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BVIII: LaPointe



Updated 03/15/12

You find a lot of towns with French names in Wisconsin (Prairie du Chien, LaCrosse, and Fon du Lac come immediately to mind).  And since this town was right near the far point of the layout... need I say more?

This will be the second largest town on the layout.  Jubala Milling is the big mamu in town.

This is the third area on the layout that I've done scenery for; I began working on it in late February, 2001.

Click here to see the final track configuration and LaPointe's industries (at the bottom of the page).


LaPointe LaPointe is directly on the other other side of the backdrop from the Andersen plant in Froton).  I used some of the buildings I'd had on my previous layout to get an idea of size and placement. (You'll see these same buildings in the Westcott photo, too!) None of them are in the finished town... except Jubala Milling, the large white building.  (February 2001).
LaPointe I decided to try something different with this area of the layout: using 2" rigid foam insulation for the base and mountain contours.  It's a scenery technique I'd never tried, but read a lot about.  So here's the town before I started carving the foam. That's a "stand-in" tunnel portal marking the other end of the Froton/LaPointe peninsula tunnel.  The real one gets inserted after the messy plastering is finished.  (February 2001)
LaPointe Same shot, after the foam was carved and the initial Hydrocal-soaked paper towels have been added.  It's impossible to tell, but a track spur has also been added to the area directly in the center of the picture.  There'll be one little industry down there, with the rest being to the left of the downtown area.  (February 2001)
LaPointe These are the final buildings that'll be used in the town.  The industry on the right is a significantly kitbashed DPM Gold "Drywell's Inks."  The buildings on the left are Walthers' "Merchants Row I," containing shops named for my grandmother ("Louise's Korner Kafe"), my business partner ("Harv's Sporting Goods") and my sister-in-law's husband ("Tim's Hardware"). I cut a 4-story DPM "M.T. Arms Hotel" back down to 3-stories and  mounted all the buildings on a Masonite base.  I then added sidewalks of .040 styrene, and, in this picture, was testing out a photograph on the backdrop.  (April, 2001)
LaPointe Here's the initial coat of Sculptamold, a plaster/paper material that resembles cottage cheese when wet.  It's a great material to use for forming hills. The brown stuff is a coating of Sculptamold added several days earlier, and painted. (April, 2001)
LaPointe Here's a view of both Neener Street in town, and the alley behind it that serves Drywell Inks.  The black-ballasted track next to the retaining wall is the spur that serves Drywell, and the brown-ballasted track is the mainline.  The sky ends so abruptly because that's the point where the backdrop turns 180-degrees.  (April, 2001)
LaPointe Here's a peek down Neener Street.  While doing some town planning I decided to have the street take a jog, to try to hide the fact that it dead-ends at the backdrop.  I couldn't make it work.  In fact, it was so jarring to the eye, it drew attention to itself.  I struggled with the problem over a period of several nights, and suddenly a solution presented itself -- a mirror.  I'd seen mirrors used before (and had used one of my own in Froton), but had never seen it done quite this way: the two-tone car and street in the distance are actually a reflection of a scene hidden in the hotel... which is a building with no front.  (Yes, I plan on turning this into a modeling article.)  (April, 2001)
LaPointe Here's a closer view of the end of that scene.  The green and red building on the right is only half of a building -- the mirror splits it right down the center of the double doors. The "shadow" on the street is really the bottom edge of the mirror.  The "LaPointe Midnight Madness" banner hanging across the street is hiding the top edge of the mirror.  The buildings "down the street" are a photo.  If you look closely at the lower right of the picture, you can see the trunk of the real car being reflected. (April, 2001)
LaPointe Here's the inside of the false-back hotel, with the photographed scene pasted inside. (April, 2001)
LaPointe And here's the scene with the false-back hotel removed.  The flower planter and flag in the roundabout, two-tone car, and the trunk of the partial beige car parked next to the partial building are all reflected in the mirror, which is pretty well unhidden in this shot. (April, 2001)
LaPointe Next, I started the scenery on the area just to the left of LaPointe.  Here's a visitor's view from Highway 27 of the approach to LaPointe.  (The sign in the foreground says "Lovely LaPointe, The end of the earth."  You've seen the map -- it is!)  Because the road ends at the fascia board, I built a little stone retaining wall for it.  After autos cross the 3 tracks here, they take a right onto the hill that leads to Neener Street. The road is made from black foam core, painted gray and weathered with pastel chalks.  (June, 2001)
LaPointe In August I began working on the Ravine area (to the far left in this shot), but came back at one point to fill in the scenery between that and the town of LaPointe.  Here's the hydrocal-over-extruded-foam base (white) that butts up against the backdrop. The black area is where the Bicktul building will go. The white building on the right is Jubala Milling, directly next to downtown LaPointe.  (September 2001)
LaPointe The first industry to be added at this side of LaPointe is the Bicktul Company, the black-ish building on the left.  Across the tracks is Hunt Paints. I had room for a siding here, but not much else.  So I modeled Hunt Paints to appear as if the building had been sliced off at the edge of the layout.  (December 2001)
LaPointe Here's what Hunt Paints looks like from the aisle (the building's not permanently mounted in this shot).  The main office is at the left, the loading dock is on the right.  Upstairs are the administration offices.  Details upstairs include a hardwood floor, wainscoting, a couple of ladies and their desks, and Mr. Hunt's office.  I got carried away with details here, and added everything from a fire extinguisher on the wall to pulls on the window shades and a typewriter on the desk. (December 2001)
LaPointe And here's a close-up of that scratchbuilt fire extinguisher up on the second floor, right next to the office doorway.  It's less than 1/4" tall.  (December 2001)
LaPointe By a happy coincidence the planets aligned and I made something I always wanted: a working wig-wag signal.  I'd just happened to buy a pair of non-working wig-wags from American Limited (excellent models) when I stumbled upon an article by Woody Langley in the April '92 Model Railroader on scratchbuilding and powering a wig-wag.  Needless to say I didn't do the former, but used his article as the basis for doing the latter.  And here it is, wigging and wagging outside of LaPointe.  It's activated by yet another Rob Paisley circuit.  (June 2002)

LaPointe's trackplan and industries


LaPointe Drywell Inks is on the far south side of LaPointe and manufactures printing ink.  It's a kitbash of the DPM Gold Series "Drywell Inks" kit, and one of the few industries for which I used the manufacturer's suggested name.  To this day, that disappoints me.
LaPointe Jubala Milling is named after one of my old college roommates and great friend, Jack Jubala.  Among much else, Jack taught me to bake French bread from scratch...which is why his name on the mill is so apropos.  Jubala Milling is an unmodified Walthers kit, built in the days before this layout was begun.  Jubala Milling ships (what else?) King John's Flour.
LaPointe The Bicktul Company is one of those buildings that gradually turned black from soot in the early part of the 20th century, and now the soot is flaking off.  The building's footprint is almost a triangle, and is a freelance design of mine, using DPM's modular walls.  Bicktul manufactures parts that other on- and off-line industries use to make their stuff.  This industry is named after a real-life holding company which owned our property in 1914, and was founded by George. Bickelhaupt and Charles Tuller.  This building hides the dead-ended Soo Line interchange track, which vanishes behind it allegedly continuing into the valley.Hunt Paints, as described above, sits right on the edge of the layout on a piece of real estate that I never envisioned could hold an industry.  As it turns out, it's a focal point for visitors because of the inside details.   Hunt Paints is named for Dave Hunt, a friend I've only met over the internet.  Dave's an artist and, yes, Hunt paints.  This industry was adapted from DPM's "Cutting's Scissors Co." kit.  The slogan on the roof sign: "If you want good paint, GO HUNT!"  Because the building is on the edge of the layout, I "sliced" it open and included a myriad of interior details.  I love doing stuff like that.




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