Plastic Die Cast Division Legends of Industry Award

The Legends of the Industry Award was formed to recognize those pioneers in our industry who have impacted the growth and development of the model plastics/die cast hobby industry.

The criteria for this award include:

  • An impeccable record of integrity and respect as well as a history of service in the model plastics/die cast industry.
  • Prominence in promoting public awareness of the model plastics/die cast hobby.
  • Developed a unique manufacturing process which has significantly impacted the industry, and/or innovation in product marketing or development.

Legends of the Industry Award

2014 Recipient
Al Trendle

As with many of the early pioneers of the hobby industry, Al started his hobby industry career working for Revell in Venice California. Among the many roles Al served as export manager where he became quite familiar with emerging plastic kit manufacturers in the far east, Japan, Korea and later, China. Al left Revell to establish his own brand, Minicraft in 1968. Al was an innovator by partnering with manufactures from the Far East, first Hasegawa from Japan, and later Academy from Korea to introducing these now familiar lines to the American market. After over 50 years in the business, Al retired in 2000. We are proud to salute Al Trendle for his many years of service and innovation in the plastic kit model hobby industry.

2010 Recipient

John Mueller – has served the model and die cast industry for over forty-seven years, starting with the original AMT (Aluminum Model Toys) company in 1963. As a very young man fresh out of the Navy, he eventually directed product and mold design and technical illustration groups for AMT, at a time when they were one of the dominant players in the plastic kit industry.

Following his time at AMT, John then moved to Fundimensions, Inc., who (at the time) owned the MPC and Craft Master tooling. John managed their hobby projects from preliminary design to product release and also directed their design draftsmen.

By 1986, the ERTL Company had acquired the tooling assets of AMT and MPC, and John joined forces with them. In the capacity of Model Kit Design Supervisor, John was able to bring many desirable and award winning plastic kits to the market. John was also instrumental in the development of tooling resources in China, thus resulting in a significant savings in product development for the company. Change is always constant in the hobby industry, and in 1999 Racing Champions became the new owner of the AMT and MPC tooling inventory. John became their Product Manager and developed more award winning plastic model kits along with numerous die cast model products. If you’ve ever built an AMT or MPC plastic model kit, odds are that John had a hand in its making.

Since 2000, John has been an independent design consultant to the model kit and die cast hobby industry. He has done design work for most all of the current plastic and die cast companies, and his years of experience keep his services in demand.

2009 Recipients

Fred Ertl – Established in 1945 by Fred Ertl, Sr., The Ertl Company gained prominence and a strong following as the leading manufacturer of die-cast farm replicas. Fred Ertl, Jr. followed his father into the family business and formed lasting relationships with major agricultural and implement manufacturers such as John Deere, International Harvester, Caterpillar, and J. I. Case. The large majority of Ertl replicas were sold through agricultural equipment dealers as promotional replicas of full-size equipment marketed by leading U.S. Ag manufacturers. In the early 1970’s, Mr. Ertl expanded into the unassembled plastic model kit market with a range of highly-detailed farm and construction kits followed by the acquisition of AMT and MPC model companies. He also had a strong hand in the development of the “American Muscle” brand of 1/18th scale die-cast American auto replicas. Following 45 years in the hobby industry, Mr. Ertl retired in 1992.

George Totef, founder of MPC and developer of the revolutionary 1/25th scale model car kit, the 1963 Corvette Coupe, began his hobby career as a tool maker for Aluminum Metal Toys. He was instrumental in the development of side slide models that enabled model car bodies to be molded in one piece. He and George Barris created models of famed custom cars and built MPC into a leading model kit manufacturer. Totef set new standards for implementing design, tooling, and marketing techniques and ideas of scale auto models.