Memory Alpha
Memory Alpha
Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)
Ertl logo.png
1945-1981, 2005-current
AMT/Ertl brand logos
AMTErtl company logo 1982-1986.jpg AMTErtl company logo 1987-1992.jpg AMTErtl logo.jpg
'82-'86 '87-'92 '93-'05
AMTErtl-Platz company logo 2010.jpg
2010 (Japan only)

The Ertl Company (known as Ertl) was an American manufacturer of die-cast and injection-molded plastic models.


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 implied a merger as equal partners, which it was not. Ertl retained the AMT brand name until 2005, even though the company itself was already split in its original constituent parts pursuant its 1999 acquisition by new owner Racing Champions.

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), Racing Champions (1999-2011, RC2 Corporation as of 2004), 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. By 2004, Ertl was relegated to a mere subsidiary brand under the RC2 umbrella after Racing Champions was reorganized into RC2 Corporation, though the former renowned brand name AMT/Ertl was still used as late as 2010 for Platz's Japanese limited edition Star Trek model kit line. The brand had come full circle and was exclusively used to market die-cast models of agricultural equipment and vehicles, just as it had following the company's inception in 1945.

Star Trek releases

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.

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

Star Trek III and Star Trek V toys

Ertl starship prototypes

In 1984, AMT/Ertl released a small toy line based on Star Trek III: The Search for Spock under the Ertl brand solely, that consisted of four plastic action figures and three plastic and die-cast metal starship miniatures.

Two of the ships were reissued for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier's debut, and the USS Enterprise miniature was later distributed as a retailer exclusive and as a museum gift shop product.

Ertl acquired this licensing following the resounding success of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan but failed to attract strong toy sales with it, after the third Star Trek film had been released.

Ironically, the very profitable second film had seen very few toys released for it, which was attributed to disappointing returns from the merchandising of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. The 2018 "Star Trek" episode of the Netflix series The Toys That Made Us postulated that the inability of the franchise to "invest in the toys for the right movie at the right time" was the principal reason that these toy lines performed poorly at retail.

Release Scale Year No. Material Notes Package
Mr. Spock n/s 1984 331 Plastic With phaser Ertl 331 1984 Mr.Spock.jpg
Captain Kirk 332 With tricorder Ertl 332 1984 Captain Kirk.jpg
Scotty 333 With phaser Ertl 333 1984 Scotty.jpg
Klingon Leader (Kruge) 334 With Klingon monster dog Ertl 334 1984 Klingon Leader.jpg
USS Enterprise (refit) 1/2743 1372 Die-cast metal and plastic Ertl 1372 1984 diecast USS Enterprise.jpg
USS Excelsior n/s 1373 Hull registry marked as "NCC-1799" Ertl 1373 1984 diecast USS Excelsior.jpg
Bird of Prey 1374 Two variants: light blue or light green; on slightly differing cards Ertl 1374 1984 diecast Bird of Prey.jpgErtl 1374 1984 diecast Bird of Prey variant.jpg
1989 Re-issued for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier with a new bright green paint scheme; on a new card Ertl 1374 1989 diecast Bird of Prey.jpg
USS Enterprise-A 1/2743 1372 Re-issued for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier with new decals; on a new card Ertl 1372 1989 diecast USS Enterprise.jpg
1991 n/a Re-issued on a new card for the gift shops at the Star Trek Smithsonian Exhibit, the National Air and Space Museum, and other Smithsonian museums Ertl 1991 diecast Enterprise Smithsonian.jpg
1994 Re-issued in a gold deco as a Spencer Gifts-exclusive "Limited Edition" of 5000 units; in a new windowbox; ship has an engraved serial number; Certificate of Authenticity enclosed ERTL Enterprise-A.jpg

See also

External links