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mk11

Canadian MPC model production

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Just curious to know if anyone has taken the time to research or catalogue the MPC kits produced in Ontario in the late '70s/early '80s by Parker under licence from cpg/fundimensions. I've seen the camaro and I think the little red express kits.

 

P1019266.JPG

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It seems to me that most MPC kits at that time had the little words on the box that read, MADE AND LITHO'D IN CANADA.

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They would have on this side of the line. It looks like an effort to have the boxes of kits sold here fully 'frenchified' and I'm just curious how long this era lasted and the disposition of the molds; ie were they just shipped north for short runs and returned etc.

 

mike

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I looked at some of mine. 

Bear Bait (1980 Chevette) Made in Canada: https://adamrehorn.wordpress.com/model-kits/out-of-box-reviews/mpc-125-1979-chevette-bear-bait/

Wild Breed (1979-80 Mustang Custom) is, I believe, Made in Canada: https://adamrehorn.wordpress.com/model-kits/out-of-box-reviews/125-mpc-wild-breed-mustang-cobra-oob/

My Jet Vette Fast 111s kit is also made and lithoed in Canada. It looks like a lot of the line might have been made up here at one point. It's possible that there are others, but I can't dig them all out right now. 

Just note: Frenchification (love that word!) doesn't mean made in Canada. The  Vette Van I have has some French, like "Modele Reduit" on it, but not much on the sides, and it's made in the USA. So is Gold Rush

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Some MPC/Canada info:    

When George Toteff left AMT to start MPC , he opened (or was involved in opening) a  tool & die shop in Windsor, Ontario to produce the tooling for MPC kits, as well as do work for others; this was noted in Terry Jessee's (excellent!) book Hot Rod Model Kits.  I don't know if any actual production kits were produced in Canada, but the tooling certainly was.  

In the early days of MPC, kits purchased in Canada were ink-stamped indicating French instructions were included, and there was also a sticker on the box indicating the kit was a Craft Master product (well-known for their puzzles/games at the time).  Upon opening the box,  French AND English instruction sheets were found, both labeled as being produced by Craft Master in Strathroy, Ontario.  

Following the above logic, the kit pictured below would have been tooled in Canada, the box (and the kit?) probably produced in Mount Clemens (note the Made and Litho in USA label), then the kit/box was shipped to Canada to be packaged with appropriate bilingual markings.  

Long before reading Terry's book, I heard stories about the tool and die shop in Windsor, mainly involving guys dumpster-diving after hours in search of test shots.  I've seen a few test shots around here over the years that allegedly came from the Windsor facility, but not just MPC stuff.  I've seen 80's-90's-era Revell-Monogram and AMT-Ertl as well.  My favorite though was an AMT '70 Torino test shot that was allegedly found above a false ceiling after the business closed. 

Coincidentally, a relative of mine in the Windsor area met a retired gentleman about 10-12 years ago who knew he was into model cars.  He introduced himself as having owned a tool and die shop in Windsor that did model car work until it closed.  We visited him briefly and he told us he would have us visit again when he cleaned out his (recently flooded) basement as it was full of stuff from his model-tool-producing days.  Unfortunately, that day never came.  He did, however visit my relative a few weeks later, and gave him a couple of MPC promos including an assembled 74-ish Firebird test shot....he pointed out the interior to him and stated "I remember doing that upholstery".          

The above doesn't shed much light on the original question above, but it's interesting nonetheless.   If anyone has more knowledge on the subject, feel free to add/correct the above.  

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One local hobby shop here (that was a wholesaler prior to opening their own store) used to get Canadian MPC kits every so often.  They were probably leftovers, as this store would also have Academy kits with boxes and instructions entirely in Korean ("gray market imports"), things like that.  The MPC kits were heavy on French/English printing (gotta take care of Quebec!).  A couple of years ago, I had one of the '69 Firebird convertible kits from the early Eighties that was a Canadian-market kit.

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5 hours ago, mk11 said:

They would have on this side of the line. It looks like an effort to have the boxes of kits sold here fully 'frenchified' and I'm just curious how long this era lasted and the disposition of the molds; ie were they just shipped north for short runs and returned etc.

I did some online research a few months ago regarding MPC's history and came across this: http://www.toytrainrevue.com/toteff.htm

"George Toteff: What happened originally, when we sold our company to General Mills, and they were a first-class outfit, one of the things they were after all of their companies to do was expand and diversify. Being in the model car business, we had almost a miniature automotive factory. We had our own model shop, our own engineering department, our own tool shop, a complete final assembly department and our own vacuum-metalizing department [for chrome effect on plastic]. So we were pretty well established in the hobby and model industry, specifically model cars. We had great contacts with all of the automotive manufacturers. We made models of Ford and General Motors products. We were pretty well-entrenched when it came to models. We didn't do all of our own mold making, but I was associated with a company called Binder Tool and Mold. They made some molds for us. I was part-owner of that and they were in Canada."

 

B&B Tool and Mould Ltd. appears to be what became of Binder Tool & Mould, though the business is located in Oldcastle, Ontario.

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A friend was doing some work for MPC back then. The kits that came out of General Mills were packaged in Concord, just north of Toronto. I believe the bags of parts were shipped to Canada as unfinished product to avoid an import tax on a finished product; boxes and instructions were also shipped to Canada, then stamped with the French marking. Then the kits would be packaged and shipped across Canada. I do not recall any actual production or injection being done at the time. I do recall driving to a warehouse in Concord to pick up something. That would have been in the early 1980's.  

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That sounds logical. Guess the lithography and instruction sheet translating tipped the balance to enable the 'made in Canada' notation.

Scrounged up a couple of pics. Looks like the 'golden wheels' promo was just a stateside thing.

 

80cmrmpc.jpg

P1019265.JPG

 

The US version was numbered in this example as 1-0713 and the Canadian market kit was numbered Q-10713.

 

mike

80cmmpc.jpg

P1019271.JPG

Edited by mk11
number correction

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6 hours ago, Faust said:

Just note: Frenchification (love that word!) doesn't mean made in Canada. The  Vette Van I have has some French, like "Modele Reduit" on it, but not much on the sides, and it's made in the USA. So is Gold Rush

Looks like the powers-that-be relaxed the requirements from total translation to the basic 'modele reduit'   :P

...also looks like AMT was into a similar translation program....

 

78frd4xtrkamt.jpg

78frdtrkamt.jpg

mike

Edited by mk11

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42 minutes ago, mk11 said:

 Looks like the 'golden wheels' promo was just a stateside thing.

Yes, "Continental U.S. only" to be specific:

MPCGoldenWheels2.jpg.f1c8b673a4e5922681edac4b76112009.jpg

 

 

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What to make of these? Were the English instructions produced (and distributed?) only in Canada?

MPC 1968 Corvette Convertible instructions in English, last page:

MPC1968CorvetteConv4.jpg

 

MPC '68 Corvette instructions in French, last page:

MPC1968CorvetteConvFrench4.jpg

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The 1972 Duster 340 annual that I have included a bilingual instruction sheet : U.S. English and Français  . No other mention of nor allusion to its being produced in or for French-Canadian consumption ; just the instruction sheet . Granted , I bought it via eBay , and the kit was unwrapped / opened (and its chromed parts placed in a Zip-Loc bag) , so who knows whether or not the instruction sheet is original-to-my-example ? When I bought it , all that I cared about was the sum of its contents (and that I got it for a very reasonable price !) --- the bilingual instructions were a surprise 'bonus' .

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I don't recall seeing a firm street address for MPC, but happened upon this MPC '64 Corvette instruction sheet:

mpc64vetteaddress.thumb.jpg.3313d1d75723c4f6e86e4d1e84e57ddd.jpg

 

The building is now T.M. Smith Tool International Corporation.

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