For multi-color meshes use the material index shown in the Links and Materials panel. Selected vertices are “assigned” to a material index, and the material index can have any material attribute, including textures. You get 16 indices per mesh.
In the shader panel for materials, Ref basically controls the value of the body color, and spec and hard control the highlights. Set the preview window to the sphere to see how the settings affect the material. Light plays a big role as well, a single light tends to be rather stark, back and fill lights are usually needed to make the render look decent. Back and fill lights can be hemi lights, which provide illumination without casting shadows.
For light coming from the South, say, put three hemi lights at North, East and West, pointing in toward the model, with a fairly shallow angle and low intensity (0.200). In the South, put two suns, one right behind the other, set to around 0.600. Make one of the suns “no diffuse” (ie: spec only.)
I usually give the hemi’s a bit of a tint, just to liven up the render. The spec only sun light lets me play with the highlights without affecting the overall lighting in the scene.
If you want soft shadows, change the sun light into a cluster of spot lights (three or four of them, at reduced intensity, and spread out a bit). The spots have a soft edge setting, and using several also breaks up the hard shadow edge.