And here's my main reason for the weird lighting effects.
I read about how light boxes can be used in place of flash, and I really hated having glare reflecting off of the figures.
I also read at one point that you can build your own cheap light box with minimal cost.
So I figured, why not?
I ended up devoting a good portion of a day to grab the materials and construct it, and then another good day to adjust the lighting and elevation of the figure. What you see before you is the result :).