keywords = Comet Authenticast Comet Metal Products Slonim ordnance tank armor armour track self-propelled artillery gun cannon rifle airplane spotter ship naval navy
Updated:  31 Jan 2004, 09:30  ET
(Created 18 May 2002) [Ref:  This is authcomt.html   (URL )]

S. Berliner, III's


Consultant in Ultrasonic Processing
"changing materials with high-intensity sound"
Technical and Historical Writer, Oral Historian
Popularizer of Science and Technology
Rail, Auto, Air, Ordnance, and Model Enthusiast
Light-weight Linguist, Lay Minister, and Putative Philosopher

Comet Auth Part-Color Logo Comet Auth B&W Logo

Comet Auth Full Color Logo Comet Auth Waterline Logo (Logos from 1945 Catalog)

This site has now been visited times since the counter was re-installed 01 Dec 99.

Please refer to the Ordnance page, et seq.

[Many images lost;
some restored 19 Jun 03.
Many new photos taken 06 Aug 03.]


On this Authenticast/Comet page:
  Comet Metal Products, Inc.

On the Authenticast/Comet Continuation Page 1:
  new.gif (19 Jun 03)
  1945 Comet Metal Products AUTHENTICAST Catalog

Tank Scale of 1:108
  1945 Comet Metal Products AUTHENTICAST Price List
  AUTHENTICAST Ship Models.   rev.gif (09 Jul 03!!!)
  AUTHENTICAST Miscellany.   new.gif (24 Jun 03)

On the Authenticast/Comet Continuation Page 2:
  new.gif (16 Jul 03)
  1950s Fitted Case of Tanks.   new.gif (16 Jul 03)
  Atomic Cannon   new.gif (16 Jul 03)
  Honest John   new.gif (16 Jul 03)
  USS Northampton - CLC-1   new.gif (14 Oct 03)

On the Ordnance Continuation Page 1:

On the Ordnance Continuation Page 2:

On Ordnance Continuation Page 3:
  CALIBER (Calibre).
  Anzio Annie.
  SMALL ARMS (moved from Page 2 on 13 Apr 00)
  Russian Armor.

Comet "Authenticast" 1:432 Aircraft Models,

and see below.

Comet Metal Products Co., Inc.

Old Comet Logo
(07 Jul 03 photo by and © 2003 S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved)
(Note - no reference to Authenticast; no subject image in logo)

During and after World War II and at least into the Korean "police action" (1940s, 50s, and 60s), a small firm in Richmond Hill (Postal Code 18), Queens County, New York (near the Long Island Rail Road's Morris Park Shops, built a line of scale model ships (see logo above), planes, railroad cars, tanks and armored vehicles, and soldiers under the trade name "Authenticast".  It was owned and run by the two Slonim brothers, Sam and Joe, if I recall correctly.

[More detailed history of Comet and its successors is on Continuation page 1 at HISTORY.]   new.gif (02 Jul 03)

note-rt.gif - 07 Jul 03 - I took some new photos on 06 and 07 Jul 03 to replace the many of the missing ones; they are rough and will be replaced when I find my close-up lenses and drag out the big box of tanks for new photos.  Also, beause there are so many changes on this page, I have dispensed with additional new.gif and rev.gif icons.   new.gif (07 Jul 03)

Because of heightened interest in these models, I have extracted random mentions from my many hobby and ordnance and aviation pages and concentrated them here on this separate page.

[From my Ordnance page (edited):]

I had an early and abiding interest in tanks and armored vehicles and had (still have) an enormous collection of model tanks and such.  The highlight of my collection was/is a complete set of all Comet Metal Products (Authenticast) die-cast tanks and armored vehicles in near-HO (1:87.1) scale@ {see below}.  At the tender age of 14 or so, I wrote to President Truman to try to obtain a model of the M-48 Patton tank he'd just been presented; the Chief of Ordnance, himself, replied, with photos and drawings of the new tank!  From those photos, I modified an Authenticast M-46 Pershing to approximate the M-48 Patton and Comet used it as the development model for their new M-48!  I was next accepted as the youngest member ever in the (then) Army Ordnance Association, later the American Ordnance Association, and now (with a typical modern gobbledegook name) the Defense Preparedness Association.  Then I worked as an Engineering Aide at Aberdeen Proving Ground summers while in college in the early '50s and then full time for a while as a Certified Ordnance Proof Director.  I was in the old Development & Proof Services and some of my time was spent testing vehicles, especially the Mechanical Mule* -ton 4x 4, while the bulk of the time I was in the Tank and Self Propelled Artillery section.

* - I saw one in St. Charles, Illinois, in 1999; what a surprise!

@ - The Authenticast Atomic Cannon and the Honest John shown below are from Ordnance Continuation Page 2, after Railguns.  There is also a question about the actual scale, which is treated below, as well.

(Comet Metal Products)

Comet Auth Part-Color Logo Comet Auth B&W Logo

Comet Auth Full Color Logo Comet Auth Waterline Logo (Logos from 1945 Catalog)

(Note the warship in the AUTHENTICAST logo!)

The old, missing images were shot THROUGH the thin plastic upper case of the Atomic Cannon package (which is stapled to the base and which is finally cracking after all these years); I was amazed to find that I had packed the underside of the lower case with strips of shirt cardboard to bear the great weight (1# 2½oz!) of the model and not crush the cardboard base - clever pre-teen kid, eh?

SPELLING - From the old boxes I have it is quite clear that the correct spelling of Comet's trademarked product name is properly "AUTHENTICAST" and NOT "AUTHENTI-CAST".  Here are the top and the front and back of the Honest John box top:

Hon John Box Top top j

Hon John Box Top top f

Hon John Box Top top g
(06 Jul 03 photos by and © 2003 S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved)
{for the end panels, see below}

This is rather funny!  In all these years, I had never before noticed that the Slonims had cribbed their images for this box from Mantua, the model RR manufacturer!

Also, I NEVER tape a box (I sometimes forget and end up with badly rotted rubber bands, though); you are looking at the residue of original Slonim tape.

[From my Hobby page (edited):]

I assume that, if you are reading this page, you already know about the AUTHENTICAST line of model tanks and armo(u)red fighting vehicles (AFVs) from the old Comet Metal Products Co., Inc..  For those who don't know of them, these were a rather comprehensive set of models of nearly all major American tanks and AFVs and many of the most significant British, German, Russian, and Japanese ones.

I have a complete set of all the "AUTHENTICAST" tanks and military vehicles in a custom-fitted display case, plus the 280mm and an Honest John rocket on a mobile launcher (Jimmy 6x6), both too big for the case, plus the original reference manual.  I even recovered and have the prototype M-46-cum-M-48.

They are described below and on Continuation page 2.  In addition, I have a full set of their HO American and German WWII troops, somehow no longer jumbled in a classic long, yellow Comet Authenticast box (see below).

It appears that Comet NEVER claimed the models as HO (I may eat these words, yet).   See the 1945 Catalog on the next page.  They DID make HO RR models after the war.

Another site (about ship models) has a partial history of Comet; it is on Paul Jacobs' 1200 and 1250 model Warships page (but see below).

In my bureau, I have a life's collection of little "thingies", personal memorabilia and such, dating back to just before WWII; I never really paid much attention to the box until just now.  It is one of the original boxes in which my "HO" soldiers came!  Other than my having obliterated personal notes on paper labels taped over the top and ends for my privacy, here it is:

AUTH Soldier's box top 0

This is the left end, mostly obscured by my label, but clearly stating "prone", and a detail of the top showing a distributor the name of which had been taped over when I got the set and a detail of the other end:

AUTH Soldier's box end c

AUTH Soldier's box end d AUTH Soldier's box end e

I also added shots of the front and back of the cover:

AUTH Soldier's box front a

AUTH Soldier's box back c
(06 Jul 03 photos by and © 2003 S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved)

The distributor imprint (not stamped) reads:

Sole Distributors
44-60 EAST 23rd. STREET

Naturally, I HAD to scrape off the opaque tape hiding that.  Similarly, on the right of the top, it originally came with tape hiding a word; when scraped off, it revealed "MOVABLE", such that the box was originally printed to offer "STREAMLINED SOLDIERS WITH MOVABLE ARMS".  I have no clue what a "streamlined soldier" might be, but in near-HO, I absolutely guarantee they did NOT have movable arms (be they weapons or limbs).  The box bottom is finally disintegrating but the top is still in fair shape; I am not (yet) willing (or ready) to remove my childhood labels to see what's underneath.  The box was made for regular "tin" soldiers but had some sort of folded, slotted cardboard divider, as I recall, that held all the tiny HO men in place.  I had seen a duplicate box relatively recently, in good shape, holding all my U.S. and Wehrmacht soldiers in a wild jumble, but couldn't recall where; when I finally found them, on 06 Jun 01, they were in the wrong kind of box:

AUTH Soldier's box

Here are the Americans; note they had a Springfield with and without bayonet, a Tommy gun (Thompson semi-automatic), a Browning 30 cal. machine gun, a bazooka, a 37mm antitank gun, and even a mine detector:

AUTH US Soldiers

Whoa!  I never realized; there are also figures of a standing G.I. with a carbine slung over his shoulder (at far left)!   rev.gif (31 Jan 04)

Now for the Germans, not quite as well equipped as the Yanks; they have a rifle with and without bayonet, a Schmeisser submachine gun, a machine gun, and an antitank gun:

AUTH Ger Soldiers

Here are the two opposing sides up close:   rev.gif (31 Jan 04)

AUTH advng soldiers
(06 Jul 03 photos by and © 2003 S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved)

Just so you can see the full panoply of the two forces, here is a keyed shot of the whole lot, all 114 of them (57 American and.coincidentally, 57 German):   new.gif (31 Jan 04)

AUTH soldiers
(31 Jan 04 photo by and © 2004 S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved)
[Thumbnailed image - click on picture for larger photo]

The keys are obvious, I hope -

AT = AntiTank Gun, P = Prone, B = Bazooka, C = Carbine, R = Rifle, T = Thompson Sub-Machine Gun,
X = Broken, K = Kneeling, S = Schmiesser Sub-Machine Gun, MG = Machine Gun, MD = to Mine Detector.

As I recall, they came in two sets each, standing and prone; don't ask me in which set the kneeling figures were!  Looking at them now, I wonder if the soldiers weren't actually HO (1:87.1) or even 1:76, and not the so-called 15mm/1:108; I'll ask one of the standing Yanks or Germans to stand up straight to be measured (6'? / 15.25cm?) and let you know when he does!  The standing figures measure ¾" (19mm) above the base as is, which comes out to 5' 5" (166cm) - not bad for true HO.

Also, please do not ask me how I come to have such odd proportions of soldiers; I haven't the foggiest idea (unless many of them got "killed").   new.gif (31 Jan 04)

In the box, as shown above, were my pre-teen efforts to make HO scale rulers (how did I know the tanks and soldiers weren't HO scale?); the metal one is cut from a corset stay:

AUTH 'HO' Rulers
(06 Jul 03 photo by and © 2003 S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved)

This reminds me that I used to make all sorts of things out of shirt cardboard, such as a fortress-cum-castle with an operating drawbridge, from which I got the idea to build a rather large landing ship/craft, sort of like a giant LCVP-cum-LCI-cum-LST, with an operating bow ramp, to transport my Autheticast tanks and AFVs and troops across the carpet ocean to the carpet beachhead; wonder if I can find photos of it?

[I DID find some of those photos and will scan them in here one of these days.]

Now, here's an odd howdy-do!  I'd written that the old box that contained soldiers did NOT mention "AUTHENTICAST" at all!  It uses the adjective "AUTHENTIC", but that's not a trademark.  Wrong!  "AUTHENTICAST" IS noted on the left end panel,

AUTH Soldier's box end c

but it is on a pasted-on label, the one reading "PRONE".

I turned up my original ca. 1945 Comet Metal Products "AUTHENTICAST" pumper fire engine, replete with driver and two other seated firemen.  I hadn't shown the other side because I'd cut a big hole in it for my dummy firehose.  Also, I painted the caps on two of the figures and had several more, helmeted, standing figures, that I could hook on to the end of the hoses, standing on the tailgate; unfortunately, the standing figures went the way of the long single-wheelbase cab-over hook-and-ladder truck!

AUTH pumper 3 AUTH pumper 5

AUTH pumper 4 AUTH pumper 6
(06 Jul 03 photo by and © 2003 S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved)

The chrome paint on the lights and such is shot and the grille never had any, the axle ends have rusted lightly, but otherwise she's held up rather well, I'd say.  Wonder if I'll ever turn up that ladder truck and the other figures?

19 Oct 01 - Bill Seymour has 38 Comet/AUTHENTICAST tanks and AFVs in mint condition and in their original boxes, ca. 1950, and is (was?) willing to part with them; here are two:

Auth Tanks
(Photo by and courtesy of B. Seymour - all rights reserved)

If you are seriously interested, let me know; Bill also is thinking of getting rid of his old Britains, Ltd. soldiers.

It seems to me that Bill's boxes are a third generation box (Vietnam era?); the boxes on my Ordnance page, for the Atomic Cannon and Honest John, are second generation (Korean era), but I only have those WWII soldiers boxes, not tank/AFV boxes; most were picked up directly at Comet and were in tissue paper.

note-rt.gif - 18 May 02 - Allen Hill turned up and puts Bill's collection to shame (at least in terms of sheer bulk):

A Hill Coll 1 A Hill Coll 2

A Hill Coll 3 A Hill Coll 4

A Hill Coll 5 A Hill Coll 6
(Cropped 18 May 02 from photo by A. Hill - all rights reserved)

From my Ordnance Continuation Page 2:

I have a ca.-1945 HO model (of the Atomic Cannon (q.v.):

Auth Atomic Cannon Model - ca. 1945

This 50+-year-old AUTHENTICAST model still looks reasonably good; it's 10" (72½') long in HO scale and was made by Comet Metal Products of Richmond Hill (Jamaica area), Long Island, New York, as part of their WWII tank and armored vehicle series (and is older than the "M65" production designation).  Here's what's left of the original box:

Auth Atomic Cannon Box - ca. 1945
(Ca. 1945 model and box and 1999 photos by - and © 1999 - S. Berliner, III)

Whil(e)(st) looking for another old model, I ran across the AUTHENTICAST Honest John Rocket Launcher in its original box (like the Atomic Cannon, it would not fit in my fitted case).  The box is labelled "GUIDED MISSILE HONEST JOHN 5194" and probably dates from 1950 or so.  I moved this coverage to the continuation page 2.   rev.gif ()

Henk Timmermann of Holland sent photos of PST models to show the differences.  I also looked up the QualityCast (ex-AuthentiCast) line of Soviet tanks to double check.

From my Railroad Schnabel Car Continuation Page 2 (edited):

I grew up wanting (although I never bought) the Comet Metal Products AUTHENTICAST HO POLLOCK hot metal car.  They are also called "bottle" cars or even (improperly) "ThermosTM bottle" cars, in the U.S.  As I moved this paragraph and edited it, it occurred to me that the Comet car was probably the Red Ball car (if my memory serves me aright).

Comet "AUTHENTICAST" 1:432 Aircraft Recognition ("Spotter") Models

I completely forgot about the Slonim's line of tiny Comet "AUTHENTICAST" 1:432 aircraft recognition ("spotter") models!

For more on these and on Comet/AUTHENTICAST, see Ed Pugh's Reaper Miniatures "Monkey Shyne" page.

The full set of original brass dies AND many of the masters are for sale!  Serious inquiries are invited; contact Ed Pugh if you are interested and in a position to aquire these rarities.

From Ed's pages, Duke Seifreid purchased both the Armor and Aircraft sets from Superior Models in 1974 (Comet had changed its name to Superior in the late 50's),  Seifreid sold them to the private collector from whom Ed purchased them from in 1982.  Ed purchased both sets from the collector in 1988.  Ed sold the armor set to a private collector in L.A. in 1994.

During the war and post-war years, the 1:432 planes were offered to the public by Comet as part of their Authenticast line.

During the '70s and '80s, they were sold by Heritage USA under the Air Power brand name.

During the '90s limited pieces were offered by Distinguished Flying Collectibles during the 50th anniversary of WW II.

INVALUABLE TIP! - If your ancient zinc models start to crumble away from IGC [Inter-Granular Corrosion, brought about by tin impurities in the zinc (very common in WWII)], just soak the whole thing in ACC (alpha cyanoacrylate, or "Crazy Glue").  It's just that simple and works like a charm, bonding the grain structure back together.  It wll NOT, however, shrink back a badly swollen casting, only bond it together and keep it from crumbling further.  it really works; I've been doing it ever since ACC came on the market - SB,III.

Speaking of which, I hauled out the fitted case on 18 May 02 and opened it for the first time in perhaps five or more years; oh, my!  What a mess!  Many more models have succumbed to IGC and a few are falling apart along glue lines or have paint flaking off.  However, I found things I'd completely forgotten about!  The models appear to be in numbered order in the order of their acquisition (my master list is in the misplaced catalog).  There are a few ringers, like one of the Chevvies is a civilian car I painted OD (I had completely forgotten that Comet put out a line of civilian cars in putative HO).  Also, there are two M22 Locust tanks (don't ask me why!) and there are a dozen seated soldiers that came with one of the Jimmies, the one with seats along each side of the stake body (I'd completely forgotten about them) and some incredibly tiny figures that I can't even begin to identify.  Since the original 18 May 02 photos seem to be irretrievably lost, I hauled the case out yet again on 16 Jul 03 (my, it gets heavier every year!)and the new photos are on Continuation page 2.

{Wonder what I've missed?}

note-rt.gif - 07 Jul 03 - I took some new photos on 06 and 07 Jul 03 to replace the many of the missing ones; they are rough and will be replaced when I find my close-up lenses and drag out the big box of tanks for new photos.  Also, beause there are so many changes on this page, I have dispensed with additional new.gif and rev.gif icons.   new.gif (07 Jul 03)

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S. Berliner, III

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of this series of Comet/AUTHENTICAST pages.

© Copyright S. Berliner, III - 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003 - All rights reserved.

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