By Robin Godwin
All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.
1966 saw a giant in the industry, French Dinky Toys, and a newcomer, Edil Toys of Italy, enter the Giulia TI fray with the best two miniatures in this review. Both were produced to 1:43 scale and both got the complex lines of the car almost perfect, and way better than the competition. French Dinky is actually the only company that got the most major details correct, by which I mean they included the quarter window frames, which nobody else did. Unfortunately, the only thing that spoils the Dinky is the standard dished wheel, common at the time. However, it features well fitting opening hood and trunk (bonnet/boot), along with driver and passenger side windows that operate. Suspension, the fairy crude but effective Dinky steering, and jeweled headlights/ruby taillights clearly place this model in the late 60s. Bumpers and grill are part of the body casting which has generated some unsightly casting join lines on the body. One year later, Dinky released a Rallye version, #1401, in red with period decals, and a casting variation to the front grill, incorporating extra spotlights, also jeweled. Both of these versions have been reproduced accurately in the Atlas Dinky series, nice alternatives to the now very expensive originals.
The Edil Toys Giulia Polizia, #5 in this small Italian range, is an absolute gem, with everything opening and accurate wheels (with no axle protrusions on the early versions. An Italian website shows protruding axles on a later version), only missing the quarter window frames. While most others in this comparison (Politoys and, to come, Mercury) only did “half doors,” Edil modelled the window surrounds. It also features suspension, but no steering. Rear taillights are the most accurate of the lot, if only represented by decals, a point to note when buying online. The engine representation under the bonnet is a separate insert (unlike the Dinky which is part of the body casting), and is done in silver. I can’t really tell is this is plastic or metal, but the fine engine detail makes me lean towards plastic. It is much more detailed than the French Dinky engine representation. Bumpers and grill are separate chromed plastic pieces. Front seat backs also tilt forward, and all four doors have inner door panels in plastic. A note of caution is that the rear plastic inner door panel is part of the door hinge structure, so careful handling is required. If the plastic were to be damaged, the door would not sit correctly. Only the oversize antenna and lack of quarter window frame detract, but the regular sedan, ie, the non-police version (#4), would be close to perfection for its time.
The regular Edil sedan came in several colours. Edil’s previous history involved plastic construction buildings, similar to LEGO. Edil jumped into the diecast market at that period when manufacturers were competing with operable features. They clearly had to be special to take on the likes of Mercury, Politoys, and Mebetoys. Hence, everything opened, including all four doors for the appropriate sedans in the range. However, they did not survive, with production ceasing in 1968, and the dies passing to Orfey of Turkey. As is usually the case with second owners of the dies, the Orfeys were a bit cruder, and came with “Whizzwheel” style wheels. Bases were modified, but some apparently still had Made in Italy cast in. Anything Edil is now very difficult to find and expensive to acquire. Despite the Orfey Giulia having bad wheels, it is even more difficult to find and more expensive that the original Edil.