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What Scriber is best for simulating deck planks in plastic?


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Hi, I hope someone can give me some guidance. 

 

I'm building the Revell 1/96 Constitution. I'm planning to glue up the three spar deck pieces, fill the seams and then scribe the planking as done by force9. But I have never done this before and I'm not sure what scriber will give me the best results.  

 

To get some Idea of the look I'm going for, here's a photo of my bulked up inner hull which is made from actual "planks" of .04x.156 Evergreen strips, which I sanded with 80 grit to get a wood grain I also hit the corners of the strip to get some chamfering PlankingBulkhead.thumb.JPG.d97e28337780b335e1d41a611ded0282.JPG

Hmm... I see at this magnification that I have some cleanup to do, and the seams aren't as consistent as I would like. Still if I could get the deck to look like this I'd be happy. 

 

Here's a piece of scrap that I hit with the 80 grit and then used a #11 Excato to scribe the lines. 

ScribedScrap2.thumb.JPG.6c6e46d6bd0ed49c8b773226ac279c09.JPG

I'm not really happy with this. The Exacto seems to be raising ridges as it cuts instead of making an actual 'V' like I have with my planks. If I sand this the seam all but disappears. 

 

I tried a straight pin with the head cut off  in my pin vise, but that result isn't even worth showing. Much too fine. 

 

I found a carbide tipped scriber at Home depot whose tip was about the size of a toothpick. That seems too big. 

 

From what I have been able to learn there seem to be two types of plastic scribers available. Those like the Tamiya work like a box cutter - you drag the hook along to scribe the piece. But will this really be any different than my Exacto? 

 

Those like the ANSAI look more like chisels, but I guess you use them like an Exacto (I don't see anyone pushing them like you would a chisel). 

 

I don't see how any of these could take out a "V" shaped channel which is what (i think) I really want. 

 

I'd sure like to hear some opinions before I commit one way or the other. Of course I will test before I start on the deck  but I'd prefer to make a more educated guess. Also I may be completely missing the point. 

 

Any guidance will be appreciated. 

 

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Bear in mind that on the real thing decks are laid edge to edge, and the joints between planks ar caulked and then payed (filled in) with tar.  V grooves in a deck between planks are undesirable as water left in the grooves would be a source of leakage and rot.  What the eye sees is the tar between the planks.  

 

You might consider filling in the scribed marks, painting the resulting smooth deck with a flat paint and then ruling the deck lines with a very fine drafting pen.  Seal the ruled deck with Dulcote or other matte clear finish.

 

Roger

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Scaledecks used to manufacture decking for this model in 1:96 and 1:192 scales , not sure if this company is still in existence, irrespective I assume they would pop up on Ebay from time to time. 

 

https://www.scalemates.com/kits/scaledeckscom-196-001-uss-constitution-deck--944037

https://www.scalemates.com/kits/scaledeckscom-96-001-uss-constitution-old-ironsides-deck--944022

 

I think the 1/196 version is a typo and should be 1/192

 

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The scriber from UMM is very good - have used one many times  UMM03 UMM™ Third Generation Scriber SCR-03 "Universal"  I have used it mostly on plastic to delineate door and window seams/openings in scratch built tugs where there is a line visible where panels and components join.

 

However, I agree with Roger that scribing the deck will give you an unrealistic appearance. 

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I've been talking to the void for years about creating detail which would simply be invisible on small scale models. The plastic fraternity are the usual victims of this. A lot of modellers 'know' something is there, so they find ways to satisfy their need to see these details on their kits.

If you look at a decent photo of a ship such as the Hood, or similar, even quite a big photo. You won't see deck rails (sometimes the stanchions are visible). In fact the 'rails' aren't rails at all, but are wire cables or chains. On a 1200, 700, 600, 500 scale model these things just wouldn't be seen. Yet our intrepid modellers spend a fortune on photo etch railings etc and festoon their pride and joy with them.

The aircraft modellers go to great lengths scribing panel lines and rivet detail, again at most of the common scales they wouldn't be visible if you looked at a real aeroplane from five or six feet.

All of this is a strange phenomena to me.

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Thanks everyone for the practical and philosophical advice. I have been thinking about this alot and I hope it won't offend anyone if I offer a different perspective. 

 

First of all, I don't think it's inherently wrong to make visible the details that you know are there but wouldn't ordinarily see. In some sense I think that is the purpose of a model (at least for scientific and data processing models, but I think the principle applies).

 

Second, a quick experiment inspired by @shipman's post. Here is photo of the actual Constitution spar deck: 

RealDeckScaled.png.c63d31c4ce35a7daca033e5dda1ce90a.png

 

This isn't a great photo for my purpose, but it was the best I could find. I resized the image so that the deadeye matched the size of one from the kit. As a sanity check, the space between the plank joints (which can be plainly seen) are about 1/8" = 1 foot. 

 

I don't see any grain, but I do see the plank lines, since (as indicated by @Roger Pellett because of the paying )they are much darker than the wood wood. 

 

Just for some context around why I want to do this, the decks from the kit have a wood grain pattern and plank lines moulded in. 

SparDeckRaw.thumb.JPG.4c0f32d93578e864bb800d0e4dd5118b.JPGThis is what the spar deck looks like out of the box. 

 

This is my finished Gun Deck (airbrushed tan then washed with raw umber acrylic) GunDeckFinished.thumb.JPG.e9a8dd8c0ac157a01a675ba3ef414ef6.JPG

I don't think this looks too bad, although I would like to see more  plank lines. If I could get the spar deck to look like this without a lot of fuss, I'd be more or less happy. 

 

I'm content to leave the Gun deck in three pieces since it will be (mostly) hidden, but I really want to eliminate the athwartship(?) seams between the three spar deck pieces. After I fill and sand those seams, the embossed pattern on the spar deck will be ruined and I need to recreate it.  

 

So I guess I will consider the suggestions for scribers made above. 

 

Thanks so much guys. Good Conversation! 

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Old Collingwood, I have something very similar; it's called an Olfa 'P-cutter'. Like any other sharp tool, if you don't give it your full attention it takes off with a mind of its own.

 

I agree with the visible detail assessment of the 1:98 kit. I was meaning the smaller ship scales as I mentioned earlier.

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😂   ... had an Iranian fellow student at university, who really was like that - eventually, he gave up shaving.

 

I have kind of talked into the same void, as shipman. However, we modellers are also in a sort dilemma: if you would behold a real ship equivalent to the typical viewing distance, say at reading distance, you wouldn't see much of the small detail. But then we modellers stick our noses close to our models and then you should see the details, but they are not there. Effectively, we have to design for a multitude of viewing distances, also because the eye (and brain) instinctively looks for things that should be there, even if they objectively would not be visible. This means we have to make compromises - unless you are building a real box diorama with a fixed viewing angle and distance.

 

I have not finally decided on the solution for my current project in 1/160 scale, but lightly engraved the deck made from bakelite paper with a sharp V-shaped graver. Any raised burr was removed by rubbing the deck with steel wool. I will then fill these lines with black acrylic paint and rub the excess down with steel wool. This gives a kind of pre-shading effect as the plastic modellers are calling it. After that I will spray-paint the deck with acrylics. If perceived necessary, I will re-line the seams with burnt umber acrylics using an old-fashioned drafting pen. Different light washings with white and burnt umber will distinguish between different planks and also tone down the seams. Hopefully this procedure will result in near-to-scale seams, which in real life would be somewhere between 5 mm and 10 mm wide.

 

BTW, these seams would be slightly sunken-in during cold and/or dry weather and slightly standing proud of the deck during wet and/or warm weather due to the shrinking/swelling of the wood.

 

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15 hours ago, shipman said:

Old Collingwood, I have something very similar; it's called an Olfa 'P-cutter'. Like any other sharp tool, if you don't give it your full attention it takes off with a mind of its own.

 

I agree with the visible detail assessment of the 1:98 kit. I was meaning the smaller ship scales as I mentioned earlier.

Also good for smoothing round  masts using the inside curve.

 

OC.

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There are plenty of different scalers. And each gives different results, so one has to try out to find the wanted effect.

 

I use pen scribers, the back of cutter blades - there are different thicknesses - , the back of scalpel tips and scalers from the dental purposes. And use a sttel ruler 🙂

 

Use each time a blank sheet and try out, sometimes it is scribing, sanding and rescribing 🙂

 

Another tip: Replace the 3 part section by a fresh sheet from the hobby shop. It is much easier. Take te oriinal decks as template for the outside form, then scribe without having to bother for all the disturbing things on the deck and then just do the openings. Like tis it is easier to scribe and one has not to bother the 2 split-lines. Those always tend to leave traces as the joint react differently to the scribing tool than the rest of the line.

 

XXXDAn

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Timber-textured ones would be rather unsuitable for ship models, because in real life the shipwrights and later the bo'suns etc. would have done everything to make the wood smooth - see also the discussion above on visible vs. hardly visible details. The molded wood textures (and other engraved details) in model kits satisfy the expectations of innocent buyers, but are utterly overscale in most cases.

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Wefalck. Dafi. Some sanity at last. A lot of work to get the best out of a plastic kit. It depends what resources a modeller has; not everyone has everything.

Dafi's Victory and the ongoing Solial Reale on this forum show the best of the best with plastic.

Smoke and mirrors can be the best tool any  of us can muster.

Dafi's comment for split deck replacement is a fine example; quick and a lot easier than trying to scrape around deck features. Those features can be saved and used if you can't make better yourself.

Life is a journey of discovery. I feel humbled to share your company. Stay well.

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I don't want to make myself unpopular, but speak from experience: every time I looked into and even bought (styrene) kits with a view to cut corners in a project, I became dissatisfied and decided that it would not be worth using it, considering the amount of alterations and replacements needed. And this is not a question of available tools and machines (though they help in my opinion). Using styrene sheets and profiles, one can build excellent models with a minimum of tools.

 

It is a pity that kit manufacturers adopted certain conventions (e.g. the deeply grooved decks, prominent wood textures) decades ago in spite of often otherwise quite well researched design bases. The moulds of Revell and others are decades old and when they take a copy, they are still not improved in that sense - I know, it is a question of commercial margin and the stuff sells, which is what counts.

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Wefalck, I respect your opinion. As far as I know, it's many decades since a 'worthwhile' plastic sailing ship was released. Back in the day, none of the kit manufacturers would have seen how ship modelling would develop. 99% of their intended market was young teenagers, who's imagination compensated for any defects.

Looking at today's market, who would have thought we'd get 1:200 scale Hoods' etc (at a price)?

I suggested a new tool 1:48 kit of a cutter to Airfix. The modern moulding techniques are superb. Yet the box would contain no more plastic than the old 'Bounty' kit. At that scale there would be no excuse to compromise on any aspect of the vessel. Alas, the price of plastic kits is now beyond my pocket-money.

Still waiting a reply from Airfix..................

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“However, we modellers are also in a sort dilemma: if you would behold a real ship equivalent to the typical viewing distance, say at reading distance, you wouldn't see much of the small detail. But then we modellers stick our noses close to our models and then you should see the details, but they are not there. Effectively, we have to design for a multitude of viewing distances, also because the eye (and brain) instinctively looks for things that should be there, even if they objectively would not be visible”.

 

And considering we like to share photos of our work, one must also consider the unforgiving view provided by the macro lens.

 

Cheers,

 

Keith

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“Back in the day” when plastic models first came out they were considered to be little more than toys to be assembled by boys (girls played with dolls).  Real modelers built balsa and tissue paper airplanes and wooden ships.  Issues like scale, viewing distance, could be subordinated to market appeal.  As late as the1990’s the Nautical Research Guild ignored the existence of plastic models completely.

 

Times have changed and the level of realism and accuracy now incorporated into plastic models can be astonishing as demonstrated by projects on this forum.  Many of these efforts feature a lot of aftermarket parts but if you are building a “vintage” kit out of the box correction of these old mold features will be required.

 

Roger

 

 

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I can second that Roger. My older cousins looked with disdain at my Monogram and Aurora plastic airplanes. They built the wood and tissue kinds. I built one and decided the caved in look of the tissue over frames wasn't prototypical.

 

As molding technology has improved, our expectations grow immensely.

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I submit that Revell’s Batavia was a nice recent addition to the cannon of plastic ship modeling; what’s moulded into the kit is good, and the model provides a solid foundation for upgrades.  On the other hand, Revell’s Vasa doesn’t come close, IMO, to bettering the Airfix version.

 

In response to the earlier question of gravers, I use the back of a #11 blade to engrave plank lines, after first taking a few light, marking passes with the sharp side of the blade.

 

As Dafi mentions, a steel rule is essential for straight lines, but I have found that the curving plank lines of a deck can be scribed and engraved without a template guide.  The trick is to make a series of shallow passes until your groove is sufficiently deep enough to track easily - then, you can make more aggressive scraping passes.

 

If I go too far, I just nock it down a little with the 50-grit paper that I use to represent wood grain/structure.  This is in 1:100 scale.

7AC25B14-22B2-40D6-9AA9-0A8A67536B10.thumb.jpeg.4b9fe3cb9d6c7a69e9aa9ba1fd3c55ec.jpeg

Nailing patterns, admittedly, are probably taking it too far in anything smaller than 1:96.  Engraving your own deck, though, affords you the opportunity to upgrade to a realistic butt-shift pattern, and to build better hatch coamings and deck furniture.  These details are apparent under even mild scrutiny.  Most of these details are not difficult to scratch from sheet and strip styrene, and they greatly enhance the pleasure of the build, IMO.

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