Category Archives: Atlas Dinky

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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Atlas Dinky Deluxe #1416 Renault 6

By Maz Woolley

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

The latest model from Atlas is the French DInky #1416 Renault 6. This reproduction is in the red the model was made in between 1968 and 1972 and then after that made by Pilen in Spain in yellow.

Atlas has reproduced the original box showing the car in blue. The original Dinky also came in a box with the car shown in white. Neither colour actually reflected the models issued. As a late model the box illustration was a simple picture against a plain background rather than the lovely illustrations of the car in a setting used on earlier Dinky models of the 1960s.

The Renault 6 was a small family car produced between 1968 and 1986. It was launched at the 1968 Paris Motor Show, and was an upmarket alternative to the Renault 4 that would compete with the Citroën Ami 6 and the recently launched Citroën Dyane. It used a similar dashboard-mounted gear-lever and over-the-engine linkage to was used in the Renault 4 and the small Citroëns. The R6 used the R4 platform as well as its 845 cc engine and was technically nearly identical, but its hatchback body was larger and more modern.  An 1100cc engine was offered from 1970 and was regarded as a significant improvement. It was also made in Spain, Argentina, Belgium, and Columbia and the engine size often differed to the french market offerings according to local market regulations. The styling was influenced by the the larger Renault 16 though it was much more boxy in shape. Production began late in 1968 and lasted until 1980, but continued in other countries round the world until 1986.

The original Dinky captures the original vehicle fairly well but somehow  fails to capture the complicated curves on the side of the vehicle so appears slightly slab sided. The chassis states that the model is to 1:43 scale.

The play features do not include the tailgate but the opening front doors are full doors with a window frame and cast in door card and equipment details. The interior is in white plastic and is fairly good except for the very simplistic way that dashboards were represented on period French Dinky models.

The opening bonnet is actuated by pushing the steering wheel down which slightly lifts the bonnet in a rather ineffective way. A mechanism fitted to the French issue but not to the later models made in Spain.

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Atlas Dinky – More Readers Thoughts

Hi Gunnar, Karl and all others,

When I grew up in Sweden in the fifties the French Dinky Toys range was not imported into Sweden. When finally the import started only selected models were available –  hence big gaps in my French Dinky collection. The gaps are now slowly being filled with Atlas Dinky and I don’t mind they being copies.

I filled a Billy cabinet from Ikea with all these French toys and I love them all. But of course – the original ones are closer to my heart.


Ragnar Falck
Via eMail

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Readers Letters – Atlas Dinky Copies – Other views

Editor: The recently published email from Gunnar Bernstrop has certainly sparked some response. I include the comments which show that we all have slightly different views of reproduction models.

A sense of mischief?

I sense a little bit of mischief in Gunnar’s note.  But anything that
provokes discussion is fine by me. So here are MY thoughts and input to that discussion.

First, I recognise Gunnar’s points that these are simply copies of
someone else’s work. – But, as Maz remarks about all traditional types of art, – just because something is not an original does not mean we cannot desire and appreciate a copy.

Probably like most of us collectors, I had the original Dinky and Corgi toys as a child, but these were “toys” and treated accordingly (which is why I don’t still have those originals now, of course). At the time, absolute accuracy and detail were not a major concern to me – I was more interested in the “play value” of opening features etc.
Getting my hands on perfect condition copies brings back happy memories of childhood, but I could not justify to myself paying hundreds of pounds for an original Dinky Toy just to sit in a cabinet. – But equally I am now far better qualified to judge those “toys” in terms of their accuracy as scale replicas, whether from memory of the full size vehicles or from photos of original and preserved vehicles. On this front, I very much enjoy the Editor’s detailed analysis of the Atlas models, both against the real vehicle and against the original 1960’s “toy”.

So today’s reviews are not simply about “Is this a good copy of someone else’s work?”, but rather a review of “How good a model of the original vehicle was this model or toy when it was made 50 years ago?”, – which guides some of us into the decision about whether today’s model deserves shelf space in its own right. Arguably, he is just doing a 2018 review of a 1965 model, which just happens to be in perfect “ex-factory” condition, and that is fine by me.The surprising thing to me is just how accurate most of these “toys” are
as scale models, given the limits of the manufacturing technology, the materials, and the selling prices of the time. That accuracy of the scale model, and the fact the original full size vehicle is easily recognisable from the model is another dimension of my collecting interest. When the conversation turns to “Cars my Dad used to
have” and the like, to be able to show a good scale model of that car
can often stimulate further conversations and memories. Our hobby is not just about display cases, and having a “full set” of particular ranges or types. Its about the dialogue it provokes, including this one.

All the best to all MAR Readers and Contributors.

Brendan Leach
by email

Models at a price I can afford

I think the whole point of Atlas (and other) replica models is to give collectors the chance to buy ‘Dinky Toys’ at a reasonable price. Not everyone can afford auction prices for models/toys they loved as kids. I have a handful of Atlas / De Agostini Dinkies and enjoy owning them. If / when I tire of them they will go to Oxfam (or another charity shop) where another owner will be able to enjoy them at modest cost.

Jeffrey Stevenson
via MAR Online Facebook Page

A Chance to have what I missed

I think these models have given those not able to get them first time round (me included) the chance to own them, they will never replace the original thing. These are beautiful copies of originals and are, in most cases, superbly done.

Mick Mixxy Russell
via MAR Online Facebook Page

Mixed Feelings

I have mixed feelings about these copies. With their advertising budget and marketing through other channels, they should bring in more people to the collecting hobby; that is a good thing. Like Maz, I assume many experienced collectors buy them because the mint boxed originals are too expensive now. Being in the US, they are not so cheap for me (secondary market + high postage rates). On other side, they are just copies as Gunnar points out and not original.
Karl Schnelle
MAR Online US Editor
Via MAR Online Facebook page


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Readers Letter – On Atlas Copies

I certainly enjoy your esprit and ambitions for MAR Online.
But – reading the article about the Atlas copy of a Dinky Opel I react as I do to almost every one of the articles about the Atlas copies.

Is there anything easier than copying someone else’s work?

I can draw Tintin but Hergé invented him. With modern techniques you can – almost – fool anyone. It is of course more difficult to copy masterpieces of art since you need the right material; paper, colours, pencils and all the paraphernalia from days gone. But even skilled experts have been fooled. Though no one can be fooled with a ’true’ Mona Lisa by Da Vinci.

There are people who try to copy money, but their results are seldom mentioned as excellent. Or lovely. as reports about Atlas efforts often say.

An Atlas copy of a toy? It’s just a copy. If bad, you can point that out, but if well done it’s still just a copy made to look as the real thing. Why not write about the original toy and add: – Atlas have made a copy, but don’t get fooled. It’s just a copy.

And the box art? Oh how simple to reproduce. No specialists are needed doing that job. I think we can do it at home.

Just thinking …

Gunnar Bernstrop
by Email

Editors reply: Gunnar is a long time reader and contributor to MAR and it is good to know he reads and supports MAR Online.  His opinions on Atlas Dinky replicas are shared by many .

But how far do we take this line of thought? Diecast models are not individual works of art. If they are thought of as original creations then only the masters of the models are actually original all the production models are just replicas of the master in the same way copied paintings done by students in great masters studios were. Again, the Jean Massé art work was the original every printed box made by Dinky or Atlas is effectively a copy.

When I review Atlas models or Norev reproductions, or Dan Toys I cannot credit the reproducer with more than replicating the original well, and where they have not I say so. For me they are copies which allow me to hold and enjoy something I can’t afford just like the prints on the wall of my work room.

What do other readers think?

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Atlas Dinky Deluxe #542 Opel Rekord

By Maz Woolley

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

Atlas are now issuing the Dinky Deluxe models at twice the previous rate. With no more new or competing ranges, and warehouse space costing money, they clearly have an incentive to get the collection finished as soon as possible. The latest new model is French Dinky #542 Opel Rekord which Atlas have had reproduced by Norev in metallic grey. This is an original colour and the original model was also made in blue and gold.

This model replaced #554 which was an earlier P2 Opel Rekord which was modelled as a four door saloon and reproduced by Atlas in the original Continental Dinky series, though it didn’t make it into the UK Dinky series as far as my records show. #542 was introduced in 1964 and was in production until 1969 when it was replaced by #1405 Opel Rekord Coupe which was also advertised as forming part of this Dinky Deluxe Series.

The box is again a lovely replica of the original with its Jean Massé painting of a couple in the car gazing at a Chateaux in the middle distance. Were their way to stay there or were they just sight seeing? Who knows? It makes a nice scene though.

The collectors card supplied by Atlas to accompany this model states that this is a model of the 1700 Coupé but the coupe had a sloped rear section of roof and windows curving at top and bottom to a point. All the artwork and the model itself actually show a an Opel Rekord A two door with its standard rear window and less sloped roof. This was launched in 1963 with a 1488cc engine, though by the end of its run the 2605cc six cylinder engine had been ‘shoe-horned’ in.  The car was available as a two or four door saloon, a two door estate car, a two door delivery van and a two door coupé.

The Dinky model was a little short of play features as opening doors and tipping seats were fairly basic when other vehicles had opening bonnets and, or boots. The interior is a simple plastic affair but the opening doors do have door furniture and card details cast in but no upper frame or glazing. To the rear the Opel badge and name are nicely cast in and the rear lights are nicely cast and painted. For once Dinky actually painted the amber section as well as red and even left the  reversing lamp area clear. As usual no colour is applied to the front number plate but the rear one is painted yellow.

Overall the lines of the car are captured well. Opel were certainly heavily influenced by the new Chevrolets emerging in the early 1960s such as the Nova.  The Rekord badges are neatly moulded into the front wings and the grille is nice too.

The front end is slightly disappointing, as on the original as there is no Opel insignia on the bonnet which appears on the real cars that I have found on the internet. Though perhaps some early versions did come without the badge on the bonnet? It does have the nice period jewelled headlights in an appropriate size. Like the original Dinky the front indicators are moulded in but are not painted.

The next model that I am scheduled to receive is the Renault R6F which is a nice model and which I, like many others,  have already bought from a China-based supplier some time ago.

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Atlas Dinky Deluxe 523 Simca 1500

By Maz Woolley

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

The latest instalment of the DInky Deluxe Series arrived from Atlas recently. It is a reproduction of French Dinky 523 Simca 1500 painted in light blue one of the two colours seen on this casting, the other was metallic grey. The original Dinky was launched in 1963 the same year that the car was launched with a choice of 1300 and 1500cc engines and was withdrawn in 1969.  It was later re-numbered as 1523. The box with its full period artwork and features list is well reproduced though it struggles to hold the car in its tray and wrapping and mine has come unglued. The period artwork is delightful featuring the car and a very empty Parisian roundabout.

The car features the French Dinky baggage set  to put in the boot which is the only opening feature, and which sadly refused to pose in an open position for the photographs!

The interior is typical red one part tub with seats moulded in and it includes featureless door cards and a simple moulded dashboard. A large steering wheel in white is fitted.

A photograph of the side of the car shows that the overall shape is good and the minimal detail reflects the fact that the original car was devoid of fussy side strips or decorations other than the strip below the doors which has been moulded and painted as it was on the original Dinky.

The front is neatly modelled with the headlight jewels at the full expected size unlike the recent Police Citroen DS. Bumpers are neatly picked out. The indicators are moulded in below the headlights but are not painted.

From the rear the original shape rear end which was altered when the model became the 1301 and 1501 later is neatly cast. Its round light cluster is well captured and the small red jewel makes a nice rear light. The rear number plate is picked out in black when the front one is left in body colour, again a true replica of the original model.

My Atlas accounts shows the next car due as the Opel Rekord II.

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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

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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