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Making your own Zimmerit - ASZOF Method

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  • Member since
    July, 2017
Making your own Zimmerit - ASZOF Method
Posted by FJ Meyer on Tuesday, October 09, 2018 2:31 AM

 

Dear Fellow Modellers, I would like to contribute my 5 cents worth of input on this taboo subject.

Below is my way of making Zimmerit for German Armour. For ease of writing, ASZOF stands for (Acrylic Sealant Zimmerit On Film. I have also once upon a time, been one of those plagued by fear of Zimmeriting my German Armour. Many problems associated with Zimmerit has lead me to avoid modelling German Armour during this time frame when Zimmerit was in use.

Potential problems faced:

1) models and putty are expensive and I fear screwing up the Zimmerit and thus wasting both

2) difficult to work around raised details when Zimmeriting on the vehicle itself

3) difficult to correct mistakes or when you aren’t satisfied with how your Zimmerit turns out

4) 2 part polyester putty is difficult to clean up and expensive and not water based

5) I am old and don’t have steady hands, so that complicate matters

ASZOF technique solves all these problems. It allows you to do all the dirty work away from our precious model. If you aren’t happy with your work, wash with water and all comes off. You can start again.

Hope it has been useful and sorry for the long post.

Sim

Step 1 - The Film

For ASZOF, I use 0.13 mm thick polystyrene sheets from Evergreen (S$8 for 3 sheets) or 0.1 mm thick generic OHP transparencies. Try to go as thin as possible coz I understand that Zimmerit in real life is really quite thin. These are about the thinnest I can find locally. Sand down both sides of the film with grit 400 - 600 sandpaper. Firstly, this gets the film even thinner and secondly, it roughens up the surface to allow for better adhesion for ASZOF and glue later. 

Note: Although the preferred material here is the polystyrene sheets but I included the OHP transparencies because sometimes polystyrene sheets aren’t simply available anywhere. Another thing, transparency is very difficult to sand.

Step 2 - The Template

Tamiya makes several Zimmerit sheets for various vehicles Panther, Tiger And King Tigers etc. These cuts outs are usually discarded by fellow modellers after they have finished. I save these and use them as templates for myself. Draw and cut out the individual pieces on the polystyrene or transparency film prepared accordingly described above.

Step 3 - The Zimmerit

I use either a paintable acrylic sealant (S$2 per cartridge of 280 ml) (DO NOT USE SILICONE SEALANT) or Perfect Plastic Putty (S$12 per tube of 40 g). Both are almost similar in performance in terms of ease of troweling and consistency but acrylic sealant is way more flexible. So you can easily bend your ASZOF to conform to the likes of the Tiger 1 and Panther turrets. Typically I use about 30-40 g of sealant per tank so the cartridge of sealant goes a long way.

I have also tried Windsor Newton Matte Super Heavy Gel,  Selley’s No More Gap, Vallejo Putty DAP Vinyl Spackle & Elmer’s wood filler. Some work ok but others fail miserably. This is another topic altogether so I won’t go into details.

Step 4 - The Equipment 

I use the 0.7mm Tamiya Zimmerit Tool freehand or in conjunction with my home built Lego Zimmerit Applicator to make ASZOF. This applicator can slide both the y-axis and x-axis as indicated by the arrows.

A template with 4mm column guide. You can choose whatever width you desire your Zimmerit to be. This 4mm column guide serve the important function of allowing you to plan where exactly you want your Zimmerit columns to start and end. It also prevents you from having too many bad slanted columns in the finished product. (My shaky hands condition is really bad)

A close up of the column guide. Draw it on the reverse (back) side where it will not come into contact with the sealant or putty during the application process

Step 5 - The Application Process

Use temporary glue or watered down PVA glue to secure the ASZOF cut outs from Step 2 on top of this template guide. Align and position it carefully. Start Zimmeriting away, making an interval at every 4mm.

If unhappy with the results, rinse with tap water and all comes off easily and restart. No big deal. No more fear.

If satisfied, remove ASZOF from column guide carefully and wait for sealant to cure. Mine is about 24 hrs.

Sealant applied. One point to note: when you apply the sealant, take care not to trap any air bubbles between the ASZOF and sealant. It will not look good if you have air bubbles.

After application.

Remove your ASZOF carefully.

Remaining sealant is easily washed away

Step 6 - Adhesion

My preference is the polystyrene based ASZOF, I use 5 min 2 part Epoxy Adhesives. I apply the epoxy only in the center of the ASZOF film so that it will not ooze out when I apply pressure to press it down. Carefully position and align it. After 20-30 mins, I can secure the loose edges with Tamiya Extra Thin Quicky Type. Just touch the joints and the Extra Thin will wick it’s way inside and dry quickly.

For the transparency based ASZOF, 5 min 2 part Epoxy is probably the only choice. Not a great deal of glue bonds well to transparencies As they are made of either PET or Cellulose Acetate. (Both Low surface energy material).The bond is ok but the ASZOF can be lifted if you pry it hard enough. Any Epoxy that has oozed out can be cleaned carefully with a cotton bud and IPA (Rubbing Alcohol)

A close up picture of the ASZOF. As you can see acrylic sealant allows the Zimmerit to have really good definitions: ridges are high and troughs are low. Just nice. Will not adversely affect decal placement. 

At this stage, if you so desire, you can also make your battle damage before application onto the model surface

Lastly, you can make generic rectangular pieces and cut them into smaller pieces to paste onto for eg Tiger 1 mantlet where the surface has too many angles.

 

The ASZOF still has its limitations. Can’t use this to make a waffle pattern on a STUG.

If you need any clarifications, please let me know. I will be delighted to help and answer.

 

Warmest Regards

Sim

  • Member since
    July, 2017
Posted by FJ Meyer on Tuesday, October 09, 2018 2:32 AM

Finally got the pictures up.

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: SW Virginia
Posted by Gamera on Tuesday, October 09, 2018 11:31 AM

Oh wow! Very clever idea, I'd never have thought of making the zimmerit and then applying it to the model! Thanks for sharing this with us.  

"I dream in fire but work in clay." -Arthur Machen

 

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