I’d be proud of that job myself! Looks great to me!
Cheap enough to experiment with!
Another (messy) trick is to use sticky wheel bearing grease. This is how those "soft touch" cassette decks worked back in the day... Maybe a "less-messy" material can be found... Maybe silly putty? Although that eventually runs. Not sure. Just spit-balling now.
Looking really good! Like you, I always dread the weathering part, and I probably don’t do enough when I do it, but it always ends up turning out better than I expected. I’m sure yours will turn out fantastic also! Can’t wait to see it finished!!
For the base, I didn’t have any mounts placed on mine, so I have it resting on three, clear acrylic posts that have clear, rubber cabinet bumpers on top to keep it from slipping off. Those posts are glued and screwed into partially drilled out holes on a nice piece of plywood I took from a stockpile of extra cabinet shelves. It works for me.