Wow. I haven't given this model much thought in many years, I must say that I'm quite flattered that it's getting such intense -- and brutally honest -- scrutiny!
Thanks for inviting me to this forum, Leon!
I have to start right off by apologising to everyone for suffocating Dr. Floyd by before he even got to the station, cutting the movie tragically short. No wonder he looked completely different in the sequel!
In my own defense, I have to point out that I made that model of the Orion III in 1999, on a small laptop that was old even for the time. It was a project I used to keep myself awake on the hour-long train ride to and from my job at Maxis, where I was creating art assets for TheSims.
Given the computer power (or lack thereof), the resolution of the monitor I was working with (ditto), the fact that I was half-awake, under-caffinated and working without a mouse, in a moving vehicle, I'm kind of surprised that the ship was as airtight as she was!
I can't really help much in the way of reference material. I worked from the same "Filming The Future" drawings that B_D posted. I traced them with the path tool in Photoshop, then exported the tracings as Illustrator .ai files, which import nicely into 3D Studio Max.
If I were doing a new model today, I wouldn't mess around with trying to up-res the old mesh, I'd start over from scratch. My whole approach to modeling is different now, and I'd want to actually model all the panel lines instead of putting them in with bump maps. Likewise the Pan Am markings.
I look forward to watching your progress!