For personal projects I have always used 3ds Max. Out of the box it has what is, in my opinion, the best core modelling toolset and I have never needed to install a plug-in or add-on to get more out of it.
I have my Hotkeys setup as shown in Fig.15.
The tools I most commonly use are Shift+extrude, Cut, bridge, target weld and connect. I have a very simple workflow that involves a lot of repetitive use of these tools. I recently created three fundamentals videos in which I explain how I use all these tools. They can be found here: http://vimeo.com/10941211 (Fig.16).
I would like to say thanks to Digital Apprentice and all the other entrants at the Digital Apprentice forums for providing me with a lot of great feedback and critique over the competition period. I really appreciate it. I would strongly encourage everyone to check out this site; it has some of the best learning material from industry leaders and veterans and is an inspiring place to be.
Also I'd like to thank my friends who gave a lot of support on the project; it was a long task and there was times when I felt like giving up but they got me over the line.