What’s Zimmerit?

Zimmerit was an anti-magnetic coating employed by the German military in World War II to prevent Allied forces from using magnetic anti-tank mines against tanks. Germany forces were already using magnetic anti-tank mines and their rationale was that Soviet forces could easily duplicate them. Zimmerit was a preventative measure for a problem that never developed— the Soviets, or any other Allied nation, never used magnetic anti-tank mines. Applied to vehicles from 1942 through 1944, zimmerit was easily recognizable due to the textured pattern used when applied to armor, but ultimately pointless.

In the 1980s, the Gundam plamo craze took off alongside an already-existing military modeling scene. Thanks to cross-pollination, Gundam mobile suits with camouflage paint schemes and World War II accoutrements — like zimmerit — began turning up in hobby magazines.

The fact that it was a largely useless military technology didn’t matter — it looked cool and lent a gritty realness to the otherwise cartoonish giant robots. That aesthetic eventually worked its way back into Gundam proper, as evidenced by the overt World War II (specifically German) imagery in Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket and Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory.

An MS-09 Dom G with zimmerit armor skirts, drawn by Kazuhisa Kondo.
An MS-09 Dom G with zimmerit armor skirts, drawn by Kazuhisa Kondo.

That’s not to say this is a Gundam fansite; I’m a big fan of the anime and mecha aesthetic that was commonplace in the 1980s and this blog will be focusing on that era or modern projects reminiscent of that era. Think S.F.3.d, Makoto Kobayashi, or pioneering otaku projects like the Daicon films. Anything that reflects that same enthusiasm or style is fair game, too.

This site started as a personal project combining writing with relevant translations. It’s changed a bit since we first launched, and we’re always looking for new writers to spotlight the forgotten and unknown. Let us know what you like or dislike by sounding off in the comments, or sending us an email using the link to the left.

About the Author

I’ve been writing about anime and otaku shit for roughly a decade, having contributed to publications like Otaku USA Magazine and Topless Robot. I’m also a cofounder of the website Colony Drop and irregularly update a tumblr dedicated to 1980s Japanese pop culture and products, Baburu Jidai.

About the Mascot

Z-Chan was designed and illustrated by David Bednar.