Cleaning firearms always reminds me of spending weekends with my father. His place always smelled like Hoppes and filtered Camels. I usually spent a good portion of the weekend stripping and cleaning something that went bang. That was always part of the deal - "You shoot them, you clean them."
Getting up close and personal with something is a great way to visualize the 3d model. Building an atmosphere around them can help you give your models more character and life. Try spending a lot of time around the things you model and focus that energy into your work. You'll be surprised what you can do with a deeper understanding of the content.