by: Andras [ ]
This is a very short discussion about a Zimmerit alternative- decals by Meng. As they are very cheap compared to the other aftermarket alternatives, I thought I would give them a try- even though I used Takomís Panther instead of Mengís. I figured if they were accurate, the decals should fit -more or less. (I have experience with resin Zimmerit, I did try home-made which was OK, but time consuming, and I am not very convinced about the PE Zimmerit, although I have never used it.)
So what was my experience using them?
Well, they are decals, and as such, they are fixed onto a carrier paper; you remove them by soaking the paper in water. (Not a big surprise.) The issue here is that the adhesive seems to be dissolving in the water, so you end up with a really thin, fragile resin sheet, which needs to be glued on the surface. This is both a curse and a blessing. Curse -obviously, you have to be very, very careful with it, and use extra glue. I found that the best to use is PVA: it gives you time enough to adjust things, and it also provides a strong bond. The decal also breaks very, very, VERY easily, so extreme care needs to be taken. You can look at it like a feature: instant battle damage! (This was the way I chose to look at it.) The edges needed constant care: even after painting I found myself gluing the edges onto the surface of the model. They also flake easily- you can see it on the photos around the side-skirts.
Blessings: the thinness also makes the decal very much in-scale, which is nice. The main problem I found was with the extremely curved surfaces (such as the shield of the hull machine gun and the gun mantlet) - the decal can be gently bent around curves, but you have to be very careful, and do it in steps. (Glue one side on, wait until glue sets, glue the other side on.)
The application process was not terribly bad once I realized the decals would not stay on by themselves, and the results were OK. It was not always easy to make the edges of two adjacent pieces of decal blend in with each other, but some thin putty (and PVA) helped. Interestingly the dimensions of the Meng and Takom Panthers are not always exactly the same, so one (or both) is slightly incorrect: this was most noticeable on the side-skirts and the front plate.
All-in-all, it is a cost-effective way of applying Zimmerit. Obviously it best works with the Meng kit, but with some adjustment it can be used with the Takom one too, and for a couple of quid it was not a bad trade. There are better products out there, but at this price it is a reasonable compromise.
All-in-all, it is a cost-effective way of applying Zimmerit. Obviously it best works with the Meng kit, but with some adjustment it can be used with the Takom one too, and for a couple of quids it was not a bad trade. There are better products out there, but at this price it is a reasonable compromise.