Primarily, they’re all about the skills associated with railway modelling – acquiring them, polishing them, developing them, demonstrating them, expanding them, passing them on. Different skills apply to everything we do, and without them we’ll struggle. Learning how to solder, how to use an airbrush, how to programme a DCC locomotive, how to build scenery, how to wire up your track – these are the essentials of railway modelling. Whatever level you’re aiming for, our courses are designed to equip you with the skills necessary for taking an active and enjoyable interest in the hobby.
As well as covering the basics, our policy is to offer courses based around the latest developments in the hobby, such as laser cutting, CSBs, servo control, the latest materials and techniques in areas such as weathering and structures and especially the growing impact of digital technology. We also recognize that even experienced modellers sometimes need a refresher course, or want to explore aspects of modelling they’ve never previously dabbled in.
Almost any you’d care to name. Most of our courses – such as Weathering, or Scenics, or Electronics – aren’t scale-specific, but reflect the general popularity of the different scales and gauges. While 4mm and 7mm naturally predominate, we also have modellers working in 2mm, 3mm, HO, S scale and their narrow-gauge equivalents. Our bias is definitely finescale but we have one regular who builds locomotives for his Hornby Dublo three-rail layout, and of late we’re seeing growing interest from 16mm scale modellers.
Not in the least. Our meetings have the warm, intimate, informal atmosphere of a club and indeed we have many people who come along year after year, session after session. But there’s no club as such, merely a loose-knit association of people who enjoy coming to the Abbey (and coming back time and again) to improve their skills and enjoy the company of like-minded individuals and learn from our experienced tutors.
We do not have a regular arrangement for paying by instalments for the Weekends but there is a system for the Summer Retreat, details of which are available on request. If you have problems paying all at once for a Weekend, have a word with the Course Organiser (use our Contact Us)
Not a bit of it. Missenden is just a few miles south of Aylesbury on the A413. It’s about 20 minutes from J18 on the M25. Couldn’t be easier to reach by car or train – we have one regular who travels by bus and for visitors from abroad Heathrow is close at hand (not that you’d notice it amid these wooded Chiltern hills) . . . Have a look at the Location page.
Very good. The Facilities are as good as many equivalent hotels – as you’d expect from a top-class management college. But please be sure to book early as we have only a finite number of rooms available at the Abbey. We can always take late bookings but it may sometimes be necessary to offer you B&B of equivalent quality elsewhere in Great Missenden.
The Catering at Missenden is very good. The breakfasts are something else and we work closely with the Abbey to enusre the menus contain provides modeller-friendly grub for lunch and dinner, served buffet-style with plenty of choice. The Abbey staff are very happy to accommodate particular dietary needs. Do use the Contact page if you have any queries.
Yes of course. The fee is adjusted accordingly. When making your booking, please be sure to specify that you don’t require accommodation at the Abbey.
Of course. And don’t forget that ours is just one of many courses available at the Abbey – have a look at www.missendenabbey-al.co.uk/arca/ to see if other courses are running at the same time. We often have husbands doing the Railway Modelling courses while their wives do something more useful and/or socially acceptable. The Abbey Website has many ideas about what to in the local area
In principle, the sooner you let us know exactly what you’d like to do, the faster we can allocate you to a particular group. The initial booking page does ask you to select the group you want to join. In practice, you book for the weekend you want and then, 4-6 weeks ahead of time, you’ll normally receive an email asking you to state which particular course you want to do if you have not already done so. Our tutors are happy to discuss any aspect of your proposed course and they’ll do all they can to deliver exactly what you want providing you let us know in good time.
We like to stay abreast of developments in the hobby at the same time as we ring the changes with the courses. Nothing stays the same for very long. Five years ago, for instance, we could see that weathering was very much the coming thing so we brought in a tutor specifically to run a weathering group. It’s now one of the most popular courses we offer. The electronics courses are always cutting-edge and new technology is a regular feature of our Autumn gathering.
If you want to be kept up to date, let us know via the Contact Us page
Clip-together track and Thomas the Tank Engine are a bit beyond our scope, to be honest, but we could certainly give you advice. Missenden is primarily about acquiring the skills necessary for building models to finescale standards, usually from kits. The typical Missenden railway modeller already has basic experience of the hands-on aspects of the hobby and wants to take things further. The information you need to start with is readily available in a number of ways such as in the Railway Modelling magazines stocked by many newsagents, at a local model railway club or at model railway exhibitions. If in doubt contact us
Some of the groups cover very specialized topics. Do they need a minimum number of bookings before they run?
Some courses – such as Track Building with Norman Solomon, or Tim Watson’s Advanced Loco Construction –nornally only run at the Spring Weekend, while the Autumn session is where the new technology and electronics groups are concentrated. We’ve not yet had to cancel a course due to lack of numbers but we recognize that one day this may happen, and we reserve the right to do so. In the future we may offer some courses on a cyclical basis to allow us to introduce fresh subjects at the Spring and Autumn weekends.
Usually in single figures to allow the maximum amount of one-on-one tuition. In larger groups such as 4mm and 7mm loco-building, a lot of people will be working on their own projects at their own pace but the tutors will always have time for the individual.
Our courses aren’t designed for outright beginners, but we can certainly help if you’re planning to move up a notch or two from RTR-based modelling, or if you’re returning to the hobby after years devoted to work, families, gardening, DIY etc. Our approach is all about learning and developing the skills necessary for making progress as a railway modeller, at whatever level you choose – whether you’re a novice or someone who’s already had articles published in MRJ.
This usually only happens if you’re late making your booking. Even so we will do all we can to fit you in but in some instances it may be necessary to offer you an alternative. Use the contact page to discuss this with us directly.
Missenden Abbey is unique. Although we know of two or three places that provide tuition, we don’t think anyone else can offer residential courses in such high-quality accommodation with some of the best tutors in the hobby. Nor will you find such a range of course options running concurrently, with the opportunity for looking at what modellers in other groups and disciplines are doing.
Definitely. If there’s something you’d like us to cover – either as a new course or as part of an exisiting one – we’d love to hear from you. Let us know through the Contact Us page.