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Ft Pitt Beer House

Started by Terry.Stapleton, March 08, 2024, 10:53:40 AM

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The Ft Pitt Beer house was located on Bigelow Blvd in Pittsburgh, Pa. It was demolished in 1935. I'm thankful that someone took the photo before that happened. I have more pictures of my copy here.




Seriously, that is a beautiful, very accurate, and extremely well done model. Most satisfactory. Please tell us a little about how you built it. Is it HO scale?



Very Nice - more details please of the build have you any more  of theses delightful little scenes
Never Let someone who has done nothing tell you how to do anything
Stuart McPherson

Ray Dunakin

Wow! What a funky prototype, with lots of character, which your model has captured perfectly!
Visit my website to see pics of the rugged and rocky In-ko-pah Railroad!

Ray Dunakin's World


I do not know, why most model buildings are shown on level ground. Built into the slope adds a lot of character.  I like it very much!
"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication" -Leonardo Da Vinci-



Thanks guys. This is a 1:48 scale model. I did really try to capture as much of the character of the building as I could. I could only see the front of it and a little of a side, so I knew I had to improvise quite a bit. Fortunately I found a picture of an old tenement building that gave me lots of ideas for the unseen sides and the windows.

I built several mock-ups and fit them into a slope I had constructed. I was trying to get a short, squat look for the building, so it would look as if it were struggling to hold the heavy billboard. I shortened the mockup and widened it a few times to get the look I wanted.

I used scribed siding that I distressed to try to make it not look like scribed siding. I chose that material because I felt it was a close look to what I saw in the original photo. I suppose that the color of original house would have been gray, but after running the photo through a few programs that colorized old photos, I decided I Iiked the ones that had a hint of a yellow color. After distressing, I colored the siding with some yellow, brown, and gray chalks. I was able to get a good variation of colors without having it be too splotchy. Finally I dry brushed with white watercolor to give the edges of many of the boards a gray look. I colored most of the other lumber with watercolors, much the way Marcel Ackle does.

Peter, I think models built on flat ground are easier to fit into a layout. It was at times frustrating when trying to get the model built into the hill, but it was fun trying.

Thanks for looking,


The wine glass in the background of the second photo reveals the key to your success. The model excels in every respect. Please tell us more about your watercolor technique. Do you literally use watercolors?

As for pastel chalks, I thought I'd invented the technique in the mid-1990s and prefer the results to what I could achieve with paints. Then Gordon Birrell invented the same technique about 15 years later. And now you ... so I suspect I was far from the first to come up with that idea. Oh, well.



I suppose every now and then when some new or improved product comes about it doesn't take some innovative modeler long to develop a better way to do things. Me? I just try to copy what you guys have discovered. So thank you, Russ, for experimenting with the use of chalks. I really like using them. The big knock against their use, I suppose, is that it's quite a bit messier than using other materials. But I'm older and retired, so I always seem to have the time to clean up most messes that I make.
Marcel Ackle is one of my favorite modelers. He is Swiss, I believe, and very willing to share his techniques. He primarily uses the hockey puck watercolors, the ones in those sets you buy for your very young kids. The problem is that white is the puck you use the most, so you need to add a tube of white watercolor or gouache to your hockey puck kit. The club that substitutes for a brush that is included with the kids' set is fine to use, so don't throw that away. He stains his highly distressed timber with a dark oak water based stain and then plays with his kids' watercolors with marvelous results.


You may need to figure out how to have your browser translate the page.

I will admit that even though his distressing and weathering is somewhat stronger than I use, it's the technique that appeals to me. If I don't like how something looks, I can usually undo most of it and try again since I've used watercolors.

There are disadvantages to using the hockey pucks. I mostly use wood and the water swells the wood, erasing much of the distressing I have done.

Mr. Ackle also uses acrylics on occasion with great success. I have spent a great deal of time translating his pages. He seems to be a friendly guy who goes to many European shows to share what he does. I'd love to be standing by his workspace and watch him do his modeling


Thanks, Terry. And I am all too familiar with how water swells distressed wood. -- Russ


Very nice model!
The fact that that it has a prototype adds a lot to the attraction, in my opinion.
Regards, Hauk
"Yet for better or for worse we do love things that bear the marks of grime, soot, and weather, and we love the colors and the sheen that call to mind the past that made them"  -Junichiro Tanizaki

Remembrance Of Trains Past


Its a super build. Thanks for posting it. As an aside, it also reminds me of early downtown LA where the hills added a lot of character.
You may ask yourself: "Well, how did I get here?"



Such a great looking model and such a photogenic prototype.

Excellent work.
Darryl Huffman
The search for someone else to blame is always succcessful.