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volpin spine sculpt method+another one like it?/3d modeling help?

This is a 2 fold question:

http://volpinprops.blogspot.com/2011...as-part-1.html
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNZK8-z0ndk&feature=plcp
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTg5kpzXkJg&feature=plcp
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LsiGgR9HVJQ&feature=fvsr
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDq_uHKZeIM

I’m trying to use volpin’s method of make 3d objects using photos of views of an object, making a skeleton (he uses MDF; I want to use cardboard), and then placing foam or something sandable in the skeleton and shaping it using the spines. I also found this video where a guy uses a similar method and I was wondering if I could get some help on how I could combine these 2 methods. I want to use the method off the youtube video, but I don’t know how to do it with the side, top, bottom, back, and front view method volpin uses. Also, I tried volpin’s method on google skethup and just using the spines doesn’t quite give the results I thought it would. Does this mean you have to sand the rest of the way and make sure everything is even? If so, IMO, I would want to do the youtube method more (no offense volpin, im just not as good a sculpter and artist as you lol; I need lots of help).

My second question(which ties in with the first) is about 3d modeling. I’m trying to make complex shapes using volpin’s method and the methods on 2 anim8or tutorials on the 2 youtube videos (the side views off photos) to make pepakura files, still using google sketchup. Is there a book or something I can use to learn how to make stuff like in the anim8or tutorials? Usually I could watch and teach myself, but for some reason my mind can’t wrap around the concept. Also, is sketchup bad for the job, and if so why? What should I be using (something free since this is a one time deal for me)?

An additional note, I am currently using google skethcup and corelDRAW X5. Where can I learn how to make the reference photos like volpin makes (look for skyrim helmet on his blog and the daft punk helmet in the link) so I can send them to the 3d model program?

What I’m trying to do is take pictures off of a playarts kai halo master chief and make armor files. Any help would really really be appreciated. Thanks in advance.