First, thank you for the compliement, I appreciate it To answer the question on getting a realistic finish, I will first tell you that I'm what you would be called self-taught so my methods may or may not be typical for the prop making community. The rule is the less paint the better, also known as "drybrush". This is where you dip your brush in the paint (dont use a lot, there's no point to it!) and then you will quickly wipe the brush off on a thick paper towel until you feel there is no way of removing any additional paint. The fact is that there IS still a certain amount of paint left and when you then brush the surface you'll see the faint metallic sheen on what you just painted. Now do this again and again and eventually you will build up manyof these layers and virtually no sign that it was painted on. This will give you the look you want, but patience and practice is key. There will be times where you want more paint left on the brush for brushing areas that would have natural wear points.
I personally have a few hundred reference photos I use to look at when I'm planning a project, but once you get familiar with the process you can start going at it without too much research. I kind of enjoy the prop evolving because I often come up with a finished project that I might have never thought of originally
I also suggest you work with flat paint because if gives more texture for the secondary layers to grab on, where the glossy paint usually be more difficult. Once you are done you can then 3-4 very light coats of matte or gloss clearcoat to make all the surfaces look the same instead of some glossy and some "dull". That is, unless you want that effect, of course.
Check out sites like Tamiya where they have a lot of instructional help guides for models that will also help you with anything you paint.
For the base coats I always suggest (after sanding down any shiney surfaces) flat black, white, olive drab, etc.. pr of ypu have access to a spray gun that will obviously allow you to apply a super fine coat that will retain all the fine details of the model
I hope you'll let me know if you give it a try. I'd like to see how it comes out!
You have quite the knack for creating a metallic-looking finish, I'm impressed! How is it done, if you'll excuse my ignorance? It certainly looks very cool. And definitely more marketable than the usually trashy look that most toy weapons have.