Bugger. Oh well, I'd better invest in a casting setup when I get Squigger's Figures EmporiumTM up and running, though that would be a necessity anyway.
There's translucent 3D printing materials as well as clear stuff you can CNC, but that requires sculpting in the computer first :3
Sadly, 3D printed translucent materials aren't very translucent at all- they let light through but they're not very clear. One could theoretically sand down the "stepping" and then buff it with polishing compound, but I'm not sure if the material itself is clear enough for it to work.
Also, as you mention, the horrors of computer sculpting. And I say that as a big fan of Shapeways.