Category Archives: Atlas Dinky

Atlas Dinky #501 Citroën DS 19 Police

By Maz Woolley

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

Atlas continue to ship items in the Deluxe Dinky series to UK subscribers. Indeed a note with the latest shipments says “In order to meet repeated requests from our customers, we decided to increase the delivery frequency. From now on, you will receive a new delivery every two weeks“. Cynically, I take that to mean that they wish to shift the stock from their warehouse at a faster rate and collect money sooner.

The latest model shipped is French Dinky #501 Citroën DS 19 Police which replicates a model launched by Dinky in 1967 issued as 501 and also in a gift set with other vehicles. Though the body casting is different to #530, the plain DS19 introduced in 1964, the base casting on 501 still has 530 on it.

The box art features a Police unit ‘pulling up’ a car on a  mountain road. An unusual scene as the French Police Nationale generally only operate in large Towns and Cities whilst the Gendarmerie operates largely in smaller towns and across rural areas like the one shown on the box.

Whilst the replica is largely a good one I believe that they have used considerably smaller ‘jewels’ to form the front headlights on this model than were used on the original model. Compare the picture above with the ‘jewels’ recessed into the headlight socket with the picture of an original car below where the ‘jewel’ fills the gap and stands proud of the front wing by some distance.

Copyright acknowledged Filrouge-automobiles.fr

The Police markings and strange brass metal light on the roof are neatly applied as can be seen below.

To the rear the lights are painted simply, if inaccurately, all red in typical Dinky style. The rear number plate is also printed in yellow whereas at the front it is not printed at all.

The reproduction catches the stance of the original car well and is fitted with suspension and French Dinky’s rather ineffective ‘finger tip touch’ steering front wheels. The tyres are marked Dunlop as they are on many French Dinky models.

Under the opening bonnet is a green painted engine, rather poorly masked when sprayed and consequentially featuring lots of feathered edges to the paint. A spare tyre is fitted too as on the real car.

The final opening feature is the boot where the mechanism has dictated that the boot is half full of metal and unrealistically small.

All in all a nice replica apart from the nagging feeling that the front lights are not replicated properly.


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Atlas Dinky #011500 Citroën 2CV

By Maz Woolley

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

Atlas continue to fulfil the Deluxe Dinky series here in the UK. Complaints abound on Facebook pages about Atlas sending out the wrong goods. Some of those still subscribed to the Dinky Truck series have had models from the Showmans series sent to them and are having a lot of problems returning them and making sure they are not charged for them. Customer services which were already poor seem to have become even worse since Atlas started to close down.

As yet I have not heard that collectors of the Deluxe Dinky series are getting wrong models, just complaints that models advertised as forming part of the collection, like the Ford Galaxie 500 and Mercedes-Benz 230L ‘Pagoda’, have not turned up yet!

The latest model shipped to me is a replica of one of the final Dinky Toys from Dinky France made under contract for them in Spain. This is an updated version of the 2 CV with square headlamps introduced by Citroën in 1974. The spanish made model was introduced in 1974 replacing #500 introduced in 1967 in France and produced later in Spain. #11500 is largely the same as #500 apart from the interior, headlights, wheels, some printed details, and colours. In fact 11500 still uses the baseplate from #500 as that number is featured on it and not the new one.

The box illustration is similar to other Spanish produced models with a colour illustration of the real car in a colour that the models were produced in. However there is no artists signature and the attractive background used on Dinky France boxes is absent.

The Atlas model is a good reproduction of the original and includes the opening bonnet with the fan, drive, and twin air cooled engine represented. The soft suspension is fitting given the way that a 2CV being driven hard would roll when cornering.

The original model had some incorrect features which are  duplicated on this reproduction. The number plates are figureless and the front one is painted silver running into the grille, whereas in reality there was a clear area of paint between grille and number plate. In addition the grille lacks the pair of vertical bars, one each side of the central vertical bar, and the Citroën chevrons are also absent.

To the rear there is a raised area big enough for the full light cluster to be painted on but just a couple of bars of silver and red are painted on which does not capture the light cluster on the 1974 2CV. The rear number plate is just a yellow print which is not in the correct proportions for a number plate. And finally, the steering wheel is twin spoked whereas Citroën’s had single spokes.

All in all though a nice replica of a period model of a charismatic car.


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Atlas Dinky #1410 Moskvitch

By Maz Woolley

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

Recently a small number of the Atlas Dinky 1410 Moskvitch have been sold on eBay by sellers based in China. I have always wanted one of the French Dinky Toys Moskvitch models to go with my USSR/Russian made Moskvitch models so I bought one. Of course it is possible that one will also turn up in the Atlas UK Deluxe Dinky series in which case I will have two!

The model was launched by French Dinky in 1968 and was based on a Moskvitch 408 with a 1360cc engine. The model was withdrawn in 1971. The Moskvitch 408 car was launched in 1964 and replaced by the 412 in 1967 so the French Dinky was already out of date when launched.

The Model is in a reproduction of one of the later style of picture boxes with the car drawn but none of the nice backgrounds shown on earlier models.

The French Dinky came in three different colours: metallic bronze, metallic blue, and red. Here Atlas has chosen to reproduce the deep red colour.

The quad headlights and grille are very nicely reproduced and with some effort the front hinged bonnet can be made to sit properly.

Interestingly for a model sold in France the number plates look to be Soviet ones in the format used from 1960 onwards with the area code last. I can find no listing of where ‘MML’ was issued, which is what the Cyrillic letters say, but Moscow would be my guess.

The rear of the car is very nicely modelled with the upright lights of the 408 well captured and the additional lights on the rear panel too.

The opening bonnet shows quite a bit of detail and has a slightly complicated front hinge. Inside the car there is a basic white plastic interior with a black plastic steering wheel and unusually no recess for the footwell in front of the front seats.

Here in the UK the Moskvitch sold modestly but it was cheap, came with a complete tool kit and was a tough car. It was also sucessfully campaigned in saloon car racing by the importer. In that period saloon car classes were based on sales price putting a Moskvitch with a strong OHC 1500cc engine in the same class as basic MIni and Imps.

Behind the Iron Curtain.

The French Dinky model may have gone out of production in 1971 but the casting went on to live a second life. In the Soviet Union the French Dinky spawned copies and new versions such as estates, vans and pickups.

When you compare a Saratov made Moskvitch model like the estate car shown below you can see the similarities. Though chrome here, and black in the French Dinky, the engine casting looks identical. Look inside and the funny interior with no cutouts for the floor wells and the bulge where the steering column would be looks identical to the French Dinky. Even the seats look the same, albeit with a rear extension in the estate car.

 

The USSR made model shown has a slightly different means of attaching the bonnet, the indicators on the front wings are slightly less pronounced, and the grille is from a rectangular headlight second series car.  The ventilator window frames are also a little larger on the USSR made model. So the conclusion is that the Saratov model is derived from the Dinky without being a straight copy.

The Soviet model has nicer wheels than the Dinky as the wheel embellishers are etched in to the concave section and the wheels are smaller and tyres more finely moulded.

As the photographs show the French Dinky makes a nice companion to the Soviet made model which was bought from a Berioshka (Foreign Tourist only) shop in a hotel in Leningrad in the Gorbachev era.


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Atlas Dinky 1455 Citroën CX Pallas

By Maz Woolley

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

Here is another car from the continental ‘Dinky with opening parts‘ series which was boxed but without a certificate by a China based seller on eBay. It may of course appear in the UK Deluxe Dinky series at some point but that is yet to be seen. Dinky 1455 Citroën CX Pallas is from the final years of Dinky France when the models were being made under contract in Spain. Dinky launched the model in 1978 and it only appeared in metallic blue.

As the photograph above shows the later Dinky Toys lost the lovely box artwork which had been such a feature of French Dinky models. Although pictured with yellow headlight lenses the model actually had clear ones fitted. Separate plastic lenses are fitted front and rear  which is stated as one of the model features on the box.

The CX was produced by Citroën from 1974 to 1991 replacing the DS and over a million were made. The Pallas was an upmarket variant of the model. Originally intended to be powered by a three rotor wankel engine the poor fuel economy meant that this was dropped before the cars launch.

One of the features of the model is number plates front and rear which are for Department 75 which is Paris.

The side veiw shows a complete lack of painted items though handles and rubbing strips are moulded in. The tyres have Dunlop moulded in in overscale lettering.

Opening features are limited to the doors and the photograph below shows that they didn’t even correctly replicate the Citroën single spoke steering wheel though the interior has some details moulded in it is not very accurate.

 

All in all a good toy and as usual to 1:43 scale. And a reminder of the way Dinky began to lose ground to other model makers at the time neither keeping up on play features or making models more detailed and accurate.


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Atlas Dinky #541 Autocar Mercedes-Benz

By Maz Woolley

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

Models from the now completed continental Atlas Dinky series frequently appear on eBay to be shipped from China with no certificate but fully boxed. As many of these are unlikely to be easily available in future I buy the ones I like as and when they are listed. Dinky 541 issued in 1963 and withdrawn in 1973 is a model that I bought recently. It was worth getting as it included the reproduction of the lovely period box art showing the bus full of tourists taking in the scenery.

The Mercedes-Benz O 319 series of small buses was based upon its L 319 van introduced in 1955. The bus variant was made available to provide a fourteen seater which was larger than Volkswagen‘s ubiquitous Transporter. It was often produced with panoramic windows like those fitted to the Volkswagen Samba. Powered by a choice of petrol and diesel engines from the passenger car range it was a stylish step up from the Transporter and a practical size for local work and tourist trips.

Despite the picture on the box the model was made by Dinky France with a white upper and red lower portion as it is modelled here. However, Atlas also made it with a silver upper section and yellow lower with a PTT logo. Some sources say that only a handful of the original models in this livery are known suggesting that it was perhaps a colour trial and never issued. Obviously the Atlas models in the attractive PTT finish were very popular with collectors but even this reproduction from Atlas appears to be scarce.

The French Dinky model is well replicated and like the original is sparing with the silver highlights which are only used on the front for grille, bumper and chrome trim. To the rear only the bumpers are highlighted. The sides are devoid of any highlighting for the door handles, side indicators or trim strips.

Although silver highlights are not applied the side strips are modelled and as is the Mercedes-Benz logo on the boot lid. Side and rear lights are moulded but left in body colour.

On the roof the panel joins and the small ventilator are moulded in as are the panoramic windows.

Inside the seats and interior are modelled to a good standard for models made in the 1960s.

All in all a rather nice replica of the original Dinky model and one I am pleased to add to my collection.


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Atlas Dinky Deluxe – #528 Peugeot 404 Cabriolet

By Maz Woolley

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

Atlas continues to send models in the Deluxe Dinky series here in the UK. The latest to arrive with me is #528 Cabriolet 404 Peugeot Pininfarina. This was released by Dinky France in 1966 and was sold in cream, metallic blue, and white until 1971. Dinky France covered most of the 404 range as the also made a saloon and break .

There were only just over seventeen thousand of the cabriolet, and the related coupe, bodyshells made by Pininfarina making it a scarce car.  A mere ‘drop in the ocean’ in the 2.8 million 404s of all types that were made during its lifetime.

The driver is the same moulding used in the UK Triumph Spitfire though here she has no seat belt, the belt would have been handy as the doors on this model flop open very easily. Opening doors and bonnet, a folding passenger seat back, and the fitted driver complete the play items.

The Atlas model is in white which was a common colour on the real car. Apart from the very loose fitting doors, the passenger seat back also has issues staying vertical. However, I could be persuaded that such things plagued the original models too.

The model featured jewelled headlights and these have been reproduced nicely as has the jewelled sidelights. Neat silver painted grille with Peugeot shield but no logo on it.

To the rear just a stroke of red paint for lights, not even properly covering the light moulding, and a yellow plate which seems to have lost the upper part of its print.


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Atlas Dinky 1407 Simca 1100

By Maz Woolley

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

The Atlas Deluxe Dinky Collection continues here in the UK despite the liquidation of Atlas UK. As it has been almost exclusively based upon the French Dinkies from the continental “ones with openings” series I expect that it will continue whilst there are sufficient subscribers and stock left over from the French collection. The latest model delivered to me is Dinky 1407 Simca 1100.

First shown at the Sardinia and Paris Car Shows in 1967 the Simca 1100 brought SImca up to date with a front wheel drive power train and a five door hatchback body , as well as folding rear seats, disk brakes, rack and pinion steering, and independent suspension. This was a strong package and the car sold over two million units in all its variations, Hatchback, Estate Car, and Van.  It even formed the underpinnings of the Matra Rancho crossover in later years.

The model is painted in grey/silver metallic paint as it was issued in France. When production went to Spain it was painted in metallic green. Like much Dinky box art of the time the artist painted it in a colour, red, that was never used.  The Dinky model was in production from 1968 until 1971 in France then from 1974 to 1978 in Spain. A police car version appeared in 1977 as #1450  and was made under licence by Pilen in Spain with a black and white livery with light bar and Police decals.

The reproduction from Norev for Atlas is a good one. A nice silver grey paint has been used and given a lacquer finish.  The shape of the car and its “perched” stance has been well captured.

Lights are given a cursory silver paint at the front and red at the rear. the bumpers are nicely formed and the car is marked ‘1/43’. This makes the Dinkies from France of this period appealing as most are to this scale.

The opening parts that make this a Deluxe Dinky are the bonnet and hatchback. The hatch opens to show a neatly moulded tan coloured interior with a gear lever moulded in even if the dashboard is bare of all features.

One curiosity is that the engine compartment is painted green. One doubts if the real cars were. Maybe it is to provide a contrast to the silver bodywork as a silver engine would have not stood out at all.

The base is in plastic and the car has suspension fitted and has a slot to the rear to allow it to tow tabbed accessories.


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Atlas Deluxe Dinky 537 Renault 16

By Maz Woolley

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

Despite the Atlas UK company being wound up some collections continue to be supplied by Atlas in Switzerland. DeAgostini also seem to be using Atlas stored email addresses for mail shots of DeAgostini goods which may be a dubious practice under the new European Data regulations.

The Deluxe Dinky collection continues, though with substantial gaps between the dispatch of each model.

The latest model to arrive with me is the recreation of French Dinky 537 Renault 16 in mid-blue first sold in France in 1965. It was also sold in a light blue and metallic grey. Interestingly the blue shown on the box was never issued by Dinky France but when Dinky UK re-used the mould for #166 in 1967  they issued it in a dark metallic blue even though the box illustration showed the car in gold which it was never released in as a model!

The mould was used further for a Spanish made French model #538 of the R16 TX which was coloured metallic purple though the box art showed it in dark red.

As usual the French Dinky box features a nicely painted scene with the car making its way round a Parisian roundabout with fountains and classic buildings in view. Pretty, but the complete lack of other vehicles make it unlikely event!

The box lets us know that Renault gave special permission for French Dinky to create this model whilst the real car was being prepared and to launch it on the same day that the real car was launched.

The French Dinky model is excellent in many ways far superior to contemporary UK made Corgi or Dinky models as it is made to 1:43 scale and although it includes opening features they do not intrude too much upon the shape.  It even has clear plastic inserts for headlamps which was far from common on other toys in 1965.

Dinky included Renault lettering to the rear which is rather over scale but this was a toy! The rear lights are also just a quick dab of red paint which doesn’t cover the whole light unit.

Under the bonnet we find the spare wheel cast in. Fitting wheels under the bonnet was done in many Citroëns and even the Mark IV Zephyr and Zodiac. Only minimal details are moulded in and little picked out.

The rear door opens to reveal the luggage area which can be enlarged by sliding the rear seat using the red button underneath, as shown below.

Along the side at the rear the moulding is cast in though not highlighted. It does not look the same as the moulding on the cars shown on the Internet which had a Renault script to the rear and then a sharply pointed line in front of it. The one cast in looks like it has a a chrome line with a  circular badge cast in half way along. Did Renault change the badging when developing the car too late for Dinky to re-do the master?

The wheels and tyres are standard French Dinky items with no attempt to replicate those of the real car. The car has the usual French Dinky steering mechanism which works as well as it does on other vehicles, i.e. not very well due to the design.

Some collectors are a model ahead of me and they have recently received the Simca 1100 which I look forward to soon. I also hope that some of the Ford Galaxie 500, Mercedes 230SL, and Alfa Romeos being sold on DeAgostini ModelSpace have been reserved for Deluxe Dinky Collectors as the first two appeared in all the series marketing!

As the Dinky collection models are not being dumped I assume that licensing contracts prevent that happening and that Atlas will continue to send subscribers models stockpiled from the French collection as long as they stay subscribers and stock is large enough. I expect they will then dispose of surplus using the DeAgostini website or even an Italian partwork.


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Atlas Deluxe Dinky 525 Peugeot 404 Commerciale

By Maz Woolley

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

After a longer gap than usual the next car in the Atlas UK Deluxe Dinky series has been delivered. This is Dinky France #525 and is a model of the Peugeot 404 Commerciale. This is known to have been made in cream and blue in some numbers and as a rare Pompiers version in red which commands a large price premium. Luckily Atlas has decided to have the model made in blue with a red interior which I think suits it much better than cream. The model is made in China under license from Mattel who own the Dinky brand and is marked as 1:43 scale.

The 404 was styled by Pininfarina and launched in 1960 with the estate coming along in 1962 in three versions, Familiale, Break and Commerciale. The Family version had three rows of seats whereas the other two just had two rows and the Commerciale was designed to capture the commercial travellers market. There was a choice between two petrol engines of 1400 and 1500cc and a diesel of 1900cc. The 404 finally ended production in Kenya in the 1990s so it stood the test of time as a tough car, especially in places where rust was unlikely.

Rear seat folded

Rear seat upThe Dinky model is nicely reproduced. This model replaced the Peugeot 403 Estate which had been sold since 1959 in 1964. It enjoyed several neat features: the opening rear door will clip into the open position firmly holding the door open. The rear seat can be raised or lowered using a knurled wheels just ahead of the drivers side rear wheel. Some semblance of steering is provided but it is poor, to balance that it is fitted with Dinky France’s jaunty white tyres. The badging is moulded in in a  basic manner and there is no paint on door handles or other fitments other than bumpers, side lights and rear light surrounds. The headlights are yellow jewels which reflect what was originally fitted. All true to the illustrations I have seen of the original.

Comments on collectors bulletin boards show that some people are very disappointed with the Deluxe Dinky series and even if they like the models they don’t consider them special enough to match the original way the series was sold. I imagine subscriber numbers are falling jow,  especially when DeAgostini sell some of the models directly on their own web site.

Bulletin boards also reveal the fact that Atlas are closing series down all across Europe and are failing to provide all the models released in the series to later subscribers. There are many complaints about the Stobart and UK Dinky Truck Series which appear to be ended for some collectors without several models being supplied. UK wholesalers now seem to have substantial stocks of Atlas models from UK and Continental series so it does seem that the rumours that Atlas are closing down their sales of transport models may not be far from the mark.


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Atlas Dinky Deluxe – #500 Citroën 2 CV 6

By Maz Woolley

All photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.

Another Atlas Dinky model has arrived in the Deluxe series issued in the UK. It is another French Dinky this time #500 1966 Citroën 2CV 6. This is another model that started as French made in 1967 and ended its life being made in Spain for Dinky after 1974. Atlas has replicated the French edition which was according to them available in pale grey or blue though some listings also claim it was made in beige. When production transferred to Spain the latest jaunty orange colour became available as well as the later square lights.

The model features the roof replicated in its first, rolled back, position which was great fun in sunny weather. The photograph also shows the way that the sprung fabric seats on metal tubed frames were used. In the Author’s memory these may have been simple but were very comfortable too!

The model has jewelled headlights as another “extra” over the earlier 2 CV model in the range as well as neatly modelled grey wheels with special hubs similar to those on the real car and tyres with Dunlop marked on them.

One curiosity is the silver panel below the front grill. This is actually the location of the number plate so a black box would have been nicer.

The rear is rather plain and the rear lights still a simple red cluster though the 2CV 6 was to gain larger rear lights from the Ami in 1970. Another mystery is the yellow panel as the French still used white/Silver on black plates in 1966.

The side view shows the fact that this update of the 2CV had conventionally hinged front doors.  The real car had side windows in two halves with the lower part being a flap that lifted upwards. The original Dinky didn’t have this moulded or marked in and the Atlas copies the original.

The final photograph shows the features that make this a Deluxe model, the open roof and the opening bonnet. Quite a nicely replicated engine with the inbound brakes clearly visible. If my memory serves the engine was actually all dull alloys and seemed incredibly low down and small.

Rather a nice model of a distinctive vehicle but one wonders how many of the collectors will remain with this series as there seems to be no prospect of any more UK Dinkies and even the Ford Galaxie 500 we were promised in the promotional literature has not been seen.


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