The tools/materials needed:
Helping hands or some other way to hold the work
Small length of household lighting circuit twin and earth wire
any other thin copper wire.
What I have done is to find a simple line drawing of the human body and re-size to 120mm height for reference when making the armature. This makes things very easy when it comes to referring back to size and proportion for the armature. The only other preparation really is to strip the plastic coating off the electrical wire, turn the soldering iron on and make a coffee.
I find it easier to start with the legs. Take a length of wire and bend it using the pliers in such a way that you get a U shaped dip in the crotch area of the armature. As mentioned I find using the printed figure that I mentioned earlier great for using as a comparator for getting the proportions correct. You will also notice from the picture that I have deliberately left the leg wires longer than the figure at this stage.
For the torso I use a single piece of wire that I wrap around the U shape in the crotch and solder in place. Again I use the printed and sized image as a reference and leave the wire extend past the head about two inches at this stage.
For the arms, its a single piece of wire again that's wrapped around the single torso wire at the appropriate height (using the figure print as reference) and soldered into place. I then use the pliers to bend both sides of the wire into the shape of the shoulders and arms and trim off the excess length with the wire cutters at the finger tips of the armature.
Finishing the armature
For the feet I use the thinner gauge wire and take the reference point for the feet from my printed drawing. I solder a wrapped piece of the wire to the frame and then trim/bend as required. the thinner gauge wire is better for the shoes, especially if the figure is to place in an action pose and the feet flexed.