Category Archives: Atlas Dinky

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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Atlas Dinky Deluxe – 1424 G Renault 12 Gordini

By Maz Woolley

All photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.

My deliveries of models in this collection seem to be a month behind some others who have just received a Peugeot 404 Commerciale. The model I had delivered this month is a replica of 1424 G, a Renault 12 Gordini.

Dinky made the most of this casting releasing both a R12 and R12TL as 1424.  As I understand it this was produced from 1969 in France and then later in Spain.

A considerable effort was involved in creating the Gordini version which had filler cap re-positioned, bumpers removed, and a new front grille. This was made in France first, then later by Pilen for Dinky in Spain with yellow headlights.

The replica captures the original well. Though the opening front doors are curious as they are fully glazed but do not have the upper door frames. This is the kind of compromise that Dinky Toys and others made at the time.

Sadly the model has standard silver spun hubs and not the Gordini Alloys shown on the Box.

The shiny grille from the original model is dropped for a matte black one as fitted to the Gordini. But without extra printing the grille lacks the silver lines and Renault badge that are there on the original vehicle.

The rear view is rather severe as only the lights and number plate bear any printing. The Renault badge and boot catch are there but are not picked out. The “go faster” stripes are pretty accurately positioned but the printing is a little thin and doesn’t cover as well as might be desired on the bonnet.

Some have complained that the drivers door does not stay shut. Looking at the mechanism it is quite different to a standard UK Dinky one. The door card is actually metal and fixed onto the door shell and extends to form the hinge rather than the door being cast with an integral hinge. This makes the hinge much less intrusive and the door open in a more realistic way. A nice model well reproduced by Atlas but like others before it in this series many will have already bought this from China on eBay after its release in France.


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Volkswagen Variations

By Mike Allen

Photograph by, and copyright of, the Author.

Whilst the UK the Atlas Dinky collection included a Volkswagen Beetle it was as a replica of 262 Swiss Postal Service. #181 did appear in a light blue with chrome spun hubs in the Atlas Dinky continental collection but not in the UK series.  DeAgostini are now selling number 4 in their new Dinky series here in the UK, and yet again #181 appears but this time in the standard cast hubs  as it appeared in Italy. My picture below shows the two versions of #181 Volkswagen together.


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Atlas Dinky Deluxe – 510 204 Peugeot

By Maz Woolley

All photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.

 

The latest model that I have received in this series is a replica of French Dinky 510 Peugeot 204. This model has already appeared in MAR Online when I obtained one made for the Atlas France Dinky Collection of models with opening parts from China some time ago. Some collectors on bulletin boards have cancelled their subscriptions when they received this as they do not see it as a “deluxe” model.

Other collectors sticking with the collection have commented about the standard of the paint finish which is poor with paint splitting at panel lines and the engine compartment being only partially covered. There is also evidence of mould wear as collectors have noticed the fact that the door locks are no longer “dimples” on some models but “pits”. In the case of the model shown below the locks are raised on one side and sunken on the other.

The Peugeot 204 was made between 1965 and 1976 and was the best selling car in France between 1969 to 1971. Styled by Pininfarina it was a stylish interpretation of the three box format common at the time. One and a half million 204s were made but is not often seen today.

The Dinky model  was introduced in 1965 and stayed in the catalogue for some time. It was commonly available in ivory as well and some further versions in white exist as well as models made by Poch in Spain in white and plain red.

Looking at the Atlas France website the only Dinky series they have still running currently is Dinky Trucks  which suggests to me that this  UK Dinky Deluxe Collection is a cynical marketing exercise to clear unsold models from the French series and will be terminated when either subscribers fall off or stocks of models from the french series are cleared. The originally proposed Zodiac and other UK Dinkys are very unlikely to appear.


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Atlas Dinky Trucks – A summary

By Maz Woolley

 

The news that some people have had this collection marked as complete, as I have, has caused some discussion on Facebook pages and bulletin boards. As there are a considerable number of people who are still waiting to receive the Foden Regent tanker and a few waiting for others models as well they are rightly concerned about whether Atlas will supply them now the last model in the collection has shipped.

I have extracted the information below from the information Atlas provides online about my collection. It is useful if not always 100% accurate. I would advise collectors to save the information away when a series finishes as I notice that my Jaguar Collection details have suddenly vanished from my members area.

 

Atlas Description Dinky #
1 LEYLAND ESSO tanker 943
2 GUY Warrior van HEINZ 920
3 BEDFORD TK Tipper 435
4 AUSTIN Covered wagon 413
5 BERLIET GLB Pompiers 32 E
6 LEYLAND Octopus Flat + chains 935
7 GUY Vixen “Lyons” 514
8 BEDFORD TK Wreck Truck 434
9 FODEN High sides Wagon 901
10 GUY Warrior flat truck 432
11 Isobloc Type 3 29 E
12 BERLIET GAK Beverage truck CERT 588
13 AUSTIN Open Wagon 412
14 Foden with chains 905
15 GUY Vixen van “Spratts” 917 Atlas collection list claimed wrongly that this was in “Robertsons” livery
16 GUY Vixen Flat truck 512
17 STUDEBAKER Milk Truck 25 O
18 Panhard semi remorque bache 32 AB
19 FODEN Tanker “Regent” 942
20 FORD Poissy “Calberson” 25 JJ
21 Guy Vixen van “Slumberland” 514
22 CITROËN HY “Philips” 587
23 BEDFORD TK Coal truck 425
24 Ford Benne à ordures 25 V
25 LEYLAND Octopus wagon 934

I believe that Atlas intended to  run this series longer than they have done. Perhaps there was a rapid drop off in collectors when French Models started appearing as there was with the Dinky Toys collection?   It is perhaps better to finish at 25 if the intention had been to eke the series out with models from the continental series as sales may have fallen significantly then.

Many collectors were disappointed by the fact that Atlas did not do a “Robertsons” Guy Van but issued “Spratts” instead. Perhaps political correctness  stopped us getting that. Though it now seems many spare Atlas Vans are being stripped and re-finished with the “Robertsons” decals available to restore old Dinkies.

This series was advertised with a strong emphasis on Dinky Supertoys and the models issued contain a considerable number of them.  All in all the models were nicely made and seem to be regarded by collectors as value for money.

An analysis of the range shows the following:

  • The Guy Vixen casting appeared four times with the Bedford TK and Foden three times and Austin and Leyland castings appearing twice.
  • There were seventeen UK Dinky releases and eight Dinky France originals replicated.

If any reader has received different models to me or has an opinion on this range that they would like to share please use the contact button above or email address at base of the article to let me know.

Although Atlas are still advertising the original Dinky Toys and Dinky Trucks collections to new subscribers it will be interesting to see whether late joiners get the same number of models as those who subscribe just after series is announced. It will also be interesting to see if those who have missed a model when it was released get them sent out before their collections are marked as complete.

The only Dinky Series left still adding models in the UK is what Atlas invoice as Dinky Toys II and which the web site sells as Deluxe Dinky Toys. This has kicked off with entirely French Dinky models after the Aston Martin DB5 starter model. The supply of models seems very erratic with some people having only just received number four whilst others are already on number five.

The DeAgostini version of the Dinky Toys series has also launched in the UK with a magazine as well as the car. This is being sold considerably cheaper than the Atlas collection was but uses the same castings but often painted different colours. If it is successful will DeAgostini – Atlas parent company – switch from the Atlas subscription series sales method to partworks in the UK? If so will the Dinky Trucks re-appear later under a different name?


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Atlas Dinky Trucks – 934 Leyland Octopus Wagon

By Maz Woolley

All photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.

This model is the last I will receive in the Atlas Dinky Trucks collection and they have saved a spectacular Dinky Supertoy for the end. The eight-wheeler Leyland Octopus was the first model in the collection as 943 a tanker in Esso livery  and to finish the collection we see the same chassis and cab used for 934 as a dropside wagon.

934 was released in two colour schemes: yellow and green as shown on the box and blue and yellow as Atlas has chosen to have the model painted. The blue and yellow version is considerably scarcer with a mint original likely to cost thousands at auction.

This model was issued in 1956 and was withdrawn in 1964. Like the 943 tanker the rear section of the toy had previously been seen on a Foden.

The bright red hubs are slightly different to original models I have seen on the web with the front wheel differing to the rear six wheels on this replica.

To the rear the tinplate hook and spare wheel are replicated.

The cab is well painted and replicates the original well.

This series started in early 2016 and has now ended nearly two years later. Many collectors seem to be waiting on the 942 Foden Regent Tanker issued in mid-2017 which was not sent to all collectors at that time. In my view this was one of the better series by Atlas with plenty of UK Dinky models replicated and where French models have been used some pretty interesting examples of those have been chosen.


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Atlas Dinky Deluxe – 507 Simca 1500 Break

by Maz Woolley

Photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.

The third model in the Atlas Deluxe Dinky collection has made its way to me. Some collectors have had number four already which illustrates Atlas’ rather erratic shipping programme. Still 507 Simca 1500 Break is an example of how good French Dinky were by the mid-1960s with innovative features matching Corgi and others.

Dinky France modelled many Simca cars from the baby Fiat “Topolino” 500 made under licence onwards. The 1500 saloon was introduced by Dinky as 523 in 1963 with opening boot and doors and the Break followed in 1967 as 507 in silvery grey or white. Later 507 P was produced by Dinky France as a  Police car and is now a scarce and very expensive model. The box features box art by Jean Massé which shows the model in red which would have been a nice colour for the model but it was not produced in that colour by Dinky. Throughout the 1960s Dinky France box art was, like Airfix in the UK, created by excellent artists and included evocative backgrounds. Although Simca had long stopped making Fiat cars under licence the 1500 was a modern three box saloon or two box estate similar to the Fiat 124.

This Dinky model has lots of play features including opening doors and tailgate. The tail gate contains a small rear window that slides upwards to  form a complete rear door and inside is a tiny model of a picnic table as well as the spare wheel.

Atlas Customer Services are unable to confirm whether there would be any of the originally advertised British Dinky models like the Zodiac Mark IV and said that there were currently thirty-five models planned in this collection. This is many less than the number released in the equivalent French collection and perhaps indicates an expectation that subscriptions will fall off quite quickly on new Atlas collections.


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Atlas Dinky Collection is at an end

By Maz Woolley

 

Coverage of the Atlas Dinky Collection here at MAR Online has spanned almost all of the time that MAR has been online. I recently checked the status of the collection as I was expecting another model, based upon my understanding of a reply from Atlas Customer Services, but it is not to be the case. The Atlas computer system has now marked the collection as completed and the last item shipped was the French Dinky Peugeot Taxi 24 L recently reviewed in MAR Online.

If readers hear of any models being released after the Peugeot taxi in the original Dinky Collection please let me know what they are.


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Atlas Dinky Truck Collection – 25 V Ford Benne à Ordures

By Maz Woolley

All photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.

The latest model in the Atlas Dinky Trucks series is again a replica of a French Dinky model. 25 V Ford Benne à Ordures, a tipping refuse truck with sliding covers.

This particular model was made between 1950 and 1955 and uses a Ford cab and chassis already used for a flatbed, a drop-side, a tanker, a stake truck and a tipper. The dropside was later to gain a towing fitment to become a service vehicle.

The refuse truck offered lots of play value with the ability to slide two covers on the top, op things in the truck and then tip them out later using the handle to operate the cogged tipper mechanism at which point the rear door would open to allow the “refuse” to fall out. Here in the UK we would be playing with Dinky 252 Refuse truck with its spiral gear to raise the rear section to tip the rubbish out.

The Atlas model is nicely made with a much glossier finish than original would have had even on first release. The tipping mechanism works as well as I expect the original did. The rear door is a tight fit over the lugs cast in to stop it flapping when closed and the sliding covers can pop off if pulled too far back. Maybe a reader can tell me whether these issues also afflict the original?

According to Atlas Customer Services this collection is also close to finishing which is adding to the nervousness of those who have yet to receive their Regent Tanker. Quite a number of collectors have told me that they are still waiting for it so I hope that Atlas are getting another batch made for them.


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