12 September 2016

A new term..

After a brief period of peace the African and international media once again focus their attention on Zangali. With the upcoming presidential elections coming up the temperatures rise once again. In previous election rounds President Anan never had anyone running against him. This was mainly due to the fact that there were not many men brave enough to take him on and those who did usually disappeared from the face of the earth in dubious circumstances.

Now that the country is torn in half with the North firmly supporting the rebel leader and former president's son Lebon Banga things might not be so predictable. Even though  Banga has not yet signed up as running candidate for the presidency it is to be expected to happen any day now. With Banga save and sound in his Northern stronghold it will be near impossible for Anan to take his opponent out before the elections.

Whilst everyday life goes on in the Southern regions it is very different in the North. Daily riots and protests against the sitting government seem to snowball through the region. These protests have now also reached the middle of the country where Anan's troops and police force try to keep them in check. With every day they seem to get more violent and grim.

29 July 2016

Summer Intermission

Dear Zangalians, This Blog will not be updated for the next 6 weeks but it will be back on September 12th 2016. This period will be used to recharge the creative batteries, do more research,  I'm going to paint up a few more models and think of new story lines and wargaming missions for Zangali and use them for new Blog articles after the summer but first I'll take some time off and relax for a bit..

 I'm sorry you'll have to miss your Zangali updates for a while but I'll be back before you know it. In the mean time, why not send your friends and family a nice postcard from Zangali..

Hope to see you all back here soon...


23 July 2016

Dog eat dog world

One of the things in this hobby I really enjoy is the little side projects that tie in with the project you're working on but isn't one of the core models for the game. I have painted a lot of uniforms and a couple of vehicles in the past months so doing something completely different is a welcome change.

Warlord Games Mastiff Packmaster
When I was going through my bitz box and other boxes of unpainted miniatures looking for bits to use for my IED's (see article here) I found a blister of Warlord games' Hail Caesar dogs with a handler which I bought some time ago when I was going to do a Frostgrave project but I completely forgot I had it. Somehow that project never started so I can use the dogs for the Zangali project.

I plan to use them for my own wargaming rules that I'm still working on (slowly). They can have a sort of simplified sentinel role. I see them on a gaming table as guard dogs that patrol an area and can raise the alarm  and/or perform an assault with specific rules for attack dogs. Either way it will be fun to incorporate them in the games and scenarios.

As you can see I painted them up differently from the ones on the Warlord's webshop, I have drawn my inspiration from the dog pictured in the "Gola Park Rangers" article that you might have seen. If not you can find the link here.

14 July 2016

Battle report: Jungle Patrol

See more pictures below
Finally it is here, the very first Battle Report of a skirmish game in Zangali. I am developing my own set of skirmish game rules based on my experiences with other rule sets and games. When I'm completely happy with the rules I will publish them here on the Blog, for now I will just show you the pictures and talk you through the mission without going into too much detail. If you have a question just let me know.

This is the first battle report I publish and i have spend quite a bit of time preparing a mission, playing the game en taking the pictures. However, most of the work went into creating a comic book style battle report. Let me know what you think, Do you like it and would you like to see more? Do you have any ideas to make it better, Do you have suggestions to improve on the quality? (keep in mind I'm no professional photoshop guru) please let me know, your feedback is very important to me.

How to read the battle report? You can just click on the first picture and if you click on the right hand side of the image it will load the next. This way you can read it as a real comic book. You will get a general feel of the game and how the turns went. If you want a little bit more information you can also read the text between the images. The text will have a number corresponding with the page number in the top right corner of the image.

Without further ado,... please enjoy "Zangali, mission 1 : Jungle Patrol"

1. It was still early in the morning when 2 HMV's with soldiers drove through the jungle. They were on their way to relieve their fellow soldiers guarding an check point near Nabali. There had been rebel activity in the region but it had been peaceful for the past two weeks.. all that was about to change.

The Northern Armed Militia had prepared an ambush and several groups of rebels waited for the soldiers. When the 2 HMV's were in sight the first rebel group fired a RPG at one of the HMV's. The HMV's armour is just too thick for normal bullets to penetrate so only the RPG had a chance to do any damage.
The RPG rolled a 5 to hit which was just enough, to penetrate RPG with Caliber 3 needs to roll a 4 to do superficial damage and a 5+ to penetrate the HMV's Armour(7). They roll a 4 and then roll on the damage table. The RPG has hit and blown a tire, the HMV can now only move 6"at most, the crew is stunned and have a +1 penalty to hit when firing for the rest of the turn and the next. Also the HMV's armour is lowered from 7 to 6.

The two HMV's both fire their .50 cal's at the group of rebels and manage to kill them all. Heavy firepower and at short range they are cut down easily.

2.in turn 2 the unscathed HMV takes the lead but fails to spot an I.E.D. In this scenario the patrol has to use this road and the Rebel player can place 1 IED. The player controlling the patrolling vehicles just has to hope the best of it. In this case the the IED was triggered when the vehicle was within range and a roll was made on the IED-table. The roll of a 4 means it is an anti vehicle IED (heavy) and all units within a 3" radius take a Caliber 4 hit. The next roll penetrates the HMV's armour and it blows up.

3. The HMV is taken out by the IED and all soldiers in the vehicle must make a "save test" on a 4+. All but one survive but have to take cover and go down.
When the soldiers have just pulled themselves together another group rebels jumps out from the undergrowth and start firing at them. Their RPG misses but their AK47's score two hits of which the soldiers fail to save one resulting in another casualty.

4.The soldiers are now in complete shock and fail their activation test but luckily there is another HMV to rescue them. The Vehicle moves slow but it's gun is still a fearsome weapon. The HMV moves in close and fires resulting in another three dead rebels and one fleeing the scene.
But the just around the corner another threat is lurking, like a tiger stalking it's prey a Toyota Technical fitted with a .50 cal and gunner lie in wait.

5. The HMV is caught by surprise and a storm of bullets hit the vehicle knocking out it's weapon (.50.cal). Meanwhile the one surviving rebel fails it's activation test and therefor continues it's run (flee) to the table edge. Just before he reaches safety (table edge) another group of rebels jump out of the jungle. They fancy a shot at the surviving HMV. Because it's armour value is lowered by the RPG impact they now have a chance of doing damage with their AK47's but their LMG is the only weapon with a high enough caliber to actually penetrate the vehicle.
The two surviving soldiers from the other HMV understand the threat and move in to cover the HMV.

6. In a brief but fierce exchange of fire the soldier prove that their training is giving them an edge over the cheaper rebels. The rebels spray wildly but only score 1 hit which was saved but the soldier manage to kill 2 of the three rebels making him run for the hills (flee).
The HMV now has no weapon to defend itself from the Toyota Technical so the sergeant makes his men get out of the vehicle and lay down covering fire.

7.The soldiers with their AK47's can penetrate the Toyota's armour of 6 and manage to do so. They take out the vehicle wit 3 penetrating hits. The driver is killed but the gunner miraculously survives. Dazed and confused he looks for his weapon. he then makes a charge towards the soldiers and even manages to kill 1 soldier. In the return fire the soldiers kill the last rebel with all their firepower.

8. With all the rebels killed or fleeing the surviving soldiers escort the crippled HMV to the table edge to finish the mission with a victory.

Here's an overview of the table on which we played this mission. The patrolling HMV's moved in from the right and had to get to the left hand side.

I hope you enjoyed the show. It was a blast playing this mission.

11 July 2016

10.000 HITS !!!!!!

The Zangali Blog receives 10.000 hits in 3 months !
I was incredibly happy when I checked the Hit-counter for this Blog. The people of Zangali have had over 10.000 visitors and all that within the first 3 months is an incredible and unexpected success.
When I started this Blog I thought it would be a nice medium to keep track of my progress in developing a new Wargame in an imaginary nation but I didn't think it would be this popular. The idea is to post articles of finished miniatures, Scenery projects, battle reports, trying out wargaming rule sets and creating fictional news as a back drop for the blog.

Modifying MDF Buildings
Let's have a look at the figures;
Most popular are the articles about how I created the scenery. On the 15th of June I posted an article on creating jungle terrain. to this day it is still the biggest success of the blog with 1.602 Hits*. Another big hit on the blog is also a scenery related article, Modifying laser cut MDF buildings was posted on the 4th of July and received 1498 hits*. With 25 posts in total these two articles alone take over a quarter of the hits so it's safe to say that Scenery related articles are very popular.

The famous ZangaLions
At the other end the lowest number of hits are on the News articles. I post a fictional bit of news now and then to bring Zangali more to life. Well at least to me. It helps me create a back drop for my games and helps me envision new projects. I can imagine this is not to everyone's taste but I also get good feedback on it. I think the main reason for the low hits(in comparison) is the fact that I don't share these articles, don't put them on my facebook page or on any of the forums I visit. On average a News article gets about 60 hits but there's one that seems to be the favourite with 150 hits* and that's the Africa Cup 2017 News post. I will continue posting the news articles because I enjoy writing them and make Zangali come to life.

Then where from do people travel to Zangali? Our beloved country seems to be most popular by people from the US and UK, together good for over 5.000 visitors*. But the department of tourist information also see large groups of Australians, French, Spanish, German, Canadian, Irish and of course Dutch check in. They get here by many different ways, Facebook seems to be the most popular to find Zangali with just over 3.000 hits* but also "the Miniatures Page" is a good way to visit Zangali with over 1.000 hits*, the "Lead Adventure Forum" counts for a good 500+ hits*. After that there are many other smaller numbers of visitors coming to Zangali by other sites. Of course Google brings people to our country but I also want to give a special mention to Studio Tomahawk where my tutorial on making jungle terrain is linked and liked by at least 110 visitors*. All these small numbers really add up and result in more then 10.000 hits now.

I like to thank all the other Bloggers that have my on their Blogroll, People that share my articles on Facebook and Google+ . A special thanks for the regular people that comment on my posts,you know who you are. I really really appreciate it and like to read what you think of the Blog.

So tell me, what do you... like the best? ..want to see anything changed? ..Do I need to add something?  let me know in the comments down below.

*: Number of hits registered by July 11th 2016

6 July 2016

Kanya Manili stadium Opening

The "Kanya Manili Stadium"
After five years of hard work the new Sports stadium in  Batongo that will be replacing the old "Stade d'Olympique"in Abate. Only last week the name of the new stadium was revealed, it will be called the "Kanya Manili Stadium" honoring president Anan's late wife. Manili Anan was the president's first wife and many people admired her for her lovely brown chocolate like skin color. (Kanya means Beautiful Ebony). Manili Anan died under suspicious circumstances but the cause of death was never revealed.

Stadium under construction 
Five years ago, only one year after coming to power Anan order the construction of a new multi functional stadium that could be used for sports events, pop concerts and military parades. Since the beginning of the built there were many hurdles to overcome but Anan never abandoned his pet-project. Due to poor construction the south public stands even collapsed so foreign engineers were brought in to aid the Zangalians in the construction of this new day monument.

The grand opening will take place this Friday and all of the national elite, sportsmen, politicians and world press are invited for the festivities. This has caused the minister of National Security great concern, he will be responsible for the safety and well being of all the guests.

SOON: Nicki Minaj in Zangali
Next Wednesday will be the first real test for the Stadium and the security personnel. Then Nicki Minaj will be preforming there for the start of her Africa tour. For the concert all tickets have been sold out and 50.000 Zangalians will be attending to see the great show.
And in two weeks time the National football team will play it's first home game in a friendly match against Egypt.

The president said in his latest interview on the Zangali News channel that he is certain the new stadium will bring much joy to the people of Zangali. Not only will the ZangaLions (Zangali national football team) now be invincible there will also come international stars to the country to perform at the new stadium and part of the glorious annual military parade will take place in the stadium.

4 July 2016

Modifying laser cut MDF Buildings

Sarissa precision MDF modified
I love using laser cut MDF buildings. They are relatively cheap, easy to build and plenty to chose from. When I build my WW2 French Normandy table I used 6 4Ground building but more about those at the bottom of this page, this is the zangali blog remember.

For Zangali I have thus far only used Sarissa Precision buildings. I'm using the "Far East" buildings. I have 2 houses, a watch tower and a small radar station. The laser cut buildings come quite plain and are unpainted but they are a nice base to start off with. 

First I add some sand to the bases and then paint all the buildings in various brown tones. You can be a bit messy at this stage, it will even make it more realistic. Once the paint is dry I used some shades of ink and washed the whole model. You can lengthen your ink with a bit of water. Once that was dry I dry brushed the whole thing with some light brown / grey paints. Of course I also painted the base with the same colors as I used for my gaming table to match it. That was basically all the painting I did.
To the tower I made some major changes. I didn't really liked the walls of the original so I cut those out and green stuffed some sand bags. I also painted up a bit of bandage in some camo colors and torn the bottom off to make it look ragged.
All the roofs in this far east set are quite plain and simple and look a bit off to me so I bought a bamboo sweeper at the local pound store and cut some of the bristles off and used that for the roofing. You can see it makes a big difference. If I would do it again I would make it look more like two small layers instead of one big one but hey...

This building has just been re-roofed and painted, nothing major but it makes a big difference

At the start of this article I also said I have used 4Ground buildings in an earlier project and even though it has nothing to do with the Zangali project I do want to show you them here as it is just another example of how you can add your own creativity to a pre painted building. 

4Ground French Garage
The problem I had with the 4ground buildings is that they look really polished, plain and all look the same. Also if you put them on a grass matt like most of us do they look out of place and usually don't fit in with the gaming table.
To tackle those things I did a couple of things. First of all I googled for tiled flooring, carpets and wallpapers, just printed them on paper and glued them inside the rooms. They all look different now but not from the outside so I added some climbing plants to the walls and again printed some posters and such. I didn't go for the war propaganda posters that you often see but tried to make it look like a normal small French country village with a cafe, Garage and a bombed house (although the bomb just missed the house 

The whole thing is on a MDF base, the cobble stones are just textured wall paper and then painted and washed. I added a little shed made of coffee stirring sticks some walls, 2 gas pumps from my son's old garage set and some lose bits and pieces that fit in this setting. And YES, that is Mater from Cars. everybody always asks me that. I did repaint and changed him a bit but somehow he is still recognisable.

For this destroyed house I just put the whole thing on a MDF base again. The wall paper cobble stone is also the same and blends in with my road sections of the gaming table. I just used a Games Workshop crater to create the impact point just next to the building. Even though it missed the following explosion still destroyed most of the house. A direct hit would have destroyed it completely. With all the lose debris sprinkled loosely on the base it creates the feeling of total destruction a a heavy bomb

4Ground destroyed detached house

4Ground French Cafe
And lastly no French village can do without a Café. I can just envision René Artois from "allo allo" there going round with some drinks while planning how to get his hands on the fallen Madonna with the big boobies.
I think you get the idea now of how I made this. I must say that the chairs are from 4Ground also but the tables are made by me.
The last tip I have really is that I flocked the edges of the MDF bases with the same flock as my gaming table so the buildings blend in perfectly

4Ground French Cafe
4Ground French Cafe

Here's a shot of the Normandy table in action:
4Ground Normandy gaming table
4Ground Normandy gaming table

27 June 2016

Toyota Technical .50cal painted (Empress Miniatures)

Eureka Miniatures Toyota Technicals with .50cal
Eureka Miniatures Toyota Technicals with .50cal
I have ordered a couple of Toyota Technicals with a .50cal and gunner from Imaginative Miniatures a couple of weeks ago. The Empress Miniatures Toyota technical can be bought with and without a 50.cal for the same price which is odd but doesn't include a gunner so I bought that additional model as well. The gunner looks a bit middle eastern to me because of the head scarf. But my militia rebels have the eureka Masked Somalis so next to them he doesn't look out of place. And even though he doesn't show much skin the bits that are visible are painted up with a dark brown skin color to make him look African.

Eureka Miniatures Toyota Technicals with .50cal
I have painted the first one white,...well white with a lot of dust and mud and some damage. I wasn't sure about the windows, go safe and paint them black or paint them up in a blue gradient. I chose the latter and like the sky reflection.
I really wanted this to be a "Toyota" and was thinking about painting the letters on the back but that was quite daunting because I can't paint that straight. In the end I just printed the Toyota logo on paper, cut it out, soaked it in watered down PVA glue and stuck it on the back. Then with the sponge technique I weathered the back like the rest of the truck and used pigments for mud.Now you can't tell it's not painted on.

Eureka Miniatures Toyota Technicals with .50cal

And then the Gunner. I didn't want to glue it to the car but I wanted to be able to take it off whenever needed. I cut a small piece of thin plastic card to fit in the back and as you can see in the picture above both options look nice. I 'd like to add some empty shell casings around the gunners feet but I couldn't find my ultra thin plastic string. I might do that later or just with the other Toyota I still have to paint up. I think that one will be painted red, what do you think..?

22 June 2016

A nasty little surprise

IED Marker 

Now that the Zangali Army and rebels are done it's about time we have a little game. For the first mission I still miss one little model, more a marker really. Something that can go BOOOOM!!!

Some real I.E.D.'s for inspiration
I have been looking at I.E.D.'s on google for a bit so I hope the CIA will not be knocking on my door. There are a lot of different kinds of IED's hence the name Improvised Explosive Device. I had a look at some pictures of what it should look like and when I saw the very first image that came up I immediately thought of warhammer 40K orks. The shells and mines look just like those and I still have a good few of those. I quickly rummaged through my Bitzbox and found a few suitable pieces I could use.

Watch out! IED ahead!
I simply cut of a few rokkitz for the shells and used a melta bomb as a landmine. I shaved the shells down a bit so they would look a bit sunken into the ground. I then added some small electrical wiring and then added the sand. After that I painted the whole thing up and added some grass tufts.

I pretty pleased with the results and will make a few more. Now I know the whole idea behind an IED is that they are concealed and not spotted easily but for wargaming that doesn't work. Then I could just as well put sand on a 25mm base and say it's an IED marker.

19 June 2016

First Rebel Militia Finished

Eureka Miniatures 28mm Somalis
Now that the Zangali Army infantry is done it's time to start painting their adversaries, The Northern Armed Militia (NAM) a.k.a. The Banga Boys. These are the militia rebels that have joined Lebon Banga in his war against Anan's government. These are the men who want to take their guns all the way from the northern jungle to the capitol in the south, overthrow the government and end Ime Anan's reign.

Rebels with German WW2 Decals....
These are the first 11 models I painted up for the militia. They are 28mm Eureka Somalis. Because they are rebels I gave them a variety of colours. I didn't want them to have uniforms or anything, I wanted them to look like armed civilians. I even gave two men a football shirt. I got the idea when I first saw the models and I used some old decals for their shirt numbers and player name. No one will really see these are actually world war 2 German tank numbers will they.

Click to enlarge
It's fun to paint models with more freedom then you get with regular army models. I can mix and match colors whatever I like. I have about 15 more of these models and by mixing the masked and unmasked models you don't really see that there's only a small number of poses available. Soon I will also add some Spectre miniatures to them but more about that later....

17 June 2016

Checkpoint attacked

Checkpoint in Nabali attacked
Earlier this morning a Military checkpoint near the Nabali army base was attacked.

At 07:21am a small utility van was stopped at an outer checkpoint in Nabali only 800 meters from the Army base. The van was stopped on it’s way to the base in a routine control. Bystanders say that when the driver was asked for his papers he made a nervous impression. When asked to get out of the van the driver refused and tensions rose. After some shouting between the driver and soldiers at the checkpoint the van suddenly exploded killing 4 soldiers and injuring 2 more men.

It had been quiet since rebels attacked a patrol just outside the city. It was thought that the situation was under control and the army had restored peace in the region. It now seems that this attack was aimed directly at the army base. At this moment it is still unclear who is behind the attack and if this attack is related to the earlier attack.

15 June 2016

Making Jungle Terrain Tutorial

28mm jungle terrain

When you're making a Jungle themed gaming table it's nice to have some actual jungle pieces. In this topic I'll cover how I make my jungle pieces. I hope to show you how I do it so you can copy this or you can change them to fit your jungle table. I like my jungle to be modular so I can have different set-ups with every time I set up the gaming table.

Cutting the shapes from MDF
Step 1: Get a sheet of 4mm thick MDF and mark out some organic shapes with a marker. Before I drew the shapes I measured out area's of 3"x3", 6"x3", 9"x3" and 6"x6" and drew the shapes in there. You can see it on the picture below. (ignore left side of the picture, those will become mountains and hills for a later tutorial).

Step 2: Cut out the shapes from the MDF Sheet with a jigsaw and cut the sharp edges with a hobby knife. Then sand them down so you get smooth and curved edges.

Tree bark ready for the oven
Step 3: You might want to add some rocks to your jungle.You can get bags of tree bark from the garden store. They are pretty cheap and a large bag will last you a lifetime. Funnily enough the tree bark will look more realistic then using actual rocks and will keep it light in weight. The tree bark is still a bit moist when you take them out of the bag. You can leave them out of the bag for a couple of days to let them dry but I heated up the oven and then put the tree bark in the oven on a baking tray with the oven turned off. The heated oven will dry the tree bark in about half an hour.

Tree bark scrub down!
Step 4: When the tree bark is dry I take a stiff toothbrush and start scrubbing the tree bark. Lots of dust and small bits will come of and the edges will get that realistic rock like appearance. This also prevents the rocks from chipping later on when you have painted them.

Hot glue gun is...HOT!!!
Step 5: Take a hot glue gun and glue the pieces of tree bark down on the bases. Try to work as neat as possible and watch out, hot gue gun is...hot. I got some minor burns from the hot glue dripping from the gun. But if you want good looking scenery some second degree burns are a small price to pay.

Seal the tree bark
Step 6: This is a very important step which should not be skipped. Take some PVA glue and water it down with about 40% water. Now take a brush and coat all the bits of tree bark with a generous splash of the watered down PVA mix. The dry tree bark will soak up the mix and it will make it stronger, prevent it from chipping and makes it easier to paint later on because the tree bark will not soak up your paint. I water the PVA down because the tree bark will soak it up a bit easier but also because you will keep the most detail like this instead of with pure PVA glue.

 disco dip, nuts or sand sir?
Step 7: When the PVA mix on the tree bark is dry we can start to add sand to the bases. I coated the topside of the bases with pure PVA glue and then dumped them into a bucket of sand. Make sure the sand sticks to all the areas and no white parts are showing. Shake off the excess sand and leave them to dry. Also make sure no sand is glued to the underside.

Step 8: It's time to get the jungle bases painted up and plant the trees and plants. When you are making a complete jungle table I suggest using the same color for the jungle terrain pieces as you're using for the gaming table. This will make sure your scenery blends into the table seamlessly. When you do this it's a good idea to go to your local DYI shop and buy a can of cheap matte paint in the desired colour. I bought a can of a sort of light beige sandy colour. You can also do this for your rocks, hills and mountains just make sure you buy a water based paint because it will dry faster, smells less and will not melt any polystyrene you might use in your scenery pieces.

Paint the rocks first. easier that way.
Step 9: Now paint up the rocks with your desired colour. Once dry also wash the rocks and drybrush with the original colour. Now with the rocks you want to create a bit more depth and contrast so use lighter colours and drybrush at least two more times. I used a grey'ish/ brown color and drybrushed it with Vallejo Brown Sand , then Vallejo Iraqui Sand and last Vallejo Ivory. 

Washing the jungle bases
Step 10: Make a wash of a brownish colour, for scenery pieces I just pick a colour I want to use and then add a load of water to it to thin it creating a cheap and easy wash. For scenery pieces like these it's not really rocket science. When the wash is dry I drybrush the pieces with the original colour to create a bit of depth.

Starting to look like a jungle
Step 11: Now the painting is done and dry it's time to get creative with some plastic (aquarium) plants and model trees and foliage. A cheap and good place to buy these is Ebay where you can get quite a variety. Start with the larger pieces and work to smaller pieces. Just place them in a irregular pattern. I use a hot glue gun and super glue for this.

 Step 12: Some plastic plants might look a bit too much like toy trees. Ad some different colours of green and brown with an airbrush if you have one but you can also use a drybrush technique to create depth. I also removed most of the obvious moldlines and flash but this can be a bit of a tedious job... I finish this step by spraying some matte varnish over the plants and trees to take of the plastic/shiny look. Unfortunately I don't have a picture of this to show you the difference but if you compare the picture from the last step with the picture from the next step you will see I have painted the palm trees up, added some green variety to the plain green leaves and gave it a matte coat of varnish to take the shine off.

Painted and matte coated
Step 13: Now it's time to add the last bit to your jungle bases. I have added some small green flock here and there and for the fallen leaf effect I used a kitchen mix of Italian herbs. Very cheap and you can get a lot of different kinds. At first it is kind of smelly but that will go after about a week. I have also added some grass tufts. I have bought these from Gamers Grass, great service, good product and good variety of colors, shapes and sizes. I mix up the tufts and then I'm done. ready to use on your gaming table.

Jungle base done

With some figures for reference

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