Category Archives: Readers Letters and Comments

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

Readers Letter – DeAgostini Dinky Collection

Readers may be interested to know that the DeAgostini Dinky Toys range is currently in limbo with delays to the issuing of models. The next issue is due on 26/03/19, then next is 24/04/19 and then 22/05/19 a month rather than a fortnight between each model. The reason is said to be shipping delays.

After that date the collection is supposed to revert to fortnightly issues starting 05/06/19. We will see!

Ray Young via Facebook

Editor: I have checked with Fabrizio who is covering the DeAgostini Dinky Collection in Italy for us, where it started earlier than the UK, and he says that there have been no noticeable delays there where the collection is nearly complete. One wonders if this is bad management or whether the number of subscribers is falling to a point where DeAgostini are considering when to bring the collection to a close and slowing the models ordered for now?

Reader’s Letter – 1955 Fords

As a model modifier myself, I found Luciano Pavloski’s write up on creating a 1955 Ford sedan very clever.   He might be surprised to know that there are some 1:43rd scale 1955 Ford sedans out there now.  These are of the mid-range Customline series made by Trax of Australia.  Except for the fact that they are right hand drive, they are clones of the US version. These can be seen on the Top Gear website here.  

And speaking of 1955 Ford’s,  I have recently acquired from eBay the CCC kit of a 1955 Sunliner convertible in kit form, (their number CCCUS 03).   I know little about CCC models except that they must come from France as the assembly instructions are in French.  The kit contains a resin body and white metal base,  seats, wheels, and various chrome pieces.  I’ll submit a story about assembly in a few months when I get to working on this item. 

My collection already has the Crown Victoria glass top version  (their number CCCUS 04) which I got in turquoise and white fully built many years ago.  In looking through the kit I note the decal sheet has badge decals for the Country Sedan (the non wood trim up scale wagon) and a Country Squire which is the faux wood version, plus  the Ranch Wagon (the two door wagon) and Customline and Town Sedan.  Now with all these extra badges, I am very curious if CCC ever intended to produce these versions as well?   I do find
in Jerry Rettig’s directory of models a 1947 Ford Sportsman CCCUS 01 and a CCCUS 02 1936 Ford Roadster top up or down. 

Were there others?

John P. Quilter

Oregon by Email

Editor – do any of our readers know more about CCC? I certainly remember them featuring in MAR magazine in the days when Provence Moulage , Starter and Record were all producing models in France. What 1955 Fords did they make?

Reader’s Letter – Talking of Tractors

Just a thought that came into my head whilst reading your report on the GFCC Cadillac Eldorado.

The angle of the steering wheel, that you in a sophisticated way point out, looks like a tractor steering wheel. I tried driving a tractor as a kid when looking for a cheap car for my own interest in 1965, I tried a Ford Anglia. The ’driving a tractor’-feeling was one of the reasons why i decided not to buy it.

To get the same feeling while driving a Cadillac must be traumatic!

Gunnar Bernstrup by email

More Models by Barry Lester

By Barry Lloyd

Editor’s Note:  After publishing Patrick’s article about the Alfa P2 by Barry Lester, we received this email from another Barry, who knew Barry Lester personally.

In MAR number 90 (April 1995), Max Tomlinson wrote a comprehensive  article on Barry.  No mention of him working in resin, although (see  later) his early models were all in wood (balsa and thin plywood) and  acetate. I’ve re-read the article and had forgotten how involved Barry was with Adrian Swain, who according to Max, mastered the first Auto  Replicas kit, the ERA.  The resin ‘exception’ appears to be AR42, a kit of a Tatra 77A, a reworking of AR09, an earlier version in white metal.   Max’s listing shows AR42 as ‘resin’.

Barry was also involved with Pete Atkinson and Acorn Models…  They  parted company when Pete A decided to abandon the business and run a bar in Ibiza!  Barry L was eventually paid for all his pattern making work in SMEC kits. (Some of which no doubt ended up with me!) And I’ve missed a trick – apparently Barry did the masters for the  Franklin Mint Vanwall and Auto Union in a 1:43 range.  I’ve often seen the Vanwall, but have resisted it so far.  May be tempted now…

Here are my three Barry Lester models!

The 1:43 Brescia Bugatti was built ca. 1967 according to Max (from his  correspondence with BKL).  Barry built several in wood, and of course it became one of the Auto Replicas range of white metal kits.

The 1:32 SMEC Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix kit that I bought from Barry in early 1991 is shown below.  I don’t  know when he built it, but it didn’t look ‘old’ then.

The Bugatti T57SC Atlantic is to Barry’s odd 1:17 scale and is all metal (hand beaten brass body), apart from the interior trim, and is stamped  underneath BKL 98.

Readers Letter – On the one that got away

Gunnar Bernstrup wrote about ‘The One’s that Got Away’, regarding the disappointment of missing out on certain models which we wished we had bought when the opportunity arose, but we didn’t. We have all had that experience. Has Gunnar heard the expression “he who hesitates is lost”? It’s a saying I have come to live by. Two of a number of examples are as follows. Many years ago,Trofeu released Frank Gardner’s famous Alan Mann Escort, XOO 349F, with which he won the 1968 British Saloon Car Championship. I had seen Frank Gardner race this car, so when I started collecting model cars, one of these was a must have. Soon after its release, I went to a toy fair/swapmeet, where a trader had one. I was just £2 short of his asking price and he wouldn’t take my offer. I knew him well and should have asked him to put it to one side while I got some more money, but I didn’t because I was convinced I would get one quite easily. I didn’t. It was a long time before I finally got one.

At the other end of the spectrum, I’d had models of Craig Lowndes V8 Supercars ‘Green Eyed Monster’ Falcon from the 2001 season in 1:43rd scale and 1:18th scale for a number of years, and I wanted one in 1:64th scale to complete the set. Despite many years of searching, I had never seen one and was convinced that one didn’t exist. Then in May 2017, I found one on eBay offered by an Australian trader I had dealt with before. Although the asking price was a bit excessive for a 1:64th scale, I couldn’t let it go. I haven’t seen another one since.

The moral of the story is if you see something you want, unless the asking price is absolutely ridiculous, buy it, because if you don’t, “he who hesitates”!

Mick Haven
By eMail

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Atlas Dinky – Yet more Reader’s thoughts

Editor: We continue to have readers commenting. This topic has created considerable interest. The key theme seems to be to accept the Atlas Dinky models as what they are just copies. For those who had no access to Dinky France models in the past, and those who cannot afford them now, they are a way to connect to the originals.

Good as long as not passed off as Original

The ongoing debate about Atlas Dinky’s and their validity and collectability seems to be a bone of contention. Personally, I don’t see what the problem is. They provide buyers with a viable source of classic Dinky’s in the kind of condition that to find an original in the same condition would need a large lottery win. In another model collecting magazine last year, a collector of original Dinky’s wrote in to say he was annoyed that he had paid top money for an original model, when a virtually identical model was available by Atlas for peanuts. In his opinion, these cheap copies were wrong.

First of all, what’s it got to do with him, or anybody else, what collectors choose to spend their money on? If you can only afford a cheap imitation, and it looks good in your cabinet, surely, that’s where it ends. Many Atlas Dinky’s really are good, no matter how little they cost compared to an original. It can be likened to those who buy a replica Cobra or GT40. If it looks good to the buyer, and it’s all he can afford, then good luck to him. Just like Atlas, many replicas are very good, although I do draw the line at Cobras with anything other than a Ford V8 installed. If you like Atlas Dinky’s, and why not, then buy them.

Hej till Ragnar och Gunnar fran Mick I England

Mick Haven
Via eMail

Definitely in favour

Super to see all these French Atlas Dinky models
Hans Nuis
Via Facebook

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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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