Category Archives: Atlas Dinky

Atlas Deluxe Dinky Toys is complete

By Maz Woolley

Many collectors received an email late on 20/3/2019 like the one shown below stating that the Atlas Dinky Deluxe series running in the UK is complete.

When I looked at my account on the Atlas website the collection shows as cancelled and not as complete and two models that I have not yet received are shown as having been sent. It will also be interesting to see if those who subscribed to the series at the higher rate to pay for a ‘Dinky’ garage will actually get one, and if not what DeAgostini as the owner of Atlas will do about taking their money under false pretences.

If we look at the collection advert above from their website it reflects the original publicity material for this series. I note that two models in the picture have never shipped to collectors: the Ford Galaxie; and Mercedes 230SL. Yet DeAgostini is currently selling them on their ModelSpace site. It seems a very poor reward for those who have subscribed to the series that they have to scrabble about elsewhere, and pay more, to get models that they should have had in the collection in the first place.

For the sake of completeness I include a table below which lists all the models that Atlas/DeAgostini say formed my collection though please note the final two are ‘in the post’. My apologies for the inconsistent presentation that is as Atlas created the entries.

If any reader has any details of additional models that they have received from Atlas in this collection please let me know (maronlineeditor@gmail.com) so that if there are any others we can create a full list.

It is clear that the collection was very different to that many UK collectors hoped for. The original test marketing promised many Binns Road Dinkys that have never appeared. There are even items on the revised collection advertising, issued when the collection finally launched, that have not been delivered to subscribers.

All in all I believe that the business practices of DeAgostini and its Atlas subsidiary have fallen well short of what loyal customers might expect. They accepted subscribers to series like the Jaguar Collection and Dinky Trucks long after they had finished the collection for early subscribers and then closed the collections for later subscribers well short of delivering them all the models the earlier subscribers got. They have also failed to send out advertised models in various collections despite the fact that in some cases the items were being sold to the wholesale trade in significant numbers and even available on DeAgostini’s own Model Space website.


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Atlas Dinky Deluxe – 1421 Opel GT 1900

By Maz Woolley

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

My latest delivery from Atlas is a replica of French Dinky #1421, an Opel GT 1900. The original model was in the Dinky range from 1969 to 1971. The earlier releases of the original came with a sheet with a choice of French and German number plates though the Atlas model just has German plates ready fitted. The box art is in the later unattributed style with a white background and showing the car in red, a colour it was never issued in. The Atlas model replicates the blue colour the model was produced in for its entire run.

The Opel GT debuted as a styling exercise in 1965 at the Paris and Frankfurt motor shows. The production vehicle used mechanical components from the contemporary Opel Kadett B and two-door hard top bodywork produced by French contractor Brissonneau & Lotz. More than one hundred thousand were sold by Opel from 1968 to 1973. The car was unitary bodied and powered by a choice of a 1.1 or 1.9 Litre engine. mounted longitudinally at the front driving the rear wheels. One unusual feature of the Opel GT is the operation of the pop-up headlights. They are manually operated, by way of a large lever along the centre console next to the gear lever. Designed by Opel stylist Erhard Schnell the GT is a fastback, that has neither an externally accessible boot nor a hatch. There is a parcel shelf behind the seats that can only be accessed through the main doors. Behind the parcel shelf is a fold-up panel that conceals a spare tire and jack. Hence the need for the luggage rack fitted to the Dinky!

This model features ‘super rapide speedwheels‘ which do not seem to be much lower friction than normal ones, perhaps that is just Atlas not replicating them properly? In any event they are over shiny and not particularly good replicas of the real wheels. The doors are fully framed and open, as does the bonnet. However, none of the opening parts is a tight fit and the gaps round them are large.

The GT badging is moulded into the front wings and the front bumper unit is a large moulding with yellow jewels fitted as fog lights and what appears to be a Munich registration plate. Unfortunately the sides of the bumpers are too small to fully fill the recess leaving a substantial gap there too. I am sure that these faults are all there on the original model too, certainly web pictures seem to bear that out.

[Editor: Since publishing this article Jim McLachan has pointed out that his original Dinky has close fitting parts and no problem with a gap round front bumper. This clearly suggests that the Atlas replica is poorer than the original]

The rear of the model is finished simply with the lights moulded in and picked out in red and orange paint. The bumpers are well modelled as is the luggage rack though this is fitted crookedly on the model that I have. As it is simply retained by a single plastic pin into the bodywork I can see that it would be impossible to correct. In fact a missing rack is very common on the original models that survive.

Viewed from the side the blandness of the wheels and the large gaps round the doors an bonnet are quite clear. The side view also highlights the fact that the Dinky model roof is too low. Photographs show the side door windows to be rather higher and the roof rounder in profile. I am also a bit unsure about the front end where I think the gradual curve is too gentle and perhaps the front end is little long. What do you think?

The interior is all in red and the front seat backs do not tip forward. A shiny inline motor sits beneath the bonnet. Underneath there is a minimal moulding showing the drive train and exhaust and stating that the model is to 1:43 scale.

As with many other late Dinky models from France there is a street sign included showing speed controls.

All in all I am not sure that the model does the original vehicle justice but there I think Atlas has just perpetuated the shortcomings of the original Dinky.


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Atlas Deluxe Dinky #1420 Opel Commodore

By Maz Woolley

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

The latest issue in the Atlas Deluxe Dinky Toys series is the French Dinky Opel Commodore GS #1420 introduced in 1970 to 1:43 scale it lasted in production for just one year and was deleted in 1971. Painted in red with matte black bonnet and roof, and a single black side strip, rather than the twin shown on the box. The wheels were nicely engineered silvered castings which include the Opel badge in the centre, and which are fitted with rubber tyres. The box art is in the later French Dinky style, unsigned, and featuring the car against a white background. Unusually, in this case the car is shown in the same colour that the model is painted. It came with a ‘customs’sign in the box.

This model re-used the casting from #1405 Opel Rekord Coupe introduced in 1968 which was fitted with speedwheels and initially sold in a perspex box. In fact Dinky didn’t even bother to tidy up the chassis and the Rekord lettering remains on the base. Indeed the ‘splodge’ of ill defined cast-in letters on the boot and front wing look to me like Rekord badging too.

Here in the UK we had a hybrid version of this car sold by Dinky UK from 1971 in its own UK box. The car was the Commodore painted in blue with a matte black roof. It is missing the black bonnet and side stripe of the French release. The doors also appear to be different with the door card appearing in photographs on the web to be moulded into the metal door rather than being a separate plastic part. No effort has been made to make the car a UK spec car as the steering wheel remains on the left. It is fitted with a strange number plate GB5372MI in silver on black which is nothing like a 1971 UK number plate which would have been a white plate with three letters, three numbers and a J or K suffix.

The Opel Commodore A was introduced in 1967 as an upmarket version of the Rekord, with which it shared its body and mechanics. The GS version was top of the range and had a special paint job and a double carburettor version of the 2.5 Litre six cylinder engine. It was withdrawn in 1971 as the UK Dinky Toys model went on sale!

The Atlas model seems to be a very accurate replica of the original though Atlas has not reproduced the mould faults clearly visible on both French and British original models. The masking of the black painted roof is also done accurately unlike the variety of wobbly edges shown on original models.

This is another Atlas model with huge gaps at the front of the doors which are actually a good fit otherwise. In this case, looking carefully at original models on the Internet, Atlas seems to have introduced this fault. The original models do not seem to have this air scoop edge.

Another shortcoming in the upgrade to a Commodore is the rather bland chromed grille and lights which appear to be the grille from a Rekord and not a Commodore. The Commodore has two horizontal chrome strips top and bottom with a black background and a single set of small vertical bars. Unlike the Rekord which has a central horizontal strip with vertical bars above and below as shown on this model. The number plates are for the German City of Koblenz.

In summary a rather flawed original model from Dinky which has most of its faults reproduced by Atlas whilst with the doors they have introduced new faults.

According to my Atlas account the next model due is also an Opel, in this case the 1900GT.

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Atlas Deluxe Dinky Spanish #1416 Renault 6

By Maz Woolley

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

Atlas models seem to be shipped regularly now. Perhaps with so few series left running they have the stocks set aside in the warehouse all ready to go. One wonders how long the Deluxe Dinky series will last as I am sure that the number of subscribers must be tailing off with many put off by the fact that it has turned into a series of French Dinkies. On the other hand, if there are many left over models from the French series, I expect they will get shipped to us until there is nothing new left.

The model shown here is a replica of French Dinky #1416, a Renault 6 to 1:43 scale. This model is a later one sold from 1969 and produced in Spain for Dinky by Pilen. If it looks familiar that is because we have already had the earlier French made 1416 in Red in this series which you can read about here.

As if often the case the box art work shows the car in a colour never issued by Dinky. It is a curious picture as it shows the front doors open with no window frame featured yet the whole door is modelled. As is usual with the later pictures no artist is credited and there is no interesting background to liven up the box.

I will not repeat the information about the Renault 6 you will find in the original article here, just take a look at the Spanish made model. This differed from the earlier French made model as it had modifications to the front grille and lights to represent an updated version of the R6 and the bonnet opening mechanism actuated by pushing down the steering wheel in the French made car, and the earlier Atlas replica, was not included.

It continued using the same number plate from the previous version which was a sign that Dinky were no longer paying as much attention to detail as they had in earlier years. The poor fit of the opening front doors was not addressed and they still let down the rest of the casting.

The base is plastic and the front bumper has lost its overriders despite them still being shown on the box. The car also sits strangely low at the rear when the R6 always seemed to ride higher at the rear than the front.

Perhaps not an exciting model or even particularly welcomed by collectors when the earlier model has already been collected.

The next car in the series has already arrived and it is #1420 Opel Commodore.


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De Agostini Dinky Collection January 2019

By Fabrizio Panico

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

It has been a while since I covered this collection in MAR Online but here is a listing and some photographs of the parts that have not yet been shared. The latest release at the time of writing is number 57 and it will be interesting to see how many parts are eventually released.

  • 23 5720CMC023 Auto Union racing car (DT 23 D copy)
  • 24 5720CMC024 BMW 1500 (DT 534 copy)
  • 25 5720CMC026 Borgward Isabella coupé (DT 549 copy)
  • 26 5720CMC027 Peugeot D3A furgone Esso (DT 25 BR prototype copy)
  • 27 5720CMC028 Ford France Vedette (DT 24 X copy)
  • 28 5720CMC029 Willys Jeep (DT 25 J copy)
  • 29 5720CMC030 Buick Roadmaster (DT 24 V copy)
  • 30 5720CMC025 Simca Cinq (DT 35A copy)
  • 31 5720CMC031 Ford Zephyr (DT 162 copy)
  • 32 5720CMC032 Dodge Royal (DT 191 copy)
  • 33 5720CMC033 Citroen 11 BL (1° tipo) (DT 24 N copy)
  • 34 5720CMC034 Renault Floride (DT 543 copy)
  • 35 5720CMC035 Chevrolet Corvair (DT 552 copy)
  • 36 5720CMC036 Simca Aronde P60 (DT 544 copy)
  • 37 5720CMC037 Peugeot 203 (1° tipo) (DT 24 R copy)
  • 38 5720CMC038 Austin A90 Atlantic cabriolet (DT 106 copy)
  • 39 5720CMC039 Opel Kapitan (DT 177 copy)
  • 40 5720CMC040 Jaguar XK120 coupé (bicolore) (DT 157 copy)
  • 41 5720CMC041 Studebaker coupé (DT 39 F copy)
  • 42 5720CMC042 Ford Vedette ’49 (DT 24 Q copy)
  • 43 5720CMC043 Morris Oxford (bicolore) (DT 159 copy)
  • 44 5720CMC044 Simca Vedette Versailles (DT 24 Z copy)
  • 45 5720CMC045 Renault Estafette miroitier (DT 544 copy)
  • 46 5720CMC046 Peugeot 403 Familiare (DT 525 copy)
  • 47 5720CMC047 Aston Martin DB3S (DT 104 copy)
  • 48 5720CMC048 Citroen ID 19 break (DT 539 copy)
  • 49 5720CMC049 Peugeot 402 berlina (DT 24 K copy)
  • 50 5720CMC050 Simca 9 Aronde Elysée (DT 24 U copy)
  • 51 5720CMC051 Morris Mini Traveller (DT 197 copy)
  • 52 5720CMC052 — triporteur (DT 14 copy)
  • 53 5720CMC053 Morris Oxford (monocolore) (DT 159/40 G copy)
  • 54 5720CMC056 Simca 1000 (DT 519 copy)
  • 55 5720CMC055 Peugeot 504 cabriolet (DT 1423 copy)
  • 56 5720CMC057 Panhard PL 17 (DT 547 copy)
  • 57 5720CMC058 Ford Taunus 17 M (DT 559 copy)
Parts 23 to 25
Parts 26 to 28
Parts 29 to 32
Parts 33 to 36
Parts 37 to 40
Parts 41 to 44
Parts 45 to 48
Parts 49 to 51
Parts 52 to 54
Parts 55 to 57

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Atlas Dinky Deluxe 530 Citroën DS23

By Maz Woolley

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

My latest shipment from Atlas is a replica of French Dinky 530 DS 23 Citroën which was originally made in Spain by Pilen for Dinky from 1970. Whilst the earlier 530 Citroën DS 19 was sold by UK Dinky the DS 23 never was.

The model is finished in metallic red with a matt black roof which is a good replica of the only colour the original was made in. The original model was sold for just two years. The box replicates the late style box with a drawing of the model but no scenic background. Unusually the picture matches the model colour pretty well.

The DS 23 car was introduced in 1972 though the faired in front headlights making the streamlined shape even more attractive than before came in 1967 in the DS21 Dinky never modelled. In most respects the car remained unchanged from the DS21 except for the increase in engine size to 2.3 litres. The model was launched in 1973 and was withdrawn in 1975 giving it a short production life.

The Atlas model is a good replica though the front wings have clear vertical mould lines which presumably were where the front end was modified for the DS 23 tool. Unfortunately the reference pictures that I can see of the original dinky casting are not clear enough to see of this was there on the original mould.

The base is clearly marked as Atlas and licensed by Mattel as usual and states the 1:43 scale used for the model. The base is metal but my source books suggest that the base may have been made in plastic on the original.

Opening bonnet and boot are included which are good close fits though the bonnet will not stay open without being held.

The paint and limited mask spraying are all well carried out.

All in all a rather nice model of a DInky from the last years of Dinky France.


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Atlas Dinky Deluxe 1429 Peugeot 404 Police Break

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

By Maz Woolley

My latest arrival from the UK Atlas Dinky Deluxe series is the French Dinky #1429 Break Peugeot 404 Police. This was seen previously in the equivalent continental Atlas series. The original model was developed from the standard #525 Peugeot 404 estate model originally launched in 1964 and withdrawn in 1970. #1429 is one of the dearer mint and boxed Dinky models on the obsolete model market perhaps because it was only in production for a year from 1970 to 1971. The continental Atlas series also contained a replica of the rare and expensive Pompiers de Paris promotional model which was based upon based upon #525.

The 404 was in the Peugeot range from 1963 to 1975 and continued in production in Kenya until 1991. In its final years in France it was produced alongside the 505 which was introduced to replace it in 1968. The 404 was offered with a range of engines from a petrol 1.4 Litre petrol engine up to a 2.7 litre V6 petrol engine. The diesel engined versions were strong sellers especially when it was used for business or as a Taxi.

The replica reproduces the original faithfully right down to the plastic aerial squashed in the box, though all the extra Atlas packaging actually means the aerial gets even more squashed than it did when originally released!

The masking of the black overspray is poor. Pictures on the internet suggest that the original was also poorly masked with black paint feathering at edges and at roof line. The upper part of the opening tailgate and bonnet were rather erratically masked as well. The Atlas reproduces these flaws but I would have preferred crisp masking as these are replicas and technology has passed on, others might not agree thinking matching the original adds charm.

All the features are at the rear where the tailgate opens and the rear seat folds up and down using a plastic wheel beneath the car. However, the tailgate will not stay open without being held which means I was unable to take a photograph with all the opening parts open.

The box makes much of these features but in 1970 this was a pretty basic stuff and many other models had a lot more opening parts.

Perhaps as away of adding perceived value a Dinky ‘No Cycling’ street sign was include in the box. Atlas have replicated that too.

The front end features yellow jewelled headlights, silver printed sidelights, a nice number plate and painted grille. However, whilst the grille has the centre logo panel included no Peugeot Lion badging is printed on it. The 75 on the number plate indicates registration in central Paris.

The French Police service was formerly known as the Sûreté and is a civilian police force unlike the Gendarmerie which is part of their armed forces. Police units mainly cover major cities and urban areas.

My Atlas account records show that the next model to ship to me will be the French Dinky Citröen DS23.


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Atlas Dinky 1428 Peugeot 304

By Maz Woolley

All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author

The latest model that I have received from Atlas is a replica of French Dinky 1428 Peugeot 304.   This model was originally made in France from 1969 to 1971, then in Spain from 1974 to 1978. It was made to 1:43 scale as was generally used for all French Dinky cars. It was launched not long after the real car reached the market and was made in white and metallic green. Atlas has chosen to replicate the model in white. The box is a copy of the original which was the later style of box with a graphic image of the vehicle but unsigned and lacking any of the nice period backgrounds used earlier in the 1960s. The model shows French Dinky trying to control costs and the special features are limited to opening front doors and yellow plastic headlights. The model is of the Berline (Saloon) rather than the cabriolet or coupe which were also made. Its main competitor was the more radical Citröen GS. 

The Peugeot 304 was sold from 1969 to 1979. It was introduced to fill the gap between the 204 and the 504, though it actually used the mid section of the 204. It was usually powered by a petrol 1,288cc engine driving the car through the front wheels, though a 1,357cc Diesel engine became available during its production. Over a million of this type of car were made. 

The front end is dominated by the large headlights which are perhaps exaggerated on this model. The yellow lenses were compulsory in France at the time the model was originally made.

The rear end shows that the Dinky is modelled on the early 304 as the rear lights were updated in 1972. The 93 licence plate originates Bobigny in Seine St. Denis in the Paris suburbs where the Dinky Factory was located.

The photograph above shows the car’s opening features. Just the front doors. The 304 badging on the bonnet and at the rear is modelled rather larger than life. The interior is in red with a black steering wheel.

A road sign is included with this model, as it was with the original. Other signs were included in other French Dinky models of the time.

The next model expected from Atlas is another Peugeot, a 404 Police Car.


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A Cautionary Tale

By Robin Godwin

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

I don’t know if this has happened to anyone else, but thought I should bring it to the attention of collectors of the Atlas Dinky series. While putting my Leyland Octopus Flat Bed with Chains in a display cabinet, a rear wheel fell off. To my surprise, it turns out the axle is (partially) hollow and the wheel is retained in place by a press fit pin (no evidence of glue), visible in the pictures, designed to look like the spun axles of the original Dinkys.

It is not hollow all the way through, or at least I couldn’t push another pin any deeper than the allowance for the pin. I assume this must be a less expensive assembly method, or designed to reduce quality control rejects. In any event, I was lucky to find the small pin on the carpet, but losing a pin would be very frustrating to the collector. A spot of crazy glue will fix this, but handle your models with care in the meantime. I cannot tell if the opposite end of the axle is of the same construction, I tried to remove the head, but it would not come out. Similarly, I do not know if this method is also used for the cars and smaller vehicles in the series.

Ed: I am sure that all of us who have collected this series are grateful to Robin for the warning. It would be fascinating to know how widespread the use of these pins is across the Atlas Dinky range.


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Atlas Deluxe Dinky – 1425E Matra 630

By Maz Woolley

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

The Atlas replica of French Dinky Toys #1425E Matra 630 has been shipped to UK subscribers.  This model was introduced in France in  1969 and remained in production until 1974. It was made to 1:43 scale. The model was also sold in the UK with a race number 36 and was UK #200 sold from 1971 to 1978. The E suffix indicated that the export version of the model has been recreated by Atlas. Indeed the included decals have a leaflet in German, Italian, Dutch and French included. Some may have preferred the perspex lidded box that was used more commonly than the picture box. This was not the only Matra made by Dinky in France as they made a very good model of the Jackie Stewart Matra Formula 1 car as well as a Matra Sports M530 road car.

The Matra-Simca MS630 was a Group 5 prototype race car introduced in 1967 for the World Championship for Makes. The car was initially designated as the Matra MS630, but when Simca sponsored Matra in 1969, it was renamed as the Matra-Simca MS630.  Presumably Dinky had already completed tooling up for the model before Simca’s sponsorship as they are not mentioned on the model or box. This three litre V12 engined car was good looking but sadly the cars looks were not matched by racing success as the car modelled pulled out after 22 hours in 1968 after a puncture and fire. There was greater success in 1969 when Matras did finish, but this was the era of the Ford GT40s dominance in this race and Matra were not competitive enough to outrun them.

The construction of this model is slightly unusual with the model cast in two halves bottom and top joining at the line along the bottom of engine cover and doors through to the front wings. With a fully diecast bottom half it is a heavy model. An engine is modelled to the rear beneath the opening cover and the front access compartments lid comes off. Large plastic covers for the front lights are a sign of the increased realism of toys in the late 1960s. A large windscreen wiper is added as a separate component which is a rare feature on models of this era.

The wheels are nice but not fully representative of the real car which tended to have darkened centres to the wheels and ribbed spokes. However this was intended as a toy for children so they are acceptable compared to the horrid speed wheels Dinky UK fitted towards the end of production.

Only the racing numbers are printed on as was the case of the original, and decals are supplied to add details. I have yet to be brave enough to do this!


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