Tutorial: Rubicon 1/56th Stug III Zimmerit

Rubicon Stug III Zimmerit I plan to use the Rubicon Stug III I built recently for a Late War German force, which will be fighting against my mates’ British and US Paras in Normandy.

Stugs in Normandy had Zimmerit because it was applied until late ’44. Stugs also had their own specific ‘waffle’ style Zimmerit applied by the manufacturer. If you’re working in 1/35th scale there’s all sorts of after-market brass etched kits you can buy to apply to specific Stug models. Of course 1/56th is a less common war-gaming scale so you’re obliged to find a solution yourself.

One common trick is to cut a texture stamp and use that on putty applied to your vehicle. That’s what I’ve done here, the first photo shows the plastic-card texture stamp and the first pieces of Zimmerit that were applied to my assembled Rubicon Stug. The texture stamp is a little over-scale for the Zimmerit being applied, but there were practical limits to how small I could cut the stamp. It’s also for a war-gaming vehicle rather than a scale model, so visual effect is more important than exact historical accuracy. Hopefully the rivet counters will forgive me.

Rubicon Stug III Zimmerit Front The Zimmerit was applied in batches, over a course of four evenings. The putty used was ‘grey stuff’, which is very similar to the usual ‘green stuff’, except quite a bit less tacky. It was rolled onto the dry body using the wetted end of an Xacto handle. The edges and corners were trimmed and tidied up with a sculpting tool. The smooth putty was then stamped carefully with the tool that was been dipped in water every few rows. The water is to stop the putty from sticking to the stamp rather than the tank.

I’ve tried to follow the historical pattern of application, with some limitations. Zimmerit was definitely applied to vertical surfaces where it was designed to stop magnetic mines from sticking to the sides of the vehicle. Looking at historical photos and it appears it was also often applied to the flat bow front and the roof of the cabin. I’ve avoided doing that for this Stug because it was unfortunately assembled before I decided to apply Zimmerit. That means the gun and mantlet are basically in the way of the bow top. The cabin roof was left bare because I didn’t want to work around the detail there. Some historical photos do appear to show cabin roofs without Zimmerit too.

Rubicon Stug III Stowage It was also wasn’t applied to the hull sides, because I’m putting schurzen on this model. Nor was it applied to the engine deck because I’ve covered at least half of that with stowage as you see in this final photo. The back of the cabin was done because fortunately I’d failed to glue the ventilator/antenna/rail piece on properly so it was easy to snap off. I then pushed it back into the setting putty, which seems to be holding it on better than the glue did. The metal stowage is from Ebob Miniatures, and the rather over-scale crate is from my own personal collection.

Overall I’m happy with the final effect an am looking forward to painting it up. These 1/56th vehicles are great fun to experiment on. The Rubicon models are so well priced I feel comfortable messing around with them too. If you screw up and it turns into a disaster you’ll only be down $46nzd or so.

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