a_logo_short.jpg (11167 bytes)
a_www.jpg (5498 bytes)

Deck Scribing Article

by David Cotgreave

This is the second version of the deck scribing article I wrote last year including some of the additional fixes you need to prepare the
deck for scribing.

Since I wrote this article Bruce Beveridge has developed his excellent deck decals. Even if you choose to use his decals you will have to modify and sand the decks so there are sections of this article you will still find useful.


All of the modifications to the decks described here are found in Roy Mengot's Modeler's guide. Please note that throughout this article "RM" refers to the number of the tip in Roy's guide.


  • Scribe: (safer than a knife and more controllable, the choice is yours)
  • 300mm metal ruler
  • Various lengths of metal:    1mm x 12mm metal strips to use as straight edges for the really tight spots. Cut off lengths you  need as you need them.
  • A good light source.
  • Working platform:You need to be able to chock up the decks around various deck mouldings, to create a level working surface. You can either:
      • Use the edge of your workbench bench (which can get a little awkward).
      • Use small blocks of 12mm thick wood to chock up the decks.
      • Create a scribing platform. To do this, get a piece of ply/chipboard about 12mm thick, 400mm long and 90mm wide. You'll need to cut a channel about 25mm down the centre to allow for mouldings such as the stairs in the deck. The ends of the channel should be 15mm from the end of the board (you'll need this for the forecastle).
      • Slice off the bottoms of the cargo hatches. They will not be seen  in the final product. This will make life a considerably easier.
  • A steady hand

1.    If you are scribing all of the decks at once you should ensure that all of the following modifications are done first:

  • Forecastle:
    • Weather walls removed (RM Step 43 (H) Item Nº 9).
    • Aft four moulded bollards removed (RM Step 43 (G) Item Nº 7.
  • 1st class lounge roof:
    • 'V" filled in (RM Step 18 (B) Item Nº 33).
  • Stern:
    • Docking bridge circular uprights removed ready for replacement with square ones.
  • Funnel 2:
    • Carve out new position of forward uptake vent and fill part of old hole (RM Step 15 (H) Item Nº 29).
  • Bridge:
    • Mouldings for curve of bridge house filed flat on Boat Deck and under bridge roof (RM Step 13 (A) Item Nº 19).
    • Bridge roof may need filling and sanding flat - mine was pitted from the moulding process.
  • Boat Deck:
    • Relocate the slot for the lifeboat davits to the edge of the deck and fill the remaining hole (RM Step 11 (A) )
    • Slice off weather covers for stairs on boat deck and reduce holes on boat and A deck using 0.40" x 0.40" Evergreen strips on the foreword, port and starboard sides of the holes (RM Step 11 (B) Item Nºs 20 & 22).
  • Vernanda and Palm Court Cafés:
    • Ensure that you cut out the moulding on the deck where the doors will eventually sit (RM Step 9 (D) Item Nº 50).
  • A Deck:
    • If you are planning to remodel A deck to include Mr Andrew's and Fr Browne's cabins you will need tomeasure up and remove the mouldings on the deck ready to shift these cabins back (RM Step 9 (A) ).
    • If you do the above you will also need to fill the four "slots" where the support poles go ready to install new poles (RM Step 9 (H) ).
    • Ensure you reduce the hole for the foreward stairways on both A and the boat decks (RM Step 9 (C) Item 22).
  • General:
    • If you are adding the kick rails add them now this will help with adhesion and filling any little gaps you might have (RM Step 2 (G) ). These will have to be painted white later.

2. Fill any damage from the modifications and sand down. Sand carefully, avoid removing the deck lines.

3. Sand down all of the vent and bench markings in the deck. WRITE down where the benches went.

4. Before you start scribing practice, practice, practice on a sheet of styrene.

5. Scribe all of the expansion joints first.

  • Add continuation of forward joint over the crew quarters roof (RM Step 15 (G) Item Nº 27). Approx. 80mm down centre line from front edge of wheelhouse.
  • Add equivalent expansion joints on A deck promenade. The forward joint 79mm down centre line from front edge of edge of deck to front edge of joint and the aft joint 190mm up centre-line from back edge of the deck to back edge of joint.
  •  Joints are approx. 1mm wide. The bonus of doing this first is to shorten the lengths you have to scribe.
  • Note that you should scribe the division between the bridge roof and the crew quarters at this stage as well.

6. Start scribing.

  • DO NOT scribe over the expansion joints.
  • Take your time or you'll find out how to curse in 100 languages.
  • Apply firm and even pressure, the scribing needs to be deep enough to withstand the sanding of the decks later on. After a bit  of practice you'll find that you can use the raised lines in the deck to push the point against for additional support.

7. Sand everything down being careful not to sand over important moulded features of the deck like bollards etc. Do not over sand or you'll have to rescribe some of the planks. Be careful sanding the white plastic as it is quite soft and you can lose the plank lines easily.

8. Now you're ready for painting. After applying the first coat you will be able to spot any missing deck planks that you may have
sanded away, unsanded areas or remaining modification damage.

Rescribe, fill and sand as required. Make sure that your paint is even because you can only do two coats before the lines start to


Happy scribing.

David Cotgreave
Western Australia

trma_back.gif (453 bytes)

Back To Main