An example characterWell planned is half done, some say. I am not going to deny the main idea, even though I'd end up arguing about the amount of promised benefits. If nothing else, thinking ahead helps avoiding some of the mistakes.
Because nowadays I do my modeling on the kitchen's table without having my computer's screen, a tablet or my phone always on next to me, I've been caught running back and forth checking a reference photo for some more or less obscure detail. My memory in these cases is awful, so the "take a look and work on that" approach has never helped me much.
I googled up a handy photo from a huge mass of results. My main problem now was that there were so many approved variants, so I had to choose myself, which one was achievable. The one I had chosen I iconoclastified on a post-it note.
Not all of the versions had a huge amount of light grey straps, so I decided to save myself from that show and went for overalls without them. The most noticeable differences from the normal Pilot were those red stripes in the arms and legs.
The starting pointBelow are two photos of the Pilot figure from two directions. A hawk-eyed reader may see how the plates looked like behind the modeled tubes. From afar and straight ahead everything looked great, but if you moved a single angular mil, it looked wrong. Of course I was completely aware of the fact that no one would ever see anything I did when the model was sealed and had no impact at all on how the finished model would look like. But to make myself at peace with the knowledge of "at least I did it right!", I fixed them somewhat.
DrillerMy Citadel drill was gigantic in scale, I think I should've had a drill bit half the size of this one for optimal results. Now I just drilled a single opening from the bending point of the tube towards the sternum of the figure. My original idea of drilling ~three holes and carving the rest clean wasn't doable, thanks to the smallness of the figure.
I used my xacto knife to clean the openings up a bit both from the outside and the chestbox side. The effect wasn't huge but you could tell that something had been done. Being plastic-grey the intermediate result looked pretty weird.
After I was done with my mengelifyings I painted the sprue attachment areas, the drilled and carved parts black (VMA 71057 Black). The result looked pretty clean. 
181st Imperial Fighter Wing
The bloodstripesI started from the easiest details, the red ace markings. According to Wookieepedia the 181st traditions dictated at some point that after ten destroyed terrorists a pilot got red bloodstripes painted on their fighter. Based on the photos all the pilots had the same overalls, though the helmets were varied. I decided to let the helmet remain black and keep the pilot as a pretty calm variant.
With my thinnest brush I painted as thin red (VMC 70926) stripes on the sleeves of the overalls, ending them at the edges of the gloves and the boots. The bloodstripes are on the overalls, they don't flow through the whole character. Likewise I painted small stripes on the lower sides of the chestbox, these were very important details.
Navy greyNext I painted small twin grey (VGC 72049 Stonewall Grey) dots on the helmet and slightly larger ones on the upper arms. I could've done this in white and silver accordingly, but I thought that it'd look better if I did them in one colour.
With a norml Imperial Pilot I'd been ready for a long time, but the 181st works differently, as we already stated. The upper torso's light greys I painted so that there was some of it visible both below and above the chestbox. I also painted that on the backside. For a short moment I returned to the topic of the straps, if I should paint them on after all, but thinking of the very limited space I decided that it'd just get me in more problems. I stuck to me original plan.
I prepared the chestbox's buttons and other things already for a later highlighting. The figure was finished with dark smudges in the middle of the roundels. They weren't perfect, but the best I could do with my smallest paintbrush, without going mad and using super thin metal wire...
A proper PilotOn the chestbox I painted a couple of blue (VGC 72021 Magical Blue) dots to represent buttons. The amount of different chestbox variants was noticeable, each with a different button / other piece layout. With this one I just obeyed the shapes it had and that one luckily was pretty compatible with my example pic.