|MENG Model King Tiger work-in-progress: Application of zimmerit decals|
So why did this seemingly innocuous characteristic of MENG Model's water slide decals cause me problems? Well, one thing that happens when you soak a decal too long in water is that it becomes too soft to manipulate properly. This issue is further complicated when the decal itself is extremely small in size. It makes for hair-pulling moments especially when the said tiny decal folds in on itself. Initially, this happened to me a few times cuasing fairly disastrous results. Needless to say, some decals were badly torn. Thankfully though, I can attribute their condition to being battle-damaged!
|Custom Sd.Kfz.182 King Tiger Zimmerit Decals by MENG Model|
|MENG Model's zimmerit decals are of the water slide variety|
To compound the problem, it become near impossible to place an over-softened tiny decal onto small surface areas such as the edges of the rear turret hatch (see second picture below). That I had even managed to salvage parts of the tiny decal is already in itself a small miracle.
|Zimmerit decals were applied around all four sides of the King Tiger turret|
|Small surface areas made it difficult for the zimmerit decals to adhere to the sides of the rear hatch|
|Square-shaped hole in the zimmerit decal on the turret's side was cut out using a hobby knife|
|Another decal i.e. the 'charging knight' emblem will be placed within the square-shaped hole|
After learning from my initial experiences I then made sure I didn't soak any of the decals in the water for too long. But it's highly likely I overcompensated. It turns out that I didn't soak for long enough, a particular decal meant for the machine gun port on a rounded surface area on the King Tiger's front glacis (see below). Essentially this made it very difficult for the flat decal to conform to the machine gun port's curved surface area. As such I damaged the decal quite significantly, again. And similar to this first incident, I will be passing off the torn decal as being battle-damaged.
|Putting the zimmerit decal on the rounded surface of the glacis machine gun port proved challenging ...|
|... thus causing minor damage to the decal around the machine gun port aka 'battle damage'|
Meanwhile, there is also a tendency for the edges of the zimmerit decals to peel after it has dried. I noticed this tends to happen at edges that, through normal handling, came under constant friction e.g. palm of your hand brushing against a particular corner of the hull. One way of mitigating this problem is was to apply a very thin layer superglue underneath the decal on the said corner.
|Large and flat surface areas proved easiest on which to apply the zimmerit decals|
|Closeup of zimmerit decal on the King Tiger's lower glacis|
|Zimmerit decals have to be aligned carefully with indentations onto which the pioneer tools will attach|
So would I recommend the use of these zimmerit water slide decals? Despite all the issues I had encountered, the answer is a qualified yes. Custom ready-to-use decals are rather pricey, costing up to one third of the model kit's price. But they can be a time-saver especially on larger surface areas. An alternative would be to apply a thin coat of putty and sculpt the zimmerit yourself. This is arguably a more cost effective albeit time consuming method. What I plan to do in the next project that requires a zimmerit coating is to try sculpting it in order to determine which method suits me best.
|Zimmerit decal on the rear hull armor before external parts are glued onto it|
Having applied zimmerit decals on the King Tiger's hull, the assembly process can now resume. And it's the next few steps that are most daunting to me. I'm not talking about attaching the rear hull armor parts, which should be easy enough to do. What vexes me, and the main inertial force resisting quick progress on this project, is the assembly of the link and length tracks. I'm not a fan of such tracks because they've to be glued to the road wheels before painting. Personally I prefer painting the tracks separately before attaching them to the wheels. So I've that to (not) look forward to. Well, that's it from me for this week. Thanks for checking out the post. Do stay well, and be happy!