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My Fake Mills Bomb base plugs!


Well-Known Member
Premium Member
I thought I'd show these fake plugs to a) allow people to see some of the stuff that's out there in the wild and b) appreciate the workmanship of these plugs. I had a conversation with Andy (Gothica7) earlier this year where we agreed these may become collectables in their own right. Some of them are supurb pieces of metal work and I'm sure the lettering is laser cut. How they can be made for less than 8 euros (normal selling price) I don't know. The forger has now extended his range to brass cup types and some ultra early 1915 plugs (Feb 1915 was one I saw) at 12 euros.

So buyers beware in France, but forewarned is forearmed.



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Re-popping googs

Wow, the fakes are so good, a general collector such as myself would never know. Does not figure that someone would bother to reproduce such an item as seems there would be little to no money in it. I must say those are good re-pops and I have no problem with that as long as they are labeled as such. That my squids qorth! DaNO
Yes Dano - It's the money aspect that makes me think too. These only seem to come out as a low volume product but the set up costs to make them must be large. It doesn't add up.

what makes you think they are fakes? is there something that gives them away as beeing from the same workshop? have they been aged?
cheers, paul.
These could be lunch hour jobs by someone who works somewhere with the eqipment. That way they wouldn't have the setup costs
Fake plugs

There are a number of tells:

The very same stamps for at least the digits 1 and 5 have been used for plugs from different manufacturers;

The font used is not a period font. This is very evident in the digits 6 and 9 where the tails should be re-entrant on the body if it was the correct font. In the photo, the tails of the 6s and 9s tend away from the bodies (which I understand makes it a fairly modern font);

The alignment of the lettering and makers' names is generally poor, as if each letter has been hand stamped. In reality the manufacturers used stamps with their complete monogram or name, generally very well type set. (The dates on some of the chunkier Tweedales & Smalley plugs are sometimes an exception.) See attached Throwing Practice plug photo - a fine example of appalling alignment;

The spelling can be amusing - I have seen U omitted from the Equipment of Motor Equipment Ltd;

The Red Hand of Ulster is more of a cat's pug mark than a hand, and some of the dates (as Millsman has pointed out) are a real joke - see attached;

Some plug dates, while being within the genuine lifespan of the No.5, predate the dates of the contracts issued;

For the aluminium plugs, the reverse sometimes shows casting marks, where the metal has been melted down. In practice the plugs would have been machined from drawn bar, and there would be no consequent "grain" marks.



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Just to reiterate what Tom has just said, here is a piccy of a pair of 'Dummy for throwing practice' plugs. The 'real deal' is on the left. Says it all really.



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Thanks Tom, You said that far more concisely than I could! I think the biggest givaway is the condition. Many are factory fresh. I've also got a couple where the threads don't work. Someone has got the TPI wrong. There is also a great similarity in the broad arrows, as though all manufacturers used the same one, though in different sizes. As Tom says the type faces are a givaway too.

What next?

Another practice plug for comparison

Since the Dummy throwing practice plugs aren't as common, I scanned in two shots of mine for comparison of another original version against the newly made reproduction.

Just goes to show you that virtually anything can and will be duplicated if there is demand for it. Buyer Beware!


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Sorry for these plugs

These plugs are diffused by an indefinite little group and crupulous individuals to make money with forgery in several departments of France
One finds many reproductions on all that can be copied and sought (fused for various types of grenades, plugs and levers of mill, and more......
A sad sign of the times and a signal that there are more people collecting than original plugs are available for them.


i believe that 10 to 12 years ago, a basic Mills plug was fetching 40 to 60 a throw and because of this a lot of repros were made. I wonder if many of these repro plugs stem from that time? The amount of work needed to make them today and the price they are fetching, 2/3 euros has been known recently that they just cannot be cost effective to produce.

Andy, in my belief they had to extend from that time, because nowadays there just is no real money in it. In a group such as this you will get a plethora of educated opinions but hey, that's what it is all about! The tool up costs alone would more than negate any profit margin. The repops should be a collectible group all to themselves. Original plugs are cheap (nowadays). I could go on and on but it just shivers me timbers that anyone would reproduce the base plugs. But who am I. just another opinion on the board so to speak..Dano

I'm amazed to hear that plugs cost so much. I had thought that at that time you could buy a whole grenade for a 5-10. Dave Sampson built his collection when they were cheap years ago. I bought my first Mills (a relic) in France in the mid 80's for less than 2.

No bud,

they are all repros. Some exact copies of real plugs from molds, others made up from scratch.

What a fascinating post, thanks all you experts out there who have taken the time and trouble to put it together, certainly an eye opener for me (fortunately I don't collect grenades so this is one pitfall I won't fall into).
Lets hope the person who is making them doesn't read the post.......and learn how to improve their masterpieces.