After a long sabatical, I have returned to the basics – read the Blender manual and strengten your basics. Being too distracted by Weekend Challenges over the last few months, I desperately needed to get back to learning everything there is to know about Blender rather than trying to get out quick fixes to random topics. I can do that once I’m a Blender genius.
The strategy seems to be paying off, because what started out as some more fiddling with the proportional editing tool, and a little tinkering with the various options in the World settings, turned into this pretty decent image. No new raytracing and reflection/refraction tricks here. Just good, solid, plain-old Blender scanline. I wish all software documentation inspired such results.