Thursday, December 6, 2012

Zimmerit 2: Patterns and Scale Reproductions

Zimmerit patterns- general guide.

Different zimmeritt patterns were applied to certain vehicles which may be due to preferences at particular plants. 

Ridged Pattern (Most prevalent)

Panther Pattern

StuG III Pattern

StuG IV Pattern

Early Jagdpanther Pattern

Below are common patterns for some vehicle types noted by the Paul A. Owen:
Vehicle Name
All but early
Not on Ferdinand
Not known if applied
Jagdpanzer (very early)
Early mantle vehicles only
Possibly on Porsche suspension vehicles
Kingtiger (early, mid)
All Porsche turrets and early Henschel
Panther D(late), A(all), G(early)
Vertical ridged with secondary cross-hatch
Ausf D rebuilds only
Pz III M, N (late
Very rare
Pz IV H(mid/late), J(early)
Sometimes on side skirts
PzIV L/70 (early)
Pz Jg IV Ausf F
Sutg III G (early, mid)
Stug IV (early, mid)
Ridged, "zigzag" on hull sides
Zimmerit left over from conversion
Tiger I (mid, late)
Raked on hull, ridged on turret
All late

Methods of Zimmerit Scale Reproduction.

Here is a list of selected methods from Paul’s article with their pros and cons.

A product from Australia made of latex material in sheets with the exact panels for a particular AFV kit moulded into them.

Pros: Easy and realistic.
Cons: Currently hard to find outside of Australia. Restricted to one pattern. Looks a little too thick.

Hot Knife Scribing Method

This employs a hot knife (with rheostat for temperature control) to scribe the zimmerit pattern into the kit parts. A pattern is drawn on the model as a guide and the zimmerit is melted into the surface following this pattern.

Pros: Free (assuming you have the tools.)
Cons: Pattern looks fake. Only one shot at a good pattern. Easy to the destroy model. Difficult to model damage zimmerit.

Injection Moulded Styrene Sheets
Dragon 1/35 Panther G with injection moulded Zimmerit
Italeri started this trend with the Panther Ausf. A with injection moulded zimmerit sheets and replacement parts. They are acceptable but should be thinned out by sanding from the back.

Pros: Easy to use. Readily available.
Cons: Expensive. Needs thinning out (at least Italeri parts do.) Need to modify for different vehicles.

Textured model putty method looks the best because it is replicates in scale the way Germans applied zimmerit to their AFVs'. It is not difficult as it sounds or as it’s described in literature. The application description follows in the next post.

Pros: The most realistic DIY method. Free!
Cons: Intimidating at first. Time consuming

Putty Raking - "The Tamiya Method"
This is similar to Putty Texturing method except the pattern is made by dragging a serrated tool across its' surface using a Tamiya set of tools (catalogue number 35187) specifically made for this purpose - hence "The Tamiya Method". DIY tools can be used including razor saws, corrugated metal, etc. The pattern produced looks good but fails to capture the true troweled pattern well. The method is perfect though for Tiger I's which received raked on zimmerit coats.

Dragging a serrated Tamiya zimmerit rake on a Brummbär scale model

Pros: The easiest and most fool proof of the DIY methods. Free!
Cons: Only accurate for "raked" pattern, as on Tiger I hulls.

Resin Replacement Parts
Resin Zimmerit set from Cavalier
Kirin, Cavalier and Accurate Armour have zimmerit kits for the popular kits (Tamiya Panthers and King Tigers.) While the patterns are good, they would require fixing up- removing molding lugs, filling in bubbles, etc. more than for other methods.

Pros: Perfect zimmerit representation (assuming the guy who did the master was good!)
Cons: Very expensive. Vehicle specific. Difficult to modify. Replacement kit parts often simplified.

This material is very similar to epoxy putty but is much softer and easier to work with. It is used in the same way as plastic putty in the Textured putty method. According to Paul, it is the best method available currently for simulating Zimmerit which is described in the next post. Zimmer-it Embossing Tools are used with putties such as above which are a set of patterned stamps. They can be used either as "combs" or "stamps" to texture the putty.
*Note: R & J Enterprises USA s used to make Zimm-it-rite but has discontinued this product according to their web site updated 27th May 2007.

Pros: Excellent material for use with the textured putty method, as it has a long working life and doesn't affect the plastic.
Cons: None.

Textured Paper Dinner Napkins

This is the best method for smaller scales, 1/48th, 1/72nd and 1/76th which was described in FineScale Modeler. It uses paper dinner napkins embossed with appropriate pattern cut up into roughly the shape needed and coated for strength; Paul used plastic goo (sprue dissolved in liquid cement) and Krazy Glue. The material is trimmed to exact size and glued to the model.

Pros: Almost free. Easy. Fun to use (I tried it and it was!)
Cons: Pattern may look soft. Restricted to one pattern.

These innovative, "quick fix" zimmerit sheets are embossed paper sheets which don't look convincing with patterns too indistinct. It is difficult to get the sheets (which do not stretch) to cover an area with compound curves (a surface which curves in more than one axis.The Tamiya sticker sheet enables easy reproduction of Zimmerit by simply applying the stickers on the Model and then painting a realistic Zimmerit effect 

Pros: Easy. Was the best "quick fix" method until Cavalier's Zimmerit came out.
Cons: Expensive. Difficult to fit to compound curves. Looks fake - too smooth.

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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Zimmerit 1- History

This is a summary of my main Zimmerit guide in my Captured King Tiger Project (King Tiger Build Proper-Zimmerits with or without). The guide is mostly from Mikey's Modeling Pages on Applying Zimmerit by Paul A. Owen and from other sources.


Zimmerit was a non-magnetic coating produced for German armored fighting vehicles during World War II for the purpose of combating magnetically attached anti-tank mines like the British "Clam" experimental ordnance. 
A British Rigid Limpet Mark from WWII
During WW2, the British had adhesive "sticky bombs" as anti tank weapons for which Germans had lost several Panzers during the attacks on France, Greece and North Africa. This was also used by the Soviets by virtue of a Lend-Lease agreement with Britain. 

The operation of the Sticky Bomb was simple. The first pin was pulled, releasing the protective clamshell. The second pin was yanked, freeing the safety lever, igniting the timed fuse. An operator had five seconds to get the pin pulled, grenade stuck to the target and beat a hasty retreat to safety. Some 2.5 million Stick Bombs were produced by the end of World War II. from the

In the summer of 1943, the Zimmerit was made available as a counter to these magnetic and adhesive anti-tank mines. It was developed in Berlin by the C.W. Zimmer Company, (hence the term Zimmerit) and was used in the summer of 1943. As a counter measure before production zimmerit was made available, temporary measures late in 1942 were also ordered which included field application of readily available materials such as concrete, thick coatings of mud, even ice in winter conditions. This accounted for a variety of zimmerit patterns and applications on odd vehicles during the first half of 1943.
Close view of Zimmerit on the glacis of a Tiger II
Contrary to popular belief that Zimmerit was made with plaster or concrete, it was actually composed of a matrix (polyvinyl acetate, 25%), a filler (10% saw dust) and additional mixtures of unknown purposes ( 40% barium sulphate 10% zinc sulphide). It’s colored dark yellow with the addition of 15% ochre pigment. Take note that zimmerit has no "anti-magnetic" properties but it was an effective counter weapon to sticky bombs and mines since it created a rough surface reducing the area of contact for "sticky bombs"; AND it put distance between the hull and the mine which defeated magnetic mines.The coating was a barrier that prevented direct contact of magnetic mines with metal surfaces of vehicles. It was normally ridged to increase overall thickness- the non-magnetic coating holds the magnet of the mine too far from the steel of the vehicle for it to adhere.
Two Jagdpanther with Zimmerit coat and camouflage, belonging to 2.Kompanieschwere Heeres-Panzerjäger-
Abteilung 654 rolling at high speed through the streets of Bourgtheroulde-Infreville, Haute-Normandy.
Production Zimmerit was applied only to the vertical surfaces to all tanks and closed top Self Propelled guns but rarely to anything else. This was applied at the factory but many vehicles received field applications as mentioned above. 

In mid 1944, the application of zimmerit was phased out as it was rendered obsolete due to greatly improved AT weapons.


Zimmerit 2-Zimmerit Patterns


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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

King Tiger Build Proper-Zimmerits with or without

This is the continuation of my King Tiger build proper (see related posts below) which was my very first scale model kit build EVER. The build is presented chronologically guided by questions I had in mind as I progressed with the build with some representative (amateurish) digital pictures.

2. Zimmerits- with or without

Zimmerit was a non-magnetic coating produced for German armored fighting vehicles during World War II for the purpose of combating magnetically attached anti-tank mines like the British "Clam" experimental ordnance. 
Close view of Zimmerit on the glacis of a Tiger II
It was developed by the German company Chemische Werke Zimmer AG.The coating was a barrier that prevented direct contact of magnetic mines with metal surfaces of vehicles. It was normally ridged to increase overall thickness. The magnetostatic field decreases very rapidly, with the cube of distance; the non-magnetic coating holds the magnet of the mine too far from the steel of of the vehicle for it to adhere.

My earlier post on the Captured King Tiger Project (see My King Tiger (KT) Build Proper: Kit Inventory and General Planning) shows a KT with Zimmerits which I planned to do. When I bought the KT kit, I never had an idea that the word Zimmerit in model building causes much fear for modelers of WW2 German armour! I was actually discouraged by some members of my local IPMS forum to make the zimmerits myself considering that I was a newbie and that the KT will be my very first kit ever. I was told that there were kits with already preformed zimmerits in them which would facilitate the build but unfortunately the kit series I bought were the more "challenging" ones where the modeler will be the one to create the zimmerit itself. Since the KT kit was already bought, I decided to go on with the build after much research especially on the added zimmerit challenge. 

My main Zimmerit guide is Mikey's Modeling Pages on Applying Zimmerit by Paul A. Owen. I will make a separate blog post on the application of the zimmerit proper to save space in this post. Enough to say that I tried to follow the 'Putty Texturing" and the "Putty Raking -The Tamiya Method" techniques mentioned in the  literature. For both techniques, Model putty is  applied on the tank surface and the difference is on how the the zimmerit pattern is applied: for Putty Texturing method the pattern is stamped with a trowel; for the Putty Raking  it is made by dragging a serrated tool across its' surface. 
Using a trowel perpendicular to the surface to gently press in the zimmerit ridge

Here is a brief description on how I did it:

Materials:   Tamiya Epoxy Putty Basic Type

                zim pattern  using a small pinion gear
 pinion gear zim pattern; not actual photo but similar to what I used
Repeating zimmerit application instructions per tank surface:
1. Smear a thin layer of Tamiya grey putty on a patch of hull (turret or whatever), let it set up for a few seconds.
2. Start pressing the zim pattern small pinion gear. Start from the top and work down making a vertical column, then move to the right for the next column etc. 
 pinion gear zim pattern application; not actual photo but similar to what I did
3. Do one side of a piece then set it aside to dry. 
4. Once dry, sand the zim a bit to knock off any putty chunks and to take the edge off the ridges.

Actual work done below: Not that pretty but I had lots of fun doing it!

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