Thursday, 3 December 2015

Techtip X: Zimmerit

Zimmerit was a anti-magnetic pasted used by the Wehrmacht during world war II. The Germans developed a magnetic bomb to be used by infantry to knock out tanks and other armoured vehicles. A soldier was to walk up to tank, attach the grate and set it off. Expecting the allies to copy this weapon the Wehrmacht also developed this anti-magnetic paste to counter this threat. Zimmerit was applied to vehicles produced between December 1943 and September 1944. The application of zimmerit was stopped because of the fear it would catch fie then a vehicle was hit by an enemy shell. It turned out that the allies never developed magnetic grades and also the zimmerit would not ignite when hit by a shell. So both the reason to apply it and to stop with it's application proved to be false. It did gave the vehicles build with this layer a very distinctive look. The zimmerit was applied in three different styles:
  • Horizontal stripes
  • Squares
  • Squares with vertical stripes
  • Waffle pattern
I'm not sure the pattern where applied to prevent vacuum bombs from sucking on the surface.

Making model zimmerit

When building certain vehicles you might want to recreate zimmerit. This is often done by adding a layer of paste on the surface of a model and form a pattern on it then the paste is still wet. Here you find more techniques. An other way of recreating the patterns is by applying a very thin layer of plastic sheet to the model, cut along it's edges of the model surface below and the scribe in the pattern with a (blunt) knife or scriber. It is important to use a thick, slow(er) drying glue to apply the plastic sheet. The glue also has to be spread to from a thin layer otherwise are bubbles from causing the sheet not to be glued to the supporting surface locally. Thin glue isn't ideal to use, it dries to fast in one spot and dissolves to much of the plastic sheet on other places. When cutting the pattern in to the layer the layer will fall off at these locations. This is something that some modellers find a welcome effect to simulate zimmerit broken off. A few diagrams to make thing clear:

The tools needed: Thick glue, a piece of scrap plastic card to smooth out the glue, a piece of good card roughly cut to the size of the surface below, a sharp knife to cut the plastic card in precisely the same shape as the surface below, a scriber or a blunt knife to cut in the patterns.

Applying the plastic sheet right.

Applying the plastic sheet wrong causing air bubbles to from under the sheet. On some places this might be wanted but you don't want this to occur random.

The following picture is the process of creating a squares with vertical stripes pattern on the 1/25 Panther A. the picture can be magnified by clicking on it:

A magnification of the result.

A sketch of the patterns, the waffle pattern can't be created with this technique.

Finally a few pictures of this technique applied to a few models, these are all 1/72 scale. Note the individually applied 'tiles' on the mantled of the Panther: