A test render which shows what I've learnt to do using 3D Studio Max since I started using it 3 years ago. I've come a long way since I began modelling in that application, and am much more confident about my abilities with it.
I wanted this model to have as few polygons as possible so that it could be easily imported into a game. The less polygons each model has, the higher unit count you can have in a game, and that is quite often more impressive then a single highly detailed model.
Using MeshSmooth, I could add extra detail to the curves from the same model, so that people with fast PCs could potentially choose their model quality, with little extra effort from the designer.
The ambient lighting and shadowing is a nice touch, it makes the model look much more realistic. I used the Advanced Lighting plugin and a Sky Light to give a diffuse illumination to each scene rendered.