Most modelers have heard the term "after-market parts". For those that have not heard the term, it applies to supplemental parts to an injected plastic model that increases the detail over and above the parts provided in the plastic kit. Although some plastic kit manufacturers sell additional super-detail packages to ramp up the detail of their basic kit, most after-market producers are independent of the plastic manufacturers. The most common type of after market parts comes in the form of brass or stainless steel photo-etch frets from companies such as White Ensign Models and Gold Medal Models. It doesn't end there because you can supplemental resin parts to improve over less than impressive plastic parts provided in some kits or machine turned brass barrels. Another area for after-market parts, less common but growing, is wooden deck overlays, in which a very thin wooden deck is placed upon the plastic deck to provide a more realistic deck appearance. ArtwoxModel is a new after-market company that produces wooden decks for plastic warship kits. ArtwoxModel is based in Shandong Sheng, China and produces wooden decks in 1:350 and 1:700 scales.
This review looks at one of the ArtwoxModel wooden decks in 1:700 scale, decking for the Aoshima Yamashiro kit. The package provides a very thin wooden sheet 275mm x 45mm with four wooden decks found on the Yamashiro. Most of the sheet is for the the main deck running from the cutwater to the deck break, which drops one level to the quarterdeck. The three smaller decks are the quarterdeck, the 01 level deck between B barbette and the superstructure and aft deck of the navigation deck. Artwox also provides anchor chain as an additional bonus. The back printed instruction sheet is printed on glossy paper with color photographs, rare indeed for any model. much less an after-market set. Of course the instructions are rather simple, as there are only four parts in the set and the instructions show the wooden decks on top of the specific plastic part from the Aoshima Yamashiro.
A couple of pictures show the underside of the wooden deck. The wooden decks have a sandwich construction with a very thin wooden deck on top, a layer of adhesive in the middle and a protective sheet on the bottom. You fit the deck first to make sure all plastic fittings have openings through the wooden deck and when everything is ready, remove the lower protective sheet and fit the deck. The adhesive will secure the deck without the need for white glue or any other type of separate adhesive. You can look at the photographs and see the numerous cutout outlines through which the plastic deck fittings will traverse. How easy is it to remove these cut-outs? My first clue can when I was removing the wooden sheet from the cardboard stiffener. The cut-out aft for the aircraft trolley ramp started separating from the quarter deck. Were the smaller cut-outs this easy to remove? To test the ease of removing smaller cut-outs I used a paperclip to remove cutouts for a rectangular bollard plate, circular ventilator and a small square cutout. All three cutouts popped out with ease, and these are very small cutouts for 1:700 scale fittings! I was very impressed! You'll also notice that the wooden planking does have butt-end detail, however, I would expect that level of detail in any quality wooden deck.
If wooden decks on you warships are what you want for enhancement on a plastic model, ArtwoxModel already has a good selection of 1:350 and 1:700 wooden decks for many of the most popular model ships produced by Aoshima, Tamiya, Trumpeter, Dragon, Hasegawa, and Revell, as well as large sheets of decking, which you can customize for kits that do not yet have a model specific sheet available. The ArtwoxModel wooden decks set for the 1:700 scale Aoshima Yamashiro is an impressive product, especially given the ease with which the deck cut-outs are punched out. It makes me want to go out and buy the kit just so I can build it with the ArtwoxModel wooden decks.