Dear @Despaul i totally agree with David s great answer.
i would also recommend to go for a sub-D approach as this is more fun / faster / easier to modify:
i suggest the following topology for the sub-D faces
in smooth mode this will look like this
if you really need nurbs surfaces you can still convert sub-d to nurbs
if you don t want to use sub-d:
the red, violett and blue part “appendage” need to be modelled first. - if you know how, with suitable curves _loft is an easy way to do it.
hierachically the green part will be the first transition.
the yellow the last. you might get some first results with _blendSrf
if you want to lern more about surfacing check out the training guides level 1/2
chapter 12 compares different approaches and how to analyse compare them.
hope this helps - kind regards - tom