ATAK Zimmerit Set for
1/35th scale Tamiya King Tiger (Porsche Turret)
kit review and photography
by Ray Peterson
General: The ATAK Zimmerit sets are new
items from the growing Eastern Europe modeling industry. Basically they are
new competitors to the Cavalier Zimmerit sets. This is the first ATAK set I
have acquired, and as they are very new, I will first compare them to the Cavalier
ATAK set is made from relatively typical tan resin. It is therefore much stiffer
than the rubber-like material used in the Cavalier sets. The ATAK set includes
a new rear plate that simply replaces the kit part instead of requiring you
to remove all surface detail as the Cavalier set would have you do. This set
also includes a new hollow-cast upper turret, instead of separate pieces in
the Cavalier set. I assume they did this because of all the compound curves
of the Porsche turret. It sure will make this part of assembly easy as it is
a near drop fit onto the Tamiya turret bottom.
Details: The Zimmerit pattern looks good, if not totally accurate. The master was apparently made by individual presses with a tool like a screwdriver. Although I have not seen Cavalier's set specifically for the King Tiger, other Cavalier sets with similar patterns look to have been mastered with a serrated trowel tool. Period photos give the impression the Zimmerit was applied with rollers, with some areas appearing to have been applied with separate presses - most noticeably on the Henschel turret front. The ATAK pattern is also overscale, with several fewer 'columns' than what photos seem to show. Therefore the Cavalier pattern may be slightly more accurate, but with the variation in German Zimmerit patterns and application, the ATAK set looks fine to me.
Fit: The ATAK set does not come with any
instructions. I recommend following the Cavalier instructions, the most important
1. With a sharp hobby knife, carefully
cut out the Zimmerit parts.
2. Test fit the parts to verify fit.
3. Use only 5-minute epoxy to allow for sufficient working time.
4. Paint epoxy onto model with a stiff brush leaving only a fine film of glue.
5. Apply Zimmerit by pressing firmly onto surface and align.
I have prepped the parts now for construction. Note that on my example the rear plate was warped. This was easily fixed with a dip in hot water, flattening the part, and then cooling it.
I found only a few bubbles, but a couple are in a bad location - at the base of the periscope guards around the commander's cupola. I will probably replace the entire cupola with the kit one. Another casting error was discovered when I test fit everything together. The mantlet's hole for the barrel is incorrectly molded on my example. There is an offset inside the mantlet. This means I will either have to use the Tamiya kit part with Zimmerit added, or cut short the pieces that fit into the mantlet and simply glue it all together. Hopefully this problem isn't in all the sets.
When test fitting the parts you will soon discover the ATAK set intends for you to use the kit full fenders. The Zimmerit sheets for the side armor do not go all the way to the bottom but instead only go to the top of the fenders. Because of this, I suggest fitting the fenders on before gluing on the Zimmerit sheets. Note that from photos it appears the Cavalier set covers the entire side armor. If you are not planning on using the kits full fenders, you will have to add additional Zimmerit yourself. The ATAK parts fit quite well, all glue-on parts being slightly oversized. This is preferred, allowing some play during gluing then trim off the excess after the glue is dry. Trimming will probably be slightly harder than with a Cavalier set but the ATAK resin is thin and should trim fine. I found another small error during the test fit - they have included Zimmerit under the armored covers for the torsion bar at the turret rear hatch (see picture at right). This will need to be ground down some to insure a good fit as well as accuracy.
Summary: The ATAK set looks like it will make a good-looking Zimmeritted model. The problems are minor and can be relatively easily corrected, as long as you are planning on using the kit fenders. If not, you are going to have to add more Zimmerit to fill out the side armor. This alone caused me to take a point off on the overall rating. I would have preferred to have complete Zimmerit and trim off areas if I was going to use the fenders. The complete turret part will definitely save some work in comparison to the Cavalier offering, for about the same price. Hopefully not all examples have the same casting problems mine had. Even with the small problems, this set is another nice offering from Eastern Europe!
Jentz, Tom and Doyle, Hillary; VK45.02 to Tiger II: Design, Production & Modifications, Schiffer Publishing.
Jentz, Tom and Doyle, Hillary; Tiger II, Vanguard No. 23, Osprey Publishing.
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