On the mold-making and casting front: Did three release agent tests. I tried Vaseline, Murphy's Soap, and cooking spray. The Murphy's soap worked best. I applied the undiluted soap to the mold with a wet sponge in several layers, waiting for each layer to dry before applying the next layer.
Having succeeded in making a cast release from the test mold, I poured the actual mold on the original model. Now, I am just waiting for it to cure.