I too have tried to get the led closer to the front of the torch. I like the metal strip idea but was primarily worried about the led melting the perspex lens if I put it too close. You had any issues with that? How is that zip tie holding up to the heat?
My only experience with soldering was the other week puting a towbar on the car, so I might have a venture at extending the wires as you show now.
I must admit, on the one torch where the led unit was not press fitted in, I just used hot glue on the back to fix it in. This has worked fine. The other, which was press fitted, I just bashed out with a hammer and screwdriver on the Ali edge. It pops out easy enough with a tap.