Generally speaking, the detail should be used to accentuate the ship. For instance, the communication pilons at the front. They should be there but functional, not just "cram as many spikes on as you can to up the poly count".
Similarly the armor plating on a ship. I don't think one needs to keep greebling a ship over and over. Granted there's more detail - but it needs to look like it's there for a reason. Don't create a 15000 poly ship if you can create something that looks that part with only half that number.
Or in the case of a fighter with a round nose... don't up the poly count to something rediculously huge to make it a perfect smooth shape when it looks perfectly find at a lesser number.
This is of course - my take on things. I'm certainly not judging any of the Orions that have been published so far. It's more my basic principal as far as creating high poly ships should go.