At this point the design was transferred to 1/4" MDF, contoured with cardboard, and slathered with wood filler/putty. I knew the putty would add some weight, so I attempted to make the base as light as possible. To atone for the flimsy behavior of thin MDF, I reinforced parts with wooden dowels.
This is the first layer of putty. At full strength it will sink into holes and crack, so after each bout of sanding I'll start thinning the putty.
The strange colors are because I ran out of one brand of putty and switched to another. The consistency is comparable though, so it won't matter once it's painted.
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