Goodbye Klavs (May 13, 2024)

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!

We are truly brokenhearted to announce that Adam "Klavs" Burch, a true giant of the Wing Commander community, has passed away unexpectedly. He was a dear friend to many and always a positive voice, a kind person always eager to help. His creative work was unbelievable. The artwork he created and the people he inspired and supported over the years will carry his legacy forever, cold comfort though that may be. He was a great person gone far, far too soon; we are so much poorer for having lost him.

Klavs was a true inspiration; he was someone who honed his incredible talents for artwork and aerospace in the fandom and went on to turn them into an astounding career doing the sorts of things most would only dream of. And despite the fact that he went on to design real airplanes and spaceships and imagine better tomorrows for everyone he stayed dedicated to the Wing Commander community, always giving endlessly to make it a better place. He was the best of us: a man who looked for opportunities to contribute his talent and passion to make anything better. You looked forward to a message or a post from Klavs because it meant something wonderful was due. It meant that he'd been inspired to imagine some brilliant space battle or he had another impeccable 3D model to share with other artists or he'd seen something you were working on and knew a way to add something.

It would be impossible to properly catalog Klavs' contributions to the Wing Commander community. Stop reading this right now and type "Klavs" into the search bar on the right: 384 news updates about his work going back two decades. More than one full year of Wing Commander news is just Klavs! Countless 3D modelers will use his ships as long as the community exists; lore maestros will study his work on the map and his visualization of the Hakaga attack and endless other things; we all will forever look to his compositions to further spark our own passions. And, we hope, everyone will take a great lesson from his maturity, his passion and his willingness to contribute.

Klavs' brother has posted a memorial thread on Facebook. His family asks that donations be sent to the Challenger Center, which seeks to inspire kids to pursue science education and be involved with spaceflight. In the coming days, we'll do the best we can to further memorialize him by sharing again some of what he created and gave to our community. But for now, I hope it is not too corny to eulogize him in exactly the way I would want done for myself:

We are gathered here to pay tribute to one of our own, Colonel Burch.
As we all know, the campaign for the Vega Sector has been long and hard.
No one fought harder to hold back the advancing Kilrathi horde than Klavs.
Now he has made the ultimate sacrifice for the Confederation.
Prepare arms!

We'll lift one for you at the Vacuum Breathers Club, laddie.

Original update published on May 13, 2024
I am just speechless, I have been working with him on and off on some projects lately and just, I don't know what to say. This is truly a major loss to our community and fandom.
Rest in Peace, Klavs.
You did not only brought WC into a new life with your models, you also brought a new life to those around you.
… … …
Well this is my third attempt - and I still don’t know what to write 😩
At first I thought you (@Bandit LOAF) made a joke - a bad, sarcastic one… but then I realized that April 1st was long gone 😓 I am very thankful for the eulogy you wrote for Klavs, because simply every word is so damn true!
He was an artist - a big one - and an endless inspiration: Like you said - he inspired others, like me!

His incredible work was the reason, I came back to the Wing Commander community back in 2019 - after 20 years!
Why? - Because by pure chance I had stumbled upon his “Hangar B”-Interpretations and I was so impressed by his work. His ships looked exactly the way I had imagined them as a kid playing Wing Commander 3!

And then I saw his “Wildcat” - and well, you know the Rest: My Hellcat VI only exists because of his inspirational work! I started with 3D modeling because of his work! - And I just started to dive into Substance Painter, because I wanted my models to look and feel like his 😩

So - thank you very much for everything Adam Burch! Here’s one to you 🥂 Rest In Peace now - and know that you, at the least, have deeply inspired my last few years. Farewell my wing leader!


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That's a real tragedy, way too young. Sadly I never had the opportunity to collaborate with Klavs but I always admired his work; my work machine, home, handheld, laptop - every single PC I use has a piece of his work as the wallpaper and that has been the case for years.
We were chatting just recently, planning a collaborative project for Confederation... He was clearly a genuine, passionate and talented guy, and I'd really hoped our association was to be a long one. A terrible shock and loss.
Almost exactly 12 years ago, I was a newly commissioned Ensign in the US Navy and I was stationed at NAS Pensacola in Florida for initial flight training. NAS Pensacola is also home to the National Naval Aviation Museum. In addition to many wonderful aircraft, it also has an art gallery of naval aviation related art pieces. I was looking through the art, and I found a lovely image of two F4F Wildcats circling above a carrier in the Pacific during WW2. I looked down and saw that the artist was none other than Adam Burch, callsign Klavs.

I mentioned him that I thought it was so cool that his artwork was in the NNAM. He was pleased that it was being displayed there, and asked if I could go back and take some pictures and send them to him. I was able to do it and he was overjoyed. This was just one of the many wonderful interactions I had with Klavs. For a while, his take on the Bengal was my desktop background. The Wing Commander community has never had a finer friend, and I will miss him dearly.
I am struggling with words. It feels to me like anything I can say will ring hollow in the face of the loss Adam's family faces. Like most people here, probably, I never had a chance to meet him face-to-face. I'm sure we exchanged comments dozens of times, but I can't recall any specific conversation. What I can recall - or rather, what I don't even need to recall, because it's unforgettable - is his amazing art, which simply kept getting better and better. Because Adam - well, Klavs, to me - didn't reveal everything about himself - at least, not all at once - I also remember, maybe about a decade ago, this moment of realisation that here is someone who is not simply a great fan artist, but an actual professional with many additional skills he had never felt the need to "show off". My respect for him went up a dozen levels at that point.

There were a few times when I was just on the verge of messaging him directly, asking him if he'd be interested in working on this or that project. Ironically, what kept me from doing that was precisely the knowledge that he was so much more than just a fan artist in our community. Strangely, I have no regrets on this. Sure, maybe if I had actually asked, he could have done something for a project of mine, he probably would have, because he seemed always open - but knowing now that his time in this life was so unexpectedly short, I'm glad I didn't distract him for even a moment with my requests, because it meant he had at least that little bit of time more to concentrate on what was important to him.

Finally, and maybe most importantly: as a husband and father, as someone almost exactly his age, I am so, so very sorry for those he leaves behind. I wish there were words to fully express my condolences. All I can say is: I can all too easily imagine the pain you are feeling, and the emptiness that remains.
RIP. I follow his work since he do a lot for Wing Commander Saga in the Past. Also some chats together....

Just 41... not a age to leave this world. Why?
This sucks. I always loved seeing his work. He always inspired me to continue to do 3D modeling. Wish I interacted with him more. So long Klavs
I never got the chance to know Adam better but he was kind enough to let this community to use his great work; FlatUniverse was not an exception.
I've always loved his artistic ideas and the results that came out of them. He managed to unify artistically and technically the various Wing Commander eras in a way that no other member of this community managed to do so.
We should and always be grateful for his contribution to this community.
His work will live forever.
My deepest condolences, may he rest in peace.
So sorry to read this.
I couldn't think what to write
I have always enjoyed Klavs models and artwork, the community has lost a very talented individual.
Shocked by the news. I also didn't meet Klavs personally, but he was such a central part of this community. Very very sad to see him go.
Is it known what happened? Accident? Health reasons. Much to early in any case. All the best to his family.
I've written on Twitter and on the Discord about Adam's impact on me personally, but I'll also write it down here.

A very, very large part of how I approach lore videos on my channel stemmed initially from wanting to find a way to use Klavs' Wing Commander models for my own Wing Commander work. So early on, I began picking up Blender and starting experimenting with it using his models, taking them apart and seeing how they work to fuel my own creative ambitions. Fast forward to now, and I find it astonishing to me that my level of skill is where it is now, compared to where I started. Adam's work in the Wing Commander community has essentially inspired my own, in both Wing Commander and beyond, and has been made better for it since.

When I was working on my overview of End Run, I asked Adam at some point, if he was open to lending me his Concordia model, as it was not finished and he had not released it publicly. Not only did he provide it to me free of charge, he actually had one of his own people UV Unwrap it properly. Meaning that it was ready to be textured, and given that it was a very complex model geometry wise, I'm sure it took more then a fair bit of work. He never once mentioned compensation at any point, he seemed simply happy that someone was using his work to show off the Wing Commander Universe. Since then I had tried to buy his models from Sketchfab whenever I could when he was still selling them.

To say I owe Adam big for his generous nature, is an incredible understatement. When he made his models on Sketchfab avaible freely, he thanked those who bought his models to date, saying that he owed them a steak dinner. But frankly, I was the one who owed him a Steak Dinner. Several, in fact.

So believe me when I say: Thank you Adam.