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How Do I Make A Molded Dragon Head Purse?

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Just a Head

(FWIW I've read Joanna's tutorial, John Henry's and couple on the Masks forum)

How do I make a molded dragon head purse?

I want to make a small purse that's dragon head shaped. I've got some examples that give a general idea. One is more art than usable purse, 2nd is a discarded alligator plushie. I want to mold it like the art purse, but shaped more like the plushie with a more triangular head.

Seems like this has to be a turn out in order not to show stitches?

If I'm going to mold this 1" up from my base do I start with a piece of leather that's something like 1 3/4" bigger than the base?

What's the most 4-6oz belly leather can be stretched? Shoulder leather?

Don't suppose the leather gives any kind of warning before it cracks?

Is there some kind of conditioning to make leather easier to stretch?

I'm making a plug, but why is molding pull down and not push out from back?

Do people ever use just foam for their plugs? Any special type?

Current plan is take 2 - 1x4s cut into "more triangular" shapes, shim up at back to get a wedge profile, and put a piece on top to get an approximate forehead shape. This is the rough shape, planning to goin with finer tools for some detailing.

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