I was considering how to best reimplement COLLADA loading, and I think my best bet might be to write a tool to generate Python modules directly from the COLLADA XML Schema. Mixing XML tree handling code and scene generating code just seems a bit too hackish... I already tried using generateDS for this, but it just hung up (infinite loop?) after generating about 1.3MB(!) worth of Python code. I couldn't find another tool for doing this, so I'll look into writing one myself. Stay tuned for results.
After I finish COLLADA loading (at least as much as I'm going to do for this release), I might have some nicer screenshots for you to drool at. [grin]