“It was said that Lord Vetinari would tolerate absolutely anything apart from anything that threatened the city. And mime artists. It was a strange aversion, but there you are. Anyone in baggy trousers and a white face who tried to ply their art anywhere within Ankh’s crumbling walls would very quickly find themselves in a scorpion pit, on one wall of which was painted the advice: ‘Learn The Words.’ ”
Terry Pratchett, Guards! Guards! One of the books in the Discworld series.
About the Scorpion
The 1990s was a time for origami that has been affectionately named The Bug Wars. Origami designers would turn up at convention after convention, trying to outdo each other with new and increasingly complex designs – usually insects. There were also a lot of scorpions around because a scorpion has two claws, eight legs and a curved tail with a sting. That’s a lot of points to get into an origami model! Robert Lang has a couple of excellent scorpion designs which I want to fold but have never got around to as I know they will take a while to make. When I saw this paper scorpion by Leonardo Pulido I thought I’d give it a go as it is slightly simpler and wouldn’t take so long. Scorpions make quite impressive origami models, but I’m not sure they would be intimidating enough for Lord Vetinari’s scorpion pit.
Folding the Paper Scorpion
Although this model is simpler than Lang’s scorpions, it is still a complex design. Like all box-pleated models, it makes extensive use of reverse folds, and open & closed sinks to create the number of very thin flaps the design needs. This is definitely not one for the beginner as it calls for very accurate folding.
The model gets quite thick towards the end as a result of all that sinking and box-pleating, so reasonably thin paper is needed. The orange scorpion in the picture above was my first attempt at making this model and the paper I used for this was a bit thick. The result was that the legs seemed to stick out from underneath rather than the sides, and the body of the scorpion was too high up. I fixed that by leaving it underneath the weights from a pair of dumbbells overnight!
The black one is made of thinner paper – tissue foil from origami-shop.com. This paper can be shaped more easily without the need for gym equipment. Although it doesn’t photograph as well, by using this paper and spending more time shaping the body I was able to thin the legs a little more, and give the impression that they come out of the sides of the body a lot more, much like a real scorpion.
Diagrams for this model are available in Origami Collection 2016, published by OrigamiUSA to accompany the convention I attended recently. This book has 54 models of varying difficulty levels and is available from OrigamiUSA.