Mercury La Collezione – Part Four

By Fabrizio Panico

All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.

More Mercury by Hachette Parts 7 – 9

Here we have three more models, #7 to #9, in the Mercury partwork collection being sold in Italy by Hachette.

Hachette no. 7 is the Lancia Appia 1st series, a 1:48 scale model (Mercury no. 14) from 1955. As usual a simple model, but very faithful to the real one. The headlights are like small aluminium nails, inserted into the body, no windows or interiors are present, green livery. The real one was launched in 1953, smaller than the Aurelia
the Lancia flagship, but similar in outline. In 1956 the 2nd series was presented at the Geneva Motor Show, same front but a new rear body end with a more modern look. A coupé, by Pininfarina, and a cabriolet, by Vignale, were now available. In 1959 there was the 3rd series, with a new front, inspired by the Flaminia, the Aurelia’s successor (both were reproduced by Mercury, the 3rd series as no. 5, the Flaminia as no. 8).


Hachette no. 8 is the Mercedes W196 formula 1 carenata, a 1:43 scale model (Mercury no. 56) from 1956. Quite a heavy model, larger than the previous ones, and really faithful. It has a very nice front grille, painted in matt black with the “star” emblem. The driver’s seat is painted in blue, and the steering wheel is present. Racing numbers are added on the satin silver livery. The “carenata” was reproduced by many other brands, but Mercury was the only one to reproduce both versions, the “carenata” and the “cigar shaped” one (Mercury no. 55). Mercury also reproduced the “carenata” in 1:60 scale (Mercury no. 22).


Hachette no. 9 is the Autobianchi Bianchina, a 1:48 scale model (Mercury no. 6) from 1958. Another simple but very faithful model, very small (only 63 mm), and fitted with windows. In the beginning it was produced only in single colours, later it was presented in nice two-colours liveries (here light green and grey). All the details were carefully reproduced, down to even the smallest ones. The small box was enhanced by a colour reproduction of the car, whilst the model name “bianchina” was reproduced in the script used by the manufacturer on the car on both the box and the model baseplate.

The real Bianchina was the result of a joint agreement amongst Fiat, Bianchi and Pirelli: It was a success, and the car was followed by a cabriolet and estate “Panoramica” versions (the Panoramica was reproduced by Mercury as no. 11).


Road Transport Images (RTI) – New Owner

We have just had news that Road Transport Images (RTI), the company created by the late Frank Waller, has been taken on by a former customer Graeme McQuaker.

RTI made a series of resin and white metal parts here in the UK to convert others 1:76 scale vans and trucks to new versions or to make vehicles from scratch. They produced kits of vehicles that were not available elsewhere like BMC EA Vans for instance launched not long before Frank passed away.

We wish Graeme every success with his new venture.


News from the Continent March 2019 – Busch Group

By Hans-Georg Schmitt

All text by, and copyright of the Author. All photographs provided by the Manufacturer.

Here are photographs of the releases from Busch and its subsidiaries EsPeWe and Mehlhose early in 2019. These models are all made to 1:87 scale and moulded in plastic. 

Busch

42893 Weimar Mobile Excavator T174-2 with twist drilling device

The Weimar excavator was introduced by1965 and it was developed continuously. In the eastern area of Germany some are still in use today.


50372 Land Rover Defender – grey

51025 Mercedes-Benz Unimog U5023 – grey

59958 Transport-trailer

59961 Cable-transport trailer

# 23265 – 51572 IFA G5 59 box body (DDR TV)

This is a new mould.


51606 Robur LO 1800 A box body (DDR TV)

51864 Robur Garant K30 Kombiwagen (DDR TV)

54904 TSA trailer with roof rack (DDR TV)

41320 Horch 853 Cabriolet – closed – red

41327 Horch 853 Cabriolet – closed – silver

47575 Ford Mustang Coupe

The long serving Mustang moulding has been upgraded to form the basis of a new muscle car version with new wheels and air filter appearing through the bonnet.


50371 Land Rover Defender “Camel Trophy 1989”

UAZ 469

Anyone in the armed forces or official organisations in the former Eastern Bloc who needed a robust cross country vehicle used the UAZ-469. The spartan car was manufactured by Uljanowski Awtomobilny Sawod. Later versions were named the UAZ-3151. Production started in 1972 and ended in 2003 and it was fitted with a thirsty petrol engine. When used in the former DDR, it was sometimes fitted with a Cunewalder Diesel engine.

The models shown below are produced from new moulds.

52103 UAZ 469 without roof – Voluntary Fire Brigade
52104 UAZ 469 without roof – LPG Hedersleben
52105 UAZ 469 without roof – Peoples Police
52106 UAZ 469 without roof – GST (Society of Sport and Technique)

52300 Framo V901/2 with flat bed – beige

Another new mould here.


52301 Framo V901/2 with flat bed – grey
52350 Framo V901/2 with flat bed and canvas cover – dark green

52351 Framo V901/2 with flat bed and canvas cover – Bordeaux red

51277 Framo V901/2 Half-bus RFT – DDR television manufacturer customer service van

51862 Robur Garant K30 Kombi – Rafena TV manufacturer service vehicle

EsPeWe-Model

95172 IFA W50L MK box truck with spoiler, green with white box body

MEHLHOSE modelcars in scale 1:87

210003501 Multicar M22 dumper – blue/grey

210003503 Multicar M22 dumper – red/grey

210003600 Multicar M22 – three way tipper – green/grey

210003604 Multicar M22 – three way tipper – grey

Majorette Series 3000 Chevy Blazer

Chevrolet Blazer with Trailer and Two Motorcycles, 1:36 Scale, France, Mid 1980s

By Frank Koh

All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.

Please click photos for larger images.

With the current “Hitch and Tow” model vehicle craze, we can’t help but admire the valiant efforts of the old school toy manufacturers to maximize the play value and theme adaptability of their more popular castings. During its time (and up to the present!), this Majorette casting was one of the LARGEST scale diecast models of the venerable “Squarebody” Chevrolet Blazer/Pickup from the ’70s and ’80s. Surprisingly, with the exception of the short-lived 1:24 Blazer and C/10 from defunct brand So Real Concepts, if you wanted a larger-than-1:43-scale diecast “Squarebody”, this Majorette was your only choice in the market.

Now, more than three decades after it was first released, the Majorette Blazer (that became a C/10 pickup when the plastic rear cap was removed) remains the only viable option. Things became more fun when your 1:36 Majorette “Squarebody” was pulling a trailer with a pair of motorcycles that looked like Honda Twins, or perhaps a caravan/ camper trailer. And if you wanted greater realism, some minor mods worked wonders on the vehicle. The casting is far-from-perfect, even toy-like, but if a diecast “Squarebody” in a larger scale is what you seek, it’s either the So Real Concepts model that’s made of unobtainium, or the Majorette casting that’s much more versatile, and so much easier to acquire in the secondary market. Besides, it’s probably OLDER than the person you’ll end up buying it from. A vintage treasure, indeed.

For a model that’s more than thirty years old, this Majorette Blazer set is nicely presented, and the packaging material is certainly not “biodegradable” in any sense of the term. It’s a chore to take the item out of its complex packaging and carefully return it without damage, but this is one toy vehicle set that begs to be enjoyed.


Majorette sought to replicate a 1981-82 “Squarebody” as the grille and stacked square headlights proves, but the cowl vents, side trim, hood contours and front side marker lights are from a ’73-’80 model. Only the enthusiast eye would notice these flaws.

I have done several small improvements to the Blazer. A black wash on the grille; judicious use of black Tamiya Panel Line Accent Color on the doors, tailgate and cowl vents; red paint on the tail lights; and very thin black RC racer tape to create vent windows goes a long way in enhancing the life-like characteristics on this old Majorette masterpiece.

Talk about play value and versatility in spades. This is truly a multi-piece set. The generic motorcycles that bear a convincing resemblance to Honda Twins are not identical. They feature different seat and saddlebag configurations. The trailer looks like it can accommodate more than just motorcycles too. Most importantly, all you have to do is take off that red plastic cap, and your K5 Blazer sport utility vehicle is transformed into a genuine C/10 pickup! I added a faux “rear window” to the cab by using some black RC racer tape. It’s a neat trick I use on all my Majorette “Squarebody” models. It makes them look very, very “correct”.


Even the truck-themed box art found at the bottom of the Majorette Series 3000 packaging is very nicely done. While the Blazer isn’t a heavy duty truck, it’s still a relatively large vehicle that can perform “truck-like” duties, though hauling a pair of motorcycles would definitely be more of a recreation-oriented concept.


VDM Models 1918 Cadillac

By Harvey Goranson

All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.

Please click on the photos for larger images.

VDM Models has released a resin replica of the 1918 Cadillac Type 57 touring car in a limited edition of just 25 examples. The model is the work of Volodymyr Sorokolat of Kyiv, Ukraine. This is the first model he has offered that is under his own moniker (Volodymyr = VDM) and independent of EMC (Eastern Models Collection). Collectors who have dealt with him know him as Vlad.

Like many of us, Vlad collected model cars back in his youth. He studied the history of Cadillac and became an admirer of Henry Leland, Cadillac’s founder. His collecting interests then became focused on Cadillac. He began working with EMC to produce various Cadillac models, including roadster and tonneau versions of the 1903 Cadillac Model A, the 1937 Cadillacs V-16 roadster by Hartmann in three versions, and the 1961 Cadillacs ‘Jacqueline’ coupe by Pininfarina. At the suggestion of an American collector, he converted a small batch (20) of the 1903 Cadillac models with the tonneau body to create the 1904 Cadillac delivery van, with help from EMC. This gave him the experience to tackle an entire model on his own.

So why the 1918 Cadillac in 1:43 scale? Between the EMC 1903/1904 Cadillac Model A replicas and the recently introduced Esval 1928 Cadillac Model 341A, I can only think of two toys that have been made. These are the sub-1:43 Matchbox Yesteryear 1913 Model 30 and a 1:32 Type 57 by Signature. A big gap for the fans of Henry Leland. According to Jay Leno, the V-8-engined Type 57 was the car that really set Cadillac’s course as a mass-produced luxury brand; hence its importance. (Note that Cadillac’s low 1:43 representation in the years 1900-1930 is not unique – there are very few replicas of American cars from this period that were made).

So, Vlad set about to make his own replica in resin. And in this internet age he let us all in on the process. About a year ago, on both the Forum43 website and on Facebook, he began showing us what was involved in making a detailed model from scratch. Through photos and videos we got to see him start with a block of wood to set out the basic body contours, the formation of the seats, steering wheel, windshield frame, headlights, and so on. Use was made of 3D-design on the computer, with 3D printing to develop the wheel castings. There was even a treatise on the history of the motometer that sits atop the radiator shell. These parts formed the castings for the limited run of 25. For those who want to relive the process, it’s on his Scale Cadillac Facebook page.

My model (No. 7 of the 25) arrived damage-free thanks to Vlad’s careful packing. Now that it’s here, how does it stack up? First impressions are that the overall shape and colors are great, very period-correct. The dull blue and black fenders are typical, and the flat gray reflects the canvas material the top would have been made of quite well. There is very little chrome, as to be expected for cars made for a conservative clientele towards the end of World War I and prior to the excesses of the Roaring Twenties. The blackwall tires are again appropriate.

Speaking of which, the tires are a work of art – get your magnifying glass out to read “B. F. Goodrich Silvertown Cord” and other details on the sidewall. The wheels have 10 spokes front, 12 at the rear – the 3½-minute video of their 3D execution on the Scale Cadillac Facebook page is well worth watching. Twin spares are attached to the rear of the car, a typical arrangement considering the state of the roads of the day. The snaps for the top have been picked out in silver, and delicate parts have been attached to represent the stays used when the top is folded. A blank license is provided within the spares – a period license would have been a nice touch but would have entailed creation of decals.

The interior has been well replicated, including meticulous attention to the dash gauges. Photoetch has been used for the steering wheel-mounted spark advance and throttle controls and handbrake lever. Other details include the gear lever, pedals, the steering column connection to the dash, all four door levers, a grab bar behind the front seats, and (where you almost cannot see it) a foot rail for the rear seat passengers.

Separate pieces were made for the step-plates on the running boards and the small auxiliary lights at the cowl. The windshield (another piece Vlad showed us the story of its formation) has “glass” that has been scored to represent the split panes. On the real car they can be rotated outward for ventilation. Photoetch was used for the hood handle and latches. At the front, a scale-correct Cadillac badge is on the radiator, above which sits a replica motometer to allow the driver to check coolant temperature. The headlights have been accurately shaped and provided with lenses – they are nickel-plated with a soldered copper wire between them, with part of the assembly painted black.

I have not taken the model off its base but there is a nice level of chassis detail. The wheelbase of the Cadillac Type 57 tourer was 125 inches, a scale 2.91 inches. My measurement shows 2.875 inches, so a little underscale but not a serious issue.

An excellent replica and a must-have for Cadillac fans! Contact Vlad at vlad.srk@gmail.com if you are interested in any remaining stock.


The Dinky Mighty Antar

The Three Versions of the Dinky Supertoys Mighty Antar Transporter – A Hit for Meccano Ltd.

By Terry Hardgrave

All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.

Please click on the photos to get a larger view.

The 1950’s were fun times for many young boys, and most were fascinated with military models. Meccano saw that interest develop with the start of World War II, and was quick to bring out several Dinky Toys models that became very popular, both right before and right after the war. By the early 1950’s, the old pre-war style military vehicles were obsolete, so starting in 1954, several new models were introduced. But the really big play for Meccano was unveiling the new Dinky Supertoys #660 Tank Transporter in May-June 1956. Based on the very large Thorneycroft Mighty Antar truck, this was a most imposing model for that era, measuring over 13” with its rear ramps down, and loaded with play value.

In spite of its high sales price of $4.50 in the US (very expensive in 1956), it was a must-have for many boys, and, from all indications, Dinky amped up production and made these by the thousands. This is a story about the original Mighty Antar vehicle and the three versions that Dinky made over a period of 8 years.

The Thorneycroft Mighty Antar

Development of this outsize truck really began in the late 1940’s, as a suitable vehicle for oilfield work, transporting oversize pipe hundreds of miles in the desert. This called for many abilities: being able to traverse rough, unpaved terrain; climbing mountainous grades; and hauling large capacity loads. So the chassis was designed as a 6×4 layout, with a large V-8 engine to provide power. The engine was designed by Rolls-Royce, was a cut-down version of the V-12 used in tanks, and was called the Meteorite. This engine displaced 18 liters and ran on gasoline. Rover ended up making these engines, to the Rolls-Royce specifications. Later in production, a diesel version was developed.

A rare photo of a civilian version, being used in the desert in Libya. Picture from Internet. Copyright acknowledged.

The first customer, and whom the truck was really designed for, was the Anglo-Persian Oil Company. That is significant when one considers the name, Mighty Antar… the name Antar was a reference to Antar Ibn Shaddad, a pre-Islamic poet-warrior, so using that name was very flattering.

A great photo of an early Mighty Antar Tank Transporter, virtually identical with the Dinky Supertoys model. Picture from Internet. Copyright acknowledged.

Shortly after the initial trucks were produced, it was quickly considered to be ideal as a tank transporter, to carry the then somewhat new British Centurion Tanks, and this is where it garnered most of its fame and use.

A good closeup view of the Mighty Antar Tractor. Picture from www.talkmodeltoys.com. Copyright acknowledged.

Specifications

Production: 1951-1964
Weight of the tractor: 44,220 lbs
Length of the tractor: 27’
Width: 9.25’
Height: 10.25’
Trailer capacity: 50-60 tons
Engine: Rolls-Royce designed Meteorite, V-8, 18 liters
Top speed: 28 mph
Transmission: 4 speed, with a 3 speed transfer case
Versions: MK 1, MK 2, MK 3 (the Dinky's are the MK 1)

The Dinky Supertoys #660 Tank Transporter

Introduced in May-June of 1956 to much fanfare, this was the first of the three Mighty Antar versions produced by Meccano, and was in production until 1964. When first made, it featured a driver, an attached trailer, no windows, and was made to a scale of about 1:51. In most ways, this is a very accurate model of the real vehicle, with a couple of exceptions: in the 1950’s, Meccano insisted on using single rear tires and wheels, when many trucks had duals. It wasn’t until later in the 1960’s that they finally came around on this detail, which would have looked much better on this model. The other slight error was using the same size tire and wheel for the trailer. The photo of the original clearly shows the trailer wheels and tires being of a smaller size than the tractor.

The first announcement of the new Mighty Antar Transporter, in June 1956.

Around 1959, Dinky Toys decided to allow the trailer to become detached from the tractor unit….originally it was pinned in place. And in March of 1961, windows were finally added. In 1957, Meccano wisely decided to offer the Tank Transporter together with the #651 Centurion Tank… a gift set #698 which sold for $6.95 in the US. This was produced until 1965.

The Dinky Supertoys #986 Mighty Antar Low Loader with Propeller

Following on the great success of the Tank Transporter, Meccano saw an opportunity to get some more mileage out of its Mighty Antar unit, so in June of 1959 they introduced the Low Loader with Propeller version. This used the same Mighty Antar tractor unit but was now paired with a new low loader type of trailer, upon which rested a realistic model of a large brass ships propeller. As was common with Dinky Toys in the 1950’s, this was in painted bright colors, that appealed to young boys, so the cab was finished in red, with the trailer in grey.

The June 1959 announcement for the new Mighty Antar Low Loader with Propeller.

Early versions had the trailer permanently attached to the tractor unit, as well as no windows, but by 1961 it had both. I believe this was the very first Dinky Toys to use plastic in some form, as the propeller was made of polystyrene, and has the word “Scimitar” on a decal, referring to the manufacturer. When introduced, this model was also $4.50, making it somewhat out of reach as an ordinary toy, but it made a fine Christmas gift. While not as popular as the tank transporter, it still sold quite well, and was discontinued in 1964.

The Dinky Supertoys #908 Mighty Antar
with Transformer

By 1962, the Mighty Antar model had been around for some time and had, understandably, lost some of its allure. So it was probably a bit surprising when Meccano announced that they would make one more version of this iconic model… they would revert back to the original military version, with its tank trailer, but would convert it to civilian livery, and add a somewhat unique load….a very large 5,000KVA transformer. What is interesting about this is that the French Meccano factory was also re-purposing its Berliet Tank Transporter to a similar version, carrying the very same transformer. This transformer was another early use of plastic, and was actually made in France, and included with the model in a plastic bag, needing assembly.

Since the tank was quite heavy and could easily sit on the trailer, Meccano engineers had to design some way to keep the much lighter transformer from sliding around during play. So they wisely decided to add some mounting brackets or flanges to the bed of the trailer, and the transformer fits snugly in those. The French did not do this for their version, so the transformer does in fact slide around.

By the time this was introduced, the market for toys was rapidly changing, with much more competition, and this look was also quite dated by 1962, so this model was never a big seller, and Meccano discontinued it in 1964. All of these came with both windows and the detachable trailer, and since they were never a big seller, are now quite hard to find and expensive for mint copies.

By the early 1960’s, Meccano Ltd was in serious trouble, with mounting debt, out of control costs, and rising competition on many fronts. By 1964 things had deteriorated so badly that the company was forced to accept a bid by Lines Brothers to take over the company, and so over half a century ownership by the Hornby family ceased.

Post-Meccano Versions

By 1968, things had worsened even more, and the company decided to sell off some of its die making and tooling equipment, especially on some of the older, obsolete models. In 1968, a quantity of tooling and dies were sold to the Indian firm S. Kumar and Company, trading as Atamco Private Ltd. in Calcutta, along with a license to use them. But subsequent quality control was so poor that Meccano, upon seeing the work, insisted that the names Dinky Toys be removed from the baseplates, and new boxes designed and used. These were then named Nicky Toys, and were sold for some time.

These toys did use the original Meccano Dinky Toys dies, but were assembled, painted and packaged by others, to different standards, so they are considered to be a subset of real Dinky Toys, but are, nonetheless, collected by hobbyists. One of the more striking examples was their re-issue of the Mighty Antar Transporter, finished in a similar color scheme used on the Meccano Transformer version, but now without the transformer.

More recently, French based DAN-Toys has reproduced several of the Dinky Toys models, from their factory in China. These are pretty well made and very closely match the original Dinky Toys. Because they employ new technology and techniques not available in the 1950’s and 1960’s, they always appear to be finished to a higher standard… some would argue too nice. To date, they have made copies of both the Mighty Antar Low Loader with Propeller and the Mighty Antar Transporter with Transformer. Below is a photo of the latter, with its transformer still boxed and unassembled.


Ford Econoline Club Wagon and Variations

By John F. Quilter

All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.

Ford launched the first generation Econoline van in 1961.  It was modelled after the English Ford Thames 400E which was also a forward control vehicle with the engine under a box between the seats.   The early Econoline was badged as a Falcon and used the original Falcon engine, an OHV inline six of only 144 CID (2.3 litres), this was later supplemented with a 170CID version and some were as large as 240CID.   A manual 3 speed gearbox was standard with an automatic optional.   A V8 engine did not come about until the second generation Econoline circa 1968.    

Whitebox now has launched a version of the window van, known as a Club Wagon,  in two tone,  metallic turquoise and white.  A variant of this casting was previously seen in a Mexican part works series. Relatively inexpensive, these make great opportunities for conversion into other versions such as the pickup and service/delivery van without side windows. 

The pickup conversion required sawing off the rear two thirds of the body above the belt line, removing the two rear bench seats, creating a rounded cab back, with wrap around corner windows (although only the deluxe versions had the corner windows) and affixing a spare tire to the inside of the bed.  The tall “FORD” script on the tail gate was created with thin wire, glued in place then painted white to replicate the raised lettering on the actual truck.  Some door seams had to be filled in and other seams scribed in on the bed sides.    I chose to finishing it in a factory teal colour as seen on a number of examples on Google images.  Interior details include a teal fascia inner door panels, and black rubber floor covering. 

The no-window van was a bit simpler as  it just required removal of the seats and filling of the side windows.  I used printer’s metal glued to the inside and filled the openings with styrene plastic smoothed off with automotive body shop finishing putty.  Care must be taken with much smoothing and sanding to get a good surface before painting.  My only decision was,  do I leave the bumpers chrome (that would have been an optional extra) or painted white as would have been supplied on standard models.


Hachette Italy World Buses Part 25

By Fabrizio Panico

All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.

Parts 73 to 75

After a short delay (sorry), here is the 25th part of my summary of the Italian Hachette partwork “Autobus dal mondo”, a collection of eighty 1:43 scale bus models, very similar to the French one “Autobus et autocars du monde”, produced in Bangladesh for Ixo. Here we’ll see another GM “New Look”, an interesting (but not very successful) Italian Fiat and an iconic Chausson.


No. 73 (no. 96 in the French collection) General Motors “New Look” TDH-5303 1965 – We have already seen the GM history and how the New Look bus (see part 20, no. 59) was introduced in 1959 to replace the previous transit buses, soon becoming an iconic North American sight, and gaining the “fishbowl” nickname after its six-piece rounded windscreen. The huge window surfaces, the higher and longer body and the more “dynamic” styling (a bit reminiscent of the Scenicruiser) made the New Look very welcome to the public, especially when compared to the slightly clumsy “Old Look”. The denomination (TDH-5303) says it all: a transit bus (T), diesel engined (D) and with a hydraulic transmission (H), a long chassis (53 for 12,20 metres), third series (03). Indeed the four series are all aesthetically very similar, only the GM monogram and the interior design underwent modifications.

This scale model sports the dark green and grey livery of the Manhattan and Bronx Surface Transit Operating Authority, with a plastic body and metal baseplate, it is well detailed and has an added silver exhaust. It is a very large model, with a correct interior and driver’s area. Based on the previous model of the New Look TDH-5301 (no. 59) the only difference seems to be the addition of a box on the roof, very likely an air conditioning system, plus new rear lights and engine panel. A few reflectors have been added on the sides, but the chassis still indicates TDH 5301. The route is 41, from White Plains Road (Bronx) to 142nd Street (Upper Manhattan). There are no apparent differences to the French edition. Another smart re-use of a previous mould, but we would have preferred something new!


No. 74 (no. 97 in the French collection) FIAT 412 Aerfer 1961 – A double decker in Rome? Why not! In 1905 a Thornycroft 24 HP double decker bus was seen on Roman roads used bySocietà Romana Tramways Omnibus (SRTO), and in 1930 the Lancia Omicron Duplex was seen in Campidoglio Square, only to be surpassed in 1932 by a gargantuan “two deckers and a half” on the road from Rome to Tivoli. Beautiful pictures of them all can be found at the following web page. Established in 1909 as AATM, the Roman transport company changed its name almost immediately to ATM (Municipal Tramways Company) and started its commercial service in 1911. It then gradually absorbed SRTO‘s lines and rolling stock, which ran most of the urban tramways network. In 1926 the City of Rome was replaced by the Governorship of Rome, ATM changed its name to ATG, and two years later to ATAG (Bus and Tramways Company of the Governorship). In 1944, the city returned to its original status, so the ATAG became ATAC.

In the 1960s, following the withdrawal of the tramways network there was a drastic reduction of transport capacity, ATAC decided to try double deckers again, which had not been very successful in the 1930s. Two prototypes were tested in 1964, built on a Fiat 412 chassis, derived from the contemporary 410 and improved through a double skeleton of longitudinal and cross beams (for the Fiat history see part 8 no. 23). The bodywork was of aeronautical type, developed by AERFER of Naples using a stiffened shell structure in light aluminium alloy (Costruzioni Aeronautiche e Ferroviarie, Aeronautical and Railway Constructions, later merged in Aeritalia). The engine was a six cylinder diesel developing 176 HP, installed in a semi-horizontal position and placed transversely at the rear. The floor was partially lowered between the two axles, with three quadruple doors and two inside staircases to the upper floor, the front one for the ascent and the rear for the descent. But the 412 had been designed for characteristics entirely different from the Italian ones (a South American order, later cancelled), and soon the 412 revealed itself to be unsuitable for the road network of Rome. The people, fearful of being unable to get off at the desired stop, preferred to crowd the lower floor (which could contain 12 persons seated and 80 standing), leaving the 45 seats of the upper deck unused. Only 58 of these buses were used by ATAC, out of the ten years production total of only 127 units. Many large Italian towns tested the 412 (Bari, Bologna, Florence, Naples, Verona), but with poor results.

The scale model is based on a bus from Florence, route 17 from Viale Duse to Piazza Puccini (roughly from Coverciano to the Cascine park). The model is superb: made with a metal lower body and plastic upper body and chassis. It is well detailed and quite heavy. Livery is the typical green bicolour of Italian buses of the era, enhanced by an aluminium fascia, and the printed lettering is accurate. However, the interior is poor, spoiled by metal supports, and the staircases are only partially modelled. Good value for money despite this. There are no apparent differences to the French edition. Hachette must be congratulated for the choice of such a rare vehicle.


No. 75 (no. 98 in the French collection) Chausson APH 47 1947 – Nice to meet Chausson and its products again. After the 1950 APH (see part five, no. 14), the 1956 ANG coach (see part eighteen, no. 53) and the 1953 APU/53 (see part twenty two, no. 66), it is now the turn of the 1947 APH 47 to appear in the collection. Based in the Paris region from 1907, and a initially a supplier of components to the automotive industry, after the 1930s Chausson started producing car and unitary bus bodies. During the post war boom Chausson supplied thousands of buses to many French cities, but in 1959 Saviem acquired all their bus related activities and Chausson left that market. After the Second World War the first Panhard engined buses were soon joined by a petrol Hotchkiss engined one, this choice needed to extend the bus front cover to accommodate it. So was born the “nez de cochon” or “pig’s nose”, which later became the standard design. In 1947, APH 47 was the new name of the previous APH2, powered by a four-in-line Panhard diesel engine, developing 100 HP. A light and efficient vehicle, it was constantly improved in the following years leading to strong sales. It was employed by the RATP mainly on suburban lines, but it was found everywhere else in France.

A plastic body and metal baseplate feature on this model sporting the classic RATP livery: dark green and cream. There is a well detailed baseplate, and the model has all the usual small added parts. Again this model has a poor interior, the seats seem to lack any space for the passengers legs. It is quite similar to the APU/53 (no. 66), but it is likely that they are from different moulds. The route shown is 297, from Porte d’Orléans to Chilly Mazarin, a commune in the southern suburbs of Paris, about 17 km from the centre of town, near Orly International Airport. The adverts on the side are very interesting: Dubonnet Quinquina was an aromatised wine-based aperitif, containing a small amount of quinine. It was created in 1846 in response to a competition run by the French Government to find a way of persuading French Foreign Legionnaires in North Africa to drink quinine (It is very bitter, but was needed to combat malaria). In the Italian partwork booklet the model is shown with a smaller decal, but the model sports the wider one, like the French model. On the rear of the bus there is an ad for the “Le Chat” soaps, cube-shaped soaps produced originally in Marseille, but now taken over by Henkel.

There are no apparent differences to the French edition. A model of a bus much loved by all the French.


News from the Continent March 2019 – Herpa

By Hans-Georg Schmitt

All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.

Here is a view of a selection of models issued by Herpa from the fourth quarter of 2018 and the first quarter of 2019. All are to 1:87 scale mde in Europe for Germany.

309370 Scania CS HD articulatedrefrigerated box truck “GS Transports”

The city of Luckau, south of Berlin, is the base for GS Transports. Herpa has now released their new Scania tractor, which is pulling a refrigerated box trailer promoting Scan Trans Service. Do not forget Scania also belongs to Volkswagen.


094078 Porsche 924 “Police of Northrhein-Westfalia”

The Porsche 924 was acquired in 1981 and was operated by the highway police, Moers. The model features an emergency light, roof prints and the NRW logo on the bonnet.


024716-004 Skoda 1000 MB

The first rear engined passenger carmade by Skoda was launched in 1968, Its four-stroke petrol engine developed 52 hp from a 1107 cc engine. It was good for a top speed of 127 km/h. The miniature is very well detailed, and some small components are separately inserted.


309417 Volvo F 12 Canvas-cover drawbar “Deutrans”

This drawbar is issued in a revised design of the vehicles of the haulier of the “German Democratic Republic”. These trucks ran through the whole Western Europe. The drivers were always high ranked Stasi officers, who had to spy against the ‘class enemy’ as well as delivering goods.


309769/309776 Scania CG 17 4×4 rigid Tractor – white or orange

This up to date tractor unit is a new mould.


309660 Mercedes-Benz Econic Box-truck “Special Action Police NRW”

This striking vehicle will be used by the police of Northrhein-Westfalia for special environmental measurements.


23175/23176

309820 Ford Transconti drawbar with canvas cover “Haulier Offergeld”

A classic truck in the design of the haulier Offergeld from the 1970s. It is possible that the range will be enlarged with models of their trucks from the 1950s.


094382 Volkswagen Transporter T6 Multivan “Fraport Safety Car”

A black moulded body, authentically printed and fitted with a red warning light bar. This vehicle is destined for use on the internal airport area.


094337 Mercedes-Benz Atego Rosenbauer turnable ladder truck
“Firebrigade of Ingolstadt, Bavaria”

The body is authentically shaped and printed. The ladder is very finely moulded and is fully extendable.


310024 Volvo FH Gl. XL articulated refrigerated box truck “Gesuko”

The company was founded under the name “Gesunde Kost”, (healthy food). Today they own 55 articuated refrigerated trucks. The company is located in Bad Hersfeld, Hessia.


308663 IFA G5 Three-way tipper

Some of these 6×6 trucks survive and are today stars at the old timer truck meetings in the eastern part of Germany.

Here Herpa has updated the cab and given it a new body.


310215 Anniversary set “80 Years of Haulier Wandt” Brunswick, Lower Saxonia

The set is contains two articulated canvas-covered trucks in typical Wandt livery with different tractor units, MAN and Volvo FH.


Atlas Dinky – Mercedes-Benz 230SL

By Maz Woolley

All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.

Well the Atlas Dinky Deluxe series has finished without delivering all the models shown on the original advertising. If you study the picture below you will see the Ford Galaxie 500 and the Mercedes-Benz 230SL which I believe were not delivered to any subscribers here in the UK. So DeAgostini’s management of Atlas’ closure is responsible for subscribers being sold short. It is not as if the models are not available, as DeAgostini is selling the missing models on its own website for a higher price, all marked Atlas on the boxes and bases.

Banner from Atlas Editions web site – part of the advertising for the collection.

The equivalent French market collection from Atlas, Dinkies with opening parts, ran to many more parts and included the missing models shown on the UK advertising as well as many more. The French Atlas organisation no longer has any trace of these series on its website with the whole site now changed to Altaya Model Space, Atlaya being another DeAgostini brand.

So here is a look at one of the models that subscribers were expecting which I obtained from DeAgostini, but the box and the base of the model are both clearly marked Editions Atlas.

French Dinky #516 Mercedes-Benz 230 SL launched in 1964 and withdrawn in 1970, is a model from the peak of Dinky France‘s model making. The box has a lovely attributed period illustration with the car emerging from a mountain tunnel and being driven by a cool guy in his shades. Of course the yellow painted car was never actually produced as the model came in silver, metallic grey, and red. Here Atlas has chosen to model it in metallic red which suits the car well. The car is as ever marked 1:43 on its base which carries full Mattel and Atlas licensing details.

The model captures the original cars slim but sturdy shape very well. and the metallic paint is nicely applied, albeit that the bonnet seems a little darker than the rest.

The car features a removable hood which lifts off with all the windows to create an open car.

The interior is modelled fairly basically, though the nicely shaped front seat backs tip to give access to the rear shelf. Like many other French Dinkies there is no cutaway below the dashboard for the drivers legs. Although the interior tub is fully sized there are no door card details either. But then this was sold as a toy for children.

In addition to the plastic detachable roof both bonnet (hood) and boot (trunk) open and a neat representation of the engine with Mercedes-Benz star on top is moulded in plastic and fitted in the engine compartment.

Tyres are as usual well presented but do not have Dunlop imprinted as so many other French Dinkys do. The wheel hubs are the standard shiny steel wheels. Lights at the front are separate plastic lenses and painted at the rear. The grille, body mouldings and badges are all well moulded and the bumpers are part of the base plate.

All in all this is a very nice model and well worth seeking out by those who have the Dinky Deluxe Collection, though why we should have to pay DeAgostini an extra couple of pounds for the pleasure of owning what we expected to be shipped in the collection I do not know.