Tamiya 1:350 Tirpitz

Guten tag! and welcome to my first ever kitmaker post,

I present to you, my Tirpitz!

About a month ago I started work on my Tamiya 1/350 scale Tirpitz. A buddy, @Panzer_modeler challenged me to scratch build a wooden deck, and like a microscale model Junkie, I did. So I thought i’d show you how it’s going to see if you have any suggestions.

I bought 2 sheets of Balsa from my local hobby shop and just used masking tape to attach them at the center and placed the hull over it so i can trace an imprint on the balsa. I then went on to scribe planks into the balsa just using a hobby knife, a pencil and a ruler.

Now for the interesting part.

I needed to find a way to be able to cut the details off of the original deck and replicate them in the exact spot on the balsa deck, (I couldn’t figure out how to measure all the little details onto the same spot on the different deck) i’m not sure if i’m explaining that well…

My solution? I took the three parts of the deck into work and photocopied them, then I cut them out and made a 1:1 scale 2d paper replica of the deck.

I then filled in details with a marker to make them bolder so I would know where to cut, I taped the template over the balsa deck and began to cut out little details from the template (small boxes…ect).

Nowwww- the scary part. I need to transfer the details from the original deck onto the balsa one… Which basically means shredding apart the plastic deck so I can steal its details to superglue them on the balsa one… So now for my question, Is there any better way that I could do this? Am I explaining this right?

Like ive said before, this is my first ever post here! So if youre reading this, thanks for taking the time to do so. It really means a lot.


Well this sure is an interesting way to go about the decking- unfortunately I’m not much of a ship modeller so I can’t help you out with your query about moving the details from the plastic deck but I wish you the best of luck with your project.

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Hello :wave:

Hmm, is there a better way… well all things are possible, but some are easier said than done.

I’m not sure if I understand correctly, but it seems like your plan is to build the superstructure and turrets up from an entirely balsa wood deck base? Or do you intend to glue the wooden deck on top of the plastic deck after removing as much plastic detail as needed?



Glad to see you on the forums buddy :metal:
You’re definitely putting the time into this, I can’t wait to see how it turns out. You can get precut wooden decks with adhesive backing for these kits online, and it looks like you’ll be following a similar method, so with a little time and effort I think it’ll come out great!

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my currant plan is to keep all the plastic details and glue them onto the balsa deck… (cutting them off the plastic one and gluing them onto the balsa one with the help of the template??) I hope this helps.

What’s the plan for removing the deck details? A saw?

yeah… either a dremel or maybe a saw, a saw would be better but i dont have one… and the a hobby knife for small details of course.

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Good god don’t use a dremel. They’re good for demolition, but you’ll butcher small details.

There’s enough experts on building floaty things around here that someone will have an answer for you. Might help if you posted a separate question in the ships forum to attract the right crowd in case they don’t wander in here.

Also if Ezra lured you into this project, he should be putting up some solutions! What say you @Panzer_modeler ?


Use a saw! Probably one of those extra thin, fine toothed ones intended for resin kits. And invest in a micro chisel and set of mini files if you don’t already have them, indispensable for this kind of plastic surgery.

I would recommend against using the balsa wood as a base for all the plastic components. Balsa is not a very stable material and may warp or crack over time. Definitely possible, but not the easiest path.

There are two alternate options that come to mind:

  1. The method aftermarket companies use, wherein the wood deck is glued directly to the existing kit deck (plastic). This method has the downside of increasing the elevation of the deck relative to the rest of the ship due to the added thickness of the wooden deck. Aftermarket companies offset this issue by using very thin wood, but it is not a perfect solution. Also, it looks like you are using 1/16" or 1mm balsa, which is probably too thick for this method.

  2. Alternatively, you could make a base out of polystyrene sheet, and glue the wood deck and plastic kit parts (superstructure, barbettes, details, etc.) directly to this polystyrene “false deck”. This sheet would be about the same size and shape as the wooden deck, only slightly smaller so as to fit inside the hull. This method would remove the need to superglue any kit parts to balsa wood and would rely entirely on styrene to styrene bonds for structural support.

Then, for the kit parts: the superstructure and barbettes, etc. could be cut off of the plastic deck with the full height of the part maintained. Assuming that the plastic kit deck and the balsa wood deck are approximately the same thickness (adjustments to the height of the kit parts could be made if not) the distance between the top of the superstructure and the surface of the wood deck would be the same as in the original kit part

Excuse the crummy drawing, but hopefully this makes sense. Perhaps other people on here have better ideas. I’ve never actually worked with wooden decks, aftermarket or otherwise, but this is how I would proceed.



Hey @hobby1sh I have this stuff, you need anything? I can drop it off the the store.


This makes sense! I actually picked up some polystyrene/plastic sheets because I figured I was going to need them for rigidity, I have also been using them to scratchbuild small details that would be difficult to cut off the deck assuming I had proper tools anyways.


really!? Lets talk some more, and I can see if I can stop by the store this weekend!


Honestly I dont think I can add much to what everyone said, Im just along for the ride man!

@hobby1sh Cant wait to see how you figure this out. :grin: :call_me_hand:


I will continue to keep everybody up to date on this massive project! :grin:


Finishes it three business days later…


Maybe it is just me but it seams like this is the hardest way to do this with the greatest chance of problems. Cutting off deck detail if not done perfectly will result in details being slightly off angle to the vertical. You will also loose a saw blades thickness and the details will be shorter.
Maybe I missed something in the need to use a solid balsa deck. It would be easier to get a pre-cut wooden deck that was designed to fit around the deck details. It appears this would save hours of work and a high probability of damaged deck detail.
If you were worried about the thin precut pieces sitting proud to the sides of the hull, it would be far easier to trim the sides of the hull/deck to get the deck to sit 1/32nd or 1/64th further down.
Maybe I missed the boat on this somehow, I did miss out on bit coin so I am not infallible.

Check this out $14.00


When you mentioned the paper replica I at first assumed you meant to use it as a guide to cut holes in the wooden deck so it would fit over all the major projections, leaving just small fittings like bitts to be attached over the wood; in effect replicating the process used with a commercial wooden deck. Once the holes were roughed out they could be refined by test-fitting and adjusting until they fit correctly over everything. I’d either do that or even cut little strips and lay it plank by plank rather than cutting everything off the plastic deck and risking leaving them lopsided from imperfect cutting.

Still, you have an interesting approach


It is worth noting that you can get a full upgrade kit for about 60 CAD (that’s including tracked shipping) off of evilBay. Wooden deck, metal barrels, lots of photoetch, if that’s your thing. Either way, the thing I’m most interested in is how the deck will be stained!


I considered that but I ended up buying an Eduard PE kit since the ebay one doesnt come with guard rails??


hey… This might be a good Idea…

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