In the early 1980s, the Gundam model kit craze took off. Thanks to model building cross-pollination, mobile suits with camouflage paint schemes and World War II accoutrements like zimmerit began turning up in hobby magazines.
Zimmerit was an anti-magnetic tank coating with a distinctive “waffle” appearance that eventually proved utterly useless.
The fact that it was a useless military technology didn’t matter, because it looked cool and lent “realism” to otherwise cartoonish giant robots. That realistic aesthetic eventually worked its way into animated Gundam projects, like Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket and Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory.
But Zimmerit isn’t a Gundam fansite – it’s a celebration of fandom in its (relative) infancy, of forgotten fads and trends, and the idea that fans can create their own cool shit, too.
Doujinshi. Kit-bashed models and garage kits. Fan-made animation. Weird comics. Think of creators like Kow Yokoyama, Katsuhiro Otomo, Masamune Shirow, Makoto Kobayashi, and Hideaki Anno. Think of fans-turned-pro like Gainax and ARTMIC. Self-driven creativity, even if it comes with a rough edge. Scratch that – especially if it comes with a rough edge.
Zimmerit has 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. If you like what you read, please subscribe using the form to the left.
While inspired by the fans of the 1980s and the things they made (and loved), Zimmerit will, at times, stray outside of that decade if the feeling is right.
About the Editor
I’ve been writing about anime and otaku for roughly a decade, contributing to publications like Otaku USA Magazine and Topless Robot. I also helped to create a website called Colony Drop and irregularly update a tumblr dedicated to 1980s Japanese pop culture and products, Baburu Jidai.