...I cannot see for the life of me - an option to render / view the object as it is without all those lines
Hexagon doesn’t have a rendering engine per se, but it will display a colored and textured model.
To see your model without the mesh gridlines, you have to deselect it. Selecting all or part of your model shows the gridlines on the selected areas.
... and whilst I am on the subject of viewing objects, can you apply material effects to the surfaces in Hexagon or is that done later in Bryce - should I expect to model in white only surfaces?
Look on the left-hand side of your work area, and click on the little blue arrow mark in the middle.
This opens up the materials window, and here you can assign colors and/or texture maps to the various materials.
Colors can be assigned to materials with or without the model being UV mapped, but to apply TEXTURE MAPS you must UV map the model first.
Probably the best way to see how this works is to get an OBJ file of a model that has already been mapped and textured. Load that model into hexagon and hexagon will load and assign the colors and textures from the OBJ file’s MTL file.