Thursday, July 11, 2013

#302 ERTL/ METALCAR – BATMOBILE (1989)


HISTORY OF ERTL: THE EARLY YEARS


This car is casted after the batmobile seen in the Batman movie from 1989 (directed by Tim Burton). It is a very nice miniature, has some nice details like painted head and rearlights, the batman sign on the roof and special-casted hubcaps.




The car is slightly larger than the usual 1:64, so I cannot really figure out which scale it is. I imagine the Batmobile to be at least twice as long as a normal car, that’s at least 7 meters long, so the scale should be around 1:72 more or less, since the car is 9 cm long (despite this scale, I'll tag this entry with 1:64).

NOTE: This calculations have been confirmed here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batmobile

ERTL was founded in 1945 by Fred and Gertrude Ertl. They were German immigrants that settled in the U.S.A. in the 1920s, after World War I.

At the time, the factory was settled in the basement of the family house in Dubuque, Iowa. Fred had worked as a moulder in cast-iron and grey-iron, so after he was idled by his company in 1945, he decided to start his own company rightaway. He had 5 children to feed, and the times were hard.


Fortunately this business was relatively successful. Their first product was an Allis-Chalmers WC tractor in red, very robustly made, but also with many details. It was made of aluminium, since Iron was more difficult to find after the war. Aluminium was lighter and easier to cast. The following year, they casted a second model: a John Deere Tractor in green, much more accurate, with higher details and in a more precise 1:16 scale. This model is available in an earlier cast with aluminium wheels, and in a later version with aluminium wheels but plastic tyres.

All the family worked in th  family business. Fred and Gertrude children would paint the tractors, and Fred Ertl Jr. (at the time aged 15) would fill the family van with finished tractors and would distribute them in toy-stores.

That same year of 1946, Ertl would associate with ESKA (Bud Essmann and Laverne Kascell) to distribute more efficiently their John Deere tractors. These miniatures would also be offered as promotional giveaways by the tractor manufacturer. This association with ESKA and John Deere would result a great success. So great that the family could afford a new home and a small factory in Dubuque.

In 1947, Ertl changed their models to remain faithful to the new John Deere models.




The company moved in 1959 to Dyersville, Iowa and is now the largest producer of farm toy replicas in the world, having many licenses to produce almost every brand of tractors. Ertl was also a very important part in the foundation of the National Farm Toy Museum. The Ertl family sold the business in 1968 and during the next 30 years would become bigger and bigger by purchasing other companies. In 1999, it was bought by Racing Champions, but the brand is still active and it is very famous worldwide.

Ertl has also occasionally purchased license to produce die-cast vehicles for DC Comics, Star Wars and other popular comic/film/tv series characters. The model presented here today is one of these, as you can read in the chassis of the car.


Information for this article has been taken out of the book: Ertl Toy Tractors by Patrick W. Ertel and Catherine Lee Phillips.

UPDATE:
I have found this interesting Knock-off of the Ertl model, and I want to show it here. It is made of an almost identical cast, but has many obvious differences. There is no Brand on the plate except for a big "M" and no country of origin (probably Hong-Kong or China).
The paint is rather shiny compared to the one used in the original Ertl model and the Batman logo is also quite different, but it is a supernice bootleg toy!





 
FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: BATMOBILE
  • Scale: 1:72 (approx.)
  • Year: 1989
  • Company: ERTL (U.S.A.) / Metalcar (Hungary)
  • Size: 9 cm

11 comments:

  1. Do you know how many were made? Cant find the answer on google.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Thanks for the comment!
      I don't think you'll find an answer to that, I guess there were millions of there made, since it was a popular film and a cheap toy you can produce massively.

      Delete
  2. What is value of
    #302 ERTL – BATMOBILE (1989)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not much, maybe 20 USD MOC and something around 4-5 USD in the condition in the pictures.

      Delete
  3. Wow. Thanks for taking the time to do this. Really interesting stuff. I remember having this toy and I got one from eBay (moc) last year. Not worth much in terms of value but worth loads to me! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the comment! Unfortunately, I bought this toy recently, so I couldn't enjoy it as a kid.

      Delete
  4. Hola. Esa copia es de Metalcar, fabricado en Hungria.

    Metalcar copio tambien el skip truck de Matchbox con otras cargas, La Mercedes T1 de Siku y el Kadett de Guisval.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hola Salvador,

      Muchas gracias por tu comentario, la pregunta era "de nota", así que veo que controlas muchísimo de die-cast 1:64.

      Yo desconocía esta marca húngara, pero investigaré un poco a ver si puedo sacar un artículo pronto, y estaré atento por si encuentro más vehículos Metalcar.

      Saludos,
      Juan

      Delete
  5. Topps made an all plastic model of it as well using the same mold.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I should mention Topps and Hasbro both made the car and then Ertl. The Topps version had candy in it and was all plastic.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, many thanks for the comments!

      I just checked that, and it actually looks as if it was made from the same cast.

      It was great to learn about these two new models. Thanks for reading and for the time you spent leaving these two comments!

      Delete

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