Thanks for the update on the Atlas Dinky Deluxe series. I agree with the points Stewart Gorman made in his recent letter and would like to add a few thoughts of my own.
I did not subscribe to the Dinky Deluxe series but I have subscribed to other Atlas/De Agostini series, notably the Dinky Trucks series.
My experiences with that collection were very similar to those outlined by Stewart and yourself:
1. The range of models delivered was slightly disappointing compared to the pre-publicity, and included more “duplication” than I expected:
- The 24 models received included 3 * Leyland 8-wheelers, 3 * Foden 8-wheelers, 2 of the first type of Guy Van (Spratts and Lyons Cakes) – In my case I did not receive the Guy Slumberland Van
- So my 24 comprised 13 different truck cab castings – Leyland (3), Foden (3), early Guy (3), later Guy (2), Bedford TK (3), Austin (2), Ford Poissy (2), Panhard (1), Citroen Van (1), Berliet (1), Berliet Fire Truck (1), Chevrolet (1), and Autocar ISOBLOC Coach (1).
2. Some of the models were very disappointing. The Autocar Isobloc coach, for
3. It is impossible to know (without forums like MAR Online) if you have the “Full set”. – And that is IMPORTANT to collectors.
4. The mailing frequency was erratic. – Nothing for eight weeks and then 2 models in one week?
However, on the PLUS side:
- The quality and finish of the models is as good as, or better than the originals
- The range issued included some true “gems” for me. – The Bedford TK Coal Wagon, the Citroen Philips Mobile Showroom, and the Ford Refuse Truck are truly excellent – And I was never going to have a Leyland 8 wheeler with chains without Atlas
- The models are good value for money.
- The Dinky style packaging is very good. And all the products were well packed for delivery. – I had no problems with damage
As for Customer Service. – In my case I had only a couple of calls, and I got through quickly. One “missing” model was replaced quickly. But when I checked on the Guy Slumberland Van my experience was like Stewart’s. One person says it WILL come “later”, and another told me the series was closed. So I never got that one.
In conclusion, then, for me Atlas scores 7 / 10. But with a bit of thought and effort they COULD make 9.5 / 10……
- They should take more care with the sales literature. Maybe they don’t know at day one what the final range will be – but if an item is SHOWN in the publicity then it MUST be issued (the Deluxe Ford Galaxie is an example of that)
- Atlas should send the same model to all subscribers (irrespective of joining date) in each mailing “wave”. (I understand why Atlas do not want to show the full list and sequence up front, because they want to reduce the risk of early opt-outs.)
- So late joiners should be receiving the same models as early joiners at the same time. – If you join when the range is at issue #6, then your first model should be number 6, and then you get numbers 1 to 5 in 2 years when the early joiners have already got the full set. (Should also ensure the early issues in the sequence include some of the more desirable models!)
- And when it comes to “selling off” the excess pieces to the trade – Atlas should wait at least a year before flooding the market, or maybe offer individual models direct to collectors at slightly higher price – say £25 each rather that £19.99 for the Dinky Trucks? For information, there is a Spratts Guy Van on e-Bay now for £29.95 plus £5 p+p. Same seller wants £35 plus p+p for the Slumberland Guy Van.
So overall I am not unhappy with the Atlas package. As I have written previously, I have no problem with the principle of reproduction models, because I could not justify paying hundreds of pounds for the original models. With Atlas and the like I can get a decent range of good quality models at a good price, and I can live with the shortcomings in the wider business model.