Chuck Wagon

IMEX 1:72 Scale Vehicle Review

Chuck Wagon, 1:72 Model Kit IMEX 513.

A minor conversion of the vehicle, the body and chassis have been shortened by 6 mm in order to make the built-in cupboard more accessible. The cut was made immediately behind the rearmost support of the chuck box. The vehicle is only 1 mm shorter overall than it used to be, but the chuck box is flush with the rear edge of the cargo bay now, making the wagon look much more compact. The cupboard has a lid which folds down as a convenient work surface for the cookie.


  • Chuck Wagon, 15 parts
    • Type: Field Kitchen
    • Length: 3.74* m (*shortened)
    • Width: 2.23 m
    • Height: 2.88 m
    • Cargo Bay: 2.74* × 1.10 m
    • Cargo Capacity: 0.5 t
    • Team: 1 Pair of Mules
  • Prairie Schooner, 16 parts


Excellent choice of subject. The chuck wagon is a classic mobile home, it carried one month’s supplies for 10-20 men, including food, water, fuel, ammunition, cooking utensils, bed rolls, and other important equipment.

The sculptor is obviously the same who created the exquisite American Civil War soldiers for Accurate Figures, which were also distributed by Revell. IMEX has announced a set of American Pioneers which should go well with these wagon sets. The most suitable miniatures for the chuck wagon would be cowboys, of course, preferably a camp scene with men eating or waiting in line for chuck.

Illustrated assembly instructions are easy to follow, except that the wagon body is shown in a mirrored position. The completed model will have the water barrel on the left-hand side, not on the right as shown in the instructions. If the assembly instructions were followed, the chassis would protrude 4.5 mm at the rear of the vehicle.

Another way to mount the water barrel is to reverse it, put it inside the wagon, and convert the attachment lug into a spout. This was a common method of transporting the water supply, keeping the barrel out of the sun. With a 120–150 litre barrel hanging on its side, one would expect the wagon body to list slightly, but it does look good like this.

The vertical supports of the wagon body, bolt heads on wheel rims, the chuck box, and the partially folded canvas tilt provide excellent detail for the discerning miniatures painters.

The wheels are superb, with fine detail on the rims, and with unusually slender spokes. IMEX would do well to issue these wheels in a separate accessory set which would allow modellers to upgrade other vehicles they may have in their collection.

The tilt has been rolled up in the back and front, and this adds a lot of detail to the vehicle. If the tilt is painted, stained, and drybrushed, it should give the chuck wagon a realistic weathered appearance.

Chuck wagons are associated the life on the American Frontier, but there is a good chance that many of these excellent models will be serving in Union or Confederate wargame armies soon.

The vehicle may be converted to move the chuck box back to the rear edge of the cargo bay. This location is very practical, because the cook need not climb into the wagon to reach the drawers in the cupboard. There are two ways to effect this conversion, either moving the cupboard back, or cutting the cargo bay immediately behind the cupboard. The latter is the simpler approach, and it has the added advantage of making the vehicle appear more compact. The other option would have been more difficult, because the supports of the cupboard cannot be moved easily.

Cast in medium brown plastic with grey plastic wheels, ready for play.

Good casting quality, but there is noticeable flash on drivers and oxen.

Driver, animals and vehicle canopy sculpted by Bill Farmer.

Wagon built by Ted Tear.

The horses supplied with the chuck wagon detract from the overall quality of the kit. One alternative is to display the stationary vehicle in a camp scene, without the horses.

Not a snap-together toy, the wagon parts need to be glued, pinned, or soldered to prevent the vehicle from falling apart constantly. It is best to treat this as a regular model kit, and put it together permanently.

The horses have no bases, and they will be difficult to attach to a diorama or wargame base without sinking their hoofs into the glue.

It would have been a nice touch to add wood grain to the planking on the wagon body.

Historical Employment

  • Chuck Wagon, 1860s–1900s
  • US and Confederate Field Kitchen, 1861–1865

The chuck wagon is an excellent centerpiece for a diorama, with the added challenge of having to convert half a dozen cowboys, a tent, camp fire and other equipment to complete the scene. Specialist vehicles like this one add welcome variety to the modelling hobby.

IMEX Miniatures sample from Toy Soldier HQ

Wild West Miniatures