News Roundup Three – November 2017

Hornby Hobbies


I make no apologies for returning to this subject again. Andrew Davies posted on our Facebook page drawing my attention to the fact that deep in the detail of Hornby’s announcements is the fact that Hornby Hobbies will review their investment in Oxford Diecast in three years time with the option to merge the companies at that point. This puts considerable pressure on Lyndon and his team to have a strategy that works across both brands in place and delivering returns by that time.

There is other important information hidden away outside the short summary for the City. Firstly, there is a recognition that all their European brands have been starved of investment and that investment must be made there. I hope that that recognition also extends to the Hornby Hobbies brands that have not had any significant investment in recent years like Corgi.  Secondly, the group recognises the ageing of enthusiasts for their existing brands and the need to develop products for a younger target audience.

So the investments that Hornby are planning to  make will not all be in their traditional brands and products. Perhaps Greenlight’s success in the US with film and television tie in models selling to a younger market sector points to one area that Hornby may develop.

De Agostini


Roger Bailey has told us that he has been contacted by DeAgostini as a subscriber to their curtailed Dinky Toys series and told that it is launching again and asking him if he wished to pick up collection from the point that he finished it previously.

If you pay a premium on every model at the end you will be sent “free” a service station as shown below.

What is interesting is the three cars shown outside the service station.  The cars shown look more like Spot Ons than Dinky’s.

The DeAgostini series is much cheaper per part than the Atlas one but one wonders how many people will subscribe given that the Atlas Dinky Collection has been available for several years. The timing is interesting as  the Atlas Dinky Collection is now nearly at an end.

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Somerville SMK 156 Hillman Minx Californian

By Maz Woolley

All photographs by, and copyright of, the Author except that of the Lansdowne model which was provided by Brooklin Models.

Somerville models were one of the finest makers of 1:43 White Metal Models in 1:43 scale until their founder Doug McHard died in 2002. Many Somervilles were available as built models or kits.  After Doug McHard died the range was not bought but the masters were sold on to various people with many being bought by Graham Ward of Promod, as was the right to sell models as Somervilles. For many years nothing happened but in the last few years Somerville models made by Promod have been appearing on eBay sold as 1:43 scale metal kits. Some of them are re-issues of models originally made by Somerville like the Standard Flying 12 and Hillman Minx Convertible and Saloon from 1951. But some seem to be adapted from Somerville originals to create models which I do not believe were ever made by the original Somerville company.

An example of this is kits sold of the round grilled Hillman Minx Convertible and Californian said to be from 1952. I can find no trace of Somerville making these models. This post looks at the Hillman Californian from Promod.

The Hillman Californian with a round grille appeared initially in 1952 as a Mark Six version of the car. This had a new dashboard and a new round grille compared to the Mark Five but still sported the short tail of the previous version. This was the version modelled by Sangers many years ago shown below.

The Minx was updated to Mark Seven  in 1953 with the new long tail and this is the version produced by Promod. This is shown in the extract from the contemporary advert shown below.

In 1954 the Mark Eight was introduced and the grille was changed again with the addition of horizontal central section. That is the form that Brooklin has modelled the Californian in its Lansdowne range  as shown below:

The Californian name did not appear when the new Series One Audax cars appeared. It was replaced by the Sunbeam Rapier which was a similar two door coupé  which allowed the rear windows to be wound down into the body work in the same way as the Californian. Like the Californian it started out sharing its interior with the Minx  but quickly gained a more luxurious interior with wood and leather more fitting for a Sunbeam.

So to the Somerville Model. Looking at the baseplate it looks like this has been converted from the 1951 Convertible model which was #133 in the Somerville range and this number is still inscribed on the base of this model. Promod also sell a Mark Seven Hillman Minx Convertible as a kit.

Looking at the front end the grille looks a little too square to my eyes. The Hillman badging is just a simple set of bumps in the casting not a separate part. The vacform for the front screen is also a very flimsy and thin item. I have not added the small photo-etched wipers as I think that they would look at out of place on this ‘chunky’ model. The headlights are supplied as a chromed part with a dip in and you need to create your own lenses, using Micro Krystal Klear in this case.  The number plates are supplied as decals which do not adhere particularly strongly to the plated bumper. Sidelights are just moulded in.

The rear is quite neatly modelled with rear lights supplied as chrome parts that you need to add clear red paint to. The boot fittings are moulded well though the key hole is not quite centred. The main problem clear in this picture is that the top is supplied as separate part so they can re-use the lower body from the convertible. This would be fine if it fitted well, however it doesn’t fit well either at the rear or at the front

This picture shows the more than acceptable wheels and bumpers. The tyres seem a bit soft but actually fit the wheels well. Shame they do not have a white sidewall!

This view shows the neat chrome stone guards which are separate parts which fit nicely. Again the poor fit of the roof is evident.

Inside the dashboard and steering wheel are those of a 1951 car and have not been altered to make a Mark Seven interior.

The fit at the head of the screen is poor which is a shame. It might be improved by adding it and using filler before painting but then it would make doing the two colour painting more difficult. The picture below is affected by the wide angle lens setting as the car does not curve away front and back as shown below.

Whilst it is great to have a Californian to fill in the gap between the Sanger and the Lansdowne it also fills in the gap in terms of quality being better than the Sanger but short of the quality of the Lansdowne.

The Author would like to thank John Roberts for his advice and information provided whilst he was making this model. 

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News Round Up Two November 2017

By Maz Woolley

Latest News

Hornby Hobbies surprised the Stock Market with the recent appointment of Lyndon Davies (Owner of Oxford Diecast) as their Chief Executive Officer.  Last week they released the results of trading for the last six months which show a fall in revenue from 21.9 million UK pounds last year to 17 million UK pounds this year and an increase in the loss from 3.3 million UK pounds to 4.6 million UK pounds. These results show that Hornby Hobbies  had to take radical steps as all the promises made to shareholders about turning the company round after the last re-financing were clearly not working.

The announcement also included some key statements about the intentions of the new management:

Firstly they intend to raise a further 12 Million pounds from a stock sale and this is to to be spent on 1 million UK pounds investment in new product development and on buying a 49% share in Oxford Diecast’s holding company for 1.6 million UK pounds.

They intend to re-vitalise the European sales, which have been falling over time, by spending more time identifying what the customer wants. Hornby purchased Lima brand some time ago along with Electrotren, Rivarossi, Arnold, Jouef, and Pocher. They have neither fully integrated them into Hornby’s offerings or managed to grow them as distinctive companies. Hornby are now showing the trains them on their web site which is probably a sign of things to come. Pocher they have tried to develop through the introduction of a very large Ducati motorbike model but the opportunity to make money on Pocher must be limited due to their size and cost.

The practice of selling stock at very substantial discounts in order to generate revenue at key points of the year is to cease. This is a sensible move as such short term “fire sales” upset collectors, and the trade alike. They devalue stock, encourage collectors not to buy things until they are discounted, and generally undermine confidence in the company.

The announcement also makes it quite clear that the organisation will be changed by the new management team with old practices and behaviours being replaced by ones which are working better elsewhere.

Lyndon Davies, Hornby Chief Executive, commented:

“The review of the business, operations and its strategy has revealed opportunities to improve performance. The strategy we are announcing today to invest in Hornby’s key brands, to instigate a clear pricing policy and to seek additional funds to further strengthen its balance sheet, I believe, will provide the platform for long term sustainable profitability and cash generation. By simplifying and improving basic business process, together with better selection and delivery of the highest quality products, we will re-establish the value of our brands in the eyes of consumers and collectors alike.”

From a collectors point of view the announcement that there will be a substantial investment in new product is excellent news. It would be nice to think that Corgi will be able to introduce some new castings after the starvation of new items in the last few years. Some other collectors have expressed concern that this may all have a negative effect on Oxford Diecast introduction of new items. As Oxford plan so far ahead to keep their factory working as close to capacity as possible this is unlikely to be the case in the near future and hopefully by then the shape of both of the new organisations will be established.

MAR Online wishes Hornby Hobbies the best of luck in the big task that they have ahead to turn the business round. The new financial links between Oxford and Hornby show us that in all probability further consolidation between the organisations will take place in the future.  Oxford always plan production roughly three years in advance so I suspect that the plans for their future that Hornby Hobbies are working on will be looking at 3 to 5 years ahead and that it will be some time before the full ramifications of these changes will be felt.

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Maserati 4CLT c.1:10 scale handbuilt model

By Jerry J. Broz

All Photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.

Here we are looking at a few pictures of my very first model car, which was not a scale model, but an accurate depiction of the 1948 Maserati 4CLT. Built in 1955, when I was sixteen-year old, to approximately 1:10 scale, this model car is sixty-two years old. Back in 1955 when I started work on this model I had no documentation available for the actual car. and no access to any detailed drawings or photos; however, I was able to find some basic descriptions and a few low quality photographs taken at Grand Prix races.

The chassis and hood of the model were made from an aluminium sheet. The body was carved from balsa wood, sealed with a paste made from clear lacquer and baby powder, and then sanded and painted. The louvres in the body were hand carved and the louvres in the hood were hand formed. The brake disks and wheel centre hubs were turned from round aluminium rod on a small lathe. The wheels were made from short aluminium containers for water colour paints. The rims and center hubs were glued together and small holes were drilled around the perimeter of the rims and hubs for the spokes. Each wheel assembly was then hand-laced with smooth, thick thread in order to simulate the spoke pattern typical of wire wheels. Before the tires were attached to the wheels, whole wheel assemblies were spray painted with aluminium colour paint.
The toy rubber tires, the number “7’ stickers, and the screws are the only commercially purchased items used in this model car.

The metalwork, such as the dashboard, suspension arms, radiator grille frame, steering wheel centre, arm protector (with drilled perforation), windscreen frame, gas filler cap, tie and steering
rods, and hub caps, were either cut from aluminium sheets, made from aluminium wire, or turned from round aluminium rod and polished as needed. The exhaust was made from aluminium circular
tubing and painted flat black. All small parts were adapted from anything which could serve the purpose.

The cockpit; the cockpit detail is minimal, gauge bezels were turned from aluminium round rod and then the gauge faces were hand drawn in. The rear view mirrors were turned from hardwood dowel and then the silver mirrors were painted in. The two-part seat was hand-made from thin leather which was stretched over the seat shape made from balsa wood, stuffed with cotton balls and shaped into a seat. The circular steering wheel rim was hand-made and shaped from hardwood, painted black, and attached to the steering column by a metal three-spoke central part. The windscreen was made from clear plastic and glued into an aluminium windscreen frame.

A black/white photo of this 1948 Maserati 4CLT model was featured in December 1964 issue of the Auto World Newsletter. I expect that some of you might remember Auto World which was a model car mail-order business founded by Oscar Koveleski. Throughout my entire life I have been interested in model and full size racing cars. I have built and raced the slot cars, written articles for Car Model magazine, worked for Auto World, designed model cars and accessories for Auto World, Twin-K, Tonka, to name just a few. I have been involved with CAN-AM race cars and, of course, Formula One.

Since my retirement, I have remained active in Formula One, and am subscribing to F1 magazines, following F1 on TV and on computer and collecting the F1 memorabilia and various types of F1 model cars and kits. I have also took upon a new hobby, collecting and building customised and concept Volkswagen Old & New Beetles and Volkswagen Transporter T1 Trucks, Vans and Minibus models and kits.

A view of the front and left (exhaust) side of the completed car.

A front view of the completed model showing the radiator
frame with a wire simulated grille, and the front wheels
suspension arms as well as the oil lines.

A rear view of the completed model showing rear-view
mirrors, steering wheel, windscreen frame and clear
plastic windscreen,a part of the perforated arm protector,
and the dashboard with hand-drawn gauges.

A detail of the hood and body louvres and hand-laced
wire wheels.

A rear view of the completed model showing gas filler cap, rear exhaust holder, and full arm protector.

Underside view of the Maserati 4CLT model. The piece
of a 1.5ccm model gas engine was left in as a part of the
rear axle after realising that I was to build a curbside model rather
than tethered, model gas engine powered car which
would have required a completely different design of wheels,
tires, and attachment of the front wheels to the body.


Editor: We hope to show some more of Jerry’s adapted and hand-made models in future posts to this site.

We welcome your comments and questions.   Please contact us at our Model Auto Review Facebook page or email the Editors at maronlineeditor at

Atlas Dinky Collection – 24 L Peugeot 402 “Taxi”

By Maz Woolley

The latest model to arrive from Atlas in the original UK Dinky Toys collection is yet another French Dinky. According to Atlas Customer Service the next model wil be the final one I will receive in the UK collection.

The model has again already appeared in the collection sold by Atlas on the Continent and is issued again essentially unaltered.  It is 24 L Peugeot 402 “Taxi” introduced in 1939, withdrawn in 1940 and then sold for two years following the Second World War. The box shown above has pictures of the model in two colours; Atlas has decided to reproduce it in the blue and yellow colour scheme which is the same as a taxi which appeared in the Marilyn Monroe film ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes‘. Pictures of this can be seen on the Internet Movie Car Database at

This Dinky toy has been replicated before in white metal and the SLMC model introduced some years ago is still available in that form.

The Peugeot 402 was  produced from 1935 to 1942 and was a very smooth shape with an aerodynamic look similar to the Chrysler Airflow in some respects. It had the typical Peugeot feature of headlights sited behind the front grille. Underneath the modern looks the Peugeot was a very conventional car based on a chassis which made it easier to offer the vehicle in three lengths and with a variety of body styles.  Peugeot offered a special taxi version of the long wheel base car. Many of these went into service in Paris and other parts of France running till long after the Second World War in some cases.

The Dinky taxi model followed the saloon, which was numbered 24 K, into the range. It has the external taxi meter fitted as an separate part rather than cast in. Some earlier models were made without a tin baseplate, but the Atlas has one. The wheels are grey coloured solid metal as were the originals.

There has been some discussion about Atlas Dinky models and their impact on prices of the original models on the Planet Diecast Forum recently and the general opinion seems to be that any fall in the values of original Dinky models is more likely to be caused by the fact the collector base is ageing with many collections now coming up for sale as collectors cease collecting or pass on. Some also attribute it to previous unsustainable increases in prices. People seem to accept Atlas models for what they are – replicas clearly marked as such by Atlas and easily distinguishable due to their much better paint finishes, tampo printing and clearly marked bases.

I will be interested to see what model Atlas send as the final replica in the collection. I think few would bet against it being another French Dinky model!

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News Round up – November 2017

The toy business is certainly going through eventful times. With lots happening behind the scenes at the moment.


At the end of last week it was reported in the Wall Street Journal that Hasbro has approached Mattel with a  view to taking Mattel over. Hasbro is well known for My Little Pony, Monopoly and Nerf and GI Joe whilst Mattel is famous for Barbie, and Hot Wheels. Both are also involved in the sale of TV and Film tie-in products.

Hasbro’s market value is twice that of Mattel since Mattel’s shares slumped by 47 percent over the last year. Both firms have been affected by the trends away from traditional toys and games but Hasbro has coped with factors like the Toys R Us going into bankruptcy better than Mattel.

On the face of it a takeover by Hasbro is unlikely to have a direct effect on the sales of model vehicles as Hasbro do not have any competitor division.  However, in the combined company Hot Wheels will just be one division amongst many competing for investment capital. Hot Wheels form such a large part of the American Model collecting scene any slow down in the flow of new models would quickly be noticed.

Great Britain

The modelling press broke the news last week that Base Toys had ceased trading. Base Toys competed strongly with Oxford Diecast in the 1:76 scale and 1:144 scale market place. Focusing mainly on coaches, trucks and lorries in recent years. They were aimed primarily at railway modellers and offered a budget priced product using a lot of plastic in their construction.

John Ayrey Ltd, a wholesaler of their products, confirmed that Base Toys had ceased trading but that as the brand and factory bookings still existed it was possible that the models will go back into production as there is a market for them.

We welcome your comments and questions.   Please contact us at our Model Auto Review Facebook page or email the Editors at maronlineeditor at

Corgi’s latest Volkswagen Beetle

By Maz Woolley

Photographs of the model by, and copyright of, the Author. Photograph of the real car by, and copyright of, the Car’s owner Robin Allen. Design Cell copyright of Corgi.

From time to time one hears that a particular car has been chosen to be the basis of a model. In this case it was the Volkswagen Beetle owned by South Hants Model Auto Club member Robin Allen.  Corgi’s latest Volkswagen Beetle VA01208 is based upon his car shown in the photograph below.

Robin tells of the history of this attractive car.

‘The car was built in May 1957 and shipped directly to London where it was first registered in June 1957. Unfortunately there is no more early history with it, but DVLA records show that by 1966 it had moved to the Portsmouth area. I bought the car in 1989, and having a bit of spare cash from my redundancy at the same time, in 1990 I put it in to a VW specialist in Bournemouth for a bare metal strip and respray. When purchased it had been subjected to a poor repaint in a mid-blue colour although under the wings and interior were still in the original Horizon Blue. Having stripped the car I received a phone call saying “Do you realize how good this car is? There’s practically no rust at all. Can we spend a bit more and lift it off the chassis and clean and detail the underside too?” I agreed. Shortly before all this the engine suddenly began knocking badly and I sourced a spare to keep it going. During the rebuild in Bournemouth they pulled my old engine apart to discover the crankshaft had snapped. I had another spare engine from which the crankshaft appeared ok and my old one was rebuilt. Unfortunately the old engine continued to rumble a bit and leak oil everywhere. Even so I made trips to VW shows in Holland, Germany and around the UK, but the engine really wasn’t happy or as smooth as my other two Beetles’. I intended to get another engine for the car but then I received the “Birth Certificate” from Wolfsburg and was pleased to be told that the car was still running the original engine with which it left the factory in 1957.

Last month I finally took the plunge and sent it off to  under go a high quality engine rebuild. Stripped down, I received a call from them to go and have a look.”‘We really don’t know how this engine was still running” was their comment. The centre rib in the crankcase that supports the crankshaft had a huge crack and appeared to be just about to fall apart. The crankshaft had been hammering around with so much play that everything was getting damaged and worn. The sensible answer was to find another engine. The expensive answer was to have the crankcase repaired and machined by a specialist which would cost as much, if not more than the engine rebuild. Having a “matching numbers” car is highly sought after in the VW World and adds a bit to the desirability and value of the car, so I’m having it done. Let’s just hope the most expensive Beetle engine rebuild ever will prove worth it.’

Robin tells us about Corgi deciding to reproduce his car.

“When I was first approached for permission to make this model I was honoured with the idea – I still am. They had seen and photographed the car when it was on the Historic Volkswagen Owners Club stand at the NEC in November 2015, but only approached me about producing a model via the club at the beginning of this year.”

Corgi then carried out their measurements and produced a design cell which Robin has kindly copied for MAR Online and which is shown below.

Original discussions with Corgi indicated that they wished to replicate the blinds over the rear window that are fitted to Robin’s car but in the end these were not replicated. Commenting on the model Robin says:

‘…..the shape of the model isn’t too bad, the Beetle seemingly very difficult to replicate accurately.

Apart from the blinds which did not make it to the Corgi model other features are also missing, or not quite correct, as Robin points out:

(You would need to add) the side-mount radio aerial, the blinds and the centre part of the wheel hubs between hubcaps and rims which should be white. My car also has chrome rim embellishes so you can’t actually see much blue on the wheels on the actual car, unlike the model. The headlights on these Corgi Beetles are a bit disappointing, if you compare their plain chromed blob with the separate lens and rim on other models. My car also has headlight “eyebrows” but I wouldn’t expect anyone to try to model them.

Photographs of the model can be seen below. Please note that the photographs show the model slightly grey in colour, and less blue than it is.

Robin’s comments about the wheels are clearly demonstrated if you compare the photograph of his real car to the picture above.  My model also has an issue with the fitting of a hubcap which is far from central.

At the rear the blind is not modelled and the rear lights are pretty poor by today’s standards. A bump with a lick of red paint , rather than a fitted red lens, is now associated with budget models and part works not a full priced model.

The side view shows that Corgi has printed the stone guards fitted to Robin’s model. The rear view mirrors are incorrectly shaped with Robin’s being a rounded wedge shape and the Corgi’s being circular.

Looking inside the car the dashboard is the correct body colour and the steering wheel a nice period white. The cell produced by Corgi records a dark blue for the seats and doors but the seat/interior unit is actually black and the doors have no cards fitted and just show the horizon blue of the painted body shell.

From the front Robin’s criticism of the headlights is justified. Most partwork ranges now have separate headlight lenses as do the generally cheaper Oxford Diecast 1:43 models. It is nice to see that Corgi has printed air vents on the front wings even if they look a little too high to me.

From the rear the correct oval window and venting is modelled and the correct period number plate. The handle to open the engine cover is moulded in and highlighted.

So all in all although the Corgi is not an exact match it does capture the essence of the real car with the main details largely right. With a bit of added detailing I am sure that it will capture Robin’s car very well indeed.

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Neo’s baby Alfa Romeo Alfetta 1.6

By Maz Woolley

All photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.

The Alfetta saloon was Alfa Romeo‘s answer to BMW, Mercedes-Benz and other makers of Executive class saloons. The 1.6 modelled was the base engine in a range that also featured 1.8 and 2.0 litre engines. The Alfetta lasted in production from 1972 to 1984 selling over 400,000 cars. It was well used by both the Italian Police and Carabinieri,  and also as Government Ministers and Officials transport. The car’s classic Alfa Romeo De Dion rear axle with gearbox in unit helped balance the weight across the chassis and went on to be used in the later Alfa 90.

The model is by Neo in their now obsolete 1:87 range. Model Car World has now stopped making Neo 1:87 models but still have a few obsolete models in stock at the time of writing. All their 1:87 models are now released in the Best of Show (BoS) range to a lower standard of finish, with less photo etching for example. This was presumably because the Neo 1:87 models were considerably more expensive than even the top of the range Brekina or Herpa models. Curiously although Neo made an Alfetta in 1:43 scale that was a of the later version of the Alfetta with black bumpers. Here we have the car with the chrome bumpers fitted until a facelift later in its life.

Neo did the car in a number of colours: grey, beige, and very dark blue.

The use of Photoetch on this model is limited. The front and rear window surrounds are etched with the front wipers modelled into the screen etched sheet so they are quite small and discrete even in this small scale. In addition the Alfa grille central section at the front, the drivers door mirror,  and the ventilation grilles on the rear three quarter pillars are also photo etched.

Inside the seats and door cards are a tan leather colour and the dashboard is a mix of black and brown components with some instrumentation moulded in and a delicate steering wheel in left hand drive position.

As the photograph above shows the rear badging, lights, and the number plates are finely printed. All over-riders on the bumpers are picked out in matt black. The door handles and the tiny indicator repeater on the front wing are also printed delicately. The wheels are neat moulding capturing the wheels fitted to many Alfettas.

There are virtually no base details apart from a somewhat overscale partial exhaust system.

This is a nice model of a car which is seldom seen nowadays as it, like many vehicles of the 1970s and 1980s, has not been widely preserved, as it takes a lot of upkeep and was out of fashion until recent years.

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Wheel of Time: Restaurant-Museum in Moldova

By Eugen Pedersen

All photographs are by, and copyright of, the Author.

Editors Note: Moldova is sandwiched between Romania and the Ukraine and was part of the former Eastern Block. It is one of the poorest countries in Europe largely earning its living from Agriculture. Eugen’s visit allowed him to visit an unusual theme museum that I am sure MAR readers would like to see if they ever visit the country.

On my recent visit to Chisinau, the capital of Moldova I didn’t find any Soviet models but I did find something unique: A Restaurant with its own car museum which is visited by many tourists and officials. The owner of the restaurant has a private collection of rare Soviet cars in working condition. He loved Soviet cars as a child and is able to collect them now. The Restaurant itself is traditional with a wine cellar and is not too expensive despite its wonderful car collection.  The only way to get to see the collection is to eat there and then the owner will give you a tour of his car collection.

1943 Gaz 67 – 1947 Moskvitch 400 – 420 – 1967 Zaz 965 Yalta


1953 Gaz M20 Pobeda


1956 Gaz 12 ZIM Limousine,


1963 Gaz 13 Chaika – with some after market wheels.


1989 Gaz 14 Chaika


1958 Moskvitch 407


1956 – 1970 Gaz Volga M 21 (all 3 generations)


Gaz Volga M21 Convertible – never made by Gaz but an attractive conversion.


Black Gaz Volga M21


Gaz Volga M21 Police (Militia) – the latest acquisition


2 Soviet motorcycles


So if you ever find yourself in the capital city of Moldova – Chisinau -then you may combine your love of cars with a good meal. The Restaurant is called: Roata Vremii -Restaurantulmuzeu.  Translated into English this would be Wheel of Time – Restaurant-Museum. It can be found at Hristo Botev St 8, Chisinau, Moldova.

Please note that this article was originally printed in a slightly different form in Coventry Diecast Model Club’s house magazine ‘Wheelspin‘ No 224 Winter edition and is repeated here with permission of Eugen Pedersen and Will Roe Wheelspin’s Editor.

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Atlas Dinky Deluxe – 1408 Honda S800

By Maz Woolley

Photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.

The new Atlas Deluxe Dinky subscription series in the UK has now shipped #1408 Honda S800 to me and several other model collectors whilst others had the Honda some while ago and have already had the Simca Break which follows it in the collection.

The Deluxe series appears to be likely to be almost entirely French Dinky toys as created for the French Series Dinky™ Toys de mon enfance, la saga des ouvrants.  Luckily the 1960s and 1970s when the models with opening features were made were a period when Dinky in France generally made models to scale, and to a high standard not always seen on the UK models.

The Honda S800 Coupé produced by Atlas is in the original bright yellow shade and is a faithful replica of the original model. This model has only one opening feature, it’s bonnet. Once opened this reveals a simplified but generally correct depiction of the canted over 4 cylinder engine fed by four carburetors.

The original Dinky had a lot of modelled in detail which was not picked out such as the large Honda badges on the wings which are neatly replicated as well as indicators on the front and rear wings. The Dinky was only produced in one colour and only appeared in the catalogues in 1969 and 1970 making it a very short production run.

The S800 was a masterpiece of engineering featuring a four cylinder 791cc engine with four carburetors. Based on Honda’s motorcycle technology, this engine was capable of revving up to levels unheard of by its competitors like the MG Midget or Fiat 850 and could compete with sports cars with much higher engine sizes.

The front grille is nicely modelled and the model sports French number plates which I believe indicate that the car was registered in Paris. Just the place for a trendy foreign car.  The bonnet correctly features the off centre bulge needed to clear the carburetors.

Inside the interior is in red and fairly simple but shows the dashboard and steering wheel, two seats and luggage area well.

The rear of the replica is neatly done showing lights and the hinged “hatchback” door with Honda lettering replicated but again not picked out in silver.

This is a nice replica of one of the excellent models from Dinky France in the 1960s

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