Modeling polygon hair?

Hi to all. I’m making a game character and, as I can’t rely on particles for the hair, I’m trying to make hair with polygons+texture with alpha transparency. Here are two examples.

I’m having troubles trying to make it by hand and it is time consuming. Is there any way to make it more efficiently? I thought about using planes as hair particles and “combing them” manually, like when working with normal hair particles in the Particle Edit mode. Can it be done with meshes too?

Do you know any external software/plugin to make it?

Thanks in advanced