It is quite easy to work the veneer. It is basically an ultra-thin layer of wood. Using a crafting knife, you can cut out lines to simulate planks (make sure to cut with the grain for the long lines). This example even shows the end of the planks and nail holes, which I normally don't do. You can also give the veneer extra strength by gluing it to a thin layer of cardstock. The veneer can be painted and if you don't put on too much paint, the wood grain will still show. I actually did most of my 'paint' jobs with wood stain, which even accentuates the grain. When you have prepared an element, you wipe it in with wood stain (which takes like a minute or less) before you glue it into your ship.
I asked you this before but for some reason your replies got deleted in my inbox. What kind of veneer did you use? I checked on amazon and there is just so many brands and types I would not know where to start. Do you have a picture of the package you purchased or a link if it was online?