Working with 3d meshes can be a pain.
What usually happens is that you spend ages looking at 3d modellers, until you find one that you really like.
You spend days learning the modeller, and end up with a mesh you are really like.
Then you try and get the mesh you have spent hours working on into your game, and you find the modeller doesn't export to a format you have code to read.
So then you start looking for source code for model formats that your modeller supports, pretty quickly you find one, download the source code, then the source code doesn't build.
So you spend a few hours trying to get it to build, with no success. So you go back to searching the web for a different format.
This one builds, but when you put it on your game code and load your lovingly created mesh, it looks sh1t. Or just looks like a bunch of random points, or the object is inside out.
You can lose weeks in this morass of free source code.
My advice would be to decide on what features you really want in your meshes. Think hard about this bit. Obviously you are going to want to get the vertex positions, most probably you are going to want texture coordinates and normals, but do you need anything else? Do you need tangents, binormals, multitexturing, materials, etc. etc. etc.
When you have decided on the minimum set of what you need, then have a look at which file format and modeller you can use.
I'll try and explain what I mean with an example.
Blender is a very powerful modeller, loved and hated by many people. It can do whatever you need to do, but the learning curve is very steep. You could spend years just learning to get good at blender without spending a single hour writing a game.
It can output to Collada, which has an open source file handling library. So that is a really good option for handling complex meshes with lots of rendering stages.
The collada dom is supplied as 50 Meg of source code. (I'm looking at version 2.3.1) and relies on 8 external libraries.
Now if you are working on windows, you could probably get away with just building collada and using it as the libraries are easily available. I don't work on windows, so I would have to port all the libraries myself. I haven't looked at it in detail, but I can pretty much guarantee they also rely on other libraries, so I would have to port them as well.
So by the time I have learnt blender and got collada working, I could have been going a couple of years without actually doing ANY game coding at all.
Have a look at simple free tools like Anim8tor.
Anim8tor comes with a built in exporter that writes your mesh out as source code. With all the data in a simple to read and use format, you can concentrate on the game code rather than all the utilities.
Once you have some experience, then you can say "I hate this, think I'm going to add \"
The reason I am saying this is that when you are learning, you NEED the instant gratification of seeing your code come to life. You need to be able to sit in front of your computer for a couple of hours and actually see the results of your efforts.
Without that you could easily just give up.