Hobbyist Forums banner

1 - 5 of 5 Posts

·
Administrator
Joined
·
33,920 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Some collectors may be surprised to know that Maisto is an American based company located in Fontana, California. Who like Mattel, source their product from the Asian based factories they own. Maisto's roots can though be traced back to the MC Toy name. This was the brand name first used by May Cheong Ltd. They were founded by the Ngan Family of Hong Kong, in 1967.

In the mid 1980s, Intex Recreation, an American distribution company, introduced May Cheong made diecasts to the US market. They were then made in Macau and labeled as MC Toy products. They also carried this brand name on their base plates. Intex Recreation also distributed similiar castings for Zee Toys (Zylmex/Zyll) at the same time. According to Sahakangas, et al, both of these brands were readily substituted for each other in their different distribution packaging lines. MC Toys castings were marketed by Intex as "Dynawheels" and also in their "Color Splash" named series.

Around 1990 to 1992, the distribution relationships between Intex Recreation and May Cheong came to an end. As did May Cheong's association with Zyll Industries. Subsequently, May Cheong transitioned their MC Toy brand line to be known as Maisto. With their same production factories and a new in house distribution system developed.

The Maisto name rose to prominence as a diecast manufacturer with their models made in 1:18, 1:24 and 1:64 scales. These models depict a variety of vehicles including cars, trucks and motorcycles. Maisto's 1:18 models raised the level of detail and features included in their castings to a new level for their market price point. Maisto's "Fresh Metal" series is perhaps the most recognized and readily available series found in America today. But not often found with the same level of detail and quality as their larger and finer detailed casting lines. Maisto does have a more fined detailed line of 1:64 castings available in other parts of the World.

Maisto products could also be found identified as being made by May Tat Products Fty Ltd (Hong Kong). The May Tat factory is also still owned by May Cheong and marketed their own castings under the name of Master Toy Co for a time.

Other marketing names used by Maisto were "Mini Racer", 'Turbo Treads', and "Master Works".

K-Mart.marketed them as "Mighty Motors" with their (5) pack sets known as "Action Series".

In America, Maisto made castings were also marketed by Kaybee Toys under the in house "Hot Zone" store brand.

In Canada, they were mass marketed by Canada Games Company Limited and Ottawa Import & Export. This later distribution company marketed Maisto made "Burnin' Key Cars at Giant Tiger department stores in Canada. A "Burnin' Key Cars" label of diecasts was also marketed by Zellers, who were a subsidiary company of Hudson's Bay. (A closer look at the past history of Blazin' and Flamin' Key Car casting is probably warranted here.)

A reference is made in The Diecast Encyclopedia, that Carmania marketed MC Toy castings in France during the 1990s. (This needs clarification as to if they were indeed MC Toy castings or Maisto branded castings.)

During the 1990s, Megatoys also marketed Maisto made castings as "Mega Movers".

In the late 1990s, an exclusive Walmart series was distributed as "Road & Track" castings. (Another research project for the ex-Corgi Jr castings.)

In 2001, they introduced the "Max Speed" series name. This range of castings was made up of various Detroit made concept cars. Other offerings were "Transit Authority" and the "Max Speed 25 Special Edition" set. A pull back series called "Mini Power Racer" was also available in a window picture box package presentation.

In addition to the standard lines of 3" small diecast vehicles, they also produced speciality featured "Burnin' Key Cars", "Highway Haulers", "Moto-Box" transformer vehicles, and "Power Pocket Racers". There were also distributed in Canada by numerous other distributing companies.

In the mid 2000s, additional new series offered included the "Playerz" and " G Rodz" series. These castings were designed to model the then current American car culture of the West Coast. Other non standard 3" diecasts were offered as "Transport Hauler" and "Poc-Kits".

Licensing was also arranged to make their "Marvel Heroes" themed series of diecast that were issued in singles and sets.

Additional licensing arrangements were made with Hasbro to make 'GI Joe' and 'Tonka' themed diecasts and toys.

During the 2000s, Maisto castings were being marketed in the UK at Chad Valley stores.

In the mid 2000s, Maisto castings were being marketed by East West Distribution (USA).

During the early years of production castings included interiors and clear window pieces which were deleted over time and replaced with opaque window pieces especially in their cheaper line of offerings under the 'Fresh Metal' brand name. Adding new castings in this series from time to time continues thru today. As did changing wheel set designs to offer a variety of new versions of many of their still ongoing casting models in this lower end line of models.

Maisto recently purchased Bburago in 2008; Muscle Machines in 2011 and Tonka in 20??.

Still know as Maisto International Inc and still based in Fontana, California; they are also still a part of the May Choeng Group and continue to produce cars, planes and motorcycles in a variety of different scales, detail and quality offerings; both assembled and as kits. They are also a manufacturer of their own line of radio controlled vehicles now.

Any interesting tid-bit of information is that all Miasto products since 2007, have a tool identification number that can be found on their base. It is a 5-digit number sequence. These are included to meet the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA)'s. This is an American requirement to make it possible to trace the date and place of production. For Maisto, the 1st digit is to identify whether it was produced - at their Manda or May Tat factory. The 2nd and 3rd digit are the production year. With the 4th and 5th digits indicating the week of production. (This should at least be able to allow us to identify similarly marked castings by year and week of production.)



My primary information resources are first the postings made by members here at HobbyTalk. Then the Encyclopedia of Small-Scale Diecast Motor Vehicle Manufacturers by Sahakangas, Weber and Foster (2006). And of course information found at the Maisto listing in Wikipedia as of this post edit date.

Additional referenced resources are -

MAISTO | HOME
Maisto | hobbyDB
May Cheong Group | hobbyDB
 
  • Like
Reactions: Diecaster62

·
Administrator
Joined
·
33,920 Posts
Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Maisto Diecast Car Series

MC Toy 1985-1990

Adventure Wheels (Wal Mart)
All Stars (Formerly marketed as Playerz.)
___Elite Transport
All Stars Red (Target-exclusive lineup, which consists of 100 different models.)
Assembly Line
Bburago (Maisto) (2003-present)
Exclusive Edition
Fresh Metal
___Power Racers
Gascaps
GT Racing
Hummer World
Maisto Porsche 550 Spyder (1:32)
Muscle Machines (1:18, 1:24 and 1/64)
Need for Speed - Undercover
Premiere Edition
___GRidez
Pro Rodz (1:18 and 1:24)
Pro Rodz Pro Street
Show Stoppers (1:18)
Special Edition (1:18)
Speed Wheels (Walgreens)
TLUGZ (1:24)
Tonka Classics
___Chuck & Friends



Feel free to add photos or post updates, additions or corrections and I will update these listings as appropriate. Adding scale information and years of production if known is especially appreciated. :thumbsup:
 
  • Like
Reactions: Diecaster62

·
Administrator
Joined
·
33,920 Posts
Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
It took a few attempts and do overs, but I have finally made it through the history of MC Toys and Maisto. Along with their known distributor associations primarily in America and Canada. And the diecast companies they have bought along the way under their parent company of May Cheong.

Their early Asian distributors (if any) are not documented, that I can find. And if I am remembering correctly, a few European references are also noted.

I was never able to determine a direct association between Corgi with Maisto. Both of them are included in their respective 'see also listings' in the diecast encyclopedia, but no details are noted in their lising there (or elsewhere so far).
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
33,920 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
This morning, i began restructuring the OP to match with other listings. I revised the May Cheong and MC Toy histories to better reflect the chronological order of name changes and the European brand asociations during that time frame of 1967 to 1992 before they became known as Maisto.

The stated connection between Corgi and then MC Toy was the use of MC Toy made castings with light and sound functions distributed as Corgi products. Known examples of either the MC Toy castings or as Corgi castings is needed to make that final connection as the same or different models.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
33,920 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
This afternoon, I went back and finished up the remaining business association links from The Diecast Encyclopedia see also references for Maisto. In doing so I was able to find 3 that were specific to MC Toys before Maisto. This also provided a link to Grand Toys of Canada and their "Alarm Busters" series of diecast with lights and sound as being a potential reference to compare to Corgis lights and sounds offerings.
 
  • Like
Reactions: canalnoises
1 - 5 of 5 Posts
Top