Friday, December 2, 2011

Applied Modern Technology in the Reproduction of Cap Badges

The following discussion provides detailed insight regarding the use of modern technology applied to the reproduction of  British and Commonwealth cap badges. As has been discussed on previous pages of this blog the current collector of these badges requires a level of knowledge, and in most cases a reference data base, which provides the equivalent of a forensic analytical capability. This is the only way an individual can have reasonable confidence in discerning a genuine badge from a restrike or modern reproduction. Unfortunately it no longer suffices to merely compare a given badge to one pictured in the two volumes of Kipling & King, or an acknowledged equivalent reference.

In a recent thread of the British and Commonwealth Badge Forum we are all very much indebted to ’Neibelungen’, a member of the forum, for the following information. It puts a detailed perspective on the existing and growing ‘cottage’ industry of reproducing cap badges.

‘Neibelungen’ states;

"As one of those who makes reproductions for re-enactors and occasional TV work it's extremely easy these days to produce near identical copies and die strike them.

With the advent of EDM machining and CNC control there's no requirements for hand or machine cutting and post hardening tool steel any more to produce them. Plus with the decline of manufacturing since the late 90's availability of this once expensive equipment is reasonably cheap secondhand.

Die wise, a block of hardened steel is roughed out to shape, either milled or EDM, and then a copper electroform or pressed graphite 'master' is used to produce a final EDM cut into the roughed shape. Sometimes it might take 2-3 runs to get a precise final form, but often if the initial 'rough' is close one pass is enough. A reverse die can be punched (hobbed) onto the hard front plate and either heat treated to give it 'shrink clearance' or left soft and polished to give clearance.

Total costing for die block work £200 - £300 EDM dies £100.

Secondhand EDM machines can be picked up from £2-£8000

Second hand Hydraulic press £500-£1,000

Often the reason you find the rear of modern fakes have less details than the front, as it relies on the softer back work-hardening and compressing under the pressure to give clearance and why cracking and splits seem more common.

The second part is harder, which is piercing out the voids. Historically a whole separate die set was made to blank out and piece voids to go with each badge. One set piercing the voids and a second (or combined with the first) to blank the outsides.
It can be simplified with a fabricated pancake die (a single plate die with controlled edge angle to act as a blanking die) but the smaller voids are harder to deal with and take more work. Alternatively, given most badges are brass, bronze and occasional nickel, they can be set up to be laser cut and again it's become relatively cheap for these tools secondhand.

There are other ways to make dies. Composite resins developed in the car industry will make short run dies. Nickel electroforms will also work to and even bronze castings can be used. In fact, you can fire a badge into a steel block from a shotgun and get a workable resulting die.

Finally you can outsource the whole process to Asia too for a fraction of the cost, but that has the risk that the outsource will begin supplying the same items to every other dodgy dealer or ebay outlet too.

A commercial die for an original was probably designed to run 4-5,000 badges in a life span and 'hobbed' off a master.

A faker's die costing £200-£400 would probably last a 200-1000 perhaps, at an average £15 badge would net something like £2,000 -£5,000 in it's lifespan

Not a bad return of about 5-10 time cost and clearing 200 badges in a year probably isn't that difficult.

The equipment would cost you about £10K to set up , but 10 badges would probably return that in a year and you could easily produce 50 plus badges a year.

From my own experience, about 75% of 'fakes' are brought in from abroad these days with eastern Europe becoming more popular. Asian quality control shows on a lot of the early stuff, but has caught up a lot once the Chinese showed them how to do it properly. A lot of the really 'good' ones are still with original dies and often 'hobbed' off a rear die instead once the face die wears or begins cracking. Mind you, you can laser weld the cracks today where you couldn't before and silicon RTV gives you infinite life spans for replication.

Re-enactment makers are almost never involved in the 'fake' market, being small scale and still really 'hobby' industries. The WWII stuff is different with TV work making this commercially viable, though 90% is outsourced overseas these days.

From my own part I've always marked my work with my symbol and year stamps from day one, but can guarantee that if I know a dealer has bought something it will reappear on ebay about 3 months later with any markings removed.

A £30 reproduction shako plate going for £300+ on ebay... I'm in the wrong game. Fakes are all about money and selling to the naive-unknowing. Greed.

A lot depends on the film or TV, the timescale and the budget. Often they just want something the designer thinks looks 'right' to the general public and will go with whatever is to hand. Sharpe and Hornblower are classic cases of that, plus neither had the budget for anything correct.

Ebay badge dealers and dodgy dealers are a different game. They are looking at quick quantity sales before the bottom drops out and the sales tail off once people catch on. Not that they seem too from the sales they make. Because they have a background in badges they know what makes a convincing one so will use an original in preference as the master. Besides, sacrificing a £50 badge is peanuts if you can pull a couple of grand off it.

The difficulties are doing high value items where originals are scarce. Too bad and it's easily seen as a fake... too good and it costs a lot more to make. Too high a value and people think and inspect very hard unless you catch somebody being greedy for a 'niave' seller bargain.

I posted up on here when somebody told me about a fake SBP centre, probably copied off a copy I made years ago. Plus I'm sick of seeing bits of my work sold as originals on ebay. I get tarnished as making a fake when it's somebody else exploiting items I've made as clear reproductions for a fraction of the price they sold for. I must have seen at least 6 gorget plates in the last 4 years asking in the £700+ mark when I sold them for around £70

I gave up occasional collecting in the 90's when I saw the s amount of fakes being produced and it's only got worse since then. 90%+ of ebay now is crap/fake and really has created the market more than anything. That said.. 90% of stuff on ebay is crap !!!.

Not exactly, but usually will follow the methodology of an original, ie, pins, footed shanks, bolts. Usually with a modern material or a metric thread. Sometimes a wire loop is required for something early.

The big difference is I will make it as new and not put 200 years or wear and partition into it. Bowl of ammonia or live yogurt and pot of peat is all it takes though. That's the deliberate fraud of a fake. Incised or raised maker and date marks can all still be erased with a little effort and a dremel. !!!"

Saturday, November 5, 2011

How to Identify and Date Canadian Paratrooper Wings by 'Tonomachi' from The British & Commonwealth Military Badge Forum

The following thread recently appeared on The British and Commonwealth Military Badge Forum authored by ‘Tonomachi’. With sincere thanks and full acknowledgment to the author for a superior effort, I would like to re-publish it here, as a service to fellow collectors who may not be active members of the forum (click on any image to enlarge) .

'Tonomachi' states:                         
“I have been collecting WW2 era worldwide paratrooper wings for going on about 30 years now to include Canadian paratrooper wings. I understand that the “standard” WW2 era Canadian paratrooper wing continued to be issued after the war so it is difficult if not impossible to determine when it was worn unless you took it off of a uniform yourself. I’m no expert on the subject but I was wondering if other collectors could share their knowledge on maybe clues to determine if a particular wing was worn during the war. I have noticed some things while collecting Canadian paratrooper wings over the years. I have attached scans of my collection and would like to hear from others regarding these observations. The first WW2 era Canadian paratrooper wing I bought some 30 years ago is listed in the attached scans under Wing 1A. I don’t remember the name of the seller in Canada I obtained this from but he told me that it was WW2 worn as he took it off a WW2 era uniform himself. He told me that the way in which you can tell if a particular Canadian paratrooper wing was worn during the war is by the straightness of the wings which should not angle upward in a V shape and the maple leaf should not protrude below the level of the base of the wings. Wing 1A is like this and it was padded at one time. I have noticed over the years while coming across WW2 period photographs that most Canadian paratroopers have their wings sewn on with the wings straight and level with the ground. However in maybe 10 percent of the photographs they have that V shape. So my question is did the standard issued wing come with this V shape but maybe most troopers sewed them on with the wings outstretched to maybe give it that look similar to an aviators wing?

In another thread on this forum it indicates that if the backing cloth is white instead of black you probably have a WW2 era Canadian paratrooper wing. Wing 1A has black backing cloth so does this mean it is post war? Wing 1B has white backing cloth yet the wing tips were sewn on in the V shape so is this a WW2 era wing? I also noticed between Wings 1A and 1B the different shade of yellow of the maple leaf. Could this be another indicator or is it just maybe a fading of the color due to expose to the sun or the manufacture having a different shade of yellow thread that was used for a particular batch of wings.

I noticed that there are differences with the amount of trimming that was done to the standard Canadian paratrooper wing before it was sewn onto the uniform. For instance I have seen examples of Wing 1C (lots of trimming) and 1D (no trimming) over the years (also 2A & B versus 2C). I understand that 1D is usually always the way in which post WW2 era wings were worn but 1C was more likely worn during WW2 due to the excessive trimming. So does the way in which it was trimmed have any indication of it being a WW2 era worn wing?

I have noticed that in most if not all of the unpadded 1D wings there is always extra stitching in-between the sides of the chute and the shoulders of the wings. If the wing is padded to give that relief look then it is necessary to have this extra stitching. However for unpadded wings that lie flat the extra stitching isn’t necessary yet it seems to always be there with the 1D post war wings. Could this be an indicator of a post war wing?

In yet another thread there is discussion of a WW2 era Canadian paratrooper wing having dark colored rear catch threads visible only within the rear light colored embroidery being an indicator that it is a WW2 era worn wing. If you look at Wings 2A and 2B one has the dark catch threads (2B) and the other (2A) does not. So does this mean that Wing 2A is post war and Wing 2B is a WW2 era worn piece?

What about the type of padding material found under these wings. I have only come across one Canadian paratrooper wing for sale with the padding exposed. It was made of crumpled up and very brittle clear cellophane. This particular wing did not have an added backing material to hold the padding in place before it was sewn onto the uniform. So my guess was that the padding was simply placed under the wing while it was being sewn onto the uniform like Wing 1A. Could this be another indicator that post war padded Canadian paratrooper wings always have a backing material to hold the padding material in place prior to it being sewn onto the uniform? Does the type of padding material give you a clue? Does the clear cellophane padding material I saw years ago mean it was a post war worn wing?

Lastly the type of Canadian paratrooper wing might be an indicator. I’ve come across three types of wings (1A – 1D, 2A – 2C, & 3). I was told that 1A – 1D are Canadian manufactured paratrooper wings while 2A – 2C are British manufactured Canadian paratrooper wings. Wing number 3 is what I have been told is a Canadian SOE wing because there is a period photograph of a Canadian SOE paratrooper wearing this particular wing. I personally don’t think that these wings were manufactured just for members of the Canadian SOE as I have seen one amongst a grouping of insignia belonging to a former Canadian member of the First Special Service Force. Could this also be another indicator that the British made wings are more likely WW2 era worn than the Canadian made wings which continued to be issued after the war? I’ve also seen a theater made Canadian paratrooper wing sewn on a WW2 era uniform once which I don’t have a photograph of it. I don’t know how many are out there but does a theater made piece indicate WW2 period worn?

So what do others think of these as indicators that the particular Canadian paratrooper wing was worn during the war:
1. Straight level wings with the maple leaf not protruding below the base of the wings.
2. White rear backing material
3. Dark colored catch threads visible inside of the rear light colored embroidery
4. Padding without extra cloth material to hold in place prior to sewing on uniform
5. Type 2 (British), Type 3 (SOE) or theater made wing

I’m sure there are no stead fast rules while trying to make a determination if a particular wing was worn during WW2. These are just clues which may or may not be correct but I was wondering what other collectors thought about them. I don’t know how accurate this information is and if I’m wrong I would like to know. I have also attached a few scans of bullion Canadian paratrooper wings in my collection that is another headache while trying to determine if they were worn during the war. I’ve never seen a period photograph of someone wearing a bullion wing during the war so are they all post war? Does anyone have a set of indicators that a particular bullion Canadian paratrooper wing was worn during the war?”

In addition the following expert knowledge was provided on the subject by ‘Bill A’, one of the major moderators on the forum:
“To start, from the bottom up. Bullion wire wings were worn during the war, but as each wing was hand embroidered it will be very difficult to determine if certain bullion wings were a wartime issue. Your wing #6 appears very similar to one in Ken Joyce's Into the Maelstrom pg 72. #4 and #5 are not similar to the examples in the reference. #4 in particular looks like it is a post war type.
#3 is identified as a private purchase English made pattern, wartime period.
#2 B It has characteristics that Joyce indicates as his Type 5, page 69. He indicates that pattern was British made, Second World War issue.”

In further discussion 'Tonomachi' additionally states:
"I've added three other Canadian paratrooper wings from my collection to this thread after Jim Baker posted his wing which I feel is a post WW2 era wing. I believe these three wings are all post WW2 era pieces but I could be wrong. Wing 7 and 8 look similar but Wing 7 is embroidered on a dark green colored material while Wing 8 is embroidered on a black colored material. It is hard to see the color difference in these photographs. The black backing cloth of Wing 8 has a tighter weave than the black backing cloth of Wing 7. Their maples leafs are different as well. If you use a black light on Wing 7 and 8 the parachutes glow which some say indicates that synthetic threads were used in the embroidery which would point to post WW2 construction. Wing 9 which is the same wing that Jim Baker posted above does not glow under a black light however I still think it is post WW2. Again if I'm wrong please share your information so we can all learn how to tell the differences between WW2 and post WW2 wings."

Friday, November 4, 2011

WWII British Special Forces Night Vision Technology – An Addendum Introducing the Type “CX” AN 24 A.P.W. 6815x

From its initial posting the blog page titled; WWII British Special Forces Night Vision Technology – “Tabby” RG Receiver, has proven by far and away, to be the most heavily and widely read page of the entire blog. Given that fact, I hope the following page will also prove of equal interest to most, if not all, readers. People who are interested may after finishing this article, go back and review the older post.

With special thanks and acknowledgement to Mart Janssen in the Netherlands I would like to augment that original blog page on WWII British Special Forces night vision devices. He has provided photographs of another configuration of what appears to be an even earlier model of the same device, but with identical functionality and level of technology, and apparently intended for the same purpose. The device is designated; Type "CX" AN 24 A.P.W. 6815x, and this specimen is dated 1943. (Click on any image for an enlarged view)

An overview of the receiver and carrying case

The end of the battery case and the leather carrying case
showing nomenclature markings

A view of the device's eyepiece and power switch

One theory is that this specific model, in addition to being earlier, may have been deployed with agents of the Special Operations Executive (SOE), and personnel of the Special Air Service Regiment in interior operations within continental Europe before the D-Day invasion. The rationale being that manufactured from bakelite rather than having a more substantial metal case, would facilitate easier destruction in the event of imminent capture and compromise of this most secret technology. The bakelite casing could be effectively smashed by a rock, hammer or other blunt instrument, and the remains either burned and/or flushed or thrown into water. 

Another hypothesis would be that this configuration represents an early engineering prototype, intended for proof of concept, or an earlier limited production run for evaluation, before the final operational model. The bakelite may not have proven strong enough for the intended rugged marine environment, and the metal jacket additionally provides a certain amount of camouflage, appearing as a water bottle.

A final theory is that this particular model was intended for shipboard use with the Royal Navy.

As can be observed in the photographs it employs the same CV-143 RG infrared tube, the identical eyepiece assembly, basically the same volume, with the exception that the batteries are packaged in a separate cylindrical compartment. This feature, unlike the later model, facilitates access to, and replacement of, the batteries. As can be seen the three battery cells are substantial in size, providing a fairly high voltage and low amperage. Operational voltage required was 3.0 kV, Amperage was 10-9 amps.
For those who might be more technically minded, the following web sites provide in-depth knowledge of the development and characteristics of the early CV-14x series tubes; (also provided as a link on this blog) and (see ir-cell.pdf) or click on to it down in the body of the first referenced site.

An overall view of the assembled battery pack

Another view of the battery pack

This view shows copper leaf connector to the battery pack

The case cavity housing the battery pack

The unit's eyepiece showing focus calibration markings

The unit's body cavity housing the CV-143
tube assembly

Another view of the same

The eyepiece and CV-143 assembly

A close-up view of the CV-143 tube

Another view of the CV-143 tube

Another view of the same

A view of the CV-143 tube which can be directly compared
 with that of the 'TABBY' RG infrared device's tube in the
other earlier post

An end view of the receiving surface of the CV-143 tube

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Other Webley - Limited Standard Semi-Automatic Pistol of the Royal Navy & Marines

When most people think of a classic ‘Webley Pistol’, even those who are reasonably knowledgeable in small arms, it’s typical that it is the large frame Webley revolver (Full British Ordnance nomenclature; .455 in. Pistol, Revolver, No.1, MkVI), not a semi-automatic pistol. However, at the turn of the twentieth century, the same time frame as the introduction of the Colt .45 cal. M1911, the British gun manufacturer Webley & Scott also introduced a series of self-loading (semi-automatic) pistols in a range of calibers. The heaviest of these weapons being the .455in. Pistol, Self-loading, Mk I., Model of 1912. With a magazine capacity of 7 cartridges, a unique characteristic of this pistol is that it will chamber the standard .45 cal. ACP round (Not recommended due to excessive headspace). Another dangerous characteristic is that its significantly more powerful cartridge will chamber in a .455 in. Webley revolver, and if fired will severely crack, if not blow out the side, of the cylinder wall.

Cut-away drawings of the Webley .455 in.
Pistol, Self-loading, Mk I, Model of 1912 

The following are a series of close-up photographs showing both sides of the weapon, and a unique demonstration model which at the time resided in the Pattern Room, Enfield Lock. Acknowledgement and gratitude for the imagery is given to the book, 'Small Arms in Profile', Volume 1, General Editor, A.J.R. Cormack, Doubleday & Co., Garden City, N.Y., 1973, ISBN 0385 07887 0.

The following table is included for those readers who may have an interest in comparing the ballistic characteristics of the .455 in. Webley to the .45 cal. Colt, as well as the 9 mm and .380 cal. cartridges of WWII (Click on chart to enlarge image):

Table of Ballistic Characteristics of Various WWII Pistol/Revolver

The weapon was eventually procured by the British War Office, and the Royal Navy, as a limited standard. Records show that the first issue was 100 pistols to the Royal Horse Artillery in 1913. Subsequently it was accepted into the Royal Navy and Marines on 14 May 1914, and by the fledgling Royal Flying Corps on 26 April 1915. In addition to government production the weapon was commercially produced in a very limited quantity of 1248 pistols. At the time of World War I British Army officers had the prerogative of  private purchase of their personal sidearm, and several availed themselves of this particular semi-automatic pistol which was identical to the Royal Navy model.

One officer to do this was Lt Col  V C Thistlethwaite, 1st 7th Battalion Cheshire
Regiment. The photographs which follow are of this weapon which can be seen
as ascribed on the side to this officer. In addition to his pistol, which in and of
itself is rather rare, are its rare canvas covered leather holster together with an
earlier dated pouch of cow hide, a compass and an identity bracelet, all marked
to Lt Col Thistlethwaite.

Right hand side of the Webley .455 in. Pistol, Self-loading,
Mk I, Model of 1912; Note size of the receiver block and
trigger group. (Click to enlarge this image as well as others)

Left-hand side of the same weapon

A Top view

The kit of LCol. Thistletwaite

Equally rare are the accessories that were used with this gun. One was the web
holster manufactured by Mills Equipment Co., Ltd., as can be seen in the
following two photographs, as well as the web magazine pouch, also
manufactured by Mills, which carried two magazines, shown in the next
two photographs. Even though virtually identical in configuration to the
equally rare magazine pouch for the 9mm Inglis Browning (introduced in 1944)
it is dated 1940, but could fit the magazines of a .45 cal., M1911 or 1911A1.
There were in fact a limited number of M1911A1's re-chambered in .455 in.

Issue web holster for the Webley .455 in.
Pistol Self-Loading, Mk I; Note large top
section of holster built to accommodate the
 pistol's size and unique shape.

Back side of the standard issued holster. The
Mills Equipment Co. name and date are on the
inside of the flap.

Front of the double magazine pouch

Rear of magazine pouch showing Mills
Equipment Co. stamp and date

In addition to the issued holster I believe there were several commercially produced variants which were available for private purchase. One such example of an original holster recently appeared on e-Bay, and in a very active auction finally went for $255.00 USD.

Front view of holster for Webley-Scott Pistol,
Self-Loading, .455 cal. Model of 1912 and 1913
Note external pocket for spare magazine

Back view of same holster

View of flap and interior of the same holster

Judging from the leather, color, and design, it is believed that this holster could well have been manufactured to be compatible with the standard British Army Sam Browne belt of the day.

Individuals who are fortunate enough to have either a commercial or military version of this pistol in their collection should not despair. Jerry Lee, the owner of 'What Price Glory', a firm catering to re-enactors, has commissioned a replica of another variant of the holster, which meets and exceeds the requirements of the most discerning customer. The holster is a glove fit. As indicated in its description, it's also a perfect fit for the classic Colt semi-automatic pistol; .45 cal. (.455 cal.) M1911 or M1911A1.  In my personal opinion this holster in form, fit, function, quality and price, is a superior piece of gear and a great buy ($48.00 USD). The pair of brass 'D' rings incorporated in its design for optional use with a shoulder strap, and flap retaining strap, more closely follows the configuration of holsters intended for the Webley Revolver (Pistol, No.1 Mk VI, .455cal.) I'm familiar with. The only possible addition to the holster I could possibly suggest, is the placing of a flat washer (on the underside for added support) between the brass retaining button, and the screw that holds it to the flap. Am including 'What Price Glory' web address in the Links. but to find the holster directly, go to,, or look for the holster under 'New Arrivals (British).

(Author's Note: Subsequent to writing this article, another source for a holster has been discovered. For the died-in-the wool purist a museum quality replica of the original Royal Navy procured and issued holster of 1912 is available. See the article "Tell It to the Marines" elsewhere in this blog for information on the products of the Military History Workshop of Cornwall, England.)

New construction replica of holster for Webley-Scott
Pistol, Self-Loading, .455cal., Models 1912 Mk I N
and Model 1913 

Exploded parts diagram of Webley-Scott semi-automatic
pistol, cal.455, Model of 1912, Mark I Navy.

In order to correctly field strip the pistol please use the following procedure graciously provided by one of the readers of this blog;

"First unload the pistol and remove the magazine. Pull the slide back 3/4 inch and press in the right hand side main spring catch (its just behind the trigger close to the slide; #35 in parts diagram). With the tension now taken off the slide you can push out the captive slide retaining pin from the left (its just above the slide release button, close to the ejection port; #43 in parts diagram). The barrel and slide will now slide forward and separate for field cleaning. For reassembly you slide the barrel in its 45 degree slots into the slide. slide this assembly onto the frame. pull the slide back 1/2 an inch from the battery position and push in the slide retaining pin. Pull the slide fully to the rear to release the main spring catch. Job done. And do pay particular attention to Jim's advise on the hard rubber grips. These pistols are now fetching £2500+ (2012) so are expensive to break."

For those who may be interested additional information on this weapon can be found in an addendum to this page;

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Duke of Edinburgh’s Own Volunteer Rifles (South Africa) Cap Badge – A Forensic Study

Recently while reading an extensive thread on the British & Commonwealth Military Badge Forum on a member’s example of this cap badge, I remembered that I had the same badge in my limited collection. As an exercise, somewhat analogous to self-administered surgery, I decided to try and evaluate my own badge, as well as in parallel, submitting photographs to the forum for expert opinions. In that way hopefully I will have an objective critique of my analytical capabilities.

Not being an expert either in military cap badges, photography, or computers, did not deter me, as I thought it could prove an interesting learning experience. With acknowledgement to certain members of the forum, I’m taking the liberty to use photographs of some of specimens which they have submitted for appraisal. The principal challenge, however, is the fact that no one can provide an established genuine specimen of the 1898-1903 version of the badge to use as a benchmark. One extremely knowledgeable individual on the badge forum has stated, ‘they have been faked to death and back to life again, I've never seen a genuine one, not that I can remember, anyway !’

The first is an example of a genuine badge, which dates from before 1898 (at which time the royal duke’s coronet was added to the top of the badge). My badge with the coronet, and the others presented, all date from between 1898 and 1903, and are in white metal. In 1903 the badge was further modified to be made only in gilt or brass.

Observing the reverse of the pre-1898 badge, the following features can be seen:
            A crisp clean die strike of the entire body (particularly note lettering and
            belt fittings.
            Clean sharp edges to all elements of the ‘star’.
            A voided center.
            Note clean, straight, attachment of footless copper lugs.
            (Click on any of the images to enlarge)

The reverse of a genuine pre-1898 Duke of Edinburgh's
 Volunteer Rifles cap badge prior to the addition of the Duke's

Looking at the front (obverse) of the badge, one can observe the following details:
            Clarity and regularity of all elements, particularly the lettering and
            belt buckle and tip details.
            Note regularity of the pebbled background of belt surface behind
            the lettering.
            Fine regular detailing of the edging around the elements of the ‘star’.

The front of the same badge showing the crisp definition
of the die strike in all details.

The next badge is allegedly from the 1898 – 1903 period with the duke’s coronet and in white metal. It is the one I have in my own collection, and the only badge in the entire group which I am willing to definitely pronounce as a restrike or copy, for all of the following reasons:
            Lack of a full crisp die strike.
            Center of badge is not voided (Not certain on this feature).
            Slight copper hue discerned on reverse, indicating the badge
            is possibly plated.
            Flaw in die is visible on left upper and lower square elements of the ‘star’.
            North/South, East/West elements of star die cut straight without crisp
            contouring to the pointed ends of all elements of the star.
            The Maltese cross on top of the coronet is either ill-defined or badly worn.

Positive attributes of the badge, however, include the following:
            Inside base of crown has striations.
            Thistle leafs are well defined.
            The background of the belt surface behind the lettering is pebbled.
            Reasonably clear definition in both the lettering and belt details.

The reverse of a 1898-1903 specimen showing
less than a clean crisp die strike

The front of the same badge showing reasonable
definition of detail suggesting a restrike rather
than a totally new copy. 

For direct comparison, the following photograph shows a cap badge from the same period but note the difference in details:
            Although a reverse photograph of the badge is not available, it appears
            to have sharper detailing around all the edges of the badge.
            The center of the badge is voided.
            The details of the belt buckle and tip are well defined.
            The background of the belt surface behind the lettering is not pebbled.
            Inside base of crown missing striations.
            Irregularity in shape and spacing of lettering (between DUKE and OF,
            and in EDINBURGH'S [G H] as examples).
            Thistle leafs not well defined.

Another specimen of the same badge which while
 correctly voided shows other flaws.

The next example is apparently a fairly recent acquisition by a member of the forum, which was presented for evaluation (lack of sharp focus in the photography may be a compounding issue), and displays the following characteristics:
            A shiny, almost anodized, front surface. Does not look like white metal.
            The badge is non-voided (Not certain on this feature).
            The entire area where the coronet is integrated with the rest of the badge
            appear rough and ill-defined.
            It appears to have sharp detailing around all the edges of the badge.
            The holes in the belt appear to be ill-defined.
            The Maltese cross on top of the coronet is either ill-defined or badly worn.

Still another example of the badge with a different
set of design details which render it dubious.

The final badge specimen is I believe post-1903 and executed in brass. Although of later issue and well worn, it has some positive attributes:
            Even though dirty, it appears to have a clean die strike, note letters,
            belt fittings and coronet in particular.
            Appears to have sharp definition around all the edges of the badge.
            Regularity in the spacing of the lettering.
            However, it is not voided, and may have been issued that way, as
            Rosignoli shows it as not voided in his book.

The reverse of a post-1903 version of the badge struck in
brass with a clear die strike, a good indicator of authenticity.

The front of the same badge, while showing both patina and
wear, still has a fairly sharp definition in its details.

It will be very interesting to learn of expert opinions on the badges which have been presented, as to how many details have been identified, and what other additional in-accuracies exist in each badge.