Its definetly harder than it looks. I struggle all the time, but you just have to be persistant I guess.
I've just finished detailing the back, and the mesh is rather heavy now, since you have to add support edges as it were, to existing edges to keep them sharp, where you want them to be, otherwise the smooth command will litterally mash your model up.
I use 3DS Max as per usual. Never learnt anything else to be honest
I did download the Modo trial as that seemed like a great little modeller, yet, it didn't like my machine