|4 October 2003
|The most common
question I have received as host of this website, is how
to apply zimmerit to small scale tanks. Since I have
never attempted to do this yet myself, I asked for
readers to help me in assembling a collection of
techniques for this very necessary modeling task. For
this article, I have compiled all the responses I have
since received to my request.
This article is a continuously growing cooperative effort. If any readers have additional information and methods which they would like to share, please send them to me, and I will happily add them to the list.
My thanks to all of those who have contributed.
|Zimmerit was a coating
which the Germans applied to many of their armored
vehicles during the mid-to-late portion of World War II,
in order to defeat magnetic and adhesive anti-tank
explosives. I will not go into any detail describing the
history of zimmerit, since there are better places on the
web for that. John Elwen sent me the following link:
This site has some great photographs of many vehicles which utilized zimmerit. Another excellent reference is an article from the Track-Link website:
|My only contribution to this article
will be to point out the excellent etched brass zimmerit sets from the
Polish firm PART, and more recently, Eduard of Czech Republic. They
produce several different patterns of zimmerit for each vehicle, as
well as "factory-fresh" and "weathered and chipped"
versions of each pattern. Michael Hatch has used the PART sets to great
effect on a Revell Tiger kit.
Michael also wrote a Preview of the PART etched
set before finishing the kit.
See another Tiger with the same set, made by Marc Mercier
For ease of application, consistent results, and variety of patterns, I heartily recommend the etched brass sets. Unfortunately, using these sets is more expensive than any of the do-it-yourself methods. Also, although the vehicle selection is growing, for out-of-production kits such as the Brummbär and Elefant, we still must rely on our own techniques.
|I just finished my
first 1/72 Tiger I, and I added Zimmerit thusly:
Sound like an expert don't I? If you only knew - this is my first tank in about 15 years - I'm a figure modeller normally! I guess the moral of the story is to just dive in and give it a go!
Now, does anyone have a technique for doing waffle pattern Zimmerit? I'm gonna try a Stug. IV next!
|I know 3 methods and
I've already used 2.
I hope that this may help.
|I use an epoxy for
filling up cracks in walls, becuase it's relatively
cheap, dries very slowly and very hard, and adheres well.
Mask off the boundaries with masking tape, and apply an
even layer of epoxy to the entire surface. Take a hacksaw
blade with teeth that are of the correct size and scrape
it across the surface, raising or lowering the blade
about one millimeter where you want the ridges to be
broken. The main problem with the epoxy that it is VERY
sticky, so it's harder to make clean transitions between
sessions. If any blemishes occur, I very carefully fix it
with a toothpick dipped in alcohol so that it won't stick
to the toothpick.
I suppose that using a less adhesive putty would help solve this problem, but Tamiya's grey putty dries too fast to be used on large areas. I wasn't sure how fast their epoxy putty dries, and I couldn't find any other brands of putty (here in Taiwan, Tamiya is just about the only choice you have) so I decided to use the left over expoxy that I had used to fix cracks in my walls after a 7.3 earthquake. The epoxy sets in 40 minutes, hardens in 6 hours, and a thin layer will cure in about 24 hours, which gives you plenty of time to scrape it off and re-do it if you decide you don't like it.
Many people have recommended using a product called Zimm-it-rite from http://www.rjproducts.com/. I've never tried it however so I don't know, but looking at the photos people sent me, it looks pretty good. In Taiwan, it's always a pain (and expensive) to buy things overseas, so I decided to stick with easily available products. In any case, experiment and practice before risking your model.
to me a scan of an article from Military in Scale
magazine (August 1999) which was written by Michael
Tooth. I can't reproduce it here without violating
copyright laws, but I can summarize what Michael had to
He suggests using a product called 'Humbrol Liquid Poly' which is a type of modeling glue with a very slow drying time. You brush the Poly over the plastic, let it sit a couple seconds to melt the plastic, and then cut in the zimmerit pattern with a knife or other sharp object. This is very similar to some of the other suggestions I've seen, but the key is that this particular glue dries much slower than the other liquid cements. One of the benefits is that if you don't like the result, it's easy to sand it off, and try again. Thanks for the article, Ross.
|From Curt Reimer:
Getting inspiration from a recent magazine, I've done zimmerit with paint. I put on a coat of enamel paint, then just before it is dry, I put on a second coat. Just before this second coat is dry, I take a small screwdriver and impress the zimmerit pattern. With three Panzer IV's under my belt, I can get a fairly even and scale effect. A big plus is I use some of that old paint!
1. Spread a thin layer of the putty on the surface with a putty knife. Work approximately 1 x1 cm surface area at a time, because the putty dries fast. It takes practice to make it even. The ideal thickness is about 1/2 mm. Usually the putty will start to dry and stick all over the place. Dip the putty knife in rubbing alcohol, then continue spreading. It will soften the putty. (Note: Test with both rubbing alcohol and acetone. Rubbing alcohol tends to soften the putty, while acetone will dissolve the putty - it is good for making a rough surface. However, acetone may damage the plastic model).
2. With good lighting, and good posture, work quickly using the screwdriver to make imprints of lines in the still soft putty. I make the depressions at about 1/2 mm apart. I have succeeded in three patterns: A) Horizontal lines for an early jagdpanzer IV (Hasegawa); B) Vertical lines for an early Panther G (Revell) and C) Square pattern for a Normandy Jagdpanther (HaT).
3. After about 5 minutes, check for result. Any unsatisfactory areas can be scraped off to give a "flaked off" appearance, or putty can be re-applied.
Note: Since zimmerit was discontined in 9/44, the latest versions of German tanks usually are not covered with zimmerit. The late "ambush" camouflage scheme is almost mutually exclusive of Zimmerit. When I show the models to my neighbor, he told me I was crazy. Hope this helps and happy modelling!