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Questions about accurate positioning/sizing of holes for 'treenails'.

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Maybe this question has been raised before.  I looked, but couldn't find it anywhere.
The 1799 Enterprise (my current build) uses 4mm-wide wood for the deck planking.  I've been doing some small test areas, mainly to try out methods of simulating the caulking but also to see how I might simulate treenails.
I don't want the complication of real (well, you know what I mean) treenails, but I've found a suitable filler material that will do the job.  It's some ancient 'nail hole and corner filler' that I used to use when I did picture framing.  Mine was supplied (about 35 years ago) by Magnolia Mouldings, a UK company, but I think it's the same stuff that Amaco still sell in the US.
I've got it in gold and black.  The gold does look remarkably like brass nails, but black would probably be better in context.  It takes polyurethane varnish well.

My main problem, and the reason for posting this message, is how to get the holes in decent alignment.  Trying to do it freehand is absolutely impossible - even the slightest misalignment looks totally horrid.
How do you experts do it?

Also, should I drill 'scale' holes?  At 1:51, that would mean holes 0.5mm or less in diameter to represent real one-inch holes for treenails.  That's on 4mm planking, representing 8-inch wide real deck planks.  My inclination is to drill rather bigger holes so that they show up better, but please tell me if this would be a mistake.


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Making anything and everything on a model in scale is always preferred. At your scale, .020" diameter holes would be okay. That would be about .5mm more or less. Your example "b" looks about right for the spacing. You can make up a template with the holes drilled in it to use as a guide. I have seen that done with good results.



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