EFE 23501 Leyland Atlantean - Edinburgh Corporation
Released July 1997

A Retrospective by
Donald Grant

Released in July of 1997 this EFE release quickly proved to be a very popular model with collectors and is still much sought after and relatively rare nine years after it was released. It is not seen at swapmeets or toy fairs too frequently and like the Bournemouth version often commands around 30 for a near mint example.

The model itself is based on ECT's fleet number 812 (EWS 812D) and does capture the look of the prototype very well indeed although I suspect that the casting itself started life as the Park Royal version of the Atlantean. The same casting is also used to represent the Alexander bodied Daimler Fleetline as well as Atlanteans from other fleets. To distinguish between the different types it was only necessary for EFE to change the badge decals and the engine cover which is a separate casting riveted on.

812 was one of a batch of around 25 delivered to Edinburgh with the small bus windows, all of the remaining Atlanteans having the larger panoramic windows fitted. The bulk of Edinburgh's Atlanteans were also dual door. As what might be called a generic or "one size fits all" casting there are some features on the model which differ from the prototype and to the eye of an Edinburgh man they do stand out somewhat but at the same time don't detract from the model itself. The model has a split upper deck rear window/emergency exit. On the prototype it is a single pane of glass. The indicator immediately behind the entrance door on the model should be where the nearside fleet number has been applied and it's offside counterpart should also be in the lower position just forward of and slightly higher than the front wheel-arch. There should be no fleet number on the nearside and the entrance door should be two leaf not four. However as I've already said it doesn't detract from the overall look of the model and it sits well within my collection. I also have to mention that along with the other Edinburgh and Lothian Region Transport models in their range EFE manage to get far closer to the correct shade of madder than Corgi does. It is however a very frustrating colour to match. That is evidenced when seeing a bus that has had a panel repaired, even Edinburgh struggled as the madder seems to darken with age and lose it redness.

I mentioned the Bournemouth Atlantean at the beginning and with good reason. Ronald Cox as Transport Manager at Edinburgh Corporation was the man responsible for bringing the Alexander bodied Leyland Atlantean into the fleet and it's no surprise. Before he took up his post in Edinburgh he was at.........you've guessed it, Bournemouth!

In 2006 it's possible to look back at the casting with the benefit of hindsight. When it was released it was pretty much par for the course in terms of the quality of detailing on the casting but what might we get if it were being released into the market today with the advances we have seen in the technology of die-casting. I think it's certain that because it is not a half cab that we would have a one piece casting (although not perhaps from EFE) and the "ugly poles" that hold the model together would be dispensed with. Almost certainly the headlamps would be clear plastic rather than being part of the casting detail painted silver. Perhaps an opening engine cover and certainly the correct upper deck rear window. In all probability if it were to be issued by Britbus we would also see poseable wheels and at a later time a dual door panoramic window version too. Hopefully we would also see those indicators correctly positioned.

I do believe there is scope for a completely new tooling of the Alexander Atlantean. Variants were seen throughout the UK including London where it appeared as the Daimler Fleetline. Again different engine shrouds being the major difference between the various types which makes life easier for a potential manufacturer. Would I like a new casting? absolutely, and I'm sure many others would too.

LDG

The  opinions offered in the reviews on this page remain those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the of views of The Model Bus Website.

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