Bates Mansion - KarlO

Having spent the last several weeks building seven of the Jordan steam shovels and cranes I felt a change of scenery was in order.

I always liked the house in the movie Psycho so I thought I'd build it. Polar made a plastic kit of the house (which I don't have) and I also found a website that you can download a paper cutout of the house in 1/66 scale. I got some dimensions from the site and started building the house in wood.

All I have so far are the eleven walls with all the window and door holes cut out. I plan on having it look pretty rundown and I began coloring the walls but there's a long way to go.

Karl O.
Berkley, MI

I wonder how many of our fellow RR-Line denizens are aware that the Bates house used in the movies was itself a model? Well, it's true. The house was built to 3/4 scale, not only to save money, but to make objects and people in the foreground loom dramatically larger as you see below-- what we modelers call 'forced perspective. regards Dave Hunt

And more movie magic-- in the first movie the 'house' consisted of just those two walls; I think that's daylight you see coming from the windows. The house has since been fleshed-out and is now a popular attraction on the Universal Tour in L.A. Here's what it looks like today.  regards Dave Hunt

I do have the Alexander kit and thought I might use some of the kit windows on my model but the whole thing is pretty clunky by today's standard....can't see ever building it.

Karl O.
Berkley, MI

I got a little more done on the Bates are some photos of my progress

Comments and Photography by Karl Osolinski.

                     ( unless otherwise noted )

The foundation on the house is brick so I made a couple castings from a mold I did of the old Trains of Texas brick wall. I wanted a very distressed and crumbling look and thought these walls would work. I sliced them to 1/2" high on my small table saw.

I thought I'd try one of the liquids for window glass so did a sample of the different ones I have. Upper left is Mod Podge Gloss, upper right is Micro Krystal Klear, bottom left is Gallery Glass and bottom right is Testors Clear Parts Cement and Window Maker. I also did one with Canopy Glue and Weldbond and they looked identical to the Kristal Klear - not that clear to my eye. The Testors is the only one that looks good to me. I'm thinking a coat of Future Floor Finish over the Testors might make it better

I like to color my brick more orange and brown rather than red...just like it better. I dry-brush acrylic craft paints using a flat brush so the paint only goes on the face of the brick.
The first coat covers almost all the bricks - the second and third colors are much more random.

The top sample piece was:

1) Ceramcoat Georgia Clay
2) Americana Heritage Red Brick
3) Ceramcoat Charcoal

The bottom sample piece was:
(this is the one I used on my foundation)

1) Ceramcoat Georgia Clay
2) Americana Light Cinnamon
3) Ceramcoat Charcoal

After the paint dries I use the standard A/I wash on the wall. Don't move the wash around just slop it on, don't touch it and let it dry.
I don't know what happens but the A/I wash seems to melt the colors together and you end up with a nice blend of the colors on the bricks.

Finally, once the wall is dry, I use an alcohol/glue mix (separate bottles) of Sinopia K4090 and K4100 pigments. I use a round brush and just touch the surface of the brick. Don't cover the whole wall - just here and there.

The clapboard walls of the building were done this way:

1) Floquil Grime
2) A/I wash
3) 50/50 dilution (with alcohol) of Raw Umber Acrylic Ink (Liquitex)
4) Applied Pebeo Drawing Gum (Dick Blick) with a stiff bristled brush
5) Americana White Wash

Let it all dry and then use masking tape to pick up the drawing gum and you have a nice peeling paint effect.

Here's the finished brick foundation on the building.


Been doing some stuff for other folks so the Bates house hasn't had much done to it but I'm back at it now.

The first thing was to get rid of all the windows and doors for the second time. I used a liquid on the first set and then acetate on the second set but I just didn't like the way they looked. So, the windows now all have real glass and it looks much nicer, I think.

I know there have been discussions on how difficult it is using real glass but these are the tools I use for installing glass. In doing the twenty-two windows and doors I only had two pieces break. It took about four hours to install all the glass.

From left to right: a diamond-tipped scribing tool, cover glass, suction pick-up tool and two, six inch Incra rulers. The Incra rules are very thin and make it easy to scribe the glass. One Incra is used as the straightedge and the other to measure out to the size needed.

The windows have an arch top frame so I cut the radius using a window as a template and transfered the curve to thin card stock. It was very easy to cut the radius using the thin template.

Next came Mother Bates. I built a styrene box that fit behind the window for Mother to stand on. I added two PFM Micro-Miniature lamps that I colored with Tamiya clear red and yellow and placed the red one below the floor and the yellow above her head.

This has been a fussy thing to build. After three tries, I finally got a proper roof and now it needs to be trimmed out with decorative edge moldings and cornice under the lower, flat roof cards. I can hardly wait to start cutting all those 45 angles on the cornice trim.

Also, I gathered all the parts needed for the porch trim and will make a jig so both side rail assemblies will be identical. I'm sure building the porch will be loads of fun.

Well, the house is finished and now I have to do the scenery. First is the hill with the stairs leading up to the house and then perhaps tombstones in the back with crows perched on them...we'll see.