Category Archives: Atlas

Readers Letter – More on Atlas Models

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 example.

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.

Brendan Leach via Email

Readers Letter – Atlas Dinky Deluxe

Like you, I have been told that my collection is complete, and again my account shows as cancelled. For fun I clicked on the re-activate button and received an email with the following text – 

Dear Customer,

The company is going through a reorganization and Atlas is unsure if the models will come back in stock. Should you wish to contact us again on this subject, please make sure you insert the reference above in the title of your email.

Yours faithfully, 

Customer Services 

Looking at your list I am missing #17, #19 and #20. However, I have received – around mid-September last year – a Simca 1500 Saloon with Luggage. Dinky #523. [Editor: Looking at my old reviews so have I! The Atlas produced collection record is clearly faulty and I need to check it out.]

As you say the expected Binns Road models have never materialised and one wonders if they ever had plans to produce them? I didn’t opt for the garage so that is not an issue for me but I take your point.

I have subscribed to a number of these Atlas offers:

  • British Police Cars – all went well
  • Dinky Trucks – I never received the Guy Spratts van despite many many emails from Atlas suggesting it was all in hand after a number of months I get told that they had sold out! This led to another exchange of email but sadly no Guy Spratts van.
  • Dinky Toys Collection – I cancelled the standard Dinky Toys collection as I didn’t like the way that was going.
  • British Touring Car collection made me feet let down as I was expecting, perhaps naively, a model of every winning car.
  • Dinky Vans collection – well that never really got off the ground!

However, I must say that overall I have been very pleased with my purchases. It’s just a shame that their marketing and communication is not particularly transparent.

I wonder what will become of the tooling for the British trucks – Bedford, Guy, Leyland and Foden. Perhaps Dan Toys will be allowed to use them?  [Editor: They are already using some of the French DInky Trucks so it is possible.]

Stewart Gorman via Email

Atlas Presidential Citroën

By Maz Woolley

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

General de Gaulle favoured Citroën cars following the abortive attempt to assassinate him in 1962 when the ability of the Citroën hydro-pneumatic suspension to keep the car under control and driveable even with tyres shot out  is said to have saved his life. Rather than start being driven in armoured cars he kept using Citroën cars and ordered a presidential limousine in 1962. It is said his only requirement was that it was longer than John F. Kennedy’s Lincolns! 

Citroën turned to Henri Chapron to carry out the specialist bodywork and it took six years before the public saw the car in 1968. It was 6.53 meters in length and 1.96 meters high.  Although based on a DS21 the car is different from almost any angle whilst maintaining a DS family look.

The designers were Opron and Dargent and they went to town with gold badging and two tone grey finish. Inside the car they fitted large areas of woodwork in curved shapes even in front of the driver. The car was trimmed in pale leather throughout. A bar, a refrigerator, reading lights and a foldable desk are also part of the on-board equipment.

Powered by a DS21 engine of 2.1 litres it had manual transmission and a modified cooling system to allow the vehicle to run at low speed during official visits. A maximum speed of around 130 Kph is said to be achievable.

Delivered to the Elysee in 1968, this presidential DS was used only rarely. It is said that General de Gaulle only went in it three times as he disliked the separation from the driver with whom he liked chatting. Georges Pompidou scarcely used it either. The car is now owned by Citroën Heritage.

The Atlas model is made in China to 1:43 scale in diecast metal with a plastic base. It was made by Ixo for Atlas I believe. It is one of a series of presidential cars sold on subscription in many continental countries but not in the UK. However this model has been sold by Atlas to third parties and has even been seen on eBay shipping from China.

The model is excellently modelled with a splendid interior including the huge sweeping division glass as well as the additional vents modelled behind the rear window. The steering wheel and gear change are nicely modelled and the sweeping instrument panel moulded in some detail though lacking printed instruments.

The model captures the size and stance of the car well with the chromed wheels well reproduced as well as gold badges on C pillars, shield shape wing markings. There is a small aerial modelled in down position, an emblem inserted into the bonnet, super side mouldings, and bumpers with the correct number plates printed on. To the rear the chrome rear panel and inset lights are well captured. Even the door handle are small inserted parts. The yellow inset front lights under their covers are worthy of a much more expensive model.

All in all an impressive model of an impressive car.

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Atlas BMMO D9 Bus

By Maz Woolley

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

Midland Red were a major bus group here in the UK serving the Midlands from 1905 until 1981. It was one of the largest groups in the UK covering a territory from Gloucester in the south-west to Derby to its North West and encompassing the industrial west and east midlands. It’s buses and coaches were a well known sight even in the cities where municipal operators dominated local services as Midland Red provided almost all the inter-urban routes and most of the local routes in smaller towns in the area.

One curious feature of Midland Red is that it made its own buses between 1923 and 1969 when it was swallowed by the National Bus Company. The combination of the solid red livery and its uniquely styled BMMO buses made Midland Red services stand out.

The BMMO D9 was introduced in the late 1950s and served the company well with the final examples leaving the works in the mid 1960s and being in service until the wholesale replacement with Leyland Nationals during the ownership of MIdland Red by the National Bus Company.  It was early to provide electric closing doors and disk brakes all round, though later models had drums fitted and these were also retro fitted to the earlier buses. This was because though the disks worked well the pads wore out extremely quickly and were worn before the standard service interval was completed. In other ways the D9 was the end of an era with its half cab for the driver and conductor operation at a time when municipal fleets were introducing one man operation and rear engined Leyland Atlantians and Daimler Fleetlines.

The model shown in this article is a model from the Atlas Great British Buses series sold in the UK which has now ended and surplus stock has now ended up in the hands of wholesalers. The base has Corgi printed on it which shows that Atlas had it made for them from Corgi dies. Corgi produced this model in their Original Omnibus range in Midland Red and West Midlands Public Transport Executive colours, WMPTE took over many Midland Red routes in the Black Country to the west of Birmingham  when the new West Midlands county was formed.  The Corgi Midland Red buses were on service D9 to Dudley, X35 Hereford to Ludlow, and the WMPTE one on service 130 Stourbridge to Halesowen.  When Atlas had their model made made they moved over to the over side of the MIdland Red operation with the 658 service to Leicester via Nuneaton which started its journey in Coventry at Pool Meadow Bus Station.

The Atlas model is fundamentally the same as the Corgi one and includes all the wing mirrors , blind winding handles, and grab handles  that were used on the OOC versions. It is a good model though the plastic front panel insert used to portray the BMMO radiator is not a complete colour match and tends to slide in its setting more than it should. The alloy framed windows are nicely printed and the rear sliding doors well made. The printed adverts are nice period touches too. All in all it captures well the buses that I saw when young sitting at Pool Meadow ready for the journey to Leicester surrounded by Coventry Transport Daimler Fleetlines doing the local journeys.

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The Volvo 265 Estate in 1/43

The 1976-81 Volvo 265 Estate
The Rapid Transit System for Families with Class

by Frank Koh

It was the top-of-the-line Volvo station wagon of its era, and the first-ever Volvo estate powered by a six-cylinder engine. As the flagship of the 240 series estate fleet, most 265 models were heavily-optioned to justify their upscale yet no less utilitarian character. Unfortunately, the 2.7 liter “Douvrin” V6 that Volvo shared with the Peugeot 604 and Renault 30 TS highline models was plagued with lubrication issues that often led to premature valve train failure. Coincidentally that same engine was used in the ill-fated DeLorean sports car. While the Volvo 240 series remained in production thru 1993, the rare and desirable 265 was phased out when the all-new Volvo 760 GLE Estate debuted in 1982.

Leather interior and “Corona” alloy wheels were two popular options that most Volvo 265 variants were equipped with. Only the contemporary limited edition Volvo 262C Bertone coupe was more expensive than the 265.

Atlas Editions

Even Volvo 265 model miniatures are rare.  This black 1/43 scale diecast is from the Europe-only Volvo Atlas Editions line and could be obtained only by subscription a few years ago.  Even today, it seldom turns up on the secondary market.  Aside from this Atlas Editions 265, the only other genuine Volvo 265 model miniatures are the vintage Norev 1/43 scale wagon erroneously labeled as a “264” sedan (the Norev wagon and sedan use the same baseplate) and the even older Dinky Volvo 265 DL Estate in 1/36 scale, one of my all-time favorites.

The raised leading edge of the”Coffin Nose” hood and exclusive grille of the 264 sedan and the 265 wagon (used also in some early-to-mid eighties North American-spec 240 four cylinder models) exuded elegance and power. The less expensive four cylinder Volvos from this range had a flat hood and less chrome on their grilles.

The Atlas Edition Volvo models came with a really cool black plinth that featured a separate plastic chrome Volvo emblem. Unfortunately, the Atlas Volvos did not come with their own clear acrylic cases.

Dinky Toys

This is the COMPLETE line of Dinky Toys Volvo 265 DL Estate variants, produced from around 1977 thru 1979 when the original Dinky Toys entity owned by Meccano Ltd. went out of business. All the Dinky models in this pic were made in England, except two, namely the orange civilian car in the center and the white police car on the extreme right, which were made in Italy because the Dinky Binns Road factory in the U.K. had closed down by then.


In the late seventies/early eighties Norev of France came out with a 1/43 scale Volvo 264 sedan, and soon after a Volvo 265 wagon variant was released. The latter was erroneously labeled also as a “264” because both sedan and wagon used the same “Volvo 264” baseplate. While most of these vintage Norev pieces were made in France, this particular example has a baseplate that says “Made in Portugal”. Strange indeed. This is the only Norev model I know of that was made in Portugal.

My Own Car

This Atlas Editions, Dinky Toys, and Norev are joined in this topic by another Volvo wagon,  my personal 1:1 scale Volvo 240 wagon, a 1992 U.S.-spec 5-speed manual car named Queenie.  My wife likes the car because its lack of performance keeps me out of trouble!

If you notice the #409 Wine Red Metallic Dinky in the photo above,  it is customized with the same paint as my car in the background.  We used the same paint to re-shoot Queenie last year.

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Atlas BTCC Hillman Avenger

By  Maz Woolley

All photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.

Atlas has now completed the BTCC collection at model 24. It is still inviting new collectors to sign up on its web site despite the fact that Atlas had already sold significant numbers of at least 16 of that collection to the wholesale trade.  The model shown in this post is the car that Bernard Unett drove to the 1974 Class A British Saloon Car Championship a 1600cc Hillman Avenger GT. For Rootes/Chrysler collectors it complements the Sunbeam Imp already seen in this series.

The Atlas model appears to be a realistic replica of the car from period photographs with the livery very accurately captured. Even the GT chrome strip is printed across the roof. The use of multi part windows that flush fit into the gaps make the side windows much more convincing than on models where the B pillars are cast items.

Lovely “bullet” wing mirrors are replicated as are the taped front lights. The windscreen wipers are plastic, black and are thin and accurately formed – I just wish more makers would use these and not photo-etched ones. The period Warwickshire number plates are neatly done front and rear.

The rear of the two door Avenger is very well modelled with the hockey stick rear lights very nicely done with translucently painted lenses behind clear plastic.  All the rear badging and logos are clearly printed and well positioned as is the GT badge on the C Pillar.

Quite a lot of effort has gone into the wheels which have the ventilation slots in the gaps between the silver rims.

The Chrysler Pentastar is much to the fore in the livery. Inside the dash mouldings are good and include the extra rev counter perched above the dashboard but they do not include all the extra switchgear in the centre and left of the dash, or the fire extinguisher.

The casting is thought to be by PCT (Ixo’s owner) and it will be interesting to see if it is used again. Comparing it to the Dodge  1800SE from the South American series which was based upon the Avenger there are some similarities but the body shell is not identical.

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Atlas Germany Ambulance Collection – Part Six

By Hans-Georg Schmitt

All photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.

Here are two more issues in the Ambulance cars series. They are to 1:43 scale 1:43

Volkswagen Transporter T1b Krankenwagen – 7 495 112

The Volkswagen Transporter T1a was launched in 1959, series production started on 8th March 1950 with ten vehicles per day. The first “factory made” Ambulance left the assembly line on 13th December 1951. It was developed jointly by the Volkswagen Works, the German Ambulance Service and the German Red Cross.

For the 1960 model year the transporters received “wart-shaped” indicators, which were changed two years later into bull´s eye shapes. This followed the changes to the Beetle. So the miniature is a vehicle from 1962. The body is an accurate shape with good paint finish and several small components moulded separately and inserted.

Front doors are printed with “German Red Cross – Readiness Hage”,. The registration plates are from region of Aurich in the North-West of Germany. The baseplate shows no special detail, except the exhaust system.


Citroen C25 Ambulance Heuliez – 7 495 113

According to the motto “One for All”, the manufacturers Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Citroen, Peugeot and Talbot offered in 1982 a van on the same platform. Best known was the Fiat Ducato, the most versatile one the Citroen C25. The C25 was built from January 1982 up to August 1990.

Short after the launch of the C25, the coachwork company Heuliez developed an ambulance car on its base. The roomy van offered space for the comprehensive equipment for the medical emergency service. The miniature comes as vehicle of the SAMU, Service dÁide Medicale Urgente.

The original vehicle was based in Rouen, department 76 Seine-Maritime, in North-West of France. The miniature is accurately shaped, well painted and printed with a livery that is true to the original. Some small parts are inserted separately like lights, aerials, and door mirrors which adds to the accuracy of the model.   A number of parts was separate inserted. The baseplate has basic details.

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Atlas British Touring Cars – Triumph Dolomite Sprint

By Maz Woolley

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

It would seem that whilst Atlas has been passing models that form part of the current British Touring Car Championship series to wholesalers on the continent as they are now appearing in at least one retailers publicity material and are now appearing quite widely on eBay. This suggests that the series has not been as popular as Atlas hoped. Atlas has yet again been quite “Loose” in its range description as many of the cars featured won the British Saloon Car Championship which preceded the Touring Car Championship.

This article looks at one of the models from this series Triumph Dolomite Sprint driven by Andy Rouse to win the championship in 1975.  The car came first equal in the manufacturers table with the Chevrolet Camaro.

The Atlas model is is interesting with quite a fine casting and quite a lot of separate parts and extensive printing. At the front the headlight rims could perhaps be a little narrower but all the lights are there and tape replicated on the headlights. When the photograph is enlarged the badging shows fine detail.

The sides are covered in the promotional material that seems to replicate the car as raced well. The complicated multiple coach lines are also well printed.  The side windows are excellent, the fit flush and are plastic inserts used with the door frames printed on. Comparing this model to the Corgi Vanguards model in my collection this casting is not a re-cycled Corgi. It is newer and rather more delicate. Indeed Corgi did model the same car as VA5303 and this Atlas model seems to be a step up in a number of areas.

The wheels are modelled well  capturing the alloy wheels becoming popular at the time.

The rear of the car is again pretty good with the lights moulded in plastic and coloured to match the lenses used. The badging is again excellent.

Inside the car the interior is stripped out to the rear and fitted with a neatly moulded roll cage. The steering wheel and dashboard are neatly moulded but no detailing has been added.

The only fault that I can see is the trailing edge of the roof where the casting is rough and looks almost as if it has been filed off.

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Atlas Germany – Ambulance Collection Part Five

By Hans-Georg  Schmitt

All photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.

Here are the latest three issues in the Ambulance series from Atlas Editions Germany. These are diecast to 1:43 scale in China for Atlas.

7 495 009  Citroen CX Heuliez Ambulance

The new Citroën CX saloon was introduced in October 1974, and the estate followed in September 1975. Heuliez developed an ambulance based upon the CX , which became very common in France. The CX was built up to 1990, and its successor was the XM.

The miniature is an accurate shape and the decorations are authentic. The front doors have the blue “Star of Life” used in France printed. This shows that the ambulance the model is based upon is a rescue vehicle. A number of parts are moulded and inserted such as the air vents, beacon, aerial and lights. The baseplate has only limited detail moulded in.

7 495 010  Simca Marly

When the Ford Motor Company left France, Simca took over the plant in Poissy near Paris and launched the new Vedette with pontoon body, but with an old fashioned V8 engine. Besides the saloon, an estate was also manufactured, named “Marly”. Its body had a long wheelbase and was therefore suitable for use as an ambulance car. Most of them were used as “Ambulance Municipale” , i.e. for the local transport of patients in a stable condition.

The model is authentic in shape and has excellently printed livery. Lots of small separate parts are used to make it a well detailed replica. Again the baseplate has minimal detail moulded in.

7 495 011  RAF 2203 Latvija

When the RAF company (Rigas Autobusu Fabrika) was founded in 1949, Latvia and their capital Riga belonged still to the Soviet Union. In 1976, production of the 2203 started in the plant. One version was an ambulance, which was upgraded by Tamro in Helsinki, Finland, into an RTW, emergency doctor´s car, in small numbers.

Tamro added a high roof, so that the emergency team could stand upright to work on the patient(s). The vehicle was fully equipped to allow the treatment of heavily injured patients. It formed a rolling intensive care unit. The model is authentic in shape and markings. Lots of small separate parts are used for all the lights, spotlights, light bars and so on.

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A pair of Atlas Imps

By Maz Woolley

Photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.

Atlas Editions often source different series from different contractors. Here we have two Imps which are clearly from different sources.  One is obviously derived from the Vanguards model as it still has Lledo engraved on the base. The other when looked at carefully has many features which differ from the Vanguards model.

Atlas Best of British Police Cars – Hillman Imp

Lledo and Corgi have made several versions of Imp Police cars: the Dumbarton twin set, a Renfrew and Bute car, and also a car in a  set with a Triumph Herald.

Here Atlas have modelled a Kent car though the picture below shows that they have not matched it completely.  In particular the spotlights should be closer to the main lights and there should be no over riders on the bumpers and the number plate should be moved up to the front panel.

Image result for XKN 618J

The wheels are the same as the original Lledo and could do with being updated as they are a little clumsy by today’s standards. They could also do with white paint on the wheel to match the original car.

Atlas quality control is erratic and this is manifest in the roof box being slightly crooked.

In addition as the picture above shows tho old casting holes for the wipers are much too large for the photo etch wipers fitted for Atlas.

Overall this is a pleasant if not entirely accurate model. The Author wishes that someone had modelled a Coventry Police Force Panda car as they were significant Imp users.

Atlas British Touring Car Champions – Sunbeam Imp

Bill McGovern won the BTCC in 1972 in an Imp prepared by George Bevan shown below chasing a Ford Escort Mark One.

Bill McGovern, Bevan Imp 1972

Bill McGovern at the 1972 British GP meeting
source: David Lawson @,

This casting is significantly different to the one used from the Police Car with a plastic base and not a metal one. If it is compared to the Vanguards Super Imp it is clear that the heavily flared wheel arches and loss of overiders and number plate holder are not the only difference. The bonnet line lacks the clear indentation separating bonnet from body on the Vanguards model and the lights are plastic and not “diamonds”. The front panel with the Sunbeam Logo is simulated by printing. When the photograph is enlarged the Sunbeam script on red plate is perfectly clear.

As the views above show the windows are flush fit and have chrome surround trim printed on them front and rear. The front widow vent is printed on rather than being part of the casting as it was on the Lledo. . The B Pillar is much finer on the BTCC car too. Inside the roll cage and racing seat are well modelled. The alloy wheels with wide racing tyres have been very nicely made. The tampo printed advertising and racing numbers are very impressive.

At the rear the extra vents on the bonnet are modelled and painted matt black. Lights have been painted on and would have benefited from being printed in translucent colours over silver.

The picture above shows both the excellent flush fit windscreen and the neat plastic wipers used. Atlas would have been better using these wiper mouldings on the ex-Vanguards shell of the Police Imp to fill the large holes.

This is a rather more accurate model than the Panda Car and well done for a budget model.

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