.mdl viewer

Where could I possibly find a half life 2 .mdl viewer that isn’t a horrible piece of crap?

Source SDK comes with a modelviewer.
One simple google search

I don’t think there is one. What I would do is to decompile the .mdl into .smd then open it up on 3D Max with a .smd plugin for Max.

That would be unnecessary. Not to mention, the Source SDK comes with a model viewer, so decompiling the model wouldn’t be necessary.

source filmaker has the model viewer too as well as most of the sdk