Here be Dragons!

In 2009 I was asked at very short notice to fold a large dragon for display on our local park for the St. Georges Day Weekend.

It was just after mid April and about the time that the dragons come out of their winter hibernation. Hibernation I hear you say, dragons don’t hibernate! Well yes, some do. Those that do not travel south for the winter and decide to stay put in England will usually go to ground around the end of September when the darker night start drawing in and sleep away the colder days to emerge around about St. Georges day the 23rd April. 

 Walking through the park early this morning, before children were up and dressed I came across a young dragon just emerging from its winters nap. It was sitting on a raised bed just by a large Twisted Hazel tree. It looked to me as if it had made the dark undergrowth beneath this tree as its winter home. It was sat quite happily with its wings half stretched out to catch the early morning warmth of the sun.

 I approached cautiously with my camera at the ready and could tell from my vantage point that it was, due to the thin snout and longer tail, a young female. Definitely a Neale/Shafer hybrid I thought to myself, which is not common around this part of the country. I estimated her wingspan to be around four feet so, as fully-grown dragons have a wingspan of around 50ft this was obviously a youngster. I knew that from hibernation it can take a day or so before their internal temperature reaches ignition point so I was safe from her fiery breath and as she seemed a little lethargic I knew I could get just a little closer. She spotted me and followed me with her cat like eyes as I walk cautiously past. She moved her wings up and down a little, weather it was a 'don't come any closer' warning or if it was just to circulate the warm air under her wings I do not know but I was not going to take any chances.

Standing by the Hazel tree I took another photograph, I knew I was chancing my luck and she may be airborne any minute I slowly backed away so as not to spook her and just stood and watched for another few minutes before quietly leaving, not believing my luck at being so close to such a wonderful creature.

Making the Model
The wingspan needed to be around 4ft, which meant I needed a sheet about 2mtr x 2mtr square. I could not believe how tiring it was to throw around a sheet this size, climbing inside at certain points to ensure nice accurate creases. After the first few folds the work became smaller and more manageable and a round five hours later we had a dragon.

Creating a LARGE bird base

Moving on

Developing the neck and tail
Forming the wings
Creating the front and back legs

 Pleating the wings.  All that is left to do is add the pleats to the tail and neck. Then lastly, form the head.

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