Here is a little peek inside my process. These Pavlov grenadiers have received their basic paint job, and they do not look like much yet. I start by painting the entire figure in my shade colors, just blocking them in.
The figures look very dark, and they are meant to look dark! Most of this initial coat will get covered by brighter tones in the next step.
Here are the paints that I used for this first step. All are craft paints except for one cheap enamel: Testor's gold.