I got a fantastic deal on the full lot from my "source" and since I was in the market for one to put on my BGS bicycle, I figured I'd spring for a full case, keep one or two for myself, and then turn the others into WW2 reproductions.............
The mess kits are nearly identical to the WW2 German Army mess kits. The bottom bucket portion is a nearly an exact copy. The top lid-cup is exact with the exception of loops for the leather mess kit strap to pass through on the handle. The older WW2 kits have metal "belt loops" for the carrying strap to pass through, where the East German ones just have "strap guides". Unless you were a pretty sharp collector, you'd never notice the difference! The BGS used a nearly identical version of this mess kit as well. Eventually I'll have one of these kits strapped to the back rack on the bike along with other field gear.
Here are a few pictures of the mess kits in the original case:
Here are a few "up close" pictures with Penguin our Alpha-cat helping out:
Here is a comparison of an original WW2 German Army mess kit with the leather strap and my NVA mess kit with a leather strap (I'll find a more original looking strap!). You can see the metal "belt loops" on the WW2 mess kit (the second picture):
Here are a couple of original pictures of BGS officers using and carrying the mess kits in the field: