(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|
|2010 (Japan only)|
Founded in 1945 by Fred Ertl, Sr., the Iowa-based Ertl Company occupied a niche in the booming post-war 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)
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. By 2004, Ertl was relegated to a mere subsidiary brand under the RC2 umbrella, though the former renowned brand name AMT/Ertl was still (ab)used as late as 2010 for Platz's limited edition Japanese Star Trek model kit-line. 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
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.
|Mr. Spock||n/s||1984||331||Plastic||With phaser|
|Captain Kirk||332||With tricorder|
|Klingon Leader (Kruge)||334||With Klingon monster dog|
|USS Enterprise refit||1/2743||1372||Diecast|
|USS Excelsior||n/s||1373||Labeled as "NCC-1799"|
|Bird of Prey||1374||Two variants, one light blue and one light green on slightly differing cards|
|USS Enterprise-A||1/2743||1989||1372||Re-issue for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier; Outfitted with new decals; On new card|
|Bird of Prey||n/s||1374||Re-issue for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier; Outfitted with new paint scheme; On new card|
|USS Enterprise-A||1/2743||1991||n/a||Re-issue for Star Trek Smithsonian Exhibit as merchandise for their gift shop; On new card|
|USS Enterprise-A||1994||n/a||Re-issue in Limited Edition gold deco for Spencer Gifts; Individually serialized on new box|