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Replica Hand Grenades from Wiltshire Soldiers

Operating out of his workshop in Wiltshire, Richard Broadhead is not only a military historian, author, broadcaster and battlefield tour guide, he also manages to produce a range of miscellaneous items of interest to re-enactors depicting either of the world wars. As if all that is not enough, Richard is also an avid militaria collector and occasionally engages in trading some items, such as bayonets.

Another aspect to his work has seen him make authentic ammunition boxes and other items for museum exhibitions and even oversee the creation and layout of a whole display including interactive programmes. One product range, which is attracting a lot of interest, is the hand grenades, which he manufactures using a state-of-the-art 3D printer. He has already produced many of these items for museums, both in the UK and Belgium, and this has led to enquiries from re-enactors.

During WWI, millions of hand grenades were produced in a range of sizes and designs which were unique to different armies. The more commonly-used types, such as the German so-called ‘Stick grenade’ and the British Mills ‘36’ bomb, are widely available from various sources and are suitable for battle reenactment or static displays. Apart from these two distinctive types, there were many other designs, which today are very rare even as museum exhibits.

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Richard has identified this gap in the market for these items and is supplying actual sized examples to museums, collectors and re-enactors who want to use them as part of a static display. For example, the German army Model 17 ‘Eirhandgranate’ (egg grenade), so-named after its small size and convenient shape resembling an egg. Another unusual design is the German M1915 ‘Discushandgranate’, sometimes called either the ‘Turtle’ or ‘Tortoise’ grenade, after its shape.

Printing grenades!

Once he has ‘scanned’ an original example to provide a template, Richard programmes his 3D printer to produce a finished article in the form of a hollow shell. He then applies an authentic-looking metallic finish with the correct colour scheme for identification, which depends on what the customer wants. For added realism, the shells bodies can be filled to give a weighted feel. When the finished item is placed in a wooden ammunition crate, which Richard also produces, the effect is complete. Positioned in a trench setting, as part of a static display, a box of grenades adds realism to the scene.

Richard also produces British Mills bombs, either as a complete hand grenade or in a ‘sectionalised’ form, to use as a display to show people how a hand grenade functioned. Inert examples of original hand grenades can be purchased but they are rare and can often be in poor condition. The alternative is to purchase a good quality replica. Given his talent for producing these items and his eye for attention to detail, Richard’s range of items would seem to be the best option in terms of cost and quality.

For enquiries on his product range, or requests concerning other items, Richard can be contacted through his website, which can be found at: www.wiltshiresoldiers.co.uk.