By Maz Woolley
Atlas Editions trade in many countries across Europe but appear to be headquartered in Switzerland. It has a local operation in every country it trades in backed up by a website and call centre in the local language giving the impression that it is a local firm. Each operation only deals with customers in its own defined area. Each country offers localised offerings with France seeming to have the broadest offerings. The localised distribution of ranges has led to a large secondary market in these products on eBay where those who are not based where the collections are offered have to buy them from those who are. In addition a lot of models seconds and perfect find their way onto eBay sold by traders from China who offered boxed but uncertified models.
Whilst Atlas sells all sorts of products this article looks only at transport related items available. This article looks at the current offerings across Europe.
Starting in the UK the following ranges are currently available:
- Great British Buses 1:76
- Trams of the World 1:76
- The Greatest Show on Earth 1:76
- The World of Stobart 1:76 (Not all road vehicles)
- Tractors of the World 1:32
- Classic Coaches 1:76
- Fire Engines 1:76
- Dinky Toys Various scales
- The Jaguar Collection 1:43
- Dinky Trucks Various
- Touring Cars 1:43
- Superbikes 1:24
- Bombers of WWII 1:144
- Duelling Fighter Planes 1:72
- Military Vehicles 1:43
- Jet Age Military Aircraft 1:144
- Legendary Ocean Liners 1:1250
The following series have been test marketed recently but have not yet been officially launched.
- Dinky Cars with opening features – DB5 Convertible
- Mercedes Collection – Mercedes Gullwing 300SL
- Dinky Vans – Trojan Oxo
Looking at other countries where Atlas operates many, but not all of the UK series, are also offered in other countries. But if you look at what is offered elsewhere there are many series on offer which we have not yet seen in the UK. In fact even where the same series is on offer in several countries the models offered may be different. Only the series we have not seen in the UK are listed below. In some cases series that have alreday finished in one country are still running elsewhere.
- Ambulances 1:43 – Citroen DS/ID based ambulance, Cadillac Miller Ambulance and Mercedes-Benz Binz currently advertised. NB Binz looks to be the same one already seen in the James Bond series.
- Small commercials “Les petits utilitaires des artisans et commerçants” 1:43
- Porsche 911 collection 1:43
- La Saga Gordini 1:43
- Police Cars of the World “Voitures de police du monde” 1:43
- Dinky Toys with opening parts – “Dinky™ Toys de mon enfance, la saga des ouvrants”
- Mercedes-Benz Collection
- Pilots of WWII “Pilotes de la Seconde Guerre Mondiale” 1:72
- DDR car collection “DDR Auto Kollektion” 1:43
- DDR commercial vehicles “DDR Nutzfahrzeuge” 1:43
- DDR Motorcycles “DDR-Motorrad Kollektion” 1:24
- DDR Army vehicles – cancelled part way through series 1:43
- Ambulance Collection 1:43
- Porsche 911 Collection 1:43
- Ferrari F1 Collection 1:43
- Legendar Tractors “Traktor Legenden” 1:32
- Mercedes-Benz 1:43
- Saab Car Museum Collection 1:43
- Police Cars 1:43
- Street Cars “Legendäre Straßenbahnen” 1:87
- Volvo Collection 1:43
- Bus Collection 1:72
- Fire Appliances “Feuerwehr Fahrzeuge” 1:72
- Air Aces “Jagdflieger” 1:72
- U-Boat Legends “U-BOOT Legenden” 1:350
Here most of the series are local versions of series already listed with the exception of:
- Presidential Cars – Czech Republic
- Ikarus Models (scale not stated but believe 1:72) – Poland
- Bus collection (again not stated but probably 1:72) – Poland
- Legendary Motorcycle 1:24 (closely related to the DDR Motorcycles series) – Poland
- Silver Cars – Finland
- Titanic – Finland
- Silver aircraft – Netherlands
- Monte Carlo Rally – Norway
For Atlas to be profitable they must have to sell thousands of each casting, a level out of the reach of most model ranges .sold through conventional retail outlets. When you remember that they are actually just part of the DeAgostini group who are also having models made in large numbers it becomes clear that the subscription and part works vendors must now be responsible for a very large proportion of the diecast models from China.
Their influence spreads even wider as they do not have an exclusive right to the moulds of the models they sell so the Chinese producers now sell the same models for use in model ranges like White Box which are the same models made in short runs for European distributors.
I sometimes wonder what the impact would be if these direct marketers experienced a fall in the sales of transport models. We have recently seen the German Dinky and DDR Military vehicle ranges close “early” and despite test marketing over a year ago the opening parts Dinky range has still yet to launch in the UK. Is this a sign that the market for such models is slowing down? If the direct marketers think so they will launch more series catering to other interests and fewer vehicles which may have a direct impact of the profitability of Chinese diecast producers which could in turn lead to higher costs as they shed capacity.
What do you think? It would be interesting to find out what readers think about the future direction of mass market diecast models.
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