As we all know, "new" kits are not necessarily new. Manufacturers reissue
kits, sometimes a number of years after the original hit the primary market and
kit molding can change hands faster than stock on Wall Street. One year a kit
is being made by one firm and the next year the same kit is being produced by
another. Unless you're a model kit historian or have built almost everything
there is, it can be tough knowing whether a model is a reissue or a genuine new
kit. It seems to me that the copyright date should be of some value or clue in
solving the mystery. So here are my questions:
1. When a manufacturer reissues one of their own kits, does the copyright date
have to be the original issue date or can it be the date of the reissue?
2. When a manufacturer issues a kit that was originally produced by another
firm, does the copyright date have to reflect the issue date by the original
company or can the date reflect the new company's reissue?
Any insight and information would be greatly appreciated. As always, thanks in
In Tamiya's case, the only time the (c) date on the box changes is if
modifications are made to the kit.Otherwise if the kit is still the same as
the 1978 edition, the reissue with have (c) 1978.
In addition I like the fact that Tamiya keeps the same box art. Unlike
Revellogram which seems to change their boxes every few years which no doubt
fools the uninformed that is a 'new' kit.
In the US, Copyright dates on the box may refer to either the kit itself, or
Copyright dates molded on the kit usually only represent the original release
date or when significant modifications are made.
However, if you look at some really old kits, like the current Testors Spirit
of St. Louis kit, the copyright molded on the kit still says Hawk and the date
(1961? frankly I don't remember for sure).
Licensing? Not really. When a model kit originally tooled by "Company A" is
released by "Company B", it can be under a number of circumstances. For
starters, Company A may well have been bought out or merged with Company B
(Monogram Models bought Revell, Ertl bought AMT, and later MPC--also Ertl
purchased some MPC tooling 13 years before buying the MPC brand), in which case
the "new" firm resulting from the merger or the company completing the "buyout"
owns the rights to tooling, kit designs of the former companies, so no
"licensing" of the affected tooling would be in order.
Often, we see model kits that were tooled and released by one company, being
sold in the packaging of another. This isn't at all new: AMT Corporation
helped introduce Hasegawa kits in the US starting about 1966, and Heller model
car kits in 1968-69, simply by buying the kits, molded and polybagged by their
original producer, shipped to AMT's facility (then located in Troy, Michigan)
to be packaged. The packaging was co-branded as AMT/Hasegawa or AMT/Heller
MPC did a very similar thing by about 1965, in fact I suspect they were the
first American model company to co-brand with an offshore company, Airfix. MPC
imported bagged shots of Airfix kits, then eventually borrowed/leased Airfix
tooling for production in their own facility (remember those great Airfix kits
with chromed "customizing parts"? In return, Airfix offered some MPC kits in
their own packaging (the James Bond Aston Martin, MPC's "Gangbuster Series"
Classic Car kits are good examples.
In more recent times, Revell-Monogram entered into a similar arrangement with
Hasegawa, the most visible kit having been the VW Microbus/Samba kit, first
offered by Hasegawa, and then in exactly the same form in a Revell box. I
believe also that some Revell-Monogram kits were offered in Hasegawa packaging
Other kits (and I'm speaking of cars here) were "farmed out" by their
originating companies to competing companies. A great case in point here was
the now very rare AMT 1965 Dodge Coronet hardtop, and it's mate, the
convertible. This tooling was never run in original form by MPC, whose tooling
it was, but was molded and packaged by AMT in 1965. Apparently this was done
simply because AMT was the "King Kong" of model car kits at that time, MPC
being still a startup (MPC was formed in 1963, first kits introduced in early
1964). MPC then took the tooling back inhouse, but modified it for other types
of model car subjects.
JoHan, a company as old as AMT also entered into "co-marketing" arrangements
with AMT in the later 1960's, with several JoHan kits (notably a couple of Olds
Toronado's and at least one year of Olds Cutlass 442 kits). Whether these were
molded at AMT (some believe they were) or by JoHan, then shipped across Detroit
and suburbs to AMT for packaging and distribution isn't all that clear, but it
Going back even further, Revell, after having introduced a nice line of 1:32
scale "new cars" in 1955, teamed with AMT Corporation for their 1956 lineup of
this kind of kit, simply to get parts like grilles, bumpers and hubcaps
vacuum-plated, AMT being one of the few model or toy companies with a large,
in-house vac-plating facility (AMT had just started vac-plating trim parts for
their vast line of automotive promotional model cars in 1955).
In almost all of these cases, no changes in "copyright" notices on the tooling
occurred, to my knowledge. In fact, some companies never seem to have bothered
Licensing, on the other hand, occurs primarily due to the model company (also
in the toy industry) when the model kit or toy represents a miniature of a
"real world" object or product, or makes use of some other company's
intellectual property. For years, automakers have licensed their designs
(trade dress) and trademarks (their corporate and product names) to model and
toy companies. This is now beginning in the area of aircraft, even ships, and
in some cases military vehicles. Boeing (for Boeing, McDonnell-Douglas, and a
number of other makes of aircraft for which they own the rights, or have
contracted to become the licensing agent), and Northrop-Grumman both have
created licensing departments within the past couple of years.
Polytechforum.com is a website by engineers for engineers. It is not affiliated with any of manufacturers or vendors discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.