George Blake discusses his hobby – collecting parts from classic military vehicles
Like many readers of this magazine, I am a military vehicle enthusiast, or at least, I think I am. I don’t own a vehicle, have never restored one, haven’t even driven one so how could I possibly be an enthusiast?
Well, I collect armoured vehicle parts, although some would say I collect rust.
With such a diverse range of parts, sizes, nationalities and conflicts, this area of collecting is a great way of owning iconic parts of your favourite vehicles without having to have the storage space, funds or mechanical know-how to own the whole thing.
Let’s start with that word, iconic. You would struggle to find a more recognisable part than half of the hull machine gun armour from the front glacis plate of a Panther (picture 1). It came from the Eastern Front and still shows the original weld and a groove on the reverse where the machine gun mount would sit.
It is over 10cm at its thickest and the fact that it is only half of the ‘bulge’ is a fantastic illustration of the forces at play when vehicles are destroyed. As a side note, for those concerned, the broom handle with the muzzle on does comply with the current deactivation specification. The downsides of these iconic, large, heavy parts become obvious when attempting to display them. This piece was dragged into place a few years ago now and hasn’t moved since, not ideal for those collectors who like to refresh their collection or change focus.