Same here, with acrylics, and am pretty pleased with the results so far.
Like Patrick said - thin coats and build it up slowly. You can blend colours by adding a thin coat of a new colour to a partly dried previous colour. Its possible to wash colours together with a wet brush before they completely dry (preferably natural hair as nylon can sometimes scratch the paint rather than wash it over)
And finally Parick - an Italian campaign Elefant ..... i'm up for that too, maybe we could have a twin build (not a build off coz i'm not exactly in your league matey )
Thanks for the advice! keep em comin =P