Correct workflow to modelling and joining meshes

I have watched many tutorials on YouTube etc. about modelling in blender and I have learnt the basic modelling techniques. However, when I try to model more complex structures for realistic models like a turret, I find it very frustrating to add details on my model frame after creating the foundation of the model.

For instance, I have seen a lot of high-end turret models on the Internet with a lot of details on mechanical parts like gas tubes, pistons, small pipes, recoilers, suspension coils, electric wires etc. So what is the common workflow in modelling these complex structures (especially detail parts). Should I just create all these small detailed mesh and lay them all out first before assembling them on the foundation model? Or should I keep on making these detailed mesh on top of the foundation model?

On the other hand, when I was making the small meshes as details, a lot of individual objects are of course, produced afterwards. And my outliner window is full of default names of meshes (cube.001 etc). I know these small meshes as details should be joined with the foundation mesh as a single object for easier usage and publishing, but during modelling, should I avoid joining these meshes together? Since individual objects will be easier to move around before the whole model is finalized, but leaving them as individual objects will in turn makes the outliner window messy. So what is the common workflow of 3D artist, will they join the small detail meshes with the foundation model every time they created these detail meshes or what?

Any help or advice is appreciated :smiley: