Adrian Swain, ABS Models

Discussion in 'Area 51' started by djparkins, 29 May 2020.

  1. djparkins

    djparkins Western Thunderer

    Not sure if this is the correct category for this message so perhaps the powers that be will please move it to another category if that is the case.

    It is with great regret I must report the passing of Adrian Swain earlier today. He had battled long and hard with cancer in recent years.

    I first met him in 1971, and a little later in my father's model shop, as he used to stock Adrian's 4mm kits, right from when he first started out as a manufacturer. His name was known to me before this however, as I enthused over an article in the October 1965 Model Railway Constructor on detailing the first two vehicles for his parcels train. I was 13 at the time and read the article on a bus, travelling home from a hard day's trainspotting at Bournemouth Central!

    In recent years, after he had placed his business in suspended animation due to his health, and we would have periodic two hour phone calls. The first hour would be about models and the second about politics and reptiles [in which we both shared an iterest].

    He takes with him an almost unrivalled knowledge of some areas of our hobby, particularly perhaps, that of freight stock from a certain era.

    No doubt details about the procurement of his ranges of kits will appear on the model forums in the coming weeks and months, and in this regard I will have an announcement of my own to make reasonably soon.

    Meanwhile, a very sad day for many of us.

    David Parkins

    Modern Motive Power
  2. Mike W

    Mike W Western Thunderer

    A very sad, though not unexpected loss to many. Adrian was a great inspiration to me and very kind. He offered to do some casting for me and didn't like one of my patterns, so made a replacement at no cost. He will be greatly missed in our household.

  3. oldravendale

    oldravendale Western Thunderer

    I'm very sorry to learn this. Adrian was a one off. In total I must have spent hours waiting to talk to him at exhibitions because he'd be in deep and generous conversation with another customer.

    A man of knowledge and generous of himself.

  4. AJC

    AJC Western Thunderer

    That is sad news, if not unexpected. Dad knew Adrian well from his time working for British Aerospace in Bournemouth and their shared EM interest Through the pair of them chatting (endlessly) at shows, over thirty years - and always asked after dad and my sisters if I encountered him solo - I learned an awful lot, particularly about the freight railway of the 20th century. I don't think he'd have objected to being called a perfectionist, but given that, he was remarkably prolific and a master of the arts of pattern making and whitemetal casting. He even said nice things about some of the things I'd made which, from someone with his knowledge and skills I took as a tremendous compliment; he was not known for flattery. I'll miss him too.

  5. simond

    simond Western Thunderer

    Sad news indeed.
    Muddysblues likes this.
  6. Lyndhurstman

    Lyndhurstman Western Thunderer

    Very sad. I never met him, but I’m grateful for his talents and expertise. He served us well.

    Rest In Peace

  7. Simon

    Simon Flying Squad

    How very sad, thank you for letting us know.

    Always good to talk to and ever so talented as others have observed.

  8. Marc Dobson

    Marc Dobson Western Thunderer

    Sad News but sadly not unexpected. He gave me some very useful pointers when I set out on my model business adventure some 20 years ago. Sadly missed.
    Marc Dobson
    Furness Railway Wagon Co.
  9. Dan Randall

    Dan Randall Western Thunderer

    Very sad news indeed. He provided a great service to our hobby over the years and his castings (and pattern making), really were top notch. R.I.P. Adrian.


  10. Andrew

    Andrew Active Member

    Living within a few miles of Adrian I was able to pop in to see him from time to time and, as others have remarked, would easily lose a couple of hours or so just chatting about all sorts of things (mostly railway related of course). He regularily made me smile because, for some strange reason, he always addressed me initially as Malcolm, not my actual name and would apologise profusely when I gently corrected him. ( shades of Trigger in Only Fools and Horses who insisted on calling Rodney 'Dave'!) He was genuinely confused as to why this happened and when I suggested that I probably reminded him of someone else with that name he would sometimes say, are you sure your not Malcolm! As the expression goes, 'you couldn't make it up'. Sitting in his lounge surrounded by a complete jungle of boxes of kits and parts he would chat away endlessly and I would be happy just to sit back and listen. I didn't fully appreciate just how well connected he was in the world of model railways and would often mention leading figures in our hobby he'd had dealings with over the years - a veritable who's who in fact.
    As others have already said, he was very generous with his time. His enthusiasm was infectious and his knowledge legendary. As Brian has observed, he was certainly a one off.

    He will be greatly missed.

  11. Peter Cross

    Peter Cross Western Thunderer

    Sad news, my thoughts are with his family.
  12. Heather Kay

    Heather Kay Western Thunderer

    Sad news, indeed, if not unexpected.

    We last visited Adrian last autumn, and took him for lunch at his local favourite pub, where discussion ranged over many things. He had been quite candid about his illness and prospects. Best Beloved and I had got to know him, first at exhibitions, then at his home, for over thirty years. A visit to Hamworthy was always an adventure, since the house was literally stuffed, floor to ceiling, with models, boxes, research material, layouts. Several models have been built from his kits, in various scales and genres, and many other models have included detail parts from his range.

    Our last contact was a brief telephone conversation while he was in hospital late last year. He was quite sanguine about his prospects, I have to say, but the dry humour remained. The last I had heard was he’d been moved to a nursing home. A great loss to our hobby.

    I am pleased that Adrian at least had time to enjoy this toy for a time, though.
  13. 7mmMick

    7mmMick Western Thunderer

    Very sad news indeed. His generous contribution to the hobby over the years can not be understated.
  14. Ressaldar

    Ressaldar Western Thunderer

    Indeed, sad news. RIP Adrian.


    Muddysblues and 3 LINK like this.
  15. alant

    alant New Member

    Sad news. RIP Adrian. Condolences to his family.
  16. Rob Pulham

    Rob Pulham Western Thunderer

    Although I never had more than a brief chat with Adrian at a hotel in Telford, we did exchange emails and he pointed out where I had made mistakes with my models once he realised that I wouldn't be offended. As others have said he was very generous and quite of ten a little packet od parts would drop through the letter box with a note telling me to replace whatever I had used with the contents.

    The last bits that he sent were some replacement wheels for this


    Which I haven't got around to doing yet but I will soon as a minor tribute.
  17. AJC

    AJC Western Thunderer

    Yes - I've got an SR eight plank (4mm) in a drawer somewhere. I'll find the whitemetal solder and say goodbye to him that way sometime this week. That strikes me as the sort of tribute that he'd like. I am, sadly, building up a small fleet of wagons made with those sorts of thoughts in mind following the deaths of Colin Parks and Richard Hollingworth, pioneers all.

  18. Lancastrian

    Lancastrian Western Thunderer

    Sad news indeed. I didn't really get to know Adrian, but I admired his freight kit range immensely. Thank you for passing this onto us all David.

  19. John Bradshaw

    John Bradshaw Member

    Very sad news, I never knew Adrian personally but admired his modelling skills and knowledgeable insights. Whilst his views on models could be robust they were always well observed and genuine.
    Mike W likes this.
  20. Arun

    Arun Western Thunderer

    I met Adrian on many occasions - We shared an interest in London Transport buses, trams and LT service vehicles - all of which were represented in his 00 range of models. The last time we both had adjacent stands was at Telford a few years ago when he asked me to keep an eye on him over the weekend as, with his heart condition, it was always useful having a physician nearby! We met and communicated a few times over the years both at shows and down in his home cum white metal foundry round the corner from Royal Marines Base, Poole.
    I was always a bit leery about accepting tea in Poole as the room next door to the kitchen had several tons of white metal castings in it!
    He accepted with grace the constraints that several likely terminal conditions placed on him and, if the dealings that we had latterly regarding tram motors were anything to go by, he was planning layouts and new powered trucks right up until the last.
    I'll miss him and his encyclopaedic knowledge of matters modelling - even though his similar knowledge of wagon prototypes could seriously irritate those who produced commercial models having done less research than he had!

    Paul Coles of KW Trams has taken over Adrian's tram kits and the Model Bus Federation has just announced that it has taken over his 1/76 model bus kit catalogue. No doubt others will announce themselves idc.

    RIP Adrian.