Yeah... without really knowing how to do it, I was trying to figure out, based on our discussion here, why you couldn't do it in formZ... I didn't see any particular thing that seemed like it couldn't be handled in formZ, but I am not sure if the tacks (or nails) can be copy/repeated along a path?
It's certainly a beautiful model.
Last night I started playing around with nurbs (wow/weird), and I'd guess that's a good tool for this kind of thing; I imagine a workflow starting with a very "regular/geometric" model of something like this that is then converted to nurbs. I guess the catch is how, if possible, to keep quads, so you revert/edit the cage?
Anyway... thanks guys. Fun stuff.