Friday, December 30, 2016

AB 2nd Ottocac Grenz Battalion 1799

The second of three Grenz battalions needed for Montebello 1800 marches off from the painting desk.  This time, 2nd Ottocac Grenz Regiment, Battalion #1 reports for duty.
The Grenz battalion consists of a baker's dozen of AB Miniatures' from the very fine Austrian Revolution range of 18mm Napoleonics.  Exquisite sculpting on these little fellows.  With a stain, the facial details are accented very nicely.  

As 2016 winds down, I remain in a mode to complete a few more units for the 1799 project before the clock runs out.  Expect one more battalion of Grenz and two battalions of French legere before year-end.  Several units from other projects are undergoing the brush too.  It is a busy time...

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Basic Impetvs 2.0 - What's New?

As reported in an earlier post, Basic Impetvs 2.0 (BI 2.0) was scheduled for delivery in time for Christmas.  Dadi & Piombo made good on that commitment.  My print copy arrived in the USA the week before Christmas.  Even though I ordered the PDF version from Wargame Vault when the release was announced two weeks prior, it was good to get the physical rules in hand.  The booklet is laid out in full color with many photos of figures interspersed throughout.  With a spiral binding, it will easily lay flat on the gaming table for reference.  The bulk of the booklet is comprised of Army Lists.  Total count of Army Lists is 340.  Yes, three-hundred forty!  After many years of having Army Lists scattered in several places, it is a relief to have them all in one, convenient location.  Oh, and there are so many armies I have never considered.  

What is different in BI 2.0 vs. BI 1.0 (or BI 1.5)?  Are these differences significant?  To help answer these questions, let's compare the mechanisms between the two (or three) BI versions.
  • BASING: Suggested basing requirements remain the same as in BI 1.0.
  • MEASUREMENT: BI 2.0 changes measurements from using a 'U'=2cm to 'H'=6cm = Half Base Width for 25mm figures.  
  • ARMY BUILDING: Recommended Army Size has been increased from 7-10 units to 8-14 units under BI 2.0.  Armies generally will be larger under BI 2.0.
  • TROOP CLASSIFICATIONS: BI 2.0 bifurcates Heavy Cavalry (CP) into two classifications of Heavy Armored (CP1) and Heavy Unarmored (CP2).  CP1 moves at a slower rate than CP2.
  • FRESH vs WORN STATUS: As in BI 1.0, BI 2.0 maintains FRESH Status only for units that have taken no damage to VBU.  Baroque had a unit maintaining FRESH Status until the unit had lost half of its VBU.
  • PREPARING THE TERRAIN:  BI 2.0 adds a section on terrain placement and troop deployments.
  • INITIATIVE ROLL: BI 2.0 adds a re-roll option for an Army that loses an Initiative Roll.  Winner of Initiative can now allow the opponent to activate first.
  • MOVEMENT: Skirmishers and Light Infantry not in Disorder may make a second move with some restrictions.  Movement rates have been consolidated into three rates: 2H, 3H, and 4H.
  • CHARGE: In BI 2.0 some units now have a Charge Speed in addition to a Charge Bonus.  Charge Bonuses are now variable.
  • INTERPENETRATION: A few subtle changes are in place under BI 2.0.
  • EVASION:  BI 2.0 adds Evasion.
  • FIRE: Modifiers to the numbers of dice thrown see some changes.
  • COHESION TEST for FIRE: Heavy Cavalry and Heavy Infantry are less likely to fail Cohesion Tests as are units taking hits from small arms.
  • PILUM and POINT BLANK WEAPON FIRE (PBW): Pila are upgraded in first round of melee from 1D6/3D6 to 2D6/4D6 if Charging/Charged.
  • DEFENSIVE FIRE: BI 2.0 adds a Defensive Fire opportunity for 'T' missile troops when being charged. 
  • MELEE - OTHER TACTICAL MODIFIERS: BI 2.0 adds +2D6 for contacting an enemy on flank or rear.
  • PURSUIT: Retreat and Pursuit distances are now variable as in Baroque.
Comparing the lists of one of my favorite Punic Wars' armies shows not a great deal of change although Carthage loses one Numidian horse and gains two foot skirmishers in the version change.

BI 1.0 - LATER CARTHAGINIANS (VDT=18/9 if without options)
 Nr Type   M   VBU  I  VD Notes
 1xCM(*)  10     5    1   3 
 2xCL       12     3   1   2 Numidians or Spanish - javelin
 2xFP        5     5    1   3 Punic and Lybian infantry - long spear
 2xFL        8     4    4   1 Gauls - impetuous
 1xFL        8     4    1   1 Spanish - javelin
 2xS          8     2    0   1 Numidians or Spanish - javelin

Option 1. Change Spanish FL into Gauls or one or two Units of Gallic FL into Spanish FL. 
Option 2. Change 2 FP Units into:
 Nr Type   M  VBU  I VD Notes
 1xFP       5     6    1 3 Hannibal veterans - long spear
 1xFP       5     4    1 1 Italians 
Option 3.Change one Unit of FP or FL into:
 Nr Type  M   VBU  I VD Notes
 1xEL       8     4     4 1 
Option 4. Remove 1 S Unit and upgrade both Numidian CL Units to VBU=4

BI 2.0 - 5.2 2nd Punic War Carthaginians 221-202 BC 

 Carthaginian veteran cav.       1xCM* VBU=6, I=2, VD=3
 Numidian cavalry                     1xCL* VBU=4, I=1, VD=2, Javelin
 Lybian veterans                        1xFP* VBU=6, I=2, VD=3, Pilum
 Lybian spearmen                      1xFP* VBU=5, I=2, VD=3, Long spear
 Spanish Scutarii                        1xFL VBU=5, I=1, VD=3, PBW
 Celtiberians or veteran Gauls  1xFL VBU=5, I=4, VD=3, Impetuous
 Celetiberians or Gallic warriors 1xFL VBU=4, I=4, VD=2, Impetuous
 Libians or Numidians                3xS VBU=2, I=0, VD=1, Javelin
 Balearic slingers                       1xS VBU=3, I=0, VD=1, Sling

1st option: change 1 veteran CM,  1 veteran FP and 1 S with
 Carthaginian veteran cav.       1xCM* VBU=5, I=2, VD=2
 Elephants                                 1xEL VBU=5, I=3, VD=2
 Lybian spearmen                      1xFP* VBU=5, I=2, VD=3, Long spear
2nd option: change 2 S with 
 Punic Citizens                          1xFP VBU=4, I=2, VD=1
3rd option: change 1 S for 2 initiative rerolls
Libyan Spearmen, Celtiberians or Gauls FP/FL can form L. U. with same type 

With these changes, light cavalry and skirmishers will become much more mobile with the addition of Evasion and multiple moves.  I imagine a much greater harassing role for these light troops having the ability to delay, strike, and retreat.  While all troop types will be less likely to fail Cohesion Tests against small arms fire, heavy cavalry and heavy infantry will be especially stolid.  Attacking missile troops frontally will be much more dangerous and maneuvering for a flank/rear attack will be much more beneficial.  I look forward to giving the new version a try on the gaming table.  Which armies will see BI 2.0 service first? 

Monday, December 26, 2016

AB French Consular Guard 1800

In a slow but steady procession, units for the 1799 project keep marching off the painting desk as work progresses on the Montebello 1800 OB.  While the Consular Guard did not make an appearance at Montebello, the Grenadiers a Pied were present a week later at Marengo to help snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.  The Consular Guard saw service in other battles so these thirteen figures were popped into the painting queue in a move towards elitism.  
Figures are AB Miniatures and expertly sculpted as expected.  Is there an AB figure I don't like?  Cannot think of one.  Work continues on fielding units for Montebello with Austrian Grenz and French legere on the workbench. 

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Happy Holidays!

The illustration above is not far off the mark for weather conditions in my hometown.  Friday's snowstorm brought another six inches of the white stuff requiring two trips out to shovel snow on Friday and one more trip out to clear the driveway Saturday morning.  On top of the six or so inches already on the ground, Friday evening's snow will assure we all enjoy a white Christmas.

With holiday activities planned for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and my baking task completed, my Christmas List includes a brief respite this morning in the solitude of the painting desk.  That is, after I put in the required roadwork on the indoor bike!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

AB 3rd Ogulin Grenz Battalion 1799

Following the two Austrian light infantry battalions off the painting desk is the first of three Austrian Grenz battalions on the march towards fielding the OB for Montebello.  The first Grenz to debouch from the workbench is the Ogulin Grenz Battalion.
The thirteen figures are from AB Miniatures' fine Austrian Revolution range of 18mm Napoleonics.  Sculpting on the little figures is superb with fine detailing throughout.  Great figures!  While I find AB figures more difficult to paint than others due to the finer detailing and less exaggerated features, the results are worth the effort.  Nobody does faces as well as Mr. Barton.  The figures in Austrian Revolutionary Period are some of my favorites.  I hope others like them too.  
Two more Grenz battalions are in work.  Both have aspirations to muster before year-end.  With work presently focused on the 1799 project, a battalion French Consular Guard is getting attention at the painting desk too.  The desk is covered in a blanket of 18mm lead with two battalions of French legere undergoing the brush once the Grenz and Consular Guard march off.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Assyrian Chariot #6 Rehab

Work continues plodding along to reburbish nine Foundry Assyrian chariots.  Today Chariot #6 passes across the painting desk and into the holding box.
Besides the standard damage I have come to expect, Chariot #6 is one of two chariots that arrived missing a yoke for the team.  Fortunately, an email to the good folks at Wargames Foundry was well received and two replacement yokes were send for free.  Nice service!
With six chariots finished and three to go, I see the light at the end of this tunnel.  After the final three chariots are completed, time to peek into the next long and dark tunnel.  That tunnel is to begin forming a plan of action for fielding an Assyrian Army for Impetvs.  All the figures needed for such an undertaking have been procured.  Next task is to actually begin producing supporting units.  This project will wait until 2017, however.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

3rd Am Ende Austrian Light Infantry Battalion in 1799

As alluded to in a prior post, the second of two Austrian light infantry battalions marches off from the painting desk.  This baker's dozen of light infantry musters out as the 3rd Am Ende Light Infantry Battalion.  Like the 4th Bach before, figures are AB Miniatures.
The 3rd Am Ende is a "German" battalion so identified by its gaiters.  Again, pike-grey jacket and pants with white webbing were chosen.  Having a few specialist battalions in among the sea of white coated foot soldiers adds a few spots of color to the spectacle even if that color is pike-grey.  
The Montebello 1800 roster is quickly filling out.  Next on the workbench are three grenz battalions.  After that, attention will turn towards rounding out the French.  Needed for the French are two more battalions of light infantry.  Finishing those, the OB may be complete and ready for the game.  The OB needs a closer look before I can claim all is on track.  Still, the plan is to refight Montebello 1859 first while more troops for the 1800 battle are completed but the 1800 OB may be finished before I begin the 1859 game.  The game table is covered in northern Italian landscape and completely consumes my 12' x 6' table.  A few photos will better illustrate the geographical situation.  I will work on that this weekend.

Friday, December 16, 2016

WE CARE

With most USPS packages arriving to their destination intact, it is surprising to open the mailbox and pull out a package in this condition. 
Despite virtually destroying the package, the USPS was kind enough to bag up the remaining contents and stick in a note stating that "WE CARE" and sincerely regret destroying my package.

As seen from the photo below, the package has nearly disintegrated from water damage and rough handling.  When I unwrapped this mess, you can imagine my thoughts and concerns.  What will remain in the tattered box?  Of the contents that remain, how much is damaged?  My confidence was not high when I gingerly pulled the contents from the package.  Even one of the blister packs within the box succumbed to water infiltration and had fallen apart.  Its contents were spread about the box interior.
After emptying the contents and verifying that nothing remained within the tattered packing box, I compared the figures carefully laid out on the table against my invoice. Miraculously, the order was complete!  No damage either.  A few tense moments all for naught.

The USPS cares, the question is how much?  OK, I am better now.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

4th Bach Light Infantry Battalion 1799

In a seemingly, mighty coincidence, Peter over at Blunders on the Danube posted a summary of Austrian Light Infantry uniforms for the period 1798-1801.  This, at the same time as I finished up the first of two such battalions for my 1799 project and the Battle of Montebello.  Kismet! 
The first of these light infantry battalions musters out as the 4th Bach Light Infantry Battalion.  With pike-grey jacket and pants, the gaiters identify the 4th as a "German" battalion.  During my uniformology search on the early light infantry, several paintings and illustrations showed the soldiers in white pants but most showed pike-grey.  I opted for the pike-grey in this case.  Some sources also showed black webbing.  Again, I chose white.  Austrian for Figures are sourced from the always excellent AB Miniatures
Next off the painting desk with be a sister light infantry battalion, designated as the 3rd Am Ende.  Again, the 3rd is a "German" light infantry battalion. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Return to Spain and the Reconquista

Momentarily back to Spain and the 28mm Reconquista project to field one stand of Arab medium cavalry.  Figures are the large, BTD horsemen from the Warriors of Islam range.
While the Reconquista project has seen only limited activity at the painting desk (and no activity on the gaming table) in 2016, a second stand of Arab medium cavalry will be mustering from the painting desk before year end. 
Having purchased a large stock of cavalry reinforcements for the project during a recent BTD 40% discount offering, many, many cavalry lay in The Lead Pile awaiting attention with the brush.  With year-end painting time devoted to refurbishing chariots and working on the 15mm 1799 and 1859 projects, more work on the Reconquista project must wait.  Of course, scheduling a game with the collection might energize the desire for more figures to deploy for battle and move them up in the queue.  Unlikely but c'est la guerre!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Great Italian Wars Gendarmes

Following not too distantly in the footsteps of the mounted crossbowmen seen earlier, a five figure stand of mounted Gendarmes moves off the painting desk.  Another quintet of fine Foundry heavy cavalry readies to face all-comers. 
With this group, five stands of Gendarmes can now muster for battle.  That number ought to be sufficient to turn back even the most determined adversary.  Besides, that is the last of the Gendarmes in The Lead Pile!

Friday, December 9, 2016

Italian Campaign of 1859 - A Review

THE ITALIAN CAMPAIGN OF 1859:
The Campaign, Battles and Equipment
Stephen Summerfield (2016) 
Having recently seen the announcement of this forthcoming book on Warfare in the Age of Steam blog, an order was quickly placed with Ken Trotman Books.  The reply I received from Richard Brown was that the book was still undergoing final preparations before publication.  A few weeks later the book arrived in the post mid-November with handsome cover art.  As I read, I wished more care had been taken during the final pre-publication editorial and content review. 

While the quality of the paperback book, itself, is high (glossy cardstock cover, quality paper), the contents are a discordant mish-mash of articles seemingly thrown together without focus.  Add to that a lack of proofreading and I nearly gave up after reading the first page of Chapter One.  Giving up after only one page?  Hardly a fair trial, you say.  Well, an example from the first page of Chapter One on page 9 reads,
"The troops were condemned to live of the country, the need got clothing and shoes became urgent."
What?

Chapter One begins with an overview of the Austrian Army. Following the first page of Chapter One are two pages of Orders of Battle for the Austrians during the campaign.  No introduction announcing the upcoming OB.  Turn the page and there it is.  Following that interruption, text returns to discussing the composition of the Austrian Army.  Much of the outline in Chapter One focuses on Austrian equipment with a level of detail that left me scratching my head.  In a brief overview of the 1859 campaign, is it necessary to highlight that,
"The limber...had the pintle placed 35cm behind the axletree...?"
This detail seems at odds with the description of Austrian uniforms which simply states that,
"The uniform was introduced in 1852."
Chapters Two and Three follow the outline of Chapter One by providing a similar overview of the French and Piedmont-Sardinian Armies. While Austrian artillery is given a section within the Austrian chapter, the French chapter focuses almost exclusively on artillery.  The Sardinian overview spends three pages devoted to tables showing composition and strength by branch of service.  Such detail was not present for either Austria or France.

The next three chapters (4-6) present Major Miller's 1861 works entitled, "The Italian Campaign of 1859: Parts 1 and 2: General Account."  Chapter Four provides brief recaps of the battles of Montebello, Palestro, Magenta, and Solferino.  Chapter Five provides a brief analysis and critique of the strategy and war operations and then performs the same for each of the individual battles.  Chapter Six finishes off Miller's lectures with a look at why the Austrians failed in the campaign.  I found these three chapters interesting.

The final five chapters reprint translations of W.J. Fiedler as compiled by Ralph Weaver of the Continental Wars Society.  Many of the translations focus on Montebello.  Since one of my current scenario development interests encompasses the Battle of Montebello, I read these short works with interest.

Scattered throughout the text are uniform plates, illustrations, and maps from a variety of sources.  The same map of Solferino is given a one page treatment followed immediately by a two page spread of the same map.  No need for both.  Proofreading should have culled one of these duplicates.  Given that the book is an aggregation of disparate topics on the 1859 campaign, it is easy to understand why the book lacks a common thesis. Perhaps the book's best use might be as a primer on the 1859 campaign.  At GBP21 post-paid, it represents a fair value but did not meet my expectations.  I had much higher hopes.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Assyrian Chariot #5

Progress on mending the group of Assyrian chariots continues.  With this chariot, the fifth, refurbishing of the nine chariots crosses the half way point.  I am really enjoying working these carts and the process has spurred me into ordering a bunch (!) of Foundry lead to field a proper army for Basic Impetvs.  Actually, enough figures should arrive on hand to field two such armies.  Perhaps, even enough to field two regular Impetvs armies.  
To begin the process, Chariot #5 required the yoke to be removed, flipped, and reattached.  Then one wheel required regluing and one shield arm replaced.  After a few paint touch-ups, Minwax staining and rebasing, another chariot is ready for battle.  A 60mm x 80mm base loaded with four horses, chariots and four riders is a heavy game piece.  When it is plopped onto the table, it presence with be noted.  Just imagine when nine of these beasts are deployed for battle.  
Chariots #6 and #7 are in work but will not require the yoke to be removed, flipped, and reglued.  Why?  These two chariots arrived without a yoke.  Luckily for me, Foundry sent two replacement yokes upon request.  Even with a number of projects all wrestling for their turn at the painting desk, perhaps 2017 will see a project push for two Biblical armies?  Why not? 

Five chariots down, four to go.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Mounted Crossbowmen II

The second trio of Casting Room Miniatures' mounted crossbowmen trot off the painting desk.  As mentioned in an earlier post, this was my first tranche of Casting Room Miniatures' figures.  My impression of the sculpting is mixed depending upon the range and figure but I find these horsemen quite acceptable.  With a Christmas sale in effect until DEC 20, a second order is on its way to my casa.  In my Christmas order will be found a variety of Normans for the Reconquista project.  They look good in the photos.  
While the anatomical sculpting on the men is odd in places, their mounts are well executed.  These horses fit well with the horses from Foundry's Early 16th Century Renaissance range.  With the project growing by 40 horse and 60 foot figures in 2016, the collection is seeking its first test of battle on the game table. 
Until that time of battle, a fifth stand of mounted Gendarmes is ready to depart the painting desk and a 40+ pike block awaits in the queue.  Looking at the pile of 40+ blackened pikemen almost overwhelms my desire to begin.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Samurai Battles - Return to the Field!

“Time – the one asset none of us are ever gonna get more of.” – Gary Vaynerchuk

In a reminder of just how quickly time can slip away, Friday night's scheduled Samurai Battles' games had me searching through the archives to see when the collection was last out on the gaming table.  The answer?  January 2014!  Nearly three years ago.  Astounding, really.  
Enough reflection.  On to the night's activities.

With Jake in town for the weekend, we set up an evening of Commands & Colors: Samurai Battles.  Jake brought a portion of his collection and I fielded mine.  Each would command his own troops on the march towards glory.  Mano-a-Mano, so to speak.  After a quick bite to eat, we sat down to the kitchen table, unrolled the game mat, deployed figures, and got to work.

Since time between our last outing was so far in the past, we began where we started several years ago.  That is, with the Fourth Battle of Kawanakajima (1561).  While Rules Rust was evident at the beginning, that was quickly overcome and we dug in for battle.

Games played were the first three phases of the battle.  Jake took command of the Takeda Army while I took charge of the Uesugi Forces.  Four, pleasurable games were played in about three hours with victory falling to Uesugi Clan three out of four games.

Game 1: Fourth Kawanakajima Phase 1
Uesugi forces jump out to a very quick start and dominate the game using a center rapid deployment of their Samurai cavalry.  Takeda heavies never make it into the battle line to engage.  Uesugi wins five banner to zero.
Phase 1: At Start
Phase 1: Conclusion with Uesugi controlling the center
Game 2: Fourth Kawanakajima Phase 2
Uesugi forces apply pressure early.  A fortunate play of cards allows Uesugi to hit hard early and often.  Uesugi wins the battle 5-2.

Phase 2: At Start
Phase 2: At Start
Game 3: Fourth Kawanakajima Phase 3
Uesugi forces launch a quick and devastating attack against the Takeda command tent with the Samurai horse to cripple the spirit of the Takeda clan.  Takeda concedes game and it is reset for a redo.  Thus far, the first three games have not been close and Jake muses how he once thought the system was fun and challenging for both!   "Borg must hate Takeda" was heard in table conversation.
Phase 3: At Start
Game 4: Fourth Kawanakajima Phase 3
In a Phase 3 rematch, the most closely contested battle of the night unfolded.  With impressive use of the Takeda Samurai cavalry on the Takeda right and solid work on the left, Takeda jumps out to a 4-0 lead.  Uesugi, not giving in, picks off a Takeda Samurai foot and leader to make the game 4-2.  Takeda takes out one more unit to bring him within one banner of victory.  Current score is 5-2 Takeda.  Showing some resilience, Uesugi attacks with a combination of Samurai foot and horse to rip open the Takeda center and drive the enemy back to the river.  Banner count 5-5.  With one more impulse, the Takeda horse having already accomplished much on the Takeda right, overruns a severely depleted Uesugi foot to claim victory 6-5.  While the first three games were not close, the last battle was a real nail-biter and came down to the wire.

A very enjoyable evening at the game table with a collection that has been gathering dust from inactivity for three years.  Great to see the forces out on the table and arrayed for battle after such a long absence.  Hopefully, their next outing will not take three years to materialize!  Jake, thanks for the games!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Assyrian Chariot #4 Rehab

The Assyrian chariot rehabilitation project continues with chariot #4 rolling off the painting desk.  Like the other three chariots before, the yoke needed to be removed, flipped and then reattached to the tongue.  One wheel required reaffixing to the axle and an arm or two needed reattachment.  After staining and a new base, voila! 
The Foundry Assyrian chariots are a wonder and the foot figures are just as excellent.  Having moved these chariots from the To Do One Day pile over to the To Do Now pile, has me motivated to begin an Assyrian Army project with a sense of purpose.  Before I was not quite sure what would become of the box of broken chariots.  Would they languish in a box forevermore?  No!  Even though some would suggest I possess way too many projects, a Biblical project is not one of them.  With such a growing core of nice chariots, it would be shame not to use these models as a nucleus for an army or two.  More Foundry Assyrian lead is winding its way to the house.   
   Four chariots down, five to go.

Monday, November 28, 2016

AB French Ligne Infantry in Bicorne

After seeing few new recruits for the 1799 project muster off the desk since mid-summer and with thoughts of gaming Montebello in my head, painting returns to the 1799 project.  Off the painting desk, this time, are 26 18mm AB figures to muster two battalions.  
Having examined Orders of Battle for the Battle of Montebello in 1800, I found Austrian light infantry and grenz were needed.  So, what do I put into the painting queue?  Two battalions of French Ligne infantry destined for the 100th Demi-Brigade (regiment).  Yeah, I know.
While I could have pulled Austrian grenz and light infantry from my 1809 Napoleonic project, I really wanted to field the early light infantry and grenz.  A bit picky but I did want the earlier uniform representation and AB figures.  Anyway, one can always use more French ligne, right?  I thought so. 
With the 1800 battle of Montebello delayed until I can field the missing links, progress is being made on the 1859 version of the battle.  The terrain has been placed to cover the scope of both the 1800 and 1859 battles.  While both battles included the town of Montebello, the 1800 battle featured Montebello as a western French objective and the 1859 battle featured Montebello as an eastern French objective.  The battlefield expansion to include both battles, opens up the scope of each.  Possibly confusing now but all will be made more clear when the battlefield is displayed.  

For now, back to the painting desk.  A few units are in queue and awaiting their turn in the photo booth too.   
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