Ron's 'Home Made' Zimmerit Paste Coating.

spanner570

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To each his own, and please understand that no offence is intended, but to be honest, I find bought zimmerit ( Apart from the bonkers price) a bit lifeless and somehow lacking the human touch.
The coating was applied with a trowel or similar, and sometimes in a bit of a hurry in the field too, for heavens sake!

So, as it's raining here, and I can't get in the garden, I've just spent this morning having a bash at my own zimmerit coating on my 1/35 'Practice' Tiger 1 tank.

After numerous failures, I've managed to come up with something which, I think looks acceptable. As a bonus, every tank coated will be different, just like it would have been!

I've kept the paste as thin as possible. Any thinner, and I wouldn't have been able to model the 'Grooves'.

I settled on using a polyfilla / pva mix, a cocktail stick, my modelling knife and an old paint brush. I've deliberately adopted a 'Hit and Miss' approach to the laying on of the paste, rather than an all over, neat and precise squeaky clean look, sometimes seen with 'bought' zimmerit.

What do you think?

Honest answers on a postcard to.......

P1190067.JPG

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P1190074.JPG

Be gentle, I bruise easily!

Ron
 
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As someone who's tinkered with both Tamiyas stick-on-vinyl zimmerit and now the new Meng water slide decal zimmerit I can easily say that yours look much more realistic!
You're also correct in saying that every tank was unique since the zimmerit was applied towards the end and probably in a rush - by different people and different styles.
It wasn't meant to look cool, just prevent magnetic mines to stick.

I don't regret trying these zimmerit options I've done but the next one I do will be a DIY zimmerit, like yours - and I do think yours is very well made!
Zimmerit often got chipped and nicked and this is easier to replicate with a thicker paste than a thin decal for sure.
 

Mr Bowcat

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That looks good to me Ron. I do want to try home made zimmerit, although I don't think I will start on the Panther I've got for the GB (the Meng one, same as Jens). I have a couple of Tiger's in the stash that I got cheap in a bulk-buy deal so will try your cocktail on one of those. :smiling3:

Out of interest, what sort of working time did you have with your paste before it goes off?
 

spanner570

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Thanks Bob.
I don't blame you. I tried various bits of plastic, before I had the nerve to actually slop it on the turret - and the tank is just my 'Practice one!

Working time? I suppose the wetter the mix, the longer the working time, but when I finally arrived at a workable consistency, it only took around a couple of minutes - tops, before it went off........So work quickly is the best advise I can give.

Cheers,
Ron
 

papa 695

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Nowt wrong with that Young Ron.
 

spanner570

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Thanks Ian, Paul and Jim. I'm chuffed my stab at zimmerit'ing has passed muster with you good people.

Cheers,
Ron
 

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First, that looks great Ron. I had to look up some piccies of the real thing for comparison and yours more than passes muster.

Secondly, bearing in mind I don't really do armour, a maybe silly question. If the purpose of the Zimmerit was to make it harder to attach magnetic mines or other charges, why was it applied to the turret? This seems an unlikely place for the foolhardy or brave to attempt to attach a device. Surely somewhere lower on the vehicle would make more sense?

Cheers

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The Russians were crafty and taught their soldiers to jump before they attached the magnetic mines :tongue-out3:

Jokes aside, zimmerit only worked because the Russians thought it worked so they stopped trying to use magnetic mines. The truth is probably that none of the Russians wanted to attach those mines to begin with so in the end it was a win-win :thumb2:

The orders were zimmerit on all flat horizontal surfaces apart from spaced armour and that's what they applied. In late 1944 they stopped using zimmerit because they realised it wasn't needed.
 

spanner570

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In late 1944 they stopped using zimmerit because they realised it wasn't needed.

There's me going along under the impression that it's use was banned because it was thought (wrongly) that allied projectiles might ignite the stuff.
 
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There's me going along under the impression that it's use was banned because it was thought (wrongly) that allied projectiles might ignite the stuff.
I have heard that but I've also read that it was stopped due to it being unnecessary due to no enemy using magnetic mines - which they'd seriously overestimated, or perhaps didn't exist at all apart from one isolated DIY attempt?
Unless I remember totally wrong they used to set fire to the zimmerit with a blowtorch after it'd been applied to harden it and since the sawdust ratio was only 10% there was zero chance of it burning.
An impact would do nothing to the zimmerit since there's nothing combustible in the recipe when mixed and hardened.
One will never know for sure but the Germans thought it was important enough to put it on all their tanks for several years so they must've been worried...
 

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An impact would do nothing to the zimmerit since there's nothing combustible in the recipe when mixed and hardened.
I have a mention in book (not sure which, I'll look later) that the blowtorch only hardened to outer 'skin', and the coating underneath remained flammable, or at least that's what many tank crews believed.
One will never know for sure but the Germans thought it was important enough to put it on all their tanks for several years so they must've been worried...
I think you're getting military planning confused with logic Jens!
 

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I found it, in the Haynes 'owners' manual' for the Tiger. Apparently the Zimmerit was to be applied in two layers, of 2mm, then allowed to dry for 4 hours, then blowtorched, the a further 4mm again allowed to dry then blowtorched, then painted. In cold weather, (even if these timings were complied with) this could mean that some of the benzene content would be sealed in by the paint and would never dry out. The book also mentions various combat reports claiming that the coating had been ignited by hits on the tank.
One of the ingredients was pine resin, which I should think would be flammable to some degree.

I suggest that whoever in the Wehrmacht decided that magnetic mines were a significant threat, and combustion wasn't, would not admit he'd made a mistake.

Pete
 
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I found it, in the Haynes 'owners' manual' for the Tiger. Apparently the Zimmerit was to be applied in two layers, of 2mm, then allowed to dry for 4 hours, then blowtorched, the a further 4mm again allowed to dry then blowtorched, then painted. In cold weather, (even if these timings were complied with) this could mean that some of the benzene content would be sealed in by the paint and would never dry out. The book also mentions various combat reports claiming that the coating had been ignited by hits on the tank.
One of the ingredients was pine resin, which I should think would be flammable to some degree.

I suggest that whoever in the Wehrmacht decided that magnetic mines were a significant threat, and combustion wasn't, would not admit he'd made a mistake.

Pete

The recipe for zimmerit as I've read contains no pine resin, just PVA - but I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't mix it up with other types of stuff, especially when applied in field!

40 % Barium sulfate
25 % polyvinyl acetate
15 % pigment
10 % Zinc sulfide
10 % sawdust

I suggest that whoever in the Wehrmacht decided that magnetic mines were a significant threat, and combustion wasn't, would not admit he'd made a mistake.

This is the really strange part - and one I fully agree with - and that's how the decision to use zimmerit was taken so quickly/hastily when the whole German manufacturing industry was so extremely strict and pedantic, taking months to produce a tank and refusing to cut corners, compared to the Russians and the slapped together T-34 which sometimes had huge gaps between the hull plates simply because they didn't fit!?
On the other hand the German steel industry happily melted down cutlery and any old "iron" and similar metals just to be able to produce steel for the tanks - which quickly became apparent when suddenly tanks like the Sherman was able to penetrate Panthers etc due to the armour being too brittle...

The finer details on how and why we will never know but zimmerit must've been a decision taken very quickly and then, as you said, kept in order not to admit fault...

When doing research for modelling you find new stuff all the time and you can add another piece of the puzzle which is something I really love but at the end of the day it's more than 70 years ago WWII ended and a lot of information will never be truly known, which is sadly the case with war efforts. It is amazing though how especially the allies collected accurate(-ish) statistics whereas the Germans falsified theirs on many occasions to boost morale. This makes it really hard to know if something really ever happened?

Anyhow, sorry for long OT - Ron's zimmerit still looks fantastic and miles better than my current decal zimmerit! ;)
 

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The recipe for zimmerit as I've read contains no pine resin, just PVA - but I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't mix it up with other types of stuff, especially when applied in field!

40 % Barium sulfate
25 % polyvinyl acetate
15 % pigment
10 % Zinc sulfide
10 % sawdust
Jens, none of those are liquid, so wouldn't make a paste. The ingredients listed in the Haynes manual following extensive research by The Tank Museum are zinc sulphide, barium sulphate, pine sawdust, PVA, pebble dust, ochre, and "pine crystals dissolved in benzene". No proportions are given.

Anyhow, sorry for long OT - Ron's zimmerit still looks fantastic and miles better than my current decal zimmerit! ;)
Yes, I agree, much better than any of the decals or stickers that I've seen.

Pete
 

spanner570

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Thanks Pete. I'm pleased you like my attempt at modelling some zimmerit.
 
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Jens, none of those are liquid, so wouldn't make a paste. The ingredients listed in the Haynes manual following extensive research by The Tank Museum are zinc sulphide, barium sulphate, pine sawdust, PVA, pebble dust, ochre, and "pine crystals dissolved in benzene". No proportions are given.
Pete

Polyvinyl acetate is just a fancy word for PVA, thus providing the liquid bonding agent to the zimmerit ;)

What I listed was the "official" ingredients from the zimmerit manufacturer Chemische Werke Zimmer & Co but that doesn't cover for stuff they perhaps mixed in with the goop to stretch the supplies?
 
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