Introduction: Toruk Makto

I always admire people who invent a whole new fantasy world. Non existing animals, strange landscapes and another way of life. One of these worlds is Pandora, the planet of the Na'vi in the movie Avatar. As I frequently make birds out of packaging, it seemed a nice challenge to build a Leonopteryx, or as its called: Toruk. And there is no toruk more special than Toruk Makto. Who wouldn't want to fly through space in a strange world on the back of an animal, half dinosaur, half butterfly. So let build one. It is set on a wire construction, so you can move the wings by turning a lever.


Groceries carton ( e.g. breakfast cereal box)

tracing paper 2x A4

wire in different sizes ( 2mm, 1,5mm, 0,5 mm)

piece of wood approx 10x20cm

wood or paper glue

glue gun

Acrylic paint ( dark yellow,black, cobalt, magenta)

Pliers, scissors, drill, paintbrushes

Step 1: Body

Cut a piece of carton 16x16 cm. Draw two round lines left and right from the middle, score them with the point of the scissors and fold. Cut the corners, like a banana shape. The exact shape is downloadeble in PDF

Step 2: Wings

Download PDF from last step and draw it onto carton. Cut 4 times. The carton is doubled for more sturdiness. Then glue tracing paper to the back vut it on top and sides, tear it along the underside for a more rugged look.

Step 3: Head

The head consists of uppar part, jaw, two "horns", 2 neck parts, and head and chin crest ( both double).The upper head part is scored and folded along a rounded line. Neckparts, jaw and head are connected by one little piece of wire, bend into rings at both sides.The crests are glued on.

Step 4: Back Wings

Cut out the shape from the PDF in the last step. Glue on tracing paper. Tear the edge. Beware: in the second photo, if you look carefully you can see the wings connected to the body with a carton strip. This is not right. For ease of movement the wings are connected to the body with a small strip of tracing paper. See step 7

Step 5: Automata Frame

I made the basic frame double. One simple with 2 mm wire for sturdiness, the other with thinner wire to make the necessary rings.I temporarily taped both frames together, later I removed the tape and bound them together with thin wire twisted round. Soldering would be another option. All wire shapes are downloadeble in the PDF.

Step 6: Mounting Body on Frame

Close the underside of the body with a small circle. Stick the body support wire through and bend it flat on top of the body. Cover it with another piece of carton. I enforced the wire by adding a second wire, at first secured with tape, later removed tape and replaced by winding thin wire at top and bottom.

Step 7: Attach Other Parts to the Body

All four wings are attached to the body with a small strip of tracing paper for ease of movement.The photo shows lower wings connected with a carton flap; I changed this in a leter stadium to a strip of tracing paper for ease of movement. The big wings are at the upper rim of the body. The lower wings are a bit lower and a small bit under the big wings. Legs are glued beneath the small wings. The neck is attached to the body with a small piece of wire, bend into rings at each side. Add a small pointy tail and glue thumbs on the front rim of the big wings.

Step 8: Wiring

As I wrote before, I removed the tape and replaced it with thin wire winding.To prevent the crank shifting back and forth I made two carton rings witch I glued with hot glue.

Then support the big wings with a wire to the outer rings of the main frame ( 19 cm). Support the head with a piece of wire between chin crest and middle ring of the main frame( 17 cm). See PDF in step 5 for measurements. You may have to adjust these supports for easy movement.

There are a few extra wire connections. The horns are connected with the neck with a "V"shape wire. This pulls the head up while moving, and makes the mouth open. Further there are two connections between upper and lower wings. At the place where the overlap a small wire connects both so the lower wings don't drop down, and move a little bit together with the main wings.

Step 9: Paint

It looks more difficult than it is. First paint everything yellow. Take care of the paint sticking moving layers together. Put something ( a match) in between to keep the separated.

Then paint the front rim of the wings black and make irregular lines over the wings, and add a wood grain pattern on the body. Paint lips and brows with a black line.

When the black paint has dried, paint the lower rim of the wings magenta, and with very wet paint let it flow in the yellow sections between the black lines.

Paint horns, crests,toes and tail bright cobalt blue

Turn the lever and enjoy the flight.

Space Challenge

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Space Challenge