Subdivisional modelling (using 3ds max's Meshsmooth Modifier) takes the painstaking precision out of assembling 3D forms, and allows you to create fairly complex objects easily. This tutorial highlights many different techniques for creating an intricate vehicle, and also gives you the necessary skills to apply the knowledge to other projects. During the walkthrough, we'll be applying two primary techniques in preparation for subdivision: box modelling and polygon-by-polygon modelling. By using both of these techniques together, you will come to understand the reasons for using a particular modelling method in a particular situation.
We will also look at the importance of understanding how to model effectively for Meshsmooth, and what the meshsmoothing process will do when it has been applied. Although this is something you'll pick up over time, the more practice you have using Meshsmooth, the more accustomed you'll become to how it subdivides your low polygon mesh. Eventually, you'll develop an intuition, and it'll become natural.
Understanding these concepts is the key to an efficient workflow. Not needing to backtrack and rebuild large areas of your model will help your confidence as an artist, as well as saving you time and stress.
This step-by-step tutorial covers the different modelling processes involved in creating the Sea King's main fuselage, and those required to create the central rotor on top of the helicopter. This leaves you to experiment for yourself with the techniques explored here as you model the parts that are missing. These additional parts are also included for you to have a look at - if you get stuck, they may give you an insight into the particular demands of the approach you've chosen to take to model them.
Note: While users of software other than 3ds max will not be able to use the MAX files that accompany this tutorial, the finished helicopter model is included in LWO and OBJ format for you to experiment with. Happy modelling!