Enter keywords or a search phrase below:

How to deal with smooth hulls?

4 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Derry, New Hampshire, USA
How to deal with smooth hulls?
Posted by rcboater on Wednesday, January 4, 2023 4:14 PM

I have a couple of the bigger Lindberg/ex-Pyro models:   The topsail schooner and the Harriet Lane sidewheeler.   Both have hulls with smooth exteriors-  no planking "detail" at all.

I'm of two minds when I think about it-  part of me says "just paint it- you shouldn't really see planking seams on a dark hull in 1/144 scale anyways."  But the detailer in me says " I can't leave it perfectly smooth - this isn't the hood of my car!"

I don't really want to try scribing a crapload of plank lines- it would be too easy to screw it up.

Maybe I could try putting some tape planks on the hull, put down a coat of primer, then peel the tape up and apply a color coat...?

Does  anyone have any ideas  or experiences to share?

Webmaster, Marine Modelers Club of New England


  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Wednesday, January 4, 2023 4:29 PM

Good question. Another approach would be to build new hulls out of wood and plank those. More than once bashing up a plastic kit I've decided in hindsight that it might have been easier.


 Modeling is an excuse to buy books.


  • Member since
    March 2022
  • From: Twin cities, MN
Posted by missileman2000 on Thursday, January 5, 2023 9:05 AM

Yes, I have lightly scribe a few lines of planking on kits like that.  I put them high on the hull where it gets a bit drier,  Works for me.  I little is better than too much.l  You are right, a freshly painted hull doesn't show many planking lines at a scale distance.


  • Member since
    November 2005
  • From: Formerly Bryan, now Arlington, Texas
Posted by CapnMac82 on Friday, January 6, 2023 10:30 AM

So. ship planks varied in width.  The garboard planks next to the keel would be 2-3x wider than the rest of the hull.

Also, they wer not a uniform width the whole run, either.  A nominal 6" wide plank amidships might be only 2 or 3 inches at either end (on vessels short nough to have a single plank).  Technically, the top edge is what is scribed, and part of the back edge is "backed out" to fit the frames.

That's the rivet ounting of 1:1 scale construction.

Let's suppose a 6 inch by 20 foot plank at 1/144.

That translates to 0.0416 by 1.66 inches, a skosh more than 1mm x 42mm.  Just the thought of engraving at that sort of dimension makes my eyes ache Smile

I have no real answer, just noodling on the notion.

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Friday, January 6, 2023 11:25 AM

Harriet Lane at least is coppered.



 Modeling is an excuse to buy books.



Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.

By signing up you may also receive reader surveys and occasional special offers. We do not sell, rent or trade our email lists. View our Privacy Policy.