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Ertl Company

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Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)
Ertl logo
1945-1981, 2004-current

The Ertl Company (or Ertl for short) was a maker of die cast and injection molded plastic models.


AMT/Ertl company logos
AMTErtl company logo 1982-1986 AMTErtl company logo 1987-1992 AMTErtlLogo
1982-1986 1987-1992 1993-1999

Founded in 1945 by Fred Ertl, Sr., the Iowa-based Ertl Company occupied a niche in the booming die-cast model market by specializing in the production of agricultural farming equipment and vehicle models. These licensed models were initially created for real-world farming equipment companies' marketing departments but Ertl soon began to produce die-cast models for sale to collectors and as toys.

In 1972 the company introduced injection-molded plastic model kits based on their established product lines. Unable to garner sufficient sales, Ertl strategically acquired a number of model kit and die-cast model-making companies.

Over three decades, Ertl acquired Carter Tru-Scale (1971), Structo Stamped Steel (1974), Aluminum Model Toys (1981), MPC Model Kits (1985), ECSI Model Kit Company (1987), and Britains Limited (2000) to become one of the largest US manufacturers of model kits and die-cast models. Ertl's complete acquisition of AMT from the near-bankrupt Lesney Products led to the new name AMT/Ertl which falsely hinted at a merger. Ertl retained the AMT brand name until 2000.

While itself an active acquirer of companies, Ertl was in turn owned by a succession of larger corporations including Victor Comptometer Corporation (1967-1977), Kidde, Inc. (1977-1987), Hanson PLC (1987-1999), RC2 Corporation (1999-2011), and Tomy (2011-present)[1]

RC2 Corporation's ownership proved to have the most far-reaching effects on the company, though the Ertl name was at first incorporated in the new parent company's name as Racing Champions/ERTL. In 2004, Ertl was relegated to a subsidiary brand under the RC2 umbrella. The brand had come full circle and was used to market die-cast models of agricultural equipment and vehicles exclusively, just as it did following the company's inception in 1945.

Star Trek association

Star Trek model kits

For individual Star Trek model kits listing see AMT/Ertl.

With the acquisition of AMT, Ertl gained the license to produce a Star Trek model kit line. Over nearly twenty-five years, the company produced products from two more live action Star Trek series and eight Star Trek films. AMT/Ertl lost out on the license for Star Trek: Voyager which was awarded to Revell-Monogram.

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock 1984 toy line

Ertl released a small toy line based on Star Trek III: The Search for Spock in 1984 which consisted of four plastic action figures and three die-cast ship models (two of which were re-released in 1989) under the Ertl brand name.

Release Item Item number Material Scale Notes
1984 Mr. Spock 331 Plastic n/s With phaser
Captain Kirk 332 Plastic n/s With tricorder
Scotty 333 Plastic n/s With phaser
Klingon Leader (Kruge) 334 Plastic n/s With Klingon monster dog
USS Enterprise refit 1372 Diecast 1/2743
USS Excelsior 1373 Diecast n/s Labeled as "NCC-1799"
Bird of Prey 1374 Diecast n/s Two variants, one light blue and one light green on slightly differing cards
Ertl 331 1984 Mr.Spock Ertl 332 1984 Captain Kirk Ertl 333 1984 Scotty Ertl 334 1984 Klingon Leader 120px Ertl 1373 1984 diecast USS Excelsior Ertl 1374 1984 diecast Bird of Prey Ertl 1374 1984 diecast Bird of Prey variant
1989 USS Enterprise-A 1372 Diecast 1/2743 Re-issue for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier; Outfitted with new decals; On new card
Bird of Prey 1374 Diecast n/s Re-issue for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier; Outfitted with new paint scheme; On new card
1991 USS Enterprise-A n/a Diecast 1/2743 Re-issue for Star Trek Smithsonian Exhibit as merchandise for their gift shop; On new card
1994 USS Enterprise-A n/a Diecast 1/2743 Re-issue in Limited Edition gold deco for Spencer Gifts; Individually serialized on new box
Ertl 1372 1989 diecast USS Enterprise Ertl 1374 1989 diecast Bird of Prey Ertl 1991 diecast Enterprise Smithonian ERTL Enterprise-A

See also

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