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(written from a Production point of view)
Racing Champions (aka Racing Champions/ERTL, RCERTL, or RC2 Corporation as it is currently called) has been the parent company of AMT, Ertl, and Playing Mantis, the original owner of the Johnny Lightning, Polar Lights and Memory Lane brands. The original company was best known for producing scaled die-cast car models and it continues to do so to this day.
Racing Champions was founded in 1989 and pursued a vigorous acquisition strategy in the subsequent fifteen years, going public with stock issues in 1997. The company's name was changed to Racing Champions/Ertl in 1999 when it bought AMT/Ertl, in the process splitting the company back into its original components.
This rapid expansion resulted in a cumbersome collection of companies with subsidiaries creating unrelated product lines so a reorganization of Racing Champions/Ertl was initiated in 2003.
Renamed RC2 Corporation in 2004, the company opted to refocus onto its original product lines of die-cast toys and models, and, after it bought "Learning Curve International, Inc." (2003) and "The First Years Inc." (2004), on toys and learning material for the very young. Ertl was dropped from the company name and was relegated for exclusive use as a subsidiary brand. Product lines that did not fit the new company profile were liquidated or sold, which included a number of model kits carried by AMT and Polar Lights.
Star Trek associationEdit
Prior to the acquisition of other licensed Star Trek merchandising entities, Racing Champions created a set of five collectible Star Trek figurines and starship miniatures under the Star Trek Champions brand in 1998. It later re-released four Star Trek models kits and produced the Legends of Star Trek die-cast starship line.
Star Trek Champions releasesEdit
Each pewter model was purported to be part of a limited edition of 9,998 pieces, came complete with Certificate of Authenticity (which optimistically listed it as part of "Series One"), and included a stand. An image of a relevant scene from a Star Trek film was used as a packaging backdrop and a quote was included on the base under the figure.
|Star Trek Champions|
|Spock||1998||In Kolinahr robes from Star Trek: The Motion Picture|
|James T. Kirk||In Rear Admiral's uniform from Star Trek: The Motion Picture|
|Khan Noonien Singh||From Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan|
|USS Enterprise-A||This figure was supposed to be the refit USS Enterprise from Star Trek: The Motion Picture, as the figure's base states, but the figure itself has the "NCC-1701-A" registry on the saucer.|
|Kruge's Klingon Bird-of-Prey||From Star Trek III: The Search for Spock|
Note: Image 6 is a typical back of the figure package
Star Trek model kitsEdit
Through the acquisition of AMT/Ertl in 1999 and Playing Mantis, or rather its subsidiary Polar Lights in 2004, RC2 obtained licensing to produce Star Trek model kits. However, due to its reformulated profile, the company showed very little interest in exploiting or developing the product line any further.
A half-hearted attempt to revive the line occurred when re-releases were announced, of which only four were marketed in 2005 under its original brand name "AMT/Ertl", even though that company by that time had already been split up into its two original components. Those four kits were the only releases by the AMT brand to reach retail in eight years.
Polar Lights did not release any kits and was even eliminated as brand in 2006. Yet, both were revived by Round 2 LLC after that company bought both product lines in 2007.
|Star Trek model kit releases under the Racing Champions umbrella|
|3-piece USS Enterprise (TV) Set||1:2500||2005||38387||Contains|
|3-piece USS Enterprise (Movie) Set||38388||Contains|
|3-piece Adversary Set||1:3700|
- For the other individual Star Trek model kits under the original company listings, see AMT/Ertl and Polar Lights.
Legends of Star Trek seriesEdit
- For release details see Legends of Star Trek.
Johnny Lightning, originally a subsidiary of Playing Mantis (like Polar Lights) and traditionally a producer of die-cast car miniatures, fit the redefined profile of RC2 Corporation and was maintained as a separate brand within it. Johnny Lighting premiered a die-cast metal and plastic toy starship line called Legends of Star Trek in 2004.