Category Archives: Atlas Dinky

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My latest shipment from Atlas is a replica of French Dinky 530 DS 23 Citroën which was originally made in Spain by Pilen for Dinky from 1970.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 The model was launched in 1973 and was withdrawn in 1975 giving it a short production life.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 The original model was developed from the standard #525 Peugeot 404 estate model originally launched in 1964 and withdrawn in 1970.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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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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