Comet Authenticast

These small scale wartime ID {identification recognition} models were produced in plastic and soft metal. After WWII Comet Authenticast reissued their products as boxed toys

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Comet Authenticast

Postby grwebster » Sun Oct 11, 2009 2:26 am

here is the post war toy issue of a Sunderland.
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Re: Comet Authenticast

Postby MichaelB » Fri Oct 23, 2009 7:16 pm

I've been having trouble separating Comet Authenticast and the Cruver production. Didn't both make them for the military? Are they different molds, or did Cruver end up with Comet masters?
Apparently the Comet masters are in the possession of someone, as they were rereleased in the past 20 years or so. Cast in brass they were painted and sold as models in the DFW area.
Comet also made ships, tanks and similar small scale models, again for the military ID program.
Where did Cruver come into all this?
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Re: Comet Authenticast

Postby ramseyd » Tue Nov 10, 2009 5:39 pm

Michael,
I have the remaining Comet Masters in my possession. I bought them in 2007 from Ed Pugh (Fort Worth). There are 47 brass masters left and 20 first cast pewter masters left. Many were lost in the process of making molds and a few may have been given away to dignitaries as gifts.

Comet History:
The federal program these models were constructed under was sponsored by the Navy Department. Sponsoring the 1/72 plastic program, the Navy decided they needed a smaller set (1/432 scale) for distribution on smaller vessels and forward areas. When held 18" away from you, the model is as the real aircraft would appear 1/2 mile away.

The aircraft masters were constructed during World War II. Each brass model is made up of several hand machined pieces that have been soldered together. The B-17 is composed of sixteen pieces. 2 fuselage halves (upper and lower), 2 elevators, 1 main wing, 2 turrets, 1 nose antenna housing, 4 engines, 4 propeller spinners.

Each pewter model is a one piece master replacement. If a brass master was destroyed during the master mold process, a master replacement was cast from one of the first castings and replaced the brass model in the master archive. The solder used to assemble a brass master sometimes melted in the molding process, thereby causing the model to come apart. Reassembly was not practical and the pieces discarded.

On the bottom of each model is engraved the name and the date of the intelligence report used to make the model. Several intelligence errors are built into the models like a P-51 with a half rudder. Also present are several non-Allied models that actually posed no threat to allied forces but due to enemy propaganda were thought to be in production, like the FW 187.

In 1974, Duke Seifreid purchased both the Armor and Aircraft sets from Superior Models. (Comet Changed their name to Superior in the late 50's) He sold them to a private collector in 1982. Ed Pugh purchased both the Tank and the Airplane masters from that collector in 1988. He sold the armor set to a private collector in L.A. in 1994. I bought the aircraft set in 2007.

Commercial History:
During the war and post-war years they were offered to the public by Comet as part of their Authenticast line. During the 70's and 80's the were sold by Heritage USA under the Air Power brand name. During the 90's limited pieces were offered by Distinguished Flying Collectibles during the 50th anniversary of WW II.

Cruver 1/432 Models:
The Cruvers were a completely separate set. There are some planes in the Comet line not found in the Cruvers and Vice Versa. The production of the 1/432 scale plastic models (Device 5-BB-2B) by Cruver began in 1944, with possibly some models made in 1943. These models were made in a dark gray plastic with a small hole drilled near the CG to allow attaching a string or wire so they could be displayed in flight. They were packed in four plain cardboard boxes: US Army and Navy Set, Japanese, British, and German sets. There were also 4 Russian planes but not sure how these were packed. Models were sandwiched between layers of cotton with a packing list. Supposedly, the tools and inventory post war were provided to the Smithsonian. No info on any Masters, though.

Kix started making 6 sets of models in Nov 1945. They put out the six sets with four planes each in 1945 and 1946. The markings on the Kix do not include the Cruver markings nor the hole to suspend. Generally, they are not as well made, plus they are in several slightly different colors of gray (from different batches???).

Finally, I will eventually take photos of the masters and post them (I likely will post on my website). Had hoped to do that this year, but could not due to family illnesses. Eventually, I want to bequeath these to a quality museum (possibly the Smithsonian), but need to work with a curator first on how to preserve in the meantime.

If anyone has specific questions on the masters, please ask and I will try to answer from the research I have done.
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Re: Comet Authenticast

Postby grwebster » Tue Nov 10, 2009 5:55 pm

Excellent summary, Dennis. Many thanks for putting those three histories together in one easy to follow document. I am always learning.
But I thought the KIX collection was only 22 planes?
Have you ever heard of the Cruver 1:432nd planes being issued in sliver?
I wonder if the Cruver 1:432nd molds were the property of the US Govenment and had to be returned to them after the war.
I had heard, but not confirmed by any one knowledgeable like Bryan B or Steve R that the Cruver 1:72nd molds met the same fate, but that would not coincide with the post war production of the planes for hobbie shops etc.
In any case I have never seen a Cruver 1:72nd mold.
I have a wooden 1:72nd scale Mars flying boat that was supposedly the master for the intended ID model. Seems dubious but the model itself is quite nice.
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Re: Comet Authenticast

Postby BWBrown » Wed Nov 11, 2009 4:34 am

WOW! That was a wonderful summary, Dennis. Thanks so much! What are the 4 Russian planes made by Cruver? I've seen lots of PE-2's and SB-3's, but nary an example of the other two. I'd like to know what to look for. Thanks! -- Bryan
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Re: Comet Authenticast

Postby ramseyd » Wed Nov 11, 2009 6:01 am

GR, To answer your question first. There were only 22 actual planes made. The B-29 and the P-61 were in two kits. Six sets of four planes with two dups.

Bryan, My mistake on the Russian. My info clearly shows only 2, but I was hurrying for dinner and I think I looked at the comet list instead. I can find reference (specs) to the Pe-2 and SB-3 in plastic (i.e. Cruver). Comet made four metal, IL 2 Stormovik , DB 3 F, Mig 3, and PE-2. The Training aides Manual (Fm 21-8) actually included 2 additional Russian metal planes: the Yak-4 and the TB-7, but I do not believe any of these were ever made.
Sorry for the confusion.

I guess I should also mention that there were some additional metal models ( I believe they were all 1/432 scale) made post war by other manufactures. I believe Pewtercraft added the Henschel Hs 129, Messerschmitt ME-109G, Messerschmitt ME-262, Blenheim I, Fairy Battle. DFC added a Val I (Aichi T-99). Superior added a Nick Ki45 (Toryu T97) and an Ann Ki.30 Mitsu T97. I have the Pewter master for the Val 1 from DFC. Don't have copies of the others, but per their catalogs, these were made. If anyone knows differently, please let me know.
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