As for the pipes, I compiled with using staticproppolys so they shouldn't be pitch black. It's probably more from the lack of lighting directly on it. I was thinking the point could have used some spotlights directly on it to make it pop out more, that might have helped.
The problem is, the pipe models have phong shading, and the Source engine can't render vertex lighting and phong shading on the same prop so it disables the former. It's unfortunate, because pipes are one of the most common props to have shadows conspicuously overlapping. I'm not seeing the issue JeanPaul is reporting in any of the screenshots, but you might be able to fix it by tossing in an info_lighting and tying the offending pipes to it.