So I know there are a couple of programs: XSI, Milkshape, 3ds max... which one is ideal?
Just a few things: I only really want it for modelling lightsaber hilts. I have experience with 3DS Max, to the extent that I understand modifiers, Booleans, that sort of thing, but I'm awful at UV mapping plus I haven't use it very much so I'm not very fluent.
I've heard that XSI has a very different setup to 3DS Max and other modelling programs, plus I heard one program is unable to work with .glms. I can install 3DS Max, but it's a very big program and only really want something basic.
As far as all-around usability goes, nothing beats 3ds Max at this point. XSI handles player models perfectly, Gmax handles statics perfectly, but only 3ds does both, as well as animating (if you have either 4.x or 5).
If you're only interested in lightsaber hilts, I'd say Gmax, it's free. I personally used 3ds Max and it can do both player models and lightsaber hilts.
You guys are missing the point here though, the freeware version of XSI will get players into JA while 3ds max costs $$$.
Right, thought that can depend on the person. Some people can spend the money. If not, go with XSI ModTools for sure.