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Tony Brown of the UK just died today far too young of a brain aneurysm. Tony was born in Soham on April 14th 1963, and attended Warwick University in Coventry, having graduated in 1984.
He had an extensive collection of early Meccano sets as well as 20’s era brown box Gilbert. He also had a very rare 80% stocked Meccano’s dealer’s extra parts cabinet with many rare Short lived parts, it caused quite the stir in England as many of those parts just could not be found. Naturally he set about rounding it out to be 100% stocked, that dealers cabinet was his pride and joy. He was very fond of feeding the wildlife in his back yard and was a lifelong Shakespeare fan.
He was also quite fond of all things steam powered traction engines and locomotives in particular. He was quite excited when I told him about the west coast restoration project for the Union Pacific “big boy” 4-8-8-4 locomotive and we both followed that project closely. I remember him speculating how many Hudson sets would be required to make one like it.
He was not at all into Football (soccer) even though I was, his hometown team Cambridge United had just won the FA trophy and been promoted back into the professional league a few years ago but Shakespeare was his main passion outside of metal construction toys. Every time I tried to talk about football he adeptly changed the subject.
When I first met Tony I had only been into type III 70’s era Gilbert, he introduced me to Joel Perlin and the joys of the 1927 #8 Trumodel set in particular and the brown box sets in general. He had followed me into the #12 1/2 50’s era Robot sets and had he bought Joel’s last one that I needed to complete an inside straight of five consecutive years, my 12 1/2 collection will now be a four-flush as Joel so aptly put it. When we had first met he was very proud of a Hudson locomotive set he found in Cambridge that was missing many parts, I remember selling him on joining our group so he could have access to the graphics and manuals. He really wanted to build that locomotive, Joel helped him part it out and naturally he then wanted the tended. Just before he passed away he had started on parting out a Zeppelin set.
He really did like his extensive collection of early Marklin and Meccano sets being quite the expert in the subtle colour variations. He had a lot of them and was proud of their completeness with proper period parts, he was especially fond of the high end early larger Marklin & Meccano sets having built on his father’s collection adding the larger sets from other years I remember him being quite proud of a batch of early American Mecano painted metal pieces he found in England which had distinctly different shadings. He was a regular contributor to the New Zealand Meccano group and there are many albums of his rather large models there. He remarked to me once that with Meccano the models were so large that they needed their own room so he had to take them apart after their builders shows over there in the UK, he seemed to always be getting ready to go to one.
He passed away yesterday, we had received news of it shortly afterwards and it was like a punch to the gut. My thoughts go to his widow Marie and all of the many outstanding sets and parts she is now faced with. They had no children but he did have a niece Kayliegh His favorite dog Timmy had just died a few weeks before he did which gives me pause to consider just how fragile life is, perhaps there is something to be said for living for the moment as the here and now will never come again ?
– Greg Guidarelli, Sylmar California
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