It would be nice to have a matching area to the Scripter's cove to discuss the ins and outs of craft/station/building modelling and to help answer any general or specific queries.
Hopefully, this will get stickied *CoughHINTHINT.
To start with:
Modelling with Wings3d
The best way to see the size of your ship after scaling is to go to the absolute commands and click scale. The figures are directly related to metres.
Ships should be greater than 10 metres in at least one axes, if not more unless you are deliberately making a very tiny unmanned craft. If it is deliberately small, remember to adjust the size of the exhaust plume in the shipdata.plist.
Try to keep the faces below 375 and the vertices below 590 as the conversion to .dat format leads to triangles being formed (which may deform a badly moulded design) that can take the Faces/Vertices over the working limit of 500/800.
Ships travel along the z axis.
I try to make the top and bottom distinctive fairly early on to cut down the chance of accidentally importing an upside down model, same with front and back to prevent ships travelling backwards. NOTE: that some ships may look better this way!
On that note: Flip your designs around the axes. You'd be amazed how often it can look more original. I did this with my design for the Hoodlum.
Hmm, try NOT to give the model an generic name like Hawk or Eagle, or if you must, make sure the modelfile name is original. This will prevent conflicts with other oxps.
More to follow and please add your own tips, guides and questions. And sorry for being a bit forward with this thread, I'm a doer not an asker. :p
If you make a very large ship, make sure it doesnt dock too often as it will explode trying to dock. the hieght of the dock is 64 meters so make sure your Y axis is smaller than that if you intend the ship to be playable! (from the gallery of my own errors!