Rewritten version after testing (with thanks for all suggestions so far).
Here's the partial solution of what I'm trying to do in blender 2.8: This is a slowly collapsing version of the more solid/crisp effect I'm hoping to produce and has been made with the cloth modifier on with structural and bend settings around 400.
The initial shape is shown as follows and should be producing a rather pointed 'dome' effect, as per the picture.
The segments have to curve to an apex and fit together perfectly.
Here's my starting point for the above cloth sim version.
Can anybody suggest a method of convincing Blender to curve two planes (up to a total of six for the full 'dome') so that they fit together along an edge, bending to accommodate the curve and without flapping all over the place as per the cloth sim?
I do understand that there are other ways of creating a similar shape, but the first prize is using the above idea.
Edit: The Domed tent example is very similar in effect needed, but how to ensure the panel form is simply bent, not stretched?