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Do youtubers contribute positively to railway modelling?


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1 minute ago, Phil Parker said:

 

You've just made @AY Mod very happy. Next time he does a review, he doesn't need to waste time doing any prototype research or crafting his photos. A few out of focus shots, read the words on the box and announce "It's a TWAIN!" and the job is done... :P

He’ll need to do it on the carpet in his slippers though :locomotive:

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Putting together YouTube video isn't that different from exhibiting a layout. You shell out lots of your own cash and many hours of your time to entertain others. At a show, there are nice comments over the barrier, on the web, you pick up likes and (hopefully) pleasant comments on your video.

 

Very few, if any, model railway YouTubers care covering their costs if you include time, materials and equipment. You've got to do it for the love of showing off - just like exhibiting a layout!

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22 minutes ago, The Johnster said:

Let's for a moment ask the question the other way around; 'Do youtubers contribute negatively to railway modelling' or perhaps, 'Do they detract from railway modelling'.  In the first case at least, I suspect most of us will come to the same conclusions as we did with the 'positively' worded question, and in the second case, I suspect the consensus would be 'mostly, no'.  YouTube is a medium open to the general public to use and post video on, so attracts the entire bonkers and otherwise gamut of human ability, oddness, mendacity, and agendae, just like the humanity itself does.  It is up to the viewer to make up his own mind how to, or indeed if, he wants to deal with it. 

 

Sam is a excellent example; personally, I find his gushing childishness irritating but have to confess that he provides a very useful means of seeing new stock running and being able to make our own assessments of it's performance and/or value for money.  I cringe at the carpet's proximity to pickups and gear trains, but try watching with Sam muted, there is useful information there.  Not as good a Jenny Emily's, which are by an experienced and knowledgeable modeller of exquisite pedigree and aimed at the sort of people who infest this site, but they have their uses nonetheless. 

 

 

Instinctively jonhster, personally and without evidence (which is good enough in the modern world right?) I feel that yes, most youtubers have a negative effect on the hobby. 

 

But I must stress this is my personal observation and I freely admit I am old fashioned and grumpy. But...

 

They take up way too much time for a start. The intros and preambles aside, which purely distract from actual hobby time (he types on rmweb whilst not doing any modelling) The more sinister side of youtube and its perpetual death scroll of content really scares me. The viewing need never end!

 

Some present in a particularly narcissitic manner, becoming more front and centre as their popularity rises and a bit more open about their predominately very comfortable living arrangements (I know that isnt mum and dads attic and I am just envious of your lovely carpet) 

 

To be honest, I find it mostly irritating. However, the influencer stuff and "donate to see thomas racing my dog" stuff is not just tedious but exploitative. Most of the reviews are not of any use either being vehicles for the small fry to recieve freebies or the big boys to ensure manufacturers keep supporting the mags through ads. 

 

Perhaps again, I am catastrophising? 

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1 hour ago, Phil Parker said:

Next time he does a review, he doesn't need to waste time doing any prototype research or crafting his photos

 

Expectations won't extend to acceptable spelling or grammar either; still, free is better isn't it?

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Despite being 58 and a person of opinion, I don't get the negativity towards YouTube.  If you find unboxing videos puerile (which I do) or those who have let their ego fly around crapping opinions out their backside tiresome (ditto) don't watch.  The world is full of wannabe TV stars and those who think becoming a "YouTube star and influencer" will make them millions and get them a golden ticket to Strictly Come Mincing on Love Island, and they can be usually spotted by their lack of grammatical ability, woeful graphic skills and over use of the "like and subscribe" motto within the first few seconds.  These sort of videos appeal to some, but not to others.  I personally have viewed a few videos which I have found very useful, like how to chip the park Royal railbus from Heljan which seems to require the combined mental and physical dexterity of a Krypton Factor contestant, and also found the Hornby mag review of the Heljan AL6 superb although even if they had said it was a load of Eartha Kitt I would have still bought them, but it was nice to see one moving.  Not wishing to blow smoke up bottoms, I found Our Phil's review of the Track Magic liquid ballast fixative on World of Railways invaluable, as it came just at the right time for my "Wednesford" project and I went and used it extensively.

So do YT videos have a positive impact?  Yes.  Those which are in the "puerile" category will appeal to like minded individuals who can establish a colony of similar viewers on their social feeds, thereby keeping them away from other sites.  Those whose ego has developed a life of it's own will appeal to other ego centric individuals and fanboys, again keeping them out of the way of others.  Those that are useful or perhaps presented in an interesting or humorous fashion, you can like or subscribe to.  You'll get a feel for the tone within a few seconds and the off tab is just a click away.  In that respect, YouTube is, despite it's free and easy anyone can say what they like attitude, a very subtle form of narrowcasting where you, the user, decide to like or follow those video channels you find interesting, useful, or fit your world view.  In any other field that can be dangerous, but in model railways, it's probably a good thing.  The YT algorithm will then serve up suggestions based on your viewing history and likes, and after a while gets very good at spotting the kind of videos you like.  For the most part I find that fine as I do most of my YT viewing on the telly, so it is getting infested with cookies, but occasionally I do go onto YT on the laptop, mainly to block video feeds and channels I don't want to see as suggestions again.  That's a useful tool if you want to reduce the exposure to certain feeds, and again helps to train the YT artificial intelligence as to your preferences.

In short, YouTube should be used like any other internet site: knowingly and with brain in gear.

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8 hours ago, e30ftw said:

I dont really see how they could be seen as a negative, maybe a minority but this would be reflected in channel size and popularity.

There are layouts for every ones taste and will get more people in to the hobby. People that will watch youtube but might not necessarily go to a model rail exhibition.

 

Reviews of new products is infinitly better on youtube rather than a written artical as you can see it in more detail as well as moving around a layout.

 

Whats not to like?

 

 

There's lots not to like. I haven't got the time to go into it and I can't guarantee that I can stop myself from being very offensive. :lol:

 

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1 hour ago, wombatofludham said:

don't get the negativity towards YouTube. 

 

This is probably a sensible approach wombat. I just have this sense that the puerile and trivial will trickle into other areas such a magazines and layouts presented at exhibitions. Youtube popularity may be used as a gauge by which to measure suitable content for mags and exhibitions. This is conjecture but it is a worry to me. 

 

I also do believe that some of the poorer quality vids do put people off. I admit I watched a kit build one recently and wondered what an outsider to the hobby might make of it.  I worry also that there is an apparent propensity of some younger folk to live vicariously through screens amd see this as perfectly fine. Perhaps it is...

 

Perhaps I just need to relax a bit. 

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8 hours ago, APOLLO said:

Then there is this ----

 

 

Brit15

After watching that I'm not sure whether I'm inspired to carry on with my little 12x3 N gauge in one end of the garage, or inspired to give up. :)

 

It certainly inspired my jealousy:

jealous of the building and all that space;

jealous of that clean shiny track!

 

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2 hours ago, Phil Parker said:

You shell out lots of your own cash and many hours of your time to entertain others.

There are definite parallels Phil. Lots of cash and time spent and apparently doubly so if recording it all for youtube. I wonder if the question should then be "does youtube contribute positively to the individual's hobby?". I assume the youtube bit becomes a hobby in its own right. In some instances to the detriment of the modelling part. 

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6 minutes ago, rab said:

After watching that I'm not sure whether I'm inspired to carry on with my little 12x3 N gauge in one end of the garage, or inspired to give up. :)

 

It certainly inspired my jealousy:

jealous of the building and all that space;

jealous of that clean shiny 

Interesting. What are we meant to take away from vids like that i suppose? I suspect the motivation of the maker is entirely pride based but does it inspire me to make models or to begin questioning every decision I ever made in life? ;-) 

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1 hour ago, rab said:

After watching that I'm not sure whether I'm inspired to carry on with my little 12x3 N gauge in one end of the garage, or inspired to give up. :)

 

It certainly inspired my jealousy:

jealous of the building and all that space;

jealous of that clean shiny track!

 

 

Having been to America the thing I am jealous of is space - they have limitless space, homes gardens etc. I have tried to model the Rock Island in the Rockies in O gauge in a  22' x 12'  garage - small by American standards - but it will have to do for me.

 

Brit15

 

 

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1 hour ago, westernviscount said:

What are we meant to take away from vids like that

 

Inspiration. 

 

Brit15

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Posted (edited)

YouTube is no different to anywhere else on the web - you need to sift the wheat from the dross. I'm astonished that anybody could think it's a negative for the hobby - there are many talented modellers posting videos, and I find it far more useful than modelling magazines.

Edited by dpgibbons
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3 hours ago, westernviscount said:

There are definite parallels Phil. Lots of cash and time spent and apparently doubly so if recording it all for youtube. I wonder if the question should then be "does youtube contribute positively to the individual's hobby?". I assume the youtube bit becomes a hobby in its own right. In some instances to the detriment of the modelling part. 

Spot on, its a hobby in itself

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Yes some excellent, most ok, so dreadful overall positive, especially like Ron Dodd's Hornby dublo 3 rail ones very informative, to the point and I've learnt a great detail on how to fix things no book or magazine had taught me prehaps a picture can tell a thousand words. I also like all those utube "hacks" on how to fix things or make tools etc especially the Russian ones, recently discovered how to remove a blead on a car tyre without tools wish I knew that years ago. Sam's trains is another one, I watch seems to put us off buying anything new.

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Hasn't the standard advice, for decades, to newcomers to the hobby, been "join a club and see what more experienced modellers are doing"? Well, what is YouTube but a vast, multi-interest, international club? Suppose your local club (even if there is one, and joining is an option) doesn't have a track building expert and you want to learn to build track. Or your interest is learning to build etched brass kits of pre-grouping prototypes and the local group only does post-privatisation rtr. Or the only bod who knows how to do figure painting won't talk to anyone who hasn't done 20 years of being club gofer? 

 

Pre-internet/YouTube, there were any number of ways that an individual modeller could find themselves isolated from the hobby at large. Now anyone with a data connection and a mobile phone can see what thousands of others are up to. 

 

That's not to mention the potential for cross-fertilisation of ideas. Military modellers, RCers, electronics buffs, slotcar enthusiasts, plastic kit builders, dolls-house creators, photography experts, etc. all have tips, techniques and pointers that can be useful in railway modelling, and I'm sure at least some of us are able to reciprocate. That sort of potential breadth of interaction just isn't going to happen in most clubs. 

 

On the downside, as others have noted, YT is a largely unrestricted public platform, so it's going to contain an awful lot of dross. Unless your search skills are better than mine it's a fair bit of work sifting through the rubbish to find the useful stuff. However, I've found that I can generally tell within the first 30 seconds whether a given vid is going to be of any interest/use, and it doesn't take all that many goes to work out that a particular channel/poster isn't worth bothering with. What is/is not worth bothering with will vary for the individual viewer. Personally I avoid Sam's Trains as I find Sam irritating, and he doesn't cover much of interest to me personally. However, the apparent success of his channel suggests that others enjoy his work, and who am I to say they shouldn't?

 

Stuff like running a train set in a paddling pool is more of a stunt than railway modelling (though I'm interested to find that it works), as is stuff like "Thomas vs dog racing". It might or might not be amusing, but it's fairly obviously not railway modelling, so don't watch it if you're looking for P4 perfection. It's really not hard to tell. 

 

Then there are the vids by people who are clearly very expert in their field but who are, shall we say, somewhat challenged in the areas of public speaking, teaching and video editing, which deficiencies can overshadow the genuinely useful information. No shame in that. All those things are also skills which need to be learned, and at least they're having a go. The tedious repetition, pointless digressions, andlong pauses while repositioning the camera are easily enough avoided by skipping forward a bit. 

 

All in all, YouTube is a resource, like any other. A very useful one, IMHO. But like any other resource it requires some practice, familiarity and discrimination to use effectively. 

 

Or we could go back to maybe 3 magazines a month, containing a few dozen B&W photos and 15-20 contributors. At least they took toy trains seriously. 

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9 hours ago, dpgibbons said:

I'm astonished that anybody could think it's a negative for the hobby

 

I think this is probably a healthy response. As I say though, I think the "living vicariously through a screen" phenomena of youtube, and the very low quality and standard might inform the folk who run these platforms and other broadcasters how easily pleased we all are and reduce quality further? Doom and gloom I know.

 

I consume new media probably as much as anyone else here. Some of it is good. I enjoy podcasts, particulary signals to danger and railway mania. I just have a natural inclination to believe all this modern stuff is a distraction from the hobby and does little other than serve as a platform for those with means to demonstrate how to do something in front of a camera instead of how to do something well.  

 

 

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Posted (edited)

As others have said, there’s lots of dross and amateurish rubbish, but there are loads and loads of entertaining, informative, instructional and even inspirational videos, not only covering model railways, but a lot of subject areas.

Much of it is of very decent and sometimes, even professional or near professional quality.


I more or less gave up most TV viewing years ago and only watch news and discussion programmes, the odd documentary, travel programmes and a few bits of light entertainment and comedy. .....Oh! and quite a bit of football.

I now get much more entertainment from YouTube these days.

 

Just looking at the model railway content, I subscribe ( for the uninitiated, in YouTube terms,  that’s just bookmarking a channel and not paying for or registering for anything)...to a few channels.

 

In my opinion, Charlie Bishop’s “Chadwick Model Railway” shows our hobby in a very positive light and  (in my opinion) is a valiant and successful attempt to inspire and encourage people . Charlie must be considered an influencer ( yuk! term), because I’ve personally bought tools and other stuff he’s shown on there.

 

I also subscribe to “Model Railroading” by Larry Puckett, “the DCC Guy” and regularly watch a couple of other people’s efforts.

There are also a couple of true masters of scenic modelling, like Luke Towan, that are worth watching.

 

The badly done, or boring videos are those where the presenter drones on and on at the beginning, don’t get their facts right or have limited knowledge and awareness of a product or technique area, or are downright ignorant on the aspect they’re talking about. Then there’s kak  handed camera work, or horrible wheezing, sniffling  or heavy breathing.

If that’s all you’ve seen and are dismissive of YouTube as a medium as a result, you are missing out IMHO.

 


 

 

 

 

.
 

 

Edited by Ron Ron Ron
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I don't know that living vicariously through a screen is really more of a problem now than it was a few decades ago. An awful lot of people spent an awful lot of hours in front of the TV in the '70s, when there were 3 channels and most of the content was banal [email protected] And I'm sure the same pertained 20 years earlier, with even fewer channels, only access to the medium (basically, disposable income) limiting consumption. Plus ca change and all that. 

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21 hours ago, APOLLO said:

Then there is this ----

 

 

Brit15

This is a great example of a wonderful bit of modelling and is very impressive. It is likely to inspire, even though very few have the time, skills, money or space to achieve anything like this. I do wonder however if it may also put some people off for exactly these reasons. (this is not however a reason not to share this model). 

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16 hours ago, Phil Parker said:

Putting together YouTube video isn't that different from exhibiting a layout. You shell out lots of your own cash and many hours of your time to entertain others. At a show, there are nice comments over the barrier, on the web, you pick up likes and (hopefully) pleasant comments on your video.

 

Videos on the subject of your own model trains can be made at home (or in the garden, in my case), so you do not have to go out to an exhibition to show your trains or railway. Quite a good concept in the past period; I made more videos the past period than before. A reaction on one of my videos uploaded in May 2020 (shown below) was: "If I could choose where to be locked-down 2020 it would be your garden".

 

 

Regards

Fred

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Posted (edited)
47 minutes ago, Kris said:

This is a great example of a wonderful bit of modelling and is very impressive. It is likely to inspire, even though very few have the time, skills, money or space to achieve anything like this. I do wonder however if it may also put some people off for exactly these reasons. (this is not however a reason not to share this model). 

It doesnt put me off Kris. Given the time, money and space of these folks I doubt I would choose to produce something like that in terms of subject, scale etc. Then again, I wonder if I would do model railwaying at all, given the lifestyle money could buy ;-)

 

Generally though, I think it a denial of human nature to think these videos purely inspire. Many will feel envy and sorrow as to their lack of wherewithal and feel guilt on top of this for feeling envy in tge first place. As you say, it is not a reason to not share but it does make my question of whether youtube is a positive to people and the hobby a valid one. 

 

As people have observed, most of us can discriminate between good (useful/entertainment) and bad (useless/puerile) content. I wonder if those growing up with this media have developed skills enough to handle it, particulalrly in terms of the emotional effect it has on them. Sam's trains would have been unbearable to me as a child as much as it is to me as an adult but could I have processed how to manage watching someone be so careless with something I value and probably could not have been able to afford? I am not sure and am grateful I was grown up before facebook, youtube etc. 

Edited by westernviscount
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2 hours ago, Ron Ron Ron said:

As others have said, there’s lots of dross and amateurish rubbish, but there are loads and loads of entertaining, informative, instructional and even inspirational videos, not only covering model railways, but a lot of subject areas.

Much of it is of very decent and sometimes, even professional or near professional quality.


I more or less gave up most TV viewing years ago and only watch news and discussion programmes, the odd documentary, travel programmes and a few bits of light entertainment and comedy. .....Oh! and quite a bit of football.

I now get much more entertainment from YouTube these days.

 

Just looking at the model railway content, I subscribe ( for the uninitiated, in YouTube terms,  that’s just bookmarking a channel and not paying for or registering for anything)...to a few channels.

 

In my opinion, Charlie Bishop’s “Chadwick Model Railway” shows our hobby in a very positive light and  (in my opinion) is a valiant and successful attempt to inspire and encourage people . Charlie must be considered an influencer ( yuk! term), because I’ve personally bought tools and other stuff he’s shown on there.

 

I also subscribe to “Model Railroading” by Larry Puckett, “the DCC Guy” and regularly watch a couple of other people’s efforts.

There are also a couple of true masters of scenic modelling, like Luke Towan, that are worth watching.

 

The badly done, or boring videos are those where the presenter drones on and on at the beginning, don’t get their facts right or have limited knowledge and awareness of a product or technique area, or are downright ignorant on the aspect they’re talking about. Then there’s kak  handed camera work, or horrible wheezing, sniffling  or heavy breathing.

If that’s all you’ve seen and are dismissive of YouTube as a medium as a result, you are missing out IMHO.

 


 

 

 

 

.
 

 


I’d forgotten about Charlie’s Chadwick Model Railway  which is very informative . I particularly like Charlie’s self deprecating  sense of humour .

 

I find that YouTube introduces things that I hadn’t considered and find interesting . Again Charlie was recently covering scale speeds , in his case over a distance of 6 feet . Very interesting . I think Mike of “Model Railways Unlimited”  had just covered the issue of scale speeds too.  So as a result I’ve been timing trains over a 6 foot length on my layout trying to get realistic speeds . Wouldn’t have done it without both these guys YouTube films 

 

Further inspiration , look no further than Sams Trains latest entry on 3D printers and creating a wagon . Very interesting indeed and not anything I’ve seen covered  before. 

 

As to reviews , well again , look at his review on the Heljan 17 and tell me he isn’t right . One of the most infuriating models I’ve ever owned  . What model railway Mag has ever brought that out ? 
 

ive also forgotten Graham Foulstons excellent Lakeside as a source of inspiration .
 

There will always be things for people to moan about on YouTube , but it’s dead easy to press stop and go onto the next entry , you don’t need to watch it . As to “influencers” I’ve never heard any of these YouTubers refer to themselves as “influencers” and I’m not sure there are that many that are so susceptible to being influenced . Just treat it as another source of information .

 

So ,again most definitely positive , and I’d say probably one of the biggest things in model railways  and increasing its popularity .

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18 hours ago, Phil Parker said:

 

You've just made @AY Mod very happy. Next time he does a review, he doesn't need to waste time doing any prototype research or crafting his photos. A few out of focus shots, read the words on the box and announce "It's a TWAIN!" and the job is done... :P

Maybe i should have been clearer. I know its in jest and i do get the point you are making.

 

Would you rather see the model in detailed close up and see it moving around rather than a magazine artical with some close up pics and some ones opinion at the end. You can go to youtube and see the latest model, you can go on to this very forum and see what other people think. Is it Good? Have they made a massive error in their model? Do people have reliability problems with the mechanism?

 

It works both ways with magazines and youtube chanels, was their sample hand picked and made sure it was reliable before sending it out for review? Does the reviewer have an intrest in not upsetting the manufacturer with an overly critical review for advertisment money or early access to the latest products?

 

Obviously magazines have to appeal to a wide audiance, if you like LNER and they have a well researched artical on teak coach formations out of kings cross that month. Briliant. What if you dont have that intrest and the rest of the mag has other scales and time periods that dont intrest you? You dont buy the magazine. Just like if a youtube vid dosnt appeal, dont watch it. Youtube is free for the viewer and you are free to pick and choose the content you consume unlike a magazine.

However if they also have a how to with just a few still pictures, is youtube vid not insurmountably better? You can ask the video maker a direct question and get a response for other people to see. You can see similar videos on the same or similar subject and see how different people tackle the same challenge.

 

 

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