ARM: Review - Maquette 1/35 scale Russian Field Kitchen

Kit Review: Maquette 1/35 Scale Kit No. MQ-35003; PK-43 Russian Field Kitchen;
64 parts (62 in light grey styrene and 2 in dark grey styrene); price $6.49
Advantages: interesting, off-beat kit can dress up either a diorama or a cargo
truck; comes with Soviet "meramite" cans and other details
Disadvantages: somewhat crude molding will mean extra work to get a clean model
when assembled
Rating: Recommended
Recommendation: for all Soviet WWII fans
The Soviet soldier in WWII ? "The Great Patriotic War" from their point of
view ? was often seen as a mythic warrior who could go for days without food
in order to smash the Nazi. Well, not quite, and even Soviet "politruks" knew
that soldiers work better with good food and a hot meal can't hurt. As a
result, they, just like every other army, had mobile stoves and kit for
providing troops with a good meal.
This one ? the Polevaya Kukhnya 43 or Mobile Field Kitchen Model 1943 ?
was typical. Mounted on a 1.5 metric ton trailer chassis, it had a big copper
kettle of 250 liters capacity (about 66 gallons) heated by a wood fire and able
to provide for a company or battalion mess. Most meals prepared would be simple
? porridge, stew or borshch (beet soup) ? but as that was what many
peasants were used to, it was better than nothing.
This kit is not a bad little model, being mostly new molds with only the
wheels borrowed from the evergreen Italeri ZIS-3 gun clones out there. The body
consists of a stove section and a limber box section with an area in between
for firewood (10 sections of that are included in the kit), as well as an
optional choice of smokestack (one section march order, two sections cooking
order). It also comes with OVM (outer vehicle materials) in the form of an axe,
a hatchet and a shovel (wood's gotta come from somewhere!) and four "Meramite"
type food cans. The concept for these date from Napoleon who felt that men
fought better with a hot meal inside them.
The model has landing gear so it can be displayed in either march order or
cooking order. In march order, items such as this were either hooked up to a
standard limber for horse drayage or to a standardized cargo truck such as
either a GAZ-AA/AAA or ZiS-5. The latter choices are now given a boost, as
cargo trucks with nothing to do are pretty dull subjects!
The moldings are about typical for Maquette ? thicker than one would hope
with flash and tough fits. There are also no wheel hubs per se, so you will
have to come up with some. However, this can be worked out and a nice model can
be made. No markings are included nor painting instructions. Most vehicles of
the period were painted overall Soviet Army protective green, so at least that
part is not hard.
Overall this is an offbeat but useful little kit, and one cannot complain of
it being overpriced.
Cookie Sewell
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