Paper Kites

This one is mostly a visual post.  When I was drawing the sequence of the minor kites’ folding wings I started to feel a bit uncertain about the actual geometry of what I was drawing.  The first fold was easy, but when I flipped the hind appendages, my spatial rendering device (brain) started maxing-out.

So, I decided to create a physical model:

Ya starts with a drawing of a kite, in this case, minor.
Once you are done drawing, bring out the reciprocating knives.
All done with the scissors, I measured zero times and cut once.
This is the kite fully opened and “in flight” posture.
Time to start folding it up. The forelimbs start by bending inwards.
Next, flip the rear limbs backwards
The nature of the flying membrane’s folds came out right, but in my actual design, minor kites rest their hind quarters on the “tail”, rather than the rear limbs.
Awww, look at that face!
Throw in some family for good measure!

The results showed me that despite the aforementioned “max-out”, I got it roughly right. 

One thing that the paper models didn’t fully cover was the articulation of the hind appendages: the drawn model folds them back and holds them flush against the flanks.  The paper model just goofily kept them splayed. Beyond that, the hind quarters are not supposed to rest on the hind limbs, which are too weak to carry the kite’s weight for long. Instead, what appears to be the “tail” serves as a single back-foot.

Here it is again so you don’t have to go back to the last post. Note the hindlimbs up against the flanks. The talon on the rear foot is used to hook prey in flight.

The other aspect that the model couldn’t account for is the elasticity of the flying membranes.  Being living creatures, minor kites are not rigid like paper.  Their flying membranes stretch out for flight and contract when the limbs retract.

It was a fun little experiment. Compare to the drawings from last post:

Thanks for reading!!


Published by Sapling

I am writing/illustrating the work-in-progress novel "Free Drove". I am a science fiction and animation fan. My mind latches on to trivia readily and creates it just as easily.

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