Atlas Editions Classic Coach Collection UK Models Review

With the upcoming release to UK model retailers of virtually all the models issued in the Atlas Edition's Classic Coaches Collection Partwork, I thought it might be the right time to publish a review looking at the ten UK models issued in this collection.

The first thing worth pointing out, is although the Atlas publicity for the collection states the scale of the models is 1/76, the fact is the majority of the models in this series are actually 1/72 scale. In fact only the later six UK models, which are based on Corgi OOC tooling meet the advertised scale. More over if you do manage to remove the triangular headed security screws holding the model to its plinth, you will find the scale clearly printed on the model base.

Apart from the ten OOC based models, all the others are believed to have been produced by IXO. All the non-UK models are re-issues of models previously issued in the European Bus Collection which was available in various parts of mainland Europe. Indeed the the only difference between UK issues is that they're mounted on a smooth plinth while the earlier European bus issues have a cobble stone effect plinth that also states the date of the vehicle depicted.

I'm going to give a brief review of each of the UK models in the order that they were originally issued.

The first model code shown is the Atlas part number printed on the model packaging, the second MAG code is that used by wholesaler John Ayrey Die-cast who are importing & distributing the models to UK retailers.

4642 101 / MAG JE01 – 1/72 scale
Review Score: 7/10
1951 Leyland Tiger Cub Burlingham Seagull Coach – J.T. Whittle & Sons

Registration: HNT 462
Destination: Blackpool

This model is the first of four new 1/72 scale UK coach models produced for this collection. Finished in the dark blue & red livery of this Worcestershire based operator the model features a one piece die-cast bodyshell. The side windows are single plastic inserts which have the window supports and vents moulded into them. These raised areas have then been over painted in silver to enhance the effect. The fit of all the glazing into the body is excellent on this model with no noticeable gaps around the edges.

The front & rear bumpers are part of the base and have been painted silver. This gives them a slightly raised effect which looks very authentic.

This model has a lot of chrome trim which has all been reproduced using silver paint, the application has been well executed with sharp edges and excellent alignment with the raised areas on the casting.

The side and rear lights are tempo printed, but the front headlights & sidelights are clear plastic inserts which have silver painted surrounds.

There's a nice Leyland Tiger badge on the front and a good re-production of the fleet name on the rear boot doors. Wipers are moulded into the windscreen and picked out with silver paint. The model also has driving mirrors which are painted to match the body and have a silvered rear. These do have rather chunky support arms but are otherwise acceptable.

The overall appearance of the model looks pretty good although compared to the OOC version it does appear that the height & width are slightly out of proportion somewhere.

It should be noted that a limited number of almost identical 1/76 scale models were also produced for a trial for a proposed “Great British Coaches Collection” during early 2013.

The model sent out to respondents to the magazine advertisements placed for this collection were produced for Atlas Edition by Corgi using their existing OOC tooling.

A photograph of the real coach can be found on flickr.

4642 102 / MAG JE02 – 1/72 scale
Review Score: 7/10
1967 Bedford VAL Plaxton Panorama Coach

Registration: JUA 320E
Destination: Excursion

The second model issued was this 1/72 scale Bedford VAL twin steering axle coach. Finished in the rather plain cream livery of Wallace Arnold Tours it features several chrome finished parts and a one piece body shell.

The chrome parts are the bumpers, front grille surround, wheel hubs & rear light surrounds. The rest of the chrome trim is reproduced with silver paint which works fairly well except for the wide waistband and grille at the front, the semi matt paint finish looks a bit out of place compared to the other shiny chrome parts.

The rear side windows are single piece inserts which have the supports printed on in silver. The wider upright supports at the front are part of the diecast body, generally the glazing fit is fairly good, although there's a slight gap along the lower edge of the side windows.
This model also has roof lights which have orange tinted glazing.

The lights on the model are all separate inserts, the front ones are clear plastic while the rear chrome ones have the red and orange lights reproduced using paint.
Reproduction of the Wallace Arnold fleet names, WA logo and Bedford badge are also excellent.

Wing mirrors are fitted but do appear rather heavy, windscreen wipers are once again moulded into the front screen and picked out with silver paint.

Another good model, although I do feel the earlier Corgi OOC version is probably better proportioned overall, particularly in regards to the wheel sizes.

Casting wise this is probably the best of the UK models in this collection.

A photograph of the real coach can be found on flickr.

4642 103 / MAG JE03 – 1/72 scale
Review Score: 10/10
1944 Bedford OB Duple Vista Coach – Ron W. Dew (Dewsway Tours)

Registration: CUT 465
Destination: Private

Yes this is yet another new tooling of the Bedford OB Duple Vista. However it has to be said this is a rather good version which is definitely an improvement over the Corgi OOC version.

The model is actually based on a heritage vehicle owned by the Cambridgeshire based operator Dews Coaches. The real vehicle is actually based on a Wartime Bedford OWB chassis, this originally had a wartime utility bus body which was replaced with the current coach body at a later date.

The green & light grey livery appears to be a good colour match and includes good reproductions of both the Dewsway Tours emblems and rear Ron W. Dew name.
Other detailing includes a Bedford badge on the radiator & Duple badges on the bonnet sides and rear bumper.

Most of the chrome work on the model is represented using silver paint however the front wheel hub covers are chrome plated parts.

The glazing is a good fit into the bodyshell which is again a one piece casting. The upright side window supports are a mix of cast & tampo printed elements.

Small mirrors are fitted and although not perfect are still acceptable. Like the previous pair of models the mirrors are painted & have a silvered rear. The wipers are moulded into the window glazing & over painted.

All the lights on this model are painted on features, these are neatly applied and the rear lights even have fine silver surrounds.

Casting wise this is probably the best of the UK models in this collection.

A photograph of the real coach can be found on flickr.

4642 104 / MAG JE04 – 1/72 scale
Review Score: 7/10
1999 Scania L94 Van Hool Alizee T9 Coach – The Kings Ferry

Registration: R1 KFC
Destination: None

This models carries the distinctive yellow & green livery of the Kent base operator The Kings Ferry. The model is based on one of the operators Scania L94 coaches and is the most modern vehicle represented in the entire collection. It was also the final 1/72 scale UK model issued in the collection.

The livery application is fairly complicated on this model but overall its been reproduced very well. The only minor thing on my example was that the red & gold side crown logo's were slightly wonky.

The one piece body shell has upright window supports, however it also as a single piece side glazing unit which overlays these & has black supports printed on it.
Sadly this model is let down by the front corner windscreen casting supports, being yellow these rather stand out behind the black edged windscreen glazing.

At the rear there is a nice representation of the light clusters, clear tinted plastic inserts are used to good effect. The small front headlights are painted on in silver like the orange indicators above them.

Tampo printed detailing includes Van Hool badges, marker lights & door outlines.

Again wipers are moulded into the windscreen and finished with black paint. The driving mirrors also look good.

Overall still a good model which captures the T9 body very well. Sadly this bright livery rather highlights the somewhat heavy casting around the windscreen area.

A photograph of a similar real vehicle can be found on flickr.

4642 109 / MAG JE09 – 1/76 scale
Review Score: 7/10
1965 Leyland Leopard Plaxton Panorama Coach – Samuel Ledgards

Registration: AUM 414C
Destination: Ledgards

After a break of of four models Atlas's next UK offering came in the form of a 1/76 scale model based on the Corgi OOC tooling.

This model wears the light blue & cream livery of Leeds based Samuel Ledgards and is based on a vehicle new in 1965.
Construction wise the model has a die-cast lower body & roof which forms a sandwich around the clear plastic glazing unit on to which all the window detailing is tampo printed.

Livery application is good with no paint bleed between the colours. The chrome trim is in most part represented with silver paint, with only the front grille surround featuring a proper chrome effect finish.

There's a good representations of all the fleet names & the small Bedford badge on the front.

The lights are all reproduced with paint and this model doesn't have any wipers. On the plus side the mirrors are much better than those on the earlier Bedford VAL version.

The model has pose-able front wheels which on this model seem to be very good.
There is however one major problem with the wheels & hubs fitted to this model.
Atlas have fitted the smaller diameter wheels that are usually only used on the Bedford VAL version of the Corgi models. This makes the model sit very low to the ground, and means the wheels look a bit odd in the larger wheel arches.

A photograph of the real coach can be found on the site.

Overall a good model representing a popular operator.

4642 110 / MAG JE10 – 1/76 scale
Review Score: 7/10
1997 ? - Bova Futura Coach – Allander Travel

Registration: 7921 AT
Destination: None

The next Corgi OOC based model features the striking livery of Scottish operator Allander Coaches of Milngavie, this livery has a black base with silver & orange decoration. Once again the application is spot on. The red edged gold Allander side & windscreen fleet names are accurately applied along with all the lights which are painted features.

Construction wise, the model is mostly diecast metal with just the windows being plastic, these have tampo printed upright window supports. The roof is a separate diecast component. The driving mirrors look correct for the vehicle, wipers feature on this model but are just printed on the windscreen.

Unfortunately this model has pose-able front wheels, these weren't great on the original Corgi versions and aren't up to their purpose. If not posed carefully they give the appearance that the model has been stepped on!

So a nice model only let down by the rather poorly designed front wheel assembly.

A photograph of the real coach can be found on flickr.

4642 111 / MAG JE11 – 1/76 scale
Review Score: 6/10
1997 – Volvo B10M-62 Plaxton Premiere Coach – Excelsior Holidays

Registration: A7 XEL / Fleet Number: 431
Destination: None

For the next model we head off to the South Coast and find the cream & red livery of Bournemouth based Excelsior Holidays applied to a Plaxton Excalibur coach. The design of the livery seems to match the real vehicle very well, unfortunately the same can't be said for the shade of cream which is far too yellow in colour.

This model, like the Bova also has some really poorly designed Corgi pose able front wheels, these buckle under the weight of the model.

Detailing wise, the lights are all painted on as are the wipers. The mirrors are good on this model however. Construction consists of a diecast lower body & roof with a plastic glazing unit in between.

Overall one of the poorer models which seems to show its age and lack finer casting detail.

A photograph of a similar real vehicle can be found on flickr.

4642 112 / MAG JE12 – 1/76 scale
Review Score: 8/10
1997 – Volvo B10M-62 Van Hool Alizee Coach – York Pullman

Registration: B18 KJT
Destination: None

Another Corgi casting for this model, which happily doesn't have pose able front wheels!

This former Wallace Arnold Tours vehicle (new as P311 VWR), carries a fairly simple but eye catching cream based livery with maroon, yellow & orange decoration. Fleet names and company emblems are all neatly reproduced.

Although this is one of Corgi's earlier OOC toolings, it nevertheless has a good level of detailing and captures the Van Hool Alizee body styling extremely well.

The mirrors look good, and like the other OOC models the wipers are printed onto the windscreen. All the lights are painted on, but unlike the Excalibur mentioned above are also moulded into the casting giving them some depth.

Construction uses the standard Corgi method of diecast lower body, plastic windows and a metal roof.

Overall another very acceptable model of a company rarely modelled.

A photograph of the real coach can be found on flickr.

4642 114 / MAG JE14 – 1/76 scale
Review Score: 9/10
1960 – BMMO CM5T Motorway Coach – Midland Red

Registration: 837 HHA / Fleet Number: 4837
Destination: Coventry Motorway Express

The red, black & white livery of Midland Red features on the next model. This model is up to the standards of the Corgi versions and the only feature missing being the etched windscreen wipers which are printed on the screen instead.

Livery is cleanly applied with silver paint used for the chrome trim and bumpers. The black roof has a white centre. Fleet names & emblems are all present & correct.

The metal roof & lower body sandwich the plastic windows component which has moulded & painted window surrounds.

All the lights are applied using paint, and the mirrors look correct.

Midland Red fans should be pleased with this model.

A photograph of the real coach can be found on flickr.

4642 116 / MAG JE16 – 1/76 scale
Review Score: 5/10
1997 – Plaxton Excalibur Coach – Trent Barton Trans Peak

Registration: R62 RAU
Destination: Nottingham via Bakewell Matlock Derby

This is the final UK model issued in the collection at the time of writing, and sadly its also probably the worst model in the series. Let me explain why.

Well the first problem is the vehicle modelled R62 RAU was actually fitted with the lower height Premiere style body with the more vertical windscreen. The second problem is the cable car image depicted on the model, this was never applied to this particular vehicle or as far as I can tell any other in this livery. One final issue is the Corgi casting which like the Excelsior Holidays model reviewed above, has poor pose able front wheels and a casting that lacks the fine detailing.

On a positive note the livery is otherwise fairly accurately applied, although the dark green should continue across the front of the vehicle, and I think the lighter green is a shade off the correct colour.

A photograph of the real coach can be found on flickr

A bit of a sloppy job really which falls well short of the mark when compared with the rest of the models in this collection. Only acceptable, if you can overlook the errors!

Most of these models can be obtained for less than £16 now, so their certainly value for money. They work out much cheaper than obtaining them direct from Atlas Editions, and you can also pick & choose exactly what you want.

At the time of writing this, model number thirty had just been released, and it wasn't yet known exactly how many more models were planned by Atlas for this collection.

With twenty four of the first twenty six models issued already sourced by John Ayrey, I really wouldn't suggest anyone now signs up with Atlas Editions for this collection, or indeed most of their other current diecast model offerings, these are similarly being passed on to model wholesalers at discounted prices.

If you're interested in some of the other mainland European offerings, please check out the Classic Coach Collection section on this site for further details & photographs.

 Model Review Index