By Maz Woolley
As we have come to expect the latest in this series from Atlas is another French Dinky replica seen already in the Continental Dinky collection. The Hotchkiss Willys Jeep 80b.
For once the Postman had no problems delivering this through the letter box. The box seems tiny compared to other vehicles in this series at only just over 7cm in length and under 4cm in height. The Atlas replica box may convey the spirit of the original but the end flap is re-arranged as some text has been removed, “C’EST UNE FABRICATION MECCANO” the lowest line on the original box is absent. In addition French Dinky credited the artist who created the box art but on the reproduction the signature of J. Massé is absent.
Hotchkiss made about 32,000 Jeeps under licence from Willys in France until the mid 1960s. Production was originally at a factory in St. Denis in Paris but was later moved out to Stains which is a suburb to the north of Paris. It would appear that these were largely assembled from parts taken from Jeeps left in Europe when the US forces went home after the Second World War.
French Dinky had already sold a WiIlys Jeep as number 25 J in the early 1950s but I believe that this was the same casting as the Dinky UK Jeep which is considered to be less accurate than 80b. 80b was introduced in 1958 and was short lived being re-numbered as 816 in 1959. Some models were fitted with a driver but this replica is not and there is no hole in the casting for one to fit in either.
This replica has lovely even matt paint and the lights are neatly coloured. The tinplate screen is well replicated and the three spoke steering wheel is on a delicate shaft. The scale of this model is said to be 1:48.
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