I was perusing Flickr and stumbled across this pic from Axel.
He's claiming to use a dry brush painting technique to give these BrickForge and Kingdoms parts a more metallic, and battle-worn look.
Axel also has a collection of lightsaber hilts where he's applied this technique to great effect. At first I thought they were minifigure scale, but realized they were full size...but then that made we want the minifg ones even more! Perhaps there's some enterprising customizer who is up to the task.
(Via A~XEL's Flickr stream)