By Maz Woolley
It would appear from comments on the Atlas website that 31 models are planned in this series which is a curious number, but which probably reflects the number of Jaguar castings available from PCT Industries owner of Ixo. With this model came a flier for the DeAgostini Mercedes Benz Collection which underlines the gradual convergence between the brands owned by DeAgostini which includes Atlas Editions. Maybe they hope that as the Jaguar collection ends people will switch to the Mercedes Collection?
The latest model in the collection is a Jaguar XK120 Fixed Head Coupe. The XK120 FHC is a very beautiful car, perhaps the purest shape Jaguar made in this series of cars. The FHC was introduced in 1951 three years after the XK120 roadster was launched and it was superseded by the XK140 in 1954.
In 1952 a FHC ran for seven days and seven nights at Montlhéry at an average speed of just over 100mph. The appeal of the FHC to the buyer would have been the more civilised noise levels, the prospect of warmer winter motoring and the addition of wind-up windows and wood veneers on the dashboard and interior door caps.
The model is finished in a metallic silver grey colour which shows off the curvaceous lines of the car well. The standard wheels are also nicely reproduced as is the original narrow grille. The interior has wood coloured dashboard and printed instruments. A reasonable red leather effect for seats and door cars is set off by a gear lever and handbrake in black. The flush glazing used with the chrome surrounds printed onto raised mouldings is extremely effective and substantially less fragile than the application of photo-etched parts to form the frames which is seen on resin models.
Whilst a good model there are a number of issues with the model, most notably with Quality Control. As the picture below shows the model came out of the packaging with a rear over-rider missing. Minor quibbles are that the final clear coat reflects unevenly under some lights and there is a small mark on the bonnet of the car. I am not a fan of the unauthentic number plate at the rear either which only highlights the lack of a front number plate!
As the model is faulty I have contacted Atlas to get a replacement sent to me. I would like to make some observations on Atlas billing and customer service. This has deteriorated considerably over the last year. Phone calls have recently taken around 30 minutes to connect to an agent and they are failing to respond to emails within the target of two days. In fact they are failing to respond to some emails at all. They were featured on the BBC Watchdog television programme recently with complaints about poor customer service and billing. I think that Atlas needs to make a significant investment in improving its fulfilment activities or they will be in danger of gaining a reputation which will deter people from subscribing to their collections. Have other readers had similar issues with subscription and partworks suppliers?
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