|KIT:||Tamiya 1/35 Gulaschkanone German Field Kitchen|
|NOTES:||Includes a 2 hp power plant|
At the risk of looking bad within the modeling fraternity, I have to admit I have no references on German Field Kitchens in my collection. So, I’m forced to rely exclusively on the history provided by Tamiya. Quoting from the kit’s instructions:
“ The “Tross” or train of a company or battery in the Wehrmacht was composed of three groups, the combat train, the baggage train, and the ration train. The latter was equipped with a field kitchen for the company, and suitable transport for the rations. The actual type of field kitchen and ration vehicle (or vehicles) depended on the type of unit— horse- or truck-drawn- in an ordinary infantry division, but sometimes completely truck-drawn in a panzer division or other types of mechanized division.
Within a division, ration supply was organized through a distribution point, and distribution to the ration trains was made daily at the point, operational commitments permitting. Within the company, each man carried in his pack or bread bag one day’s rations, and one further day’s rations was carried in the unit field kitchen, with a further two days’ rations in the supply transport of the unit. A further supply one one day’s rations was carried in the divisional supply columns.
The supply problem was formidable when it is considered that to supply daily rations for each man in a typical division there was a requirement for 12 tons of bread, 2.88 tons of meat, 2.88 tons of peas, and 1.92 toms of wurst (sausage), plus proportionate quantities of coffee, sugar, butter, and salt. A typical field kitchen was horse-drawn behind a two man limber and had cart wheels. There were several varying patterns of field kitchen and alternative pneumatic-tired wheels could be fitted if the kitchen was towed by a truck.”
That’s a lot of historical information for what is a pretty small kit!
Dating back to 1978, this is one of Tamiya’s more unique offerings. I’ll admit I like to show up at local contests with unusual subjects, and this one caught my eye while browsing at the local shop….
The kit consists of two large grey sprues and two smaller white ones. The sprues molded in standard Tamiya german grey plastic contain all the parts for the kitchen and limber, and the driver figure. The white sprues have the parts for the two horses.
The kitchen and limber are made up of a good number of parts. When I first saw the box, I thought I was getting a wagon—but I was wrong. The kit is made of two units, each with two wheels. The Kitchen and Supply limber are two separate units, like an old cannon and limber.
Construction looks to be fairly simple. The kitchen part itself has a number of features—you can pose the firebox doors open or closed, as can the ash doors at the bottom of the fireboxes. Other details provided include milk cans, a bucket, a ladle for the soup copper, and some other assorted food containers. (Does anyone make a photoetched detail set for the food? Where’s the peas, butter, and other supplies? Come on, you aftermarket people!)
While the history on the instructions mentions pneumatic-tired wheels for truck-drawn kitchens, the kit only provides the cart style of wheels for the horse-drawn version. The kit also includes a driver figure, seated with a separate right arm. The arm can be placed in an action pose, raised with the whip, or down, with the hand in his lap.
The molds for the horses are for two different animals. One horse is a typical short hair, while the other has the longer hair above the hooves. Only the bridle straps are molded as part of the horse—the rest of the tack is added separately. The horses are molded in white, so it should be easy to paint them in the color(s) of your choice. (Some suggestions are shown on the side panel of the box top.) In case you care, they appear to be mares and not stallions or geldings….(Where else but MM do you get this kind of detail in your kit previews?)
The horses are an important part of the kit, and they are OK, but I think they could be better. I wish the first horse didn’t have the long lower leg hair molded in – even with careful painting, it still won’t look realistic. Also, I wish the horses weren’t molded in action poses—in mid step. If you are going to model your kitchen in deployed mode (battle mode?), then the horse figures just don’t fit in. Finally, I also think the horses look to be rather well fed—they must be “early war” horses. I would rather have seen a pair of skinny horses- some tired old nags—you know, “late war” horses.
The kit can be assembled in two ways- in transit or deployed. The kit really favors the in-transit form, as the horses and driver figure won’t really fit in well with a deployed kitchen.
As I mentioned before, the tack for the horses is not molded in. The reins, harnesses, etc. were made up from leather straps on the full size rig. The kit provides a piece of thin sheet plastic for the modeler to use to make all the harness parts. A nice full size, dimensioned diagram is provided to help make up the harnesses and straps. Making it up will require you to cut a lot of 1.0mm and 1.5mm wide strips….
Recommended for all fans of WW2 German supply corps subjects, or to anyone looking for something a little out of the ordinary.
All kidding aside, I bought the kit thinking it would be a simple, unique subject, but in studying the instructions, I realize it is not as simple as it first appears. Hooking up the horses to the limber will require some skill and patience to properly cut and install a good number of the plastic strips. Also, the finished model can’t help but be fragile- mounting this to some sort of base would seem to be mandatory.
Review courtesy of my ongoing efforts to personally keep my local hobby shop financially viable.
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