I've quickly thrown the Goth Explorer together so I can see what it'll look like if I go with my plan to just refinish the top in natural. It's not got the strings at full tension let alone wired up but it gives me a pretty good idea of the look.
I reckon the black scratchplate works nicely while the treadplate one doesn't. It would probably look great if it was black anodised/painted and it could be tempting to paint it myself but it doesn't quite fit anyway. Whether this is a Gibson/Epiphone difference or on account of this being a copy of a '58 rather than a later model I don't know.
If I'm going to reshape and paint a scratchplate then I may as well look into buying/making one that fits. I can't simply use the existing black one as it's been covered in the same nasty lacquer as the guitar body. I'll have a go at cleaning it up but don't hold out much hope.