(written from a Production point of view)
|ERTL brand logo|
The Ertl Company (or Ertl for short) was a maker of die cast and injection molded plastic models.
|AMT/Ertl company logos|
Founded in 1945 by Fred Ertl, Sr., the Iowa based company occupied a specific market niche in the booming die cast model market of the time as it specialized in models of agricultural farming equipment and vehicles. Starting out with the manufacture of models for marketing purposes often licensed by real world manufacturers of farming equipment and vehicles, the company soon also produced models for collectors and as toys. In 1972 the company wanted to branch out with the introduction of injection molded plastic model kits, based upon their product line. Not gaining the hoped for popularity, Ertl wished to remain in the model kit market and adopted a strategy of acquisition of model kit and die cast model companies. In 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), in the process becoming one of the largest US manufacturers of model kits and die cast models. The purchase of AMT from Lesney Products, which was in the process of going bankrupt, led to the new name AMT/Ertl (suggesting an equivalent merger, which it was not; Ertl fully owned AMT but wanted to retain the established brand name), which it carried until 2000.
While an active acquirer of companies, Ertl itself was owned by a succession of holding companies, Victor Comptometer Corporation (1967-1977), Kidde, Inc. (1977-1987), Hanson PLC (1987-1999), and RC2 Corporation (1999-current). The last change in ownership proved to be far reaching for the company, though the "Ertl" name was at first incorporated in the new parent company name, "Racing Champions/ERTL", suggesting a equal status within the parent company; a 2003 re-organization essentially dismantled the company, as it was split up in its original components. As of 2004, Ertl was relegated as a subsidiary brand under the RC2 umbrella, coming full circle as it only carries a product line of die cast agricultural equipment and vehicles, just as it did when the company started way back in 1945.
Star Trek association
Star Trek model kits
With the acquisition of AMT, leading to the new name AMT/Ertl, Ertl also gained the license to produce the Star Trek model kit line. During the nearly 2½ decades the company held the license, the line would see its largest expansion with numerous new additions, buoyed on with two more live action Star Trek series and eight more Star Trek films. AMT/Ertl lost out on the license for Star Trek: Voyager, which went to Revell-Monogram.
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock 1984 toy line
Though already having bought AMT, which held the Star Trek license, Ertl released a small toy line based on Star Trek III: The Search for Spock in 1984, consisting of four plastic action figures and three diecast ship models (two of which were re-released in 1989), under its own brand name only.
|1984||Mr. Spock||331||Plastic||n/s||With phaser|
|Captain Kirk||332||Plastic||n/s||With tricorder|
|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|
|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|