the soft molding required for the back, I chose 6″ Japanese foil, and went with the darkest color I had since I didn’t have any black.  This is one of those models that gives a very effective impression of the subject when viewed in person, but doesn’t look that great in the drawing or in photos.  The diagrams and explanations are very clear and the model isn’t particularly difficult, but getting the shaping of the back to come out well is challenging.  In step 5 which shapes the rear, it is possible (and probably advisable) to tuck the tip of the rear flap into the inner back leg folds.  This step, not shown or suggested in the diagrams, makes a nice lock but is devilishly difficult to accomplish, and while I was trying to shape the back, the Gorilla’s butt kept coming apart!  The front of the model is open.  This model might work well with wet folding.

Mountain Goat

Ram tough!

John Montroll; 1981 OUSA (FOCA) Convention Annual Collection

Grade: B+ (model), C- (diagrams)

I had a sinking feeling as soon as I saw that the creator called for an 18″ square.  I  needn’t have feared; it is perfectly possible to fold a satisfactory example with 10″ kami, as in my sample.  The diagrams are hand-drawn and the reproduction is a little light in places.  I had a lot of trouble interpreting the drawings, and after one failed attempt I resorted to “Origami for the Enthusiast,” which has the same model with much more readable diagrams.  Oddly, the hand-drawn version has 62 steps, while the “Enthusiast” book version has 51; I’ll refer to the Convention book’s numbering.  Step 18 features a challenging rectangular sink that wasn’t quite like anything I’d seen before.  Shaping the flaps that will form the head (steps 21-37) went off-kilter in my first attempt and really didn’t want to line up the second time either, but I managed to coax them to stay neat the second time around.  I finally had to concede defeat with the hand drawings at step 44, which forms the front legs, when I simply couldn’t figure out what was being shown; “Enthusiast” was much clearer.  Detail shaping went very well, with even the feet (my personal downfall) coming out the way I wanted them to.  The finished model has good proportions and stands firmly on its four feet, although my sample’s front feet tend to be pigeon-toed.  This is very much the kind of complex model I expect from this renowned creator.

Two Frogs on a See-Saw

Don’t try this with play money

Herman Shall; 1982 OUSA (FOCA) Convention Annual Collection; drawn by Alan M. Kaplan; from “Two Frogs on a Log” by Bun McClain

Grade: D

I wasn’t really looking forward to folding this model, and I haven’t changed my mind.  For one thing, the subject seems kind of silly to me, unless there’s a children’s book about frogs in the playground that I’m not aware of (and even then, it’s still an unlikely subject).  I tried twice to make this of play money while figuring out the procedure, and the paper tore in multiple places both times, so only genuine new, crisp U.S. currency is tough enough to survive the process.  The diagrams are clear enough with only step 12 being a bit mystifying.  This model takes a fair amount of finger strength to complete, and it is advisable to take a great deal of care when narrowing the legs if the results are to be at all satisfactory.  Though there’s probably no way to make them, the lack of front legs also detracts from the completed model.  I did like the neatly-positioned appearance of the motto “In God We Trust” on the see-saw’s board.