Tag Archives: Dinky Toys

Atlas Dinky 25B Peugeot D3A “Mazda”

By Maz Woolley


The latest release I have received in the Atlas Dinky Toys collection is another French Dinky: 25B Fourgon Tolé Peugeot.  I hesitate to say the latest release as I frequently hear of other collectors getting the models from Atlas in a different sequence to me.

The D3A was originally launched by Chenard-Walker in June 1946 with a little 1,000cc two cylinder engine and a flat fronted forward control layout.  Citroen launched the H van late in 1946 creating strong competition so a 1133cc engine was bought in from Peugeot and the “pigs snout” added at the front to accommodate the longer unit.

The D3 was smaller than the H and well adapted to light and urban delivery activities. Peugeot took over Chenard-Walker in 1950 as it was a major creditor and could see Chenard-Walker going out of business. It took the van and uprated the engine again to a four cylinder 1290cc unit and called it the D3A. An identical looking D4 with a 1496cc engine from the Peugeot 403 replaced the D3 in 1955 and it ran until the introduction of the J7 in 1965.

The Lampe Mazda livery is interesting. “Mazda” was a trademarked name registered by the US General Electric company in 1909 and licensed to companies around the world to allow bulbs to be made to a standard tungsten filament design and a standard socket design. In France Compagnie des Lampes were licensed  to produce them and traded as Mazda.

The Mazda Lamps liveried version of this model was launched by Dinky in 1953 and was one of their earliest models sold in a yellow box. It was deleted in 1955 by which time Dinky had started on a  long series of alternative liveries on this casting which include Postes, Cibie, and Esso, The rarest D3A versions seem to be those produced with no livery at all. The D3A casting seems to have been produced in one form or another until the early 1960s.

The Atlas replica is very well painted and printed and a nice item for the collection. I wonder what French Dinky model we will see next in this series.

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Atlas Dinky Trucks 917 Guy Van Spratts

By Maz Woolley


A second outing for the Guy van but in this case it is as 917 and not 514 which has previously been seen bearing Lyons Livery. The Spratts livery was introduced on 514 in 1953  and this appears to be the only livery carried forward in 1954 renumbered as 917. Some adverse collector comments have been posted elsewhere as all the Atlas paperwork and your account details on the websites states that this should be  a Guy Vixen Roberston’s Golden Shred Lorry which would have been a popular choice.

The replica has been produced to the same standard as the Lyons model and is very nice. Although on inspection the cab appears to be twisted at the bottom of the driver’s door area behind the fornt wheel and it seem to me that this can only have happened when the casting was removed still warm.

The rear doors operate as the originals would have done. The Spratt’s logo and text are printed crisply and it gives the van a very period feel.

At present Atlas expect this range to run to 30 releases so there is scope for the Robertson’s to appear yet!

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Atlas Dinky Collection – Studebaker Coupe, Renault 4 and Bedford CA

By Maz Woolley

This article was originally written for the first MAR Online site in September 2015. It is one of the items which we have collected from the old site before it is eventually turned off. It has been adapted to the new site. 

39F Studebaker Coupe

Again taking full advantage of castings that Norev made for the Continental series where this model appeared in an almost metallic blue.

Here in the UK series it is issued in a solid dark blue. Originally introduced in 1939 the model more closely resembles a post war issue with ridged hubs.

The model was phased out in 1950. It is based upon a Studebaker State Commander Coupe. The post war colours offered in the UK were grey, green, blue, red, brown and yellow.

518 Renault 4L

This is a French Dinky model which was sold in the UK for a short time from 1962 to 1963 and only ever in mid-brown.

Here we have the model in pale blue a French colour. This model is of course to 1:43 scale and several details show how much better products from France were at this time.

The nicely moulded interior with the seat rails even reproduced was way ahead of the generally vague interior details. When originally issued in France this model was offered in brown, blue, light blue and red.

A Renault 4L is dark blue was the last model issued in the original French Atlas Dinky series. Although numbered 518 this features an updated casting with the later full width Renault 4 grille.

481 Bedford 10 cwt Van Ovaltine

Introduced by Dinky in 1955 the model was deleted in 1960 by which time the CA had been significantly restyled.

The model was made in three liveries “Dinky Toys”, which has already appeared in the Atlas Dinky Collection, Ovaltine and Kodak.

The model replicates the original Dinky well capturing the shade of blue used originally well.

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Britain’s Toy Car Wars: A Book Review

By Karl Schnelle

Giles Chapman has written a book on his childhood toy cars combined with a fascinating history of ‘the big three’ in the Golden Era of British Toy Cars. The three British toy car companies are the obvious ones listed on the cover (below), and the Golden Age was the 1960’s, as the author calls it. Mr. Chapman is a well-published author, so he brings a good perspective.

This new book is the same format as his previous books like 100 cars that Britain can be proud of and  My Dad had one of those.  His books are known for a sound coverage of the subjects and some well chosen and presented pictures. Chapman has written over 40 books and is a well known motoring journalist and author in the UK; he has now turned his attention from real cars to model cars.

Britain’s Toy Car Wars might be the first book that tries to tie the big three together in a historical and toy collector context. Many books have been written about the copious output of each company, so do not expect a review of their entire toy car production. I was expecting some side-by-side comparisons and timelines of who did what when, or who came out first with a certain feature and how did the others react. There is some of that, but mostly it is the author’s reminiscing about his childhood toys and then explaining the background of the company that produced them. In fact, many of the nice photos are of play-worn cars, which reinforces the readers’ nostalgia for their childhood.

If you are a specialist collector of Dinky, or Matchbox, or Corgi, then you will get a better understanding of the other two companies.  As a kid, I collected all three and have read a lot about their history since then.  So I did not learn a lot of new information about them, but several interesting facts did pop out from Chapman’s research.

I had realized that Meccano was much older and more conservative in their approach to selling Dinky Toys, but I did not know that Dinkys were sold in only 6000 approved stores while Matchbox and Corgi were everywhere, in more than 20,000 shops.  Chapman portrays Smith and Odell as the ‘young guns’: they disrupted Meccano’s domination with Dinkys by selling pocket toys at a much cheaper price, available all over Britain at the time.

There has been a lot written about Hornby, Smith, and Odell, but this book also includes some history of the people at Mettoy.    Van Cleemput is already well-known and is covered here.  However, I learned a lot about the Ullmann and the Katz families and their involvement with the success of Corgi Toys.  In fact, Giles Chapman wrote Arthur Katz’ obituary for the Independent (1999).

If you would like the read about all three companies and their high-level rivalries, please read this book.  The author writes in a very engaging style and brings both the history and nostalgia into the story.

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More about Plastic Military Models from Politoys

By Robin Godwin


My quest to acquire all the Politoys plastic military range has resulted in new information, for me at least. I recently purchased #18, Auto Anfibio (DUKW) from a Mexican vendor. Well actually it’s made by McGregor, that unlikely sounding Mexican company that received many of the old Politoys dies. I’ve never seen a full listing of McGregor production and, until this listing, did not know that the early plastic military dies had also gone to Mexico (even Paolo Rampini does not list them). I don’t have the Politoys version to compare, but the wheels are obviously McGregor originals, and not from Politoys tooling. This is a real shame, as it transforms a reasonably accurate model into a very toylike version, sitting way too high. Usually McGregor added their name to the base and replaced “Made in Italy” with “Hecho en Mexico” but this model has merely had the die ground out a bit to obscure “… in Italy”. It appears also that the die was changed to remove the separately attached spare wheel/tire that was carried on the rear deck of the Politoy. Perhaps the very wide McGregor wheels were unsuitable for this application.

One of the original points in this ongoing series of articles on plastic military vehicles (that started 20 years ago in MAR 109, March 1997) was to compare the Politoys models with the originals from which they were apparently copied. In the very first article, I admitted that I did not know from which original this DUKW had been copied, even though I owned the superb French Dinky #825. A couple of subsequent letters to the editor led to the consensus that it was indeed copied from the French Dinky. But a side-by-side comparison shows that everything about the two models is different (see photos), so I believe this model was not copied from the Dinky, even though release dates are compatible. It should be noted that all the Politoys copies have some subtle differences from the originals (including scale), but these two DUKWs simply do not look to be related. Since these Politoys date from the early 1960s, I’ll have to redouble my search for a contemporary model that may have provided the inspiration.


2769 McGregor top, and Dinky bottom. The Politoys spare wheel/tire would have sat at the top rear – another difference from the Dinky

2770 McGregor top, with missing prop at rear. Note die modification to obscure “… in Italy”

2772 French Dinky #825 from 1963. Not, in my opinion, the inspiration for the Politoy

2771 The McGregor. Not sure when this actually dates from, but the Politoy original is thought to have been issued in 1964, as #18 in a series of only 19 vehicles

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Happy New Year 2017… With a Dinky Snow Plough

By Chris Sweetman

Dinky Toys Supertoys 958 Guy Warrior Snow Plough 

Dinky Toys released their Guy Warrior Snow Plough in January 1961 under their Supertoys brand, and it remained in their range until 1966. In the July 1964 catalogue it was in the M Group price category and retailed at 13/- in the UK. Price categories were introduced by Lines Brothers after their take-over of the Meccano Group on Valentine’s Day 1964 to simplify price structure and make it easy for both dealers and customers alike. M could be short for miscellaneous as all models in this group were different prices.

What one got for 13/- was an impressive model complete with windows, an elevating plough unit which raised and lowered by means of two ‘hydraulic’ units and a drop down tailgate on the low-sided rear bed. To provide an indication that this was an emergency or safety vehicle, the model was provided with a blue plastic roof mounted ‘light’ and came in a spectacular colourway of yellow and black, the standard colours of natural warning worn by wasps! The plough unit was available in either black/yellow or silver grey. The former is more the likely version that you can find. Although no scale is quoted in any Dinky Toys catalogues it is likely to be 1:48th scale as this was a popular one for the Supertoys range. Marked on the baseplate: dinky supertoys snow plough made in england meccano ltd.


History of the Real Deal

In 1954 Guy entered the heavy vehicle market with the “Invincible” and the “Warrior” appeared in 1957. 1958 saw the introduction of the of the Mark II versions of these vehicles. The “Warrior” was available in either 8 or 10 ton chassis and was suitable for use as a truck, tipper, pantechnicon, and a tractor unit. The cab was a Motor Panels design and the top part could be removed to allow access to the engine and other mechanical units for easier servicing. This cab design was still available on the Otter chassis in 1966 but had been replaced by a modern design for the “Warrior” which featured a wraparound windscreen also made by Motor Panels.

Despite searching the internet and looking at my books, I still haven’t found any images of a Guy Snow Plough.


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Another Model of the Oak Ridge Quad

By Robin Godwin

Harvey Goranson’s great post on the real Quad Tractor, Trailer and 25-Pounder Gun, with his reference to the Dinky #697 set, reminded me that I recently acquired the plastic Politoys copy of the Dinky model. The Politoys is derived from the Dinky, and appears to be to the exact same scale (Dinky used 1:59 for military vehicles, but Politoys calls these plastic vehicles 1:41 scale, clearly inaccurate). Some modifications are evident in the Politoys versions, most likely concessions with the use of plastic, such as pin and hole/hole couplings (with separate pins that can get lost, or broken, like one of mine) to attach the three pieces together. The pin is actually a friction fit into the “top hole” (see pictures). Dinky used a steel “tongue” and die cast metal hole couplings, which would not have had sufficient strength in plastic. Politoys added some detail, such as bolt head/rivet fasteners on the gun chassis. For some reason other than just using plastic, they also made the Quad Tractor front windows considerably larger, which effectively lowered the hood (bonnet) line. My Politoys Quad has two square metal slugs attached to the inside base of the model, which gives it some heft; they definitely look factory installed, but I don’t know for sure.

My Dinky vehicles are separates; the #688 Quad is a later version than Harvey’s, with interior windows and plastic wheels. The #687 25-Pounder is also a later issue with plastic wheels. The Politoys also comes with wheel variations – a patterned wheel and smooth disc wheels, but I’m not sure which came first. While Dinky sold theirs as a set alongside separate models, the Politoys was only ever sold as a set, #6 in their Veicoli Militari form the early ’60s.

Image 1#1 Same 1:59 Dinky scale evident

Image 2#2 Plastic pins are press fit into top holes, and hook through bottom holes. Note patterned wheels

Image 3#3 Larger windows and lower bonnet line on the Politoys

Image 4#4 Coupling details for the Politoys. The pin for the trailer is broken at the 90 degree point. Previous owner of this model added some black paint to the gun for detail, which I’m a bit afraid to try and remove

Image 5#5 Additional detail in the Politoys casting

Image 6#6 Metal weights visible in wheel arches

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An Old Dinky Toy Comes Alive in Oak Ridge

By Harvey Goranson


In 1957 Dinky Toys issued No. 697, the 25-pounder field gun set, consisting of a field artillery tractor (FAT), a munitions trailer, and the 25-pounder field gun. Dinky also released the pieces separately (686 gun, 687 trailer, 688 FAT). Here’s mine:


Imagine my surprise when I spotted this at the Secret City Festival’s WW2 display/re-enactment in Oak Ridge, TN USA:

Production of the Morris Commercial C8 FAT, known as the “Quad”, began in October 1939 and continued until war’s end. It had 4-wheel drive and was designed from the outset to tow the limber and gun, or two limbers.


If the Dinky had an interior, this is what it would look like. The Quad could carry a six-person gun crew, plus two dozen rounds of 25-pounder ammo.


The ring on top of the limber is a traversing ring to enable the field gun to be rotated 360 degrees.  Dinky left this detail off.


Here’s the gun itself, and as evidence they got the correct artillery piece, see the detail below:


“Saddle. 25 Pr.”

From what I can tell, I think both the Dinky and the real thing are the Quad Mk. II version (1940-41).

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