Pic 4: The lower gun deck is now complete, and I've varnished it already because it will be impossible to do once the other decks are on. It pays to read ahead! In previous models I found Ronseal aerosol varnish to be ideal - a light, satin finish that dried almost immediately. However, that is now discontinued, so for most of this model I used Humbrol aerosol varnish in a satin finish. It was not ideal, going on rather heavily in large droplets, and in places never seemed to set hard. However, it was better than brushing. Next time I might try wax or oil for a mellower, more natural look.
Above the lower gun deck you can see the main gun deck in process of planking. This is as easy as planking gets, and very satisfying. Don't forget to glue the sides of each plank for extra strength. The standard glue I used was Evo-Stik Resin W, generically called 'PVA'. I used the quick-drying version and it sticks like hell, but can be wiped off with a damp cloth if you catch it soon enough.
These decks have some strange curvatures, so you'll need to pin the planks down while the glue dries. Rather than subject the structure to excessive hammering, I put each plank in position, marked where the pins needed to go (over the formers), then put the plank flat on the workbench and 'started' the pins there. I chose to pull the pins out after the glue had set, but in retrospect perhaps I should have cut the heads off and hammered the shaft in flush for that 'nailed' effect. It's up to you.