New for Autumn 2021 – Improving Ready to Run and Kit Built Stock with Karl Crowther

Tank WagonOriginally scheduled for Autumn 2020 Karl Crowther will be running a course on improving ready to run stock and kits. Over recent years the quality of ready to run stock has improved, however there are still things that can be done to improve these items or to turn one item into another variant, thus adding your own unique items of rolling stock. The same is true of many of the kits available on the market, with the addition of etched or cast components a kit may be transformed.

In this course Karl will discuss and demonstrate some of the things that can be done and the techniques he uses to transform and improve various wagons, coaches or locomotives, both off-the-shelf items and kits. The planned demonstrations will include

  • Prototype information sources, both in print and online
  • Upgrading brake gear, including the use of etched components
  • Conversion to EM & P4
  • Use of etched W-irons 
  • Compensation and springing
  • Buffers, springs/axleboxes and other castings
  • Complete replacement underframes
  • Correcting dimensional and other errors
  • Handrails and other small details
  • Coupling systems (3-link/screw, Dingham, Sprat & Winkle, Alex Jackson)
  • Transfers
  • Basic painting & weathering

He will mainly be concentrating on 4mm scale items, however participants are free to work in their favoured scale. As with all courses at Missenden Karl will also be on hand to offer advice, help you with your projects and make suggestions as to how to make further improvements.

The other important factor in Missenden weekends is looking at the projects your fellow attendees are working on, swapping ideas and tips and seeing how they do things.

Participants should bring with them projects to work on over the weekend, a selection of components and the tools they will need. Karl has produced a useful list of suggested items and suppliers that can be found in the document Improving RTR & Kits Tool List Autumn 2021.

Andrew Thompson & Chris Hopper to become new weathering tutors

AndrewWagonMick Bonwick had already announced his intention to retire from tutoring at the end of the year and as a result plans had already been underway for a transition to two new tutors for the courses from 2022 onwards. Mick’s untimely death has accelerated this change and from the Autumn of 2021 Andrew Thompson and Chris Hopper will jointly undertake the role of tutoring the weathering room. Both Andrew and Chris have attended Missenden as pupils under the tutorage of Mick Bonwick and have contributed to our virtual events held during the Covid-19 pandemic. Andrew uses some different techniques used around the use of oils and pastels whilst Chris is predominately an airbrush weatherer. 

The first course that will be offered under the new tutors will focus on weathering without an airbrush and there will be some places for returnees working on their own projects. Subsequent courses will re-introduce more airbrush based weathering, it is hoped we will be able to support and tutor techniques of both moving forward either in a single course or on a alternating basis.

Returning to Missenden Abbey

AbbeyThe pandemic has caused the cancelled of two successive Summer Retreats and both the Autumn 2020 and Spring 2021 weekends. We are currently planning the Autumn 2021 weekend and are extremely hopeful of a return to the traditional, in-person format Missenden Railway Modellers Autumn weekend this October. We are closely monitoring the Covid-19 situation and will only proceed with the event if there is a high degree of confidence that it can proceed safely for all those involved.

Current indications are that the event will be able to proceed however there may be additional requirements such as vaccine status, pre-attendance lateral flow tests and some on-site precautions for those attending in order to ensure the safety of the modellers, tutors and Abbey staff.

Autumn 2021 booking to open September 1st

Booking for the Autumn 2021 weekend will open on September 1st 2021. The weekend will feature a new course from Karl Crowther on Improving RTR Stock along with old favourites.

  • 4mm Locomotive Kit construction – Tony Gee and Jerry Clifford
  • 7mm Locomotive Kit construction – Kevin Wilson
  • Introduction to DCC – Pete Brownlow
  • Track Building and Laying – Norman Solomon
  • Improving Ready To Run Rolling Stock – Karl Crowther
  • Weathering – Chris Hopper and Andrew Thompson – Mick had already announced his intention to retire from tutoring at the end of the year.  The course will focus on weathering without an airbrush and there will be some places for returnees working on their own projects.  More details are available on the website here

Prices for the Autumn Weekend remain unchanged at £335 residential and £215 non-residential.
Full details and how to book are on our website at :-

Mick Bonwick

Mick Bonwick - Weathering

It is with great regret that we have to announce that Missenden Railway Modellers organiser and weathering tutor Mick Bonwick has died. We are sure all those who have attended our events at Missenden Abbey, met Mick at various model railway exhibitions or interacted with him via our virtual events will share in the sadness that his family and those involved with Mick feel at this time. All of our thoughts go out to his wife Ann and the rest of his family.


There have been many tributes paid to Mick and you can read some of them on our Facebook page or  RMWeb .