"LordAardvark" said ...This is true, the interface can be quite daunting at first, but they've made great strides since the early days. 2.6 has a much improved interface over the older ones and the [url]=http://wiki.blender.org/index.php/Doc:2.6/Manualdocumentation[/url] has also been updated. I really recommend spending a few weeks with it before you spend $100+ on a potentially unsupported software set.
As others have said, though, if you want a powerful modeling tool that is freeware, then I suggest look into Blender. I have heard that its learning curve is comparable to a brick wall, though, and from what little I have used it for, I concur. I find its interface to be fairly counter-intuitive, but I haven't spent more than 10 minutes in it, so yeah.