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Mike last won the day on August 22 2023

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About Mike

  • Birthday 05/09/1967

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    Chester, UK
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    Aircraft, AFVs & Sci-Fi

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  1. aboard Mel. Other Mike is right, so I've moved the question into Cold War Maritime, as that's possibly the most likely section, but if I got it wrong, just Report the thread, and ask for it to be moved to another section. Also, your topic title is a bit vague. You can edit that yourself, and change it to something more informative so that the members with relevant knowledge know to dive in, and so the Mods don't think you're asking for kits from members before you've qualified by making 100 posts. That was my initial thought when I saw the topic title, as it happens
  2. Nice to see one of these being built. I used to have one of the Dragon ones, but offloaded it in favour of the Trumpy kit with the carriage system for rail transport. I also picked up the Fahrgestall when it first came out, and it was far from expensive back then. I'm sure it wasn't far either way from the £20 mark when I got it, but I've slept a lot since then Keep up the good work
  3. Oops! That's what sprung to mind when I saw the note on the box. Sorry about that again
  4. Vickers Wellington Mk.IA/C (A08019A) 1:72 Airfix The Wellington began development in the mid-30s, utilising a technology designed by Barnes Wallis, the Geodetic airframe structure, which was a weight-saving method of creating a diamond-shaped framework that was then covered with fabric layers that were doped to shrink and give the surface strength. As the clouds of war began to gather, the specification was changed that required a more powerful engine, and the specification also saw two competitors reach service in the shape of the Hampden and Whitley bombers, which were superseded very early on in the war, while the Wellington carried on in service until the end of hostilities. Production also continued throughout the war, despite the Wellington being outclassed by the four-engined heavies that came on stream early in the war. The first prototype flew in 1936, and the second prototype was amended following issues discovered, one of which resulted in the loss of the first prototype and the death of the navigator on board. More changes were made in time for the first production batch that was designated Mk.I, which were followed by the Mk.IA that changed the turrets to Nash & Thompson, strengthening and moving the landing gear forward, with the facility engineered in to take either the Pegasus XVIII or Rolls-Royce Merlins, although in practice the Pegasus was used for all 187 of the Mk.IA, some of which were built down the road from my home, at Broughton on the outskirts of Chester. The Mk.IC followed, and added waist gunner positions, and some of this mark were used by Coastal Command as the GR.Mk.VIII. Later marks used various engines, including Merlins, Bristol Hercules, and P&W Twin Wasp 2800s. The flexibility of the Wellington was seen in the slightly larger Warwick that still looked like a Wellington despite its many differences. The Wellington was also used as a torpedo bomber, Air-Sea Rescue, Submarine hunter, and transport for troops and equipment. After the war, many were converted to other duties, and used as the basis for experimental conversions, while others ended their days towing targets for more modern aircraft or anti-aircraft crews to shoot at. The Kit This is a reboxing of the 2018 tooling of this well-known aircraft, with new decals to depict different airframes from the original. The kit arrives in a red-themed top-opening box, and inside are six sprues of dark grey styrene, a clear sprue, a sheet of decals, and the instruction booklet that is printed in spot colour, with a sheet of glossy colour-printed decal and painting profiles for both options slipped between the pages. Detail is excellent, with extensive reproduction of the Geodetic framework inside and out. The exterior shows the framework pressing through the fabric outer surface, while inside the fuselage the frames themselves are depicted, including where they run across the windows, one of the defining elements of this unusual aircraft. The rest of the detail is just as good, including optional interior details that can be left out by the modeller in a hurry, or doubts the parts will be seen on the finished model, and this is the theme of the first page of the instructions, showing all those parts in green. Construction begins with the internal floor of the fuselage, which is partly geodetic itself, with solid sections where the majority of crew footfall will be. A bulkhead that is also criss-crossed with frames is added to the front end, and joined by the radio equipment that has a small table moulded into the lower edge. A half-bulkhead is also included with a moulded-in seat for the radio operator, then a short, angled bulkhead creates the front of the bomb bay under the floor, adding another at the rear, which is moulded in clear plastic and should have two rectangular windows left clear once it is painted, as shown in a scrap diagram. The pilot’s seat is glued to the opposite side of the radio bulkhead on two supports, with a short length of floor holding a side console and receiving a bow-tie control column, noting that the floor section is tilted slightly down to the front, as shown in a scrap diagram nearby. The crew’s Elsan toilet is fitted on a small spur of floor near the rear of the aircraft, leaving only the rear gunner in trouble if there’s an ‘incident’ there. The fuselage halves are prepared differently depending on whether you intend to pose the bomb bay open or closed. To close the bay, the six short bay doors on either side should be trimmed from the parts, cutting out three flash over holes under the aft fuselage, and removing a small section of the fairing that smooths the airflow over the nose turret to fit the new turret fittings. There is some serious detail painting needed to pick out the framework from the interior of the fabric skin of the aircraft, which might look like hard work, but if you first spray the metallics, and cut some strip masks to protect them when you spray the red dope surface, you might save some time and touching up of wobbly hand-painted areas. A rack of oxygen bottles and a well-detailed stretcher bed are fixed to the port side, along with another piece of equipment, all of which are shown from both sides of the windows over which they are mounted – a timely reminder that the parts need painting on both sides before installation. The floor assembly is glued into the port fuselage half, and is joined by the instrument panel, which has rudder pedals moulded-in, and five decals that are supplied instead of raised panel details. A squared oval bulkhead is fitted in the nose in front of the instrument panel, and another D-shaped bulkhead is mounted some way behind the radio room, adding a table between the two walls, and fixing a chair to the floor on a couple of pegs, then another D-shaped bulkhead fits further back with an equipment package in the bay it creates, then two curtain-like inverted V parts support the fuselage at the rear of the bomb bay, adding two more bulkheads in the tail, and joining a narrow piece of floor between the main floor and the first of the tail bulkheads, and in the nose, a panel that can be fitted open or closed as you wish, with two scrap diagrams showing the correct arrangement. The nose and tail turrets have their rings completed by adding inserts to them, with more equipment and cylinders fitted in the starboard fuselage before the two are mated, trapping a substantial spar between them, and fitting the bomb bay door part in position if you plan to close the bay. Your next choice is wheels up or down. To pose the wheels down, you start with two inner cowling sides with a piece of girder-work trapped between them, which is then slotted into the lower wing from within, adding a pair of clear landing lights whilst in the neighbourhood. The wings are then closed around the assembly, adding the ailerons, which can be posed offset if you wish. The firewall and bay doors close the cowlings for those posing their model in-flight, but if you are leaving the wheels down, the twin gear legs and a retraction yoke are inserted into the bay before fitting the firewall, sliding the wings over the spars, and gluing them in place. For wheels up, another bay part covers the tail-wheel bay, but for wheels down the wheel with integral yoke is fixed in place, and a single part forms both bay doors, on a double carrier that fits inside the bay area. The tail fin is separate from the fuselage, as is the rudder, both made from two halves each, slotting into the tail in the usual manner. The elevators are both two parts each, and these have separate flying surfaces that can be offset, as can the rudder. Without engines, the Wimpy isn’t going very far, so Airfix have supplied the radial engines are single well-detailed parts that mount on a tapered convex fairing, with the cowling slid over the engine, locating on exhaust collector pipes that hold it at the correct distance from the lip. If you have left the bomb bay open, the munitions are each made from two halves, with a tab moulded-in to mount them on the highly detailed bay divider walls, which have the inner doors moulded-in. The two painted and assembled dividers are then installed along the length of the bay, using tabs and slots to locate them firmly in position. The defensive turrets are each made up from two halves of the armament and the turret ring, sliding the clear glazing over the gun barrels, and closing in the rear with a styrene part, with doors engraved where the crewmen would enter and exit. They slot into position, and adding clear parts continues, filling in the large rectangular panels on the sides of the nose first, putting the astrodome on the fuselage between the wing roots, plus the long side windows and a diamond window in the nose, whilst covering the trapezoid side gunner windows with styrene parts, as the aircraft depicted didn’t have weapons fitted. The canopy is installed later, and can have a side window posed open by using a different clear part, finishing by putting the bomb aimer’s glazing under the nose. The main gear wheels are made from two halves, and have a small flat spot at the bottom to portray the aircraft’s weight on the tyres, splaying the legs out to insert them between the two struts. Underneath the aircraft, a towel-rail antenna is fixed into the three holes opened earlier, with a pitot probe under the starboard wing, plus exhausts on the engine cowlings, and a long fuel-jettison pipe is inserted into holes in the underside of the wings, outboard of the engine nacelles. The three-bladed propellers are moulded as a single part per side, and they are installed on a convex cover that hides a spindle that can allow the prop to remain mobile later, adding a spinner to the centre of the props, and gluing them into the centres of the engines once they are painted and the glue has cured. Under the nose, a crew access ladder is provided for use if you have opened the crew hatch earlier in the build behind the bomb aimer’s window. An aerial mast and faired-in D/F loop are mounted on the spine behind the cockpit, with a short outlet for what appears to be the flare port on the port side at an angle. Markings There are two decal options provided on the sheet, allowing you to build an RAF and a captured airframe in German markings. From the box you can build one of the following: Wellington Mk.IA No.9 Sqn., RAF Honington, Suffolk, England, 18th December 1939 Wellington Mk.IC Luftwaffe, formerly 311 Czech Sqn., 1941 Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. For the painted-out roundels of the captured airframe, Airfix have provided templates on the profile pages for you to paint the areas out on the upper wings, which were painted with RLM82 green circles, while the underside was completely repainted yellow, and the fuselage roundels and tail flashes were obliterated by a patches of RLM82, the closest match to Dark Green they could probably find without pulling out their colour chips and fan decks. Conclusion The Wimpy is a well-loved aircraft, and while it wasn’t the best British bomber of WWII, it was flown in large numbers in many guises. The detail in the kit is excellent at this scale, with options to deflect flying surface, pose the wheels up or down, and open the bomb bay if you wish, including bombs to put in there. The decal options are a bit away from the usual too, which helps broaden the appeal further. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  5. Looks good so far, and it's also helping to keep your teeth white You going to do anything with the shuttle for this build?
  6. RMS Titanic (83420) 1:700 Hobby Boss via Creative Models Ltd There can’t be many people that haven’t heard of the appalling and unnecessary loss of life that happened when the Titanic’s maiden voyage route intersected with an iceberg, causing huge gaps down the ship’s side due to blown rivets, overwhelming the safety measures that led many to believe that she was unsinkable. At the end of the day on 14th April 1912 she hit that fateful iceberg and began taking on substantial quantities of water. The ship’s waterproof bulkheads only extended to a level below the main deck, and one-by-one they overflowed, causing the Titanic to settle lower and lower in the water. Less than three hours later she broke into two and slipped beneath the surface with many of the passengers still aboard, and many more forced to jump into the almost freezing water, where most died from hypothermia or drowning. Over 1,500 souls were lost that day thanks to the hubris of the designers and impatience of the supervising crew, but many lessons were learned from this tragedy that are still applicable today, and many lives have subsequently been saved as a result. The 1997 blockbuster release of the film The Titanic brought the story to the public consciousness again after the wreck had been found over 13 miles from her expected location some years earlier. She was found lying upright and in two major parts, both of which had hit the sea bed at a considerable speed, badly buckling the underside. She has since been thoroughly inspected, and some of the knowledge gleaned from those expeditions was incorporated into the fictionalised plot of the James Cameron helmed film, which itself has become part of modern vernacular, with phrases such as “paint me like one of your French girls” raising the occasional titter. The Kit This is a new tooling from Hobby Boss, and represents the Titanic on her fateful voyage, although we understand another boxing will be forthcoming soon that depicts her sister ship Olympic in Dazzle camouflage livery, as she appeared during WWI as HMT Olympic, performing troop ship duties. The kit arrives in a rectangular top-opening box with a painting of the Titanic on the front, and two cardboard dividers inside that keeps the various aspects of the kit separately. There are ten sprues in grey styrene, plus the hull and six deck parts of varying sizes, a black styrene stand, a small sheet of Photo-Etch (PE) brass, decal sheet and black & white instruction booklet with separate colour painting guide slipped inside the pages. It’s immediately evident that this kit is intended to be a more “serious” kit than the recent offering from another company that came with a basic lighting kit, as the higher number of parts and monotone grey styrene suggest. When you remove the sprues from their individual bags, the detail is very finely engraved, showing delicate planking to the decks, window frames, doors and other fixtures, found all around on the visible surfaces thanks to a substantial use of slide-moulds that improve the model without increasing the part count unduly. The inclusion of PE parts is welcome, however this is a small sheet, and doesn’t include railings or other fine fittings that would be outwith the scope of most kits, and would cause frustration and extra expense to many modellers, who would see it as unnecessary complexity. They’d be entitled to think so, but the aftermarket producers are able to assist if the urge takes you to super-detail your kit. Hopefully, the research that Hobby Boss have put in is as good as the detail present. Construction begins predictably with the hull, which has hundreds of portholes, fittings and the distinctive banding around the hull moulded into it, plus the tapered stern where the rudder and screws will be placed later. The initial deck part covers the majority of the top surface, leaving the stern and bow to be added later, turning the hull over to fit the port and starboard prop-shaft fairings into grooves in the underside, with three props, one in the centre, which was the only screw with strong rudder authority, making her slow to turn, and could well have contributed to the collision with the iceberg once it was eventually spotted by the lookouts, who weren’t issued with binoculars, amazingly. With the hull righted again, the bow and stern deck parts are installed, and various deck fittings are applied over the next several steps. The superstructure is built from two deck parts, adding sidewalls to the lower layer, and building up the ends to prepare for the next deck, and includes the bridge. Two more deck parts are placed on the raised guides, adding a few detail parts to the smaller section to cover a blank space that couldn’t be dealt with by sliding moulds. The gap between the two superstructure parts is filled by a pair of walls, adding more inserts around the forward area near the flying bridges so that the deck above can be laid on top, detailing the open areas with more deck furnishings. The smaller upper deck areas are each detailed with dozens of parts, including life boats, davits, and a PE compass platform, resulting in seven sub-assemblies that are also placed in situ with guidance from the raised shapes all around the promenade, which is then covered with dozens of benches. The ostensibly complete superstructure is mated with the hull, taking care to align the bridge with the bow end, which shouldn’t be hard thanks to the raised guides that are used to assist throughout. A small forest of deck cranes are mounted on turret-like bases at the bow and stern, adding a couple of PE doors to the sides of the hull near the stern, which are likely either particular to the titanic, or were left off the mould by mistake and added later. Who knows? The Titanic had four large oval funnels, one of which was fake and was used to vent the heat and fumes from the kitchen so that the First-Class passengers didn’t have to smell the cooking odours. The three active funnels are made from halves with nicely engraved and raised details, adding an inner ring near the top, and covering it over with a PE grille. Painting the interior of the funnel tops a deep black should prevent anyone seeing the shallow base, and while the exterior of the aft funnel is identical to the others, the insert has a tube projecting up the centre, plus a pair of holes should be drilled in the floor. The PE grille is also different, with a solid forward section setting it apart from the others. The completed funnels are installed on the decks with their raised oval base plates assisting with placement, and taking care to glue the correct aft funnel at the stern end. Dozens of davits for the life boats are arranged around the sides of the main upper deck, with a few having a different design, and these are pointed out in the instruction steps. The lifeboats are suspended from each pair on the deck, which is best done after the glue on the davits is totally cured, fitting the two masts as the final act. The foremast has a small crow’s nest for the lookouts and an angled jib, while the stern mast has a single level jib facing forward. Both masts will have copious rigging, but there are no diagrams showing where it should be fitted, however the box art should assist with this, as the Titanic is almost directly side-on to the viewer. Markings The Titanic didn’t last long after it embarked on its first and final voyage, floundering without completing a single crossing with huge loss of life. You can build her as she left Southampton below: Decals are printed by Hobby Boss’s usual printers, and are fit for purpose, although under magnification the blue seems very slightly out of register on our sample, but unless someone is very sharp-eyed, it probably won’t be noticed, especially if you don’t use the US flag that’s supplied. Conclusion This is a very nicely detailed kit of the Titanic, particularly at this relatively small scale, with deck, windows and portholes finely engraved. It’s not a gimmicky kit that lends itself to a quick build with lighting, it’s for the modeller that wishes to build a well-detailed model as a little part of maritime history, as an homage to those that lost their lives. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  7. PLA ZTQ15 Light Tank (72-001) 1:72 MENG via Creative Models Ltd The Type 15 light tank was designed as a replacement to the previous generation of tanks that Chinese Army, Navy and Air Force used in high altitude areas where oxygen is limited, on soft ground where heavier vehicles would bog down, and in tight areas such as forests where the lack of mobility of larger, heavier vehicles would be an impediment. It was under development some time early in the new millennium, with prototypes seen during the 2010s, and final acknowledgement by the PLA of it entering service in 2018, by which time it had been in service in growing numbers for two years. It carries a 105mm rifled gun that can fire the usual range of munitions (including NATO rounds), plus Anti-Tank Guided Missiles that can be used to take out enemy tanks at ranges of three to five miles away under the right circumstances. It is armoured with a combined steel and composite hull, with Explosive Reactive Armour (ERA) blocks fitted to the front, sides and turret, and the option of adding slat armour where shaped-charge rockets such as RPGs are expected. It can also carry heavier ERA blocks for greater protection, but as with all things, more protection brings more weight, lower speed and a greater likelihood of bogging down. Unusually for an AFV, the Type 15 has an onboard oxygen generator that feeds additional air to both the crew and the engine to compensate for the reduced power output by the 1,000hp diesel engine at higher altitudes, the oxygen permitting the crew to keep their wits about them in circumstances that could otherwise leave them confused and listless due to lack of oxygen in their bloodstreams. The coaxial machine gun in the mantlet is a relatively lightweight 5.8mm, but there is a 12.7mm remote controlled gun station on the turret roof that is mounted side-by-side with a 35mm automatic grenade launcher. On the similar but different overseas variant, the VT-5, there are significant differences to the shape of the forward hull, and the driver’s hatch is mounted centrally, whereas the Type 15 has the driver on the left side of the glacis plate. The systems of the tank are modern, offering full stabilisation of the main gun, which is fed from the bustle-mounted ammo store by an auto-loader that permitted the crew to be reduced to three, and in the event of a direct hit, the ammunition storage is designed to blow outward to protect the crew, and increase the survivability of the vehicle, something the Russian tank designers could take note of. Its drivetrain is similarly modern, using hydro-mechanical transmission, and hydropneumatic suspension to smooth the ride, while the sensor package allows the gunner and commander to share the aiming and firing of the main gun, as well as detecting incoming infrared signals, triggering the launch of smoke grenades to disperse the signal and warn the crew to move their vehicle. Because of its comparatively light-weight, it can be air-transported in pairs, and can be delivered to its intended destination by palletised air-drop, although the crew would probably need a change of underwear once they landed. It is likely to be in service with the Chinese military for some considerable time, increasing its capabilities with in-service updates as time goes by. The Kit This is the first tooling from MENG’s new 1:72 armour line, and it arrives in a figure-sized end-opening box in MENG’s usual satin finish, with an attractive painting of the subject matter on the front, and painting instructions on the rear. Inside the box are four sprues plus the upper hull and turret in light grey styrene, and a concertina-fold instruction booklet in black and white. There are no decals, so you will need to mask or hand-paint the digital camouflage patches that are dotted around the hull and turret, but if you paint the green first and mask it, that shouldn't be an onerous task. Detail is good throughout, with fine raised and recessed detail across all exterior surfaces, extending to the underside, with deeply recessed link-and-length track links, and a well-represented blast-bag on the main gun. Construction begins with the running gear, building twelve pairs of road wheels, two pairs each of drive sprockets and idler wheels, the former made from four parts each. The lower hull is assembled around the floor, adding the sides and the lower glacis plate to the front, then installing the drive sprockets at the rear, and a line of three return rollers to each side of the hull. Six pairs of road wheels and the idler wheels are slid over the stub axles, adding towing shackles to the glacis, which then leads to installing the tracks. A straight length is fitted to the return run, gluing the lower run with diagonal ends, then completing the band with curved sets of three links per end, one for each side of the vehicle. The rear bulkhead with a pair of exhausts and towing shackles is fixed to the back of the hull, after which the upper hull can be mated to the lower, adding the driver’s hatch at the front on the shallow slope of the glacis plate. At the rear, two fuel drums are made up from halves, and are fitted to the bulkhead along with an unditching beam that has wooden bark texture moulded into it along with the two straps that hold it to the vehicle. Side skirts are fitted to both sides as single parts, covering the top track run, which could probably be left off to save yourself some work. The turret assembly is built from top and bottom halves, inserting a sensor into the front, and adding the commander’s cupola over his hatch cut-out, plus a pair of sensors to the forward corners. The rear panel to the bustle is separate, and is fitted along with the two sighting boxes, rear sensors on the corners, the mantlet with sensor box on top, and the two crew hatches. Grenade launchers are fitted as three pairs on the sides of the bustle, and the single-part main gun is inserted into the hole in the mantlet, fixing a pair of sensor masts, aerial bases, additional detail parts to the roof, then building up the co-mounted 12.7mm machine gun and grenade launcher into the remote station from three parts, inserting its mounting peg into a hole in the centre of the roof, and adding a tubular part across the rear of the bustle. The completed turret can then be mated with the hull, twisting the bayonet fitting to lock it into place. Markings There is just one option detailed on the rear of the box, which is all-over sand with green or brown digital camouflage scattered over the surface. There are no decals, so none of the usual concerns over registration, sharpness etc. Conclusion 1:72 AFV modellers should welcome this new range with open arms, as they are well-detailed and yet still relatively simple to build, and what’s more, they don’t stress the purse-strings unduly. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  8. I suppose that could depend on which version of Word he's using. Someone on MS's own forums says the following: The upside is that it'll cost nothing (but time) to try it
  9. It depends on how microscopically rough your surface is. It's best to play it by ear and ensure you get at least a decent high-satin finish, preferably glossy, but without going too thick with multiple coats. I usually use Alclad Aqua Gloss, and keep it in the airbrush until I'm happy with the shine, remembering that it's the microscopic depressions that trap tiny air bubbles and result in silvering. No-one's mentioned sealing your decals with another coat of gloss, so I'll do that now. It prevents the air getting at them, and also stops any weathering fluids or touch-ups from sneaking under your decals and making a mess. I usually put extra coats over the decals, and sand them back, repeating the process as required to hide away the carrier film, but I'm a bit weird like that Might be an idea to just enjoy your modelling for now BTW, many Eastern European producers are creating decals that you can peel off the carrier film later, which I think is a great idea, as it saves me a lot of faff. Some folks don't like 'em, but it's different strokes
  10. It depends on the decal scheme. A tank with a couple of crosses, I’d probably just gloss that panel if I wasn’t applying any weathering potions, but with an airbrush it’s pretty easy to apply a thin coat all over a model, and then you have a common surface texture to apply your next steps onto. with an airbrush it would also be relatively easy to fade out the gloss too, in an effort to reduce and difference in texture etc. I imagine it would be annoying to forget a decal and have to go back and gloss that, but it’s your model, you take as much or as little of our advice as you like.
  11. To add to Julien's comment, we'd appreciate a warning in the thread title, because we're a family friendly site, and don't permit the use of effin' and jeffin' between the membership. Some people's employers may take a dim view of them viewing such things on their work machines. Stranger things have happened.
  12. In Anderson-land, you can walk across the oceans just by stepping from ship to ship. Apparently
  13. I'd have expected a load of interim steps such as refuelling etc. before it was relocated on the front of Diver. Too much pomp and faff for my liking, and they need to address their staffing levels, as there were far too many people in overalls ambling about doing nothing all over the ship. I'd have opted for a vertical landing near Diver, and then have Diver park up behind it. If you wanted to be fancy, I'd use harpoons to locate it and pull the two parts together. Cheaper, quicker and easier
  14. The quickest way to find if there's something available for any kit is to go to scalemates.net - hunt your kit with the search function, and scroll down a bit to a list of related items. Then you can get on eBay, Hannants etc. to find what you want for as little money as you can
  15. I've moved this to Tools & Tips, as it's related to that, not the original location in one of the WIP areas.
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