Looking great tweety, the only thing I can think of to help with the lighting would be something using surface shaders maybe, not sure if that'd give the effect you'd want though. Maybe used in conjunction with some lights if not.
If that doesn't work then I'm at a loss for ideas, everything I've found on objects emitting light has been surface shaders, or the use of Maxwell in which you can just assign a light emitter to the geo.
Hope it helps, or that you find a better solution soon!
Either way, I'm enjoying watching your progress mate.