Thank you for your comments!
I agree "low" is higher than it used to be
- although on second thought, these aren't exactly lowpoly, even by the new standards ^^ more like in-between. Probably I associated non-subdees with lowpoly, that's why I called them that.
BTW I think low poly models (and even level-1-subdivision models) have a nice way of breaking up the specular highlights. It gives the surface a sketchy look (incidenally it also covers some modeling mistakes)
I was looking for a shader that does similar to highres surfaces, but didn't find anything. SI's "Bump flakes" sort of goes in that direction, but works for a special case only (car paint).
If I knew what exactly causes that effect I could maybe write a shader that does something similar, but haven't got a clue sofar. It's definetely more than what can be done by adjusting specular setting.
Redmotion, I'll model them posed but will consider putting them in a T-pose should I put them up there.