Sd.Kfz.182 King Tiger (Porsche Turret) Zimmerit Decal Sheet

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Company: Meng Model - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Meng Model - Website: Visit Site
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Meng has done something comparatively new to accompany their outstanding Porsche-turreted King Tiger model in 1/35th scale, offering a separately-available decal sheet for the zimmerit coating found on so many of these monsters at this stage of the Second World War.

The decal sheet is certainly comprehensive – providing 3-dimensionally printed decals for literally every surface that might have had this coating on the real beast. All parts show a remarkable fidelity to the surface they’re supposed to cover and have virtually no film to interfere with the edges. On complicated areas, such as the rear of the hull and turret, multiple decals simplify getting around surface detail. All tool attachment points and other such extrusions are also left free of film to facilitate gluing.

Due to the nature of the decals, you’ll need to do a bit of planning during the kit assembly in order to leave some surface bits, such as tools, off until after these decals are applied. Not being familiar with this approach to zimmerit, I elected to apply the decals directly to the kit plastic rather than painting the surface beforehand. I’m still not sure that was the best approach, as they might have had a bit more grip on a painted surface.

Naturally, because of the thickness of the printing medium, the decals fit best on flat surfaces, but they do respond to setting solutions with a little persistence . . . up to a point. Unfortunately, setting solutions actually only soften the decal carrier film. What this means is that the thick ink portion of the decal remains fairly stiff no matter how much solution is used – enough so that I found it impossible to get them to fit around the complex curves on the front gun mantle and barrel.

As you can see from the pictures of the final model, the zimmerit decals really do look the part, and with a wash become much more three-dimensional in appearance. I can’t say that I’m 100% sold on the concept itself, however. They didn’t fit spectacularly well on anything but relatively flat surfaces and also tend to create a barrier to adhesives so that any part that has to be applied over them is on a rather fragile footing. In an ideal world, I would really have preferred to see the zimmerit texture molded into the kit surface itself.

That being said, they really do apply well to most surfaces, have virtually no film edge to interfere with placement (resolving obvious clean-up issues) and have enough texture to them that a simple wash makes the detail leap out. They certainly look better than some of the zimmerit finishes I’ve attempted to apply myself over the years. So with some caveats that may reflect my skills rather than the decals themselves, I can definitely recommend them.

My thanks to Meng for supplying the sample and to IPMS/USA for a chance to check them out.


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