Here is a look at the wooden deck set produced by ArtwoxModel and designed for the Trumpeter 1:350 scale model of the ill fated HMS Repulse. Included in the set is one large panel of decking, metal anchor chain and instructions. As with the ArtwoxModel decks for the Aoshima 1:700 scale Yamashiro, (click for review of the ArtwoxModel decking for the Aoshima 1:700 scale Yamashiro) the wooden decking is designed as a sandwich with the wooden decks at the top, adhesive in the middle and thin transparent sheet at the bottom, which is removed when the particular deck is ready for attachment with the plastic part. Unless you are hand painting all of the cast fittings, which will extend through the cut-outs from the plastic deck through the wooden deck, it appears best to paint the plastic before attaching the deck.
The wooden sheet has five deck pieces, which are removed from the sheet and the equipment and fittings cut-outs removed before attaching to the plastic deck. The five decks are the (1) main deck extending from the metal deck forecastle to the catapult; (2) 01 level deck for the aft superstructure; (3) quarterdeck aft of the deck break; (4) small rectangular deck located between the hangar and catapult; and (5) main deck aft of the catapult and running to the deck break where the main deck drops a level to the lower quarterdeck. As with the instructions for the ArtwoxModel 1:700 scale Yamashiro decking, the instructions for the Trumpeter 1:350 scale HMS Repulse is one back-printed glossy sheet with color photographs, which show the location of the five decks on the plastic model.
The wood sheet is very thin but still raises the deck level by the width of the wooden deck. Using the wooden decks is a trade off since the fittings coming through the wooden will be reduced in height by the width of the wooden sheet. The question comes down to a simple choice, is the detail provided by the wooden deck more important than the slight loss of height of the fittings? A lot depends on your skill in painting and detailing plastic decks on the kit parts. For me, I couldn't come close in providing the detail of the ArtwoxModel decks. I didn't have an Aoshima 1:700 scale Yamashiro on which to fit the ArtwoxModel decks, so I selected the HMS Repulse deck set for review because I do have the 1:350 scale Trumpeter HMS Repulse. This allowed me to fit one of the five decks to the corresponding plastic deck. I chose the quarterdeck.
With the Yamashiro deck I easily popped out three fittings cut-outs using the end of a paper clip, so I started with a paper clip on the Repulse deck. However, I found the paperclip approach was insufficient for the Repulse deck. I didn't want to use any stronger pressure for fear of breaking the deck. Why the cut-outs didn't immediately pop out with light pressure from a paperclip as the did with the Yamashiro deck, I don't know. The most logical reason is that the bottom film layer, which is removed to attach the deck to the plastic deck, is thicker to provide greater strength for the much larger 1:350 scale decks. I turned to a small needle nose hobby scissors and Xacto knife. I used the knife to score the film on the underside of the deck and then removed the wooden cut-out. I then used the scissors to remove any protective film remnants that did not come out when I had removed the wooden blank of the cut-out. Although it took a longer this way, it presented no problem and certainly eliminated the chance of breaking the deck through excess pressure. Locator holes for separate plastic parts can also be done easily with the Xacto knife. I only fitted the quarterdeck but was pleased with the result. The appearance of the ArtwoxModel Repulse decking really gives me the bug to built the kit! If you use photo-etch railing with a bottom rail/gutter, it will conceal the width of the deck as well as represent the deck scupper. I'm going to ask ArtwoxModel to give me a list where their products can be obtained because they didn't mention that in there e-mails. However, after the review of the Yamashiro deck one modeler emailed ArtwoxModel from the their contact address in their web site and received a reply, which he posted to the message board (Thanks John). Lucky Model of Hong Kong (http://www.luckymodel.com/) carries ArtwoxModel deck sets. I looked up their price on their web site and was shocked at the low price of $16.98 USD for the deck set for the 1:350 scale battle cruiser.
I'm pumped about the ArtwoxModel five deck set for the Trumpeter 1:350 scale HMS Repulse. After fitting the wooden quarterdeck to the plastic Trumpeter deck, I found that removing the wooden deck from the sheet was easy and really enhanced the appearance off the battlecruiser's long quarterdeck.