During WWII, seamen and aviators needed to be able to recognize and distinguish enemy from allied vessels, in order to determine threats and prevent friendly fire. The US Navy commissioned Comet Metal Products Co., Inc. to fabricate sets of spotter models that coule be used to teah pilots and sailors. These sets included fleets of British Royal Navy, Imperial Japanese Navy, French Navy, Navy of the Italian Republic, and the US Navy.
Of these sets, the Houston maritime Museum exhibits a collection of the Imperial Japanese Navy teach models, which includes classes of heavy cruisers, light cruisers, battleships, destroyers, and aircraft carriers. These miniature authentic-cast ships were craft with amazing detail depicting scaled gun turrets, anti-aircraft guns, torpedo tubes, bridge control towers, range finders, catapults, life-boats, cranes, searchlights, anchors, etc. – all cast in metal and hand is that they are all waterline miniatures, which is representative of what would be in view for the aerial pilots and other vessels on spot. Sprayed in regulation battleship gray, each ship is permanently identified by its class name and individually housed with the case. The pieces is a beneficial addition to HM’s World War II Collection, as it enhances the story of the required training the sailors and pilots underwent.
Excerpt from The Anchor Newsletter, December, 2014.