by: Matthew Quiroz [ ]
Zimmerit, (Zim) that anti magnetic paste the Germans plastered (literally) all over their tanks has been replicated on our models in several different ways over the years. Putties, resin, and photo etch are just a few that come to mind. Well, the good folks at Monroe Perdu Studios recently sent their offering on the gooey stuff for a review and a test run. It is a unique approach to the sticky paste if nothing else…. it’s laser cut paper. You read correctly, laser cut paper.
The package arrived sandwiched between two pieces of cardboard to protect it from the gentle hands of the mail service, and it did its job well as my sample was in tip top shape with no wrinkles or bends to be found. I opened the envelope and found a nice letter with some information on the product, and a nice instruction sheet for applying it to my test subject. In this case, Tamiya’s offering of the Panther G, kit #35170.
I clipped out the related kit parts that the Zim would be applied to and cleaned all mating surfaces to ensure I would have a good fit. The instructions recommended that the surface be primed to allow for better adhesion of the thinned white glue and the paper. I whole heartedly complied and painted the needed areas with a good coat of primer red from White Ensign Models.
While my primer was drying, I cut out my paper zim pieces and laid them out according to the instruction sequence. Per the instructions, I started with the hull sides. The instructions say that there will need to be some minor trimming at the front of the piece so I test fit my pieces and found this to be true. I sliced off about a 1/32” of material and everything lined up nicely. The cut-outs provided for the tool locations and side skirt attachment points lined up perfectly.
I continued working my way around the hull until I had all of the associated pieces attached. Everything fit well for the most part, except for the machine gun portion, and I’ll talk about that a little later. Now that the hull was complete, I moved on to the turret. I began with the turret sides then moved around be a tough egg to crack; especially the curved side pieces. These took longer to install than the entire hull alone. I had to tack them in place with a small amount of glue, and let that set up first. I then brushed on a liberal amount of glue/water to soften the paper and allow it to curve. I had to continue prodding it with a toothpick and tweezers to get it into position, but patience prevailed and they are in place. Once dried completely, I will trim them up a little with a fresh blade to better match the surrounding detail. The bottom front piece for the turret went on without any difficulty.
The next item presented a bit of a problem as well; the barrel shroud piece. I had to use the same procedure for this as the curved sides. Tack in place, let set up, and then apply copious amounts of water and glue to get it to conform to the curve. There is just a small gap at the base which should be easy to fill once everything is dried completely. The last items I added were the small hatch on the back of the turret and the stowage boxes on the rear of the hull. Fit was perfect with all of them. In my build I decided to leave the stowage boxes off for a different look, hence them not showing on the completed model, but they do fit and the product fits them equally as well.
I talked about the fit of the machine gun piece earlier. I tried the same procedure as before to get it to lie down. It worked to a degree, but there was no getting it to cooperate fully with my attempts. There are some extra pieces provided as spares and I may try and slice one of those up to get a better fit once it has dried overnight. As it sits now, it doesn’t look all that great, but it might be me, and not the product. After letting the MG piece dry, I still didn't like the look of it, so I removed it all together. It will be free from Zim for a different and unique look. (Maybe it was a field replacement)
I had some minor issues at the front corners as can be seen in the pictures, but I was able to trim those pieces down once all had dried. I probably could have (and should have) trimmed them down more prior to installation for a better fit, so lesson learned here on my part.
The product can be painted with any type of paint and takes weathering well. One small drawback is that the paper tends to absorb the paint much like a sponge. There is a half bottle of Model Master Dark Yellow on this model, even with the primer in place, it still absorbed that much. Not a game ender, but something the builder should be aware of.
Overall this is a very nice set. It looks to be in scale and is pretty easy to apply. The instructions say to use thinned white glue (PVA), but it can be installed using full strength white glue as well. By putting on a primer first there is a good bond created between the paper and the primer. The paper can be cut to show battle damage either before or after applying the pieces. It is easier to do so before hand…I speak from experience as I tried both. The bond between the paper and the primer was that good.
The pieces come on a single sheet with a diagram showing what pieces go where plus a couple of extras for touch ups. The attachment points are very small with only 2 per piece, so removing the pieces is a snap with a sharp blade or extremely fine scissors. I was extremely happy with the performance of the product, save for the MG portion, but that is about it and I can handle that easy enough. If you are looking for an alternative to PE, and resin Zimmerit, you might want to give this a try.