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Field Kitchen

Maquette 1/35 Russian PK-43 Field Kitchen Kit First Look

By Cookie Sewell

Date of Review August 2004 Manufacturer Maquette
Subject Russian PK-43 Field Kitchen Scale 1/35
Kit Number 3503 Primary Media 64 parts (62 in light grey styrene and 2 in dark grey styrene)
Pros Interesting, off-beat kit can dress up either a diorama or a cargo truck; comes with Soviet "meramite" cans and other details Cons Somewhat crude molding will mean extra work to get a clean model when assembled
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $6.49

First Look

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.