Scottrc got it right, of course. I would add one other point. There's no reason why a plank-on-bulkhead model can't be an accurate representation of the real ship - assuming all the planking is in place. C. Nepean Longridge's 1/48 scale model of H.M.S. Victory in the Science Museum, which has been a destination for modeling pilgrims for about forty years, is a plank-on-bulkhead model.
There's a hybrid form of ship modeling: the "Admiralty," or "Navy Board" style. It takes its name from the exquisite models that were built for the British Navy Board in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. In this style the framing is represented in a somewhat stylized form; there are lots of frames, the hull is hollow, and the planks are omitted from the lower part of the hull (and frequently other parts of the model) so the framing is exposed. But the framing isn't done to scale. The typical Navy Board model does not, for instance, have cant frames at the bow and stern. Some modern modelers (Harold Hahn, for example) have done superb work in this style.
The plank-on-bulkhead system is popular at the moment among wood kit manufacturers. Several American companies, notably Model Shipways and Bluejacket, are producing nice, accurate plank-on-bulkhead kits. It's also the favored system among Continental European manufacturers, most of whose products, in my personal opinion (but it's shared by a great many other serious ship modelers) are extravagantly-priced garbage. (I've ranted about this topic elsewhere in this forum; I won't get started on it again here.) The best European firm at the moment seems to be a British company called CalderCraft, which makes reasonably accurate, but extremely expensive, plank-on-bulkhead kits. The Calder H.M.S. Victory, on 1/72 scale, costs about $1,000. I haven't seen it in person, but on the basis of photos and reviews it looks like a potential masterpiece.
Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.