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.
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.
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.