I build in low poly and smooth preview option 3 to see what it looks like, then revert back to low poly.
I use the smooth 3 just to see what it will look like and to see if there are any weird things happening in the mesh.
The beauty of the smooth preview is if you save you havent baked it like the older Maya!
It gives you the chance as you work to fix errors that you wouldnt see until you smoothed it properly. I used to use the proper smooth function but it was painful..if you forget to UNSMOOTH it was baked like that and it isnt funny (though it is).
post some pics of your progress mate
"A Darkness at Sethanon", a book I aspire to model some of the charcters and scenes