Ok so wierd issues:
1) When I move away from the new map MDL, it will render invisible.
2) No map shadows or texture color tints render on the new MDL's textures, but character shadows do work. It's using the stock KOTOR 2 textures.
3) I have to set the illumination in each trimesh to something other than black (0 0 0) or they will show up black ingame. I'm thinking this might be an issue caused by issue 2.