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Railway & Modelling Obituaries

djparkins

Adrian Swain, ABS Models

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I heard this sad news a couple of hours ago. Perhaps not unexpected by those of us whom have followed the GoG forum recently.

 

Adrian was one of the great characters of our hobby. He drove a desire for greater accuracy in models in many different scales for at least 50 years. Perhaps [one of] the most influential "small" traders of this long period. I didn't speak to, or meet, Adrian very often but knew of him via Tony Dyer and John Senior when he was making the castings necessary for their Mopok carriage kits. I will miss those occasional long phone discussions, and more recently emails and social media postings, about obscure details of some wagon or another. I'll never forget the hour plus discussion one Boxing day afternoon (how was I sober?) about the BR conversions of Warflats. I don't think he ever got to the bottom of his concerns. He was so repeatedly outspoken about the (minute) failings of some of the recent RTR models that he was moderated off of RMWeb!

 

I understand some of his kit ranges have found there way to other traders including K W Trams http://www.kwtrams.co.uk/product-category/o-gauge-kits - they appear to have more than his trams, as their website lists some road vehicles. accessories and a large number of 7mm figures.

 

Paul Bartlett

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A much misunderstood man was Adrian, I had nothing but good and informative dealings with him, including a visit to his house which was an eye opener to say the least, where it took at least two hours of interesting discussion to collect the bits I wanted.

His trailblazing in the early days has set many of us on the course of correctitude where wagons and NPCCS  are concerned, and that vast knowledge is now gone forever.

RIP Adrian, heaven will know it's got you!

 

Mike.

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Adrians whitemetal castings were my introduction to improving some of the kits I was building. The castings were very good and showed how good a craftsman Adrian was. The last time I saw him we had a discussion about the kit manufacturers he had acquired. My particular interest were the Centre Models Industrial locos but he was having to restart them from scratch. He was apologetic about them not returning for sale. I still left his stand with two brown paper bags full of castings.

 

Thanks for all your work Adrian. Rest in Peace.

Baz

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RIP.

 

I knew Adrian from my short time when a teenager at the Poole & District MRS in the late 80s, where he had one of his casting machines.

 

A fount of knowledge, undeniably, but with a very difficult personality when it came to understanding that accuracy couldn't always have top place. I remember discussions at the P&D regarding modelling third rail in OO, and his answers always came back that it had to be wrong no matter what you did as the pick up shoe on the model, if positioned correctly, couldn't be in the right place for where the rail needed to be on the track if third rail was positioned at the right distance from the running rail. Any attempt at compromise was dismissed without solution other than to model in S4/P4.

 

Anyhoo, he is a loss to the hobby, and hopefully his products can continue in other hands.

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I only met him, briefly, a couple of times. I do know however that other people in the trade who knew him better than me had a very high regard for his abilities. Yes, he could be a bit confrontational when involved in a discussion. In that, he was rather old-fashioned. We forget perhaps that norms have changed in that.

 

He has certainly had a lot of criticism in recent years for taking on other products/ranges that have then not reappeared. Quite apart from his health problems, people not in the trade do not always realise how difficult this can be. You get a large number of unidentified masters mixed up in various boxes and poorly identified moulds - most of which will be life-expired. It's a massive job to sort through it all and make up a complete kit, never mind a range of kits - and all that while trying to carry on one's existing business. 

 

In most cases, it would not have been that Adrian was over-acquisitive, it was simply that no-one else was available to take it on. We will probably see many similar scenarios as so many of our current artisan producers are not young.

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When taking on other ranges, the issue was that no one else seemed to be up to Adrian's standards, a perfectionist, maybe not, but almost!

 

Mike.

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22 minutes ago, Enterprisingwestern said:

 

When taking on other ranges, the issue was that no one else seemed to be up to Adrian's standards, a perfectionist, maybe not, but almost!

 

Mike.

 

I was trying to find the right way to say that. Almost certainly a lot of what Adrian took on by way of other products would have needed modification or complete remastering to match up to his standards.

Some of his critics seemed to think that he had taken on these ranges to deliberately kill them off. It's more complicated than that.

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11 hours ago, cctransuk said:

 

 

No longer, though. Adrian is gone, and hopefully at peace. He will be able to see now, I'm sure, that the minutae of railway modelling that so exercised him is merely a passing preoccupation - as should we all.

 

John Isherwood.

Very, very true and probably even more so given the recent events.

 

RIP Mr ABS......

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Posted (edited)

Very sad news even though I think many knew it was something that has been on the cards for a while. I didn't know Adrian other than as a customer buying kits and bits from him at EXPO EM events.

 

To me, if ABS made what I wanted, I got it from him. If they didn't I got it from elsewhere. His castings and kits were always first choice.

 

His drive for perfectionism and getting things right was legendary and played no small part in taking the hobby forward in terms of accuracy and quality.

 

I hope that the range is able to carry on in new hands. The hobby will be poorer without it.

Edited by t-b-g
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Posted (edited)

I am another sad modeller to learn of the passing of Adrain. I got to know him when he acquired the range of kits from Meteor models for whom I had made some patterns for resin kits. 

I don't accept that Adrain had a difficult personality, strong yes, perfectionist yes but then why would he compromise when he was a craftsman. The world needs more of the like of Adrain. 

 

I did a pattern for NER P4 hoppy wagon for him using works several drawings. I spent many hours going over photos and decided to go with one drawing before spending a couple of weeks making the pattern only for Adrain to reject it believing that I had made a mongrel from all the different information I had acquired. The model never appeared. 

He did ask me once to build him a LNWR brake van for his own collection which I think was a form of acceptance.

R.I.P Adrain.

Edited by airnimal
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Adrian has been a feature of my entire modelling life. Dad knew him from his time working for British Aerospace in Bournemouth and their shared modelling interest in EM and I got to know him through their conversations at shows; not only about wagons (another shared interest) and he made a point of asking after the family when I saw him at shows where dad wasn't. The point that his efforts drove what was achievable in model form forward is right and came from his skill as a pattern maker and his focus on wanting to make things that were 'right'. Given that I can understand his frustrations at the efforts of others. 

 

Yes, he was a perfectionist but an incredibly prolific one, partly because he did recognise the contradictions and compromises that making working scale models in one medium entailed. He was kind enough to say nice things about the odd thing I'd done and I accepted the critiques of things I could have done better and that - if any of us are interested in improving what we do - is something to treasure and because of that, I'll miss him.

 

Adam

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Very sad news, not unexpected as stated but still sad.

I had enjoyed numerous long email discussions with Adrian in other places and I found him to be a true gentleman. He opened my eyes to some of the so called 'experts' and could point out exactly where they were wrong AND back his opinions up with photographic evidence.

RIP Adrian

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A welcome release I think, for a man who's health and circumstances have been difficult a good many years. Very grateful for the modelling advice he gave me when young: not that I wholly agreed with his choices, but it clarified the approach I have used ever since. That is the Adrian Swain of happy memory that I will recall. RIP.

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It is sad to hear of Adrian's death. I did not know him very well but the small number of times we did speak it was a pleasure.

 

A loss to our community.

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RIP Adrian. Had been friends since meeting in BEC Models in the late sixties and building Tram Kits.

 

Lovely guy.

 

Dave Smith

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Very sorry to lose Adrian, a great bloke with vast knowledge. It was too bad some people objected to his habit of pointing out faults in commercial models - I always appreciate such knowledge even if I don't always worry about the finer questions.

 

I loved his wagon kits, which were never less than very good castings. Also greatly miss his vast stock of bits and pieces - you just cannot get this stuff now, and if you haven't got the talent/equipment/knowledge to make it yourself life gets awkward.

 

So RIP Adrian, and thanks. I never regretted a purchase I made from you, not once.

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RIP Adrian. Although not unexpected its still very sad. I'll miss our occasional chats. Fond memories of a quick chat about something on the phone turning into an hour or more. You'll be greatly missed Adian. Sleep well my friend.

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News we’ve been waiting on for some years now but no less sad for that.

 

Expo EM was the usual place for stocking up and a chat on what may appear or perhaps when from those products listed as NYA or those in his ‘in progress’ file.
 

It would be good if the ranges were to pass on to others and reappear in due course, the wagons and some of the bus kits would be particularly welcome.

 

RIP old chap.

 

 

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Sorry to hear this.  ABS components were always the 'go to' products when building and 'improving' wagon kits. I had a goodly stash of them once - no idea where they've gone!!  But I do have the GWR rail mounted crane kit in a tubular 'box'.  I'll build it one day - I promise!

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Posted (edited)

A great loss to the community, a great and generous friend. Always entertaining and ready to explain what could done to improve models rather than merely criticism. He was the stalwart of the local EMGS group in Wimborne and will be missed by everyone who knew him.

536602748_AdrianBrettSwain.jpg.16c3f7a3e59d4804a9694421272f1064.jpg

I feel privileged to have known Adrian.

 

Cheers

Edited by Jack Benson
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I also remember Adrian from my time as a junior member of Poole MRS in the 60s.  A character !  But it was an article in Model Railway Constructor about parcels vans that ignited an interest in such things that is still my excuse for having too many !

 

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Sad but not unexpected news.

I only recently came in contact with Adrian by email a couple of years back. I'm a Canadian living in the US and have a keen interest in WW1 WDLR. Adrian made it a point to answer all my questions and ask for progress photo's of my work. Even being sick, Adrian filled one last order of War Department simplexes and wagons to allow me to have enough to complete my project. Adrian you will be remembered and your fine kits will live on, fully assembled, on my railroad for years to come. Rest in piece my friend, I wish I could have met you in person. 

Larry

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Posted (edited)

Indeed, very sad to hear this. The ABS range represented a great contribution to the hobby and, as a critic, he was exacting.  There was always much to learn from Adrian, for those prepared to listen. I found that in this he was not always right, but then he was seldom wrong, even if his manner of delivery was often unpalatable and unsparing. A number of times I teased or took him to task over his inflammatory style of online posting, which he would ruefully acknowledge, though it wasn't long before his full-bloodied style would re-emerge.  Hard facts over soft skills, 

 

He was ultimately generous with both his time and his vast knowledge in support of our hobby.  He was an engaging character once you got to know him, and I found he made you think and want to do better.  I certainly miss our interactions.  God bless you Adrian, I hope St Peter is braced for when you point out how he got the Pearly Gates all wrong.

 

 

 

Edited by Edwardian
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