So I recently ran across the LEGO Digital Designer, which is a free download enabling you to build your models all within the comfort of your own computer. I just need to figure out their file format so I can start building tests that way, otherwise I can envision this being a drain on my productivity (especially during boring meetings).
Overall the tool is pretty cool, but here are some nitpicks that I encountered while playing around with it:
· It isn't easy to define which layer you want your piece to go on, it will often try to stick it on the bottom of the model instead of the top (which you are looking at).
· No way to group a collection of pieces and lock them together.
· The available colors for each piece seem kind of random and limited.
· There were plenty of times when I wanted more pieces to work with.
· No ability to control where the light source is. When working with the darker colors, it is often hard to clearly see the model, so I found myself moving the camera around to where I could work in the glare of the light source, which wasn't necessarily the best view for where I wanted to work.