Valve Planning to Improve Tools?
Just spotted this over at Gamasutra: http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/31109/InDepth_Team_Fortress_2_Community_Contributors_FiveFigure_Payoffs.php
"Robin Walker, project lead on Team Fortress 2, said in the short-term, Valve is working on ways to streamline the process of getting user-generated items into the game by improving the tools used to create items [...]
The next step for Valve's user-generated ambitions will be to create a way for users to make and sell a wider breadth of items for Team Fortress -- level designers, server operators, animators, custom UI modders and even guide writers may in the future be able to put their items up for sale. "We would like to figure out how they all can participate in this so that everyone is making the community better in some way, and benefit from that work they're doing," Walker explained."
It may well be only the process of getting models into TF2 is being improved, but I think there's hope for the rest of the tools...even if it has taken / will take forever.