From September/Oktober 1943 until September 1944 German Tanks were coated with a layer of ‘Zimmerit’, against the perceived treat of magnetic mines and ‘sticky’ bombs. The Zimmerit coating was applied on all vertical surfaces, and finished in various patterns. If you are building a German Tank build (or refitted) during this time frame, you will need to add Zimmerit. On a model Zimmerit can be created using various techniques and materials, such as putty, resin or photo-etch. Each has it’s pro’s and con’s, but here we have a look at Eduard’s photo-etch set for the ICM ‘Panther Ausf. D kit.
what's in the bag?
The set consists of 51 pieces and comes in the usual Eduard plastic ‘envelope’, with the two frets sandwiched between two stiff cards to avoid damage. The instructions are clear and as always colour coded to make it easy to determine which parts go where, and which parts need to be removed from the kit.
The set has parts to cover all surfaces of the Panther apart from the turret roof, the engine deck/hull roof and the hull behind the wheels. Parts are included to add Zimmerit to the skirts and mudguards, although the official instructions during the war did not call for these parts to be covered. Photographic evidence shows however that skirts and mudguards where often covered anyway, so it will pay to check your references if you are building a specific vehicle.
The photo-etch parts are very thin and follow the contours of the Panther easy. As most surfaces are flat application is easy, only 2 parts on the turret and the parts around the mantlet need to be curved. There are no ‘damaged’ parts included, so if you are building a ‘battle weary’ Panther you will have to cut sections away yourself. The Zimmerit has been etched very well, but there is one small ‘gash’ in the left hand hull side part, but the tools will cover that, so it’s not a big problem. Although the pattern is quite straight, there is enough ‘wave’ to make it look ‘hand applied’. Zimmerit was after all applied in the factory to exact guidelines, and would not have been subject to ‘artistic licence’.
I admit that I have always been a fan of the good old ‘putty’ method, and have found most of the PE and Resin after market set to be to ‘uniform’ and flat in appearance. But this set looks good, and after I have used it I may well change my mind. It is certainly a lot easier and quicker than using putty.
The choice of this pattern seems slightly odd, as most references I have found show the Panthers to have the vertical columns of horizontal ridges, rather than the horizontal columns of vertical ridges as depicted in this set. There is however photographic evidence of Panthers with this pattern, so unless you build a specific vehicle it should not be a problem.
Thanks to Eduard for providing this review sample.