In addition to learning Maya as a 3D modeling/animation tool, I figured it would behoove me to learn 3D Studio Max as well. For my first project I modelled an M3A2 Half-Track Armored Personnel Carrier, a sturdy--yet mobile--means of transport for infantry and equipment as well as reconnaissance in World War II. Basically, the body of an M3 Scout Car was fitted with the rear bogie assembly of a T9 Half-Track Truck with a "pulpit mounted" .50 caliber machine gun attached to the top. A .30 caliber machine gun was mounted to the side with another being mounted at the rear. The armor included an adjustable armored shutter for the engine's radiator as well as a folding bulletproof windscreen. In addition, a bumper-mounted roller assembly assisted with negotiating rocky, uneven terrain. Mine racks lined either side of the vehicle and two large equipment racks were attached to the rear.
The model has not been UV unwrapped and textured--only colored using simple shaders. While it is certainly not a low poly model for games (i.e., 15,179 quads), it is not a high poly model as typically used in animation; let's just call it an intermediate poly model which could possibly be used for cutscenes in a game. By the way, I have to say that learning 3DS Max was way more frustrating than I expected. I thought, "Hey, I know how to model in 3D... just need to learn where all the buttons are in Max, right?" WRONG!!! In addition to having a completely different naming convention for everything, in many cases, Max has a completely different approach to various functions. It's like trying to draw with your other hand... you already know how to draw, but you just can't... can't... make it look right?
"Dammit, how do you 'Center Pivot' again?!"
"I just want Maya's 'Split Polygon Tool,' and NOT that accursed 'Slice Plane'... whaddya mean use 'Cut?!'
"Wait a minute, so 'Attach' is like Maya's 'Combine' and 'Detach' is like Maya's 'Separate?'"
"Where' is my 'Attributes Editor?'.... absorbed into the 'Material Editor?!?' ARGH!!!"
"THE Z AXIS IS FRIGGIN' POINTING UP?!?!"
etc., etc., etc.
There's actually still some more detail that I would like to add here, including the small shutters for the bulletproof screens, the hood fasteners, the two side-mounted ladders, the two side-mounted gas canisters, the two side-mounted shovels, as well as rivets galore!
Regarding the rear of the model, there's a rear access door that I should probably model as well as some additional detail on the bumper. The guns and mounts also need quite a bit of work.