The guide linked above is pretty good. I'd say 14.5 tris is perfectly fine; it seems quite a lot for a ship of that shape, but we can just have the first LOD distance be short so it's not like that causes a performance problem as such.
If you want, you may want to consider modelling and texturing the cargo containers as separate objects so that they can optionally be removed/destroyed/undocked/etc. It's by no means required, but if you'd like to see that capability then I'm sure it'd be welcome.
I do pretty much all the model rigging as well as LODding, and for that I will eventually need the model in a format I can import into 3ds Max. Although if you do want to do at least some of the LODding yourself, I certainly don't mind and can give you some tips and guidelines for that when that time comes.