I had the same problems when I started making figures. Use either 50-50 as Funfetti suggests, or fondant with CMC or gumtex kneaded into it. Insert a lollipop stick into the main part of the figure, such that 1/2 the stick goes into the cake. Connect the head (dried separately) Ito the body with either a toothpick or a spaghetti noodle. There are some brilliant videos on YouTube that show you how to make animals and people.
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