Range Field Kitchen M1937
Modeling the U.S. Army in WWII


I always respect a company that is willing to take a risk and put out a product whose subject matter is not only unique, but opens up a whole new area of the GI's experience in WWII. This type of kit can serve to fill a particular niche in one's 1/35 scale motor pool, or it can become the centerpoint for a singular diorama. Sometimes a kit can help spawn or boost an entire genre, as Italeri's amphibians did when they became the catalyst for a horde of U.S. Marines figures and PTO accessories and upgrade sets.

It's probably too much to expect that this kit will have the same effect, but Resicast has given us a perfect opportunity with this field kitchen. Every army travels on its stomach, and that's an aspect of modeling WWII GIs that's been largely ignored by manufacturers. (Gripe Alert: In the 25+ years it's taken for this kit to be realized, Tamiya has given us two versions of the same German field kitchen set.) But now, at last, we have a field kitchen to call our own, and it's tasty.

At the heart of this kitchen was the Range, Field, M-1937, a gasoline-fueled oven that was flexible enough for boiling, roasting, frying, and griddle cooking, depending on which of three nooks the moveable fire unit occupied. A wood burning grate was also available to power the range. Each range, made of aluminum, was was equipped to feed 50 men. They were portable, and could be mounted in trucks, as in this case, or set up in a field or dwelling.

The foundation for this conversion kit is Tamiya's solid U.S. 2 ½ Ton 6x6 Cargo Truck, one of my favorites. In my book, no one needs an excuse to build this kit. But if you want to give it a different look, Resicast hereby gives you the means. Three ranges and a work cabinet make up the bulk of this kit, along with a rack for food stuffs, overhead work light, six jerry cans, and a couple of knives and ladles. You also get a portable stairway for the chefs getting in and out of the cargo bed/kitchen. And if that wasn't enough, Resicast throws in a few parts to adjust the truck's front axle so the tires can be positioned as turned (these parts were missing in my review sample so I cannot comment on them).

One large resealable plastic bag holds four separate bags and the instruction booklet. Given the large number of parts and the fragility of some of them, I was surprised this was not packaged in a box. But none of the pieces were damaged.

Aftermarket kits don't always have clear instructions, or any instructions at all. Resicast provides assembly instructions using photographs. Resicast thoughtfully identifies the parts by name and letters. There is some confusion over dual parts labeled "Q," "O," and "V" but it is easily sorted out. Another benefit of Resicast's instruction booklet is the inclusion of technical manual illustrations provided by Michael Powell of Easy 1 Productions. These images help demonstrate how the ovens were used. If you want to see and learn more details about how the kitchen operated, you should pick up the excellent CD-ROM from Easy 1, TM 10-701 Field Range M-1937.

You'll need a sharp blade in the old hobby knife to carefully remove these pieces from their carriers; some pieces, like the three large pots, will need a saw. The parts are crisply cast with only a whisper of flash here and there, and just two small air bubbles in the broiler pans. There is a thin piece of brass rod included for bending into the supports for the oven doors; instructions refer to bending the rod according to a template, but none was provided in the sample kit).

I did not assemble any of the parts beyond dry-fitting since I'm not sure what sort of configuration I'll want for future use (Broiling? Baking? In transit?). But plenty of diorama ideas came to mind for this set.

Resicast recommends painting the range units "polished aluminum," and that looks right according to some of the illustrations in the kit instructions and the Easy 1 tech manual. But some of the illustrations have a dark look to them, as does a greenish range unit in Government Issue Collectors Guide by Henri-Paul Enjames. It's certainly possible that the ranges were painted a drab green or non-reflective color once in the field. However, photos of the cooking utensils in the field shows them to be aluminum with black cast metal handles. The work cabinet would be painted OD.

After looking through the illustrations the only missing items of any consequence were the circular supports for the cook pot bases, that were used to help keep the large pots in place. A small fret of photoetched brass would be ideal, but anyone who is comfortable building resin conversion sets probably won't have any problem constructing his own.

Also, in adapting the Deuce and a Half for kitchen duty it was necessary to extend upward the bows that supported the canvas top so the cooks could walk freely; Resicast doesn't provide any pieces to extend the bows, but they would be easy to make with some plastic strips. I couldn't find a measurement, but suspect the height from the floor to the top of the bows would be at least 6 feet, perhaps more when you take into account the light hanging over the ranges. (Another conversion tidbit: the benches that usually ran along the inside cargo walls were hung on the outside walls and could be extended outward to use as serving shelves.

The only other item that would "nice to have" would be small sheet of decals with labels for the food items. That would be the perfect finishing touch that most modelers can't easily come up with on their own.

But as it is, this is a fine set for any modeler interested in sinking his teeth into something a little bit different. I hope Resicast will follow this up with some cooks, hungry GIs, mess kits, garbage cans, etc. That's how to build on a great idea.

This product sample was provided by Resicast.



Modeling the U.S. Army in WWII © 2002—2007 Timothy S. Streeter