There is probably no direct way how *.3ds files could be converted as *.mdl. However, you can export *.3ds to *.smd or *.dmx from within 3ds Max, which can then be compiled along with a *.qc with studiomdl to form the *.mdl and related files.
Convert 3ds Max (3D Studio MAX) graphics to Animation Master 3D model.
We found one software available in the database for this conversion.
Microsoft Windows software - convert 3ds to mdl on Windows
A 3D model converter
Convert from 3ds file format
|Yes, AnyCAD Exchange3D supports 3ds file conversion as a source file type.||No||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Yes, AnyCAD Exchange3D supports mdl file conversion as a target file type.||No||No||No||No||No||No||No|
The table with program actions contains information about what each program is capable of doing with their files. This may be a good pointer for further searches for certain file conversions and help you find the converter you are looking for if our search result is insufficient for you. However, it is far from perfect and may sometimes show results which are not really usable because of the nature of the software handles the files. So a conversion that appears as possible, just because of matched actions, may in fact not be possible.