I do realize that I have been posting 3D more then a few times in a row, but my choices are limited, since I don’t have all the apps reinstalled yet since my Hard Disk died on me.
This is a pretty straightforward tool to use, but it' can help you model more complex shapes in minutes, or at least give you a better start then the basic box modeling start.
Lets start by modeling a custom chess piece. It’s actually a lot easier then it seems at first thought.
Now use the spline tool to make a shape that looks like the left half of a chess piece outline, like this:
Now all you have to do is add this spline object to a parent Lathe NURBS object. You should see the desired chess piece. If not, then fiddle with the points, and you can even get real time results like this.
Note that this way you can only make shapes that are created when the spline is rotated around the position of the NURBS parent. If you want some different modifications to the objects(such as horns, or spikes) you will need to make the NURBS object editable, and then proceed to use other modeling techniques.
The Chess Piece still needs some work from where we left off. Fiddle with the points till you get the shape you want, add a material of your choice, and set the scene. This works for most of the chess pieces, but it doesn’t work for the Rook or Knight pieces though. In other words, you need to hone your skills a little more before you can model a full set, so get to it!