In reverse order of your questions:
1) The model actually does have
swastikas. I uploaded the pictures to Photobucket without any
difficulty, but when I went back about 10 minutes later to get the
links for this post, the swastika photos had been "removed for
violation of Photobucket's standards" (or words to that effect).
My guess is they have some kind of software that targets such images.
So I went back and made versions with parts of the swastikas "whited
out" and uploaded them again, and it seems they stuck the second
time. I wasn't looking to offend anyone and it sure wasn't a
political statement, but I suppose the PC bots must protect us from historical accuracy.
2) No software (at least, that I
know of) for the planking. The method I used was fairly simple.
I made up a plain black and white
planking pattern in MS Paint. (Vertical and horizontal lines is what
MS Paint does best.) I guessed at a “typical” plank size of 9 in.
by 20 ft. and dimensioned length to width accordingly. When I had a
"block" that looked okay I copied it and "cut and
pasted" the same block until I had a large enough area, touched
up a little here and there when the copied end lines were too
close together, then saved that as a .TIF file as my "master"
pattern. This is what I got:
Next, I copied various wood pattern
"swatches" from online images and experimented until I
found one that I liked (good color, large-ish image with not too prominent a
grain), then copied and pasted my "master" pattern over it.
I tried black lines first, which was too harsh, so I switched to a
dark gray, and that seemed to work. I saved that as a second, "art"
I don't have MS Word, but Open
Office works really well for resizing and printing images. I pasted
in the “art” file, and played with the image until the scale size
of my planks was correct for the scale of the model (more or less),
then printed that color image out on 110 lb. card stock. I wound up
with an approx. 8x10 inch sheet of “planking,” which I could
print out again and again as needed. This was my raw material.
Actually fitting sections of
planking to the deck was the tricky part. I made plain-paper patterns
for individual areas through a combination of measurement, repeated
test-fitting, and lots of taped fill-in bits to get as close a fit as
possible to the model's deck features. I used those plain-paper
patterns to actually cut sections of my decking. More test-fitting
and trimming followed, until I had a section that fit well. Then I
glued it down using a tacky craft glue.
key (for me) was to start with smaller, easy-to-fit upper deck
sections. They turned out so well (compared to what I had envisioned)
that it kind of “drove” the project through the larger,
harder-to-fit areas. On those you just have to find the best (or
easiest-to-hide) areas for joints and grafts. (Cutwaters and areas
behind side turrets work well for that.)
But to show I don't always
practice what I preach, here is one of the photos I didn't post,
showing my less-than precision joint on the aft deck:
(The darned thing seemed to fit perfectly before it was glued, I swear....)
addendum, the next time I try the method, I'll try something it
didn't occur to me to do this time: I'll scan the deck piece(s) on my
scanner/copier, and see if that makes pattern-making any easier. Who
knows, it could work.