26 November 2013

Possibly a little controversial but at least it's honest!!

Occasionally the blogger medium throws up some interesting questions when others comment. I think it's these points that make our blogs interesting and open up for some healthy debate at times. During my recent bout of insomnia I took the opportunity to review several of my posts and one comment stuck in my mind. Now I am aware that the following may open up a whole can of worms and some will say you should not go there, well that's not me at all. I am not known for my tact,diplomacy or any such feelings, what I am known for is being direct and blunt but to the point! I will point out that this post is entirely about the battle I had inside my own head about the question posed and is not meant to be derogatory to anyone. If you are easily offended then DO NOT READ any further. If you want a trip inside the mind of a fool then read on!!

So what was the comment? well here it is...

 "As for the "block paint" debate, well I game to paint, not the other way around! To me gaming is just a fun bonus, but my real interest is in the researching, planning and especially painting aspect of the hobby. So my figures are actually meant as artwork first (although I certainly don't see them as useless!). I love painting, and I love getting better at it with each unit I paint."

Now this caused me to stop and think about my own involvement with the hobby and what painting meant to me on a personal level. Also taking in the wider hobby aspect and its relative importance to me. I like to play games, in fact as this blog will prove I do this regularly on a Thursday evening with a group of friends. So are the games more important than the painting? Is the painting the most important aspect to me and if so why?

So I drew some conclusions and firstly I will deal with the gaming being more important. If I wanted troops quick I could just pay someone else to paint the figures for me, after all the Malaysians and Chinese do a cracking line in sweat shops that can crank figures out at an astonishing rate at an affordable price!! There are also a plethora of UK based painters offering similar services, but this does not tempt me one bit. Why well I have been a regular user of Ebay and have sampled several of these items in the past and they have never remained in my collection for very long, they dont fit in very well.

I also don't consider it to be money well spent when either a) I can do it better, b) I can paint to the same standard for less cost. This has a lot to do with my constant battle to strive for some level of perfection. Within us all is ourselves and even though we try not too, we all make our own judgements based on our own levels of perception. Therefore if you perceive yourself to be less talented than X, you strive to reach that level yourself, gaining the knowledge and skills needed over time, or you accept that you cant reach X and make compromises. In my head I am the former searching for X so compromise is rarely and option.

So this all leads to the matter of time consumption. Yes that's right time, the one factor that affects us all, none of us ever have enough of it, to do everything we want too. So to the time precious, it often means they will pay more for their hobby to be able to play a game. Nothing wrong with that at all and in fact would make life a lot easier at times. I just cant justify that to myself, let alone try to convince the wife that it would be worth it!!

So does this mean that time robs me of opportunities to play more games, possibly but that would only apply if I wanted to spend more of my free time playing games. The fact is my time is taking by painting and research more than my game playing. Yes the periods I can currently play are restricted but that has more to do with the wargames butterfly over the years, than anything else. In other words some of my time has been poorly managed or dare I say it wasted in the past! Yet we are all human and all of us make these mistakes from time to time, that is how we learn.

The most important aspect for me is my desire to paint figures for playing with. So primarily I paint because I enjoy that element more than the playing, I don't pay for anyone to do it because it would deprive me of the main reason for my involvement and total absorption into this hobby and I would never improve my painting skills. Naturally my projects will take longer to complete and armies may take months before they are finished. This is because I too view my figures as miniature pieces of artwork that I can play with. Yes I do play with them when they are done after all that is what toys are for!! and these games are often the source of much fun and relaxation.

Like any artist I like to see the progression of my skills with a brush and don't regard my work as totally rubbish nor do I see it as high quality, but it is my work and I am improving continually, this is some thing that I can draw a sense of pride and achievement from and I am sure that sentiment is shared by many in this hobby, regardless of whether they paint Fantasy, Sci-Fi or Historical figures. But I would have none of this if I did not give it my best shot each and every time.

This leads me to conclude that the painting is more important to me than the playing. Yet, it is not just the painting as I have just alluded to the fact I spend a lot of time doing research. I really do like the wider aspects of the hobby, the fact that I have to research my subjects and source the uniform plates in order to paint the armies expanding my knowledge of different periods in history into the bargain. Reading blogs created by other like minded individuals also enriches the experience greatly, something I get great pleasure from is the passion other bloggers devote to the hobby. Like the eternal circle this drives me forward and keeps me motivated to paint more.

Sorry folks I realise being inside the brain of a thick bugger is not where anyone wants to be but I had to get this out!!

Regards
Loki.

56 comments:

  1. Every gamer and every painter has a different and very personal motivation, and that’s just fine by me. I'm sort of in the middle. I love painting but I can't say I game to paint or the visa versa. For me it’s everything taken together (painting, gaming, blogging, conventions and community) that make this such a rewarding hobby. I can't say any aspect is more important than another because they are all linked. In short MY hobby is unique to me and I get exactly what I need out of it. Anyone else’s interpretation of what constitutes a ‘proper’ gamer or painter is therefore utterly irrelevant.

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    1. I meant to end "utterly irrelevant to me". Other peoples interpretation of what constitutes a ‘proper’ gamer or painter is of course completely relevent to them.

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  2. Well, I'd too consider myself between painter and gamer. I like painting minis to play with, and I like trying new stuff, techniques, paints... For me it's a whole, though sometimes I wonder if I could delegate part of my projects...

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    1. I agree its the whole package that is involved, its just so happens that I get more out of the painting. Thanks for your opinion Seb

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  3. I spend waaaaay to much time painting (and when i get to a bit that Needs some historical "reality" doing a ton of Research which holds up the painting) and getting distracted by new Projects Play. In the back of my mind there´s a big room somehwere, someday, with a huge table for all my armies.....sadly it never gets any closer...one day though .-D paint to Play? Play to paint? As Lee says, there´s a wide Variation among us loons who collect model figs, no hard and fast "types"

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    1. I have one of those rooms, they are great arn't they

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  4. I don't get enough time to paint or game! But like you I spend a stupid amount of time on research! But I love it! I'm a bit the other way, I can if want to spend that little time extra on figures to make them look better, but I'm happy enough not to and knock figures out by the dozern

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    1. Righto, Ray! Quantity has a quality all its own. I find myself in this camp too.

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    2. I'd like to game more but life is fecking that up and sometimes motivation too, I love researching the periods but if I won the lotto I'd have my figures painted for me!

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    3. There is much to be said for the quality of quantity, I have seen very nice armies of these.

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  5. Andrew, you are not alone in these thoughts!

    Today, more of my hobby time is spent painting and researching than gaming. Like Lee, I find myself somewhere in the middle of the spectrum between gamer and painter. I neither paint to game nor game to paint. For me, painting is a relaxing activity that I enjoy. I get a sense of accomplishment as finished products roll off the painting desk and collections grow. I would not farm this enjoyment out to the Third World.

    As I march towards retirement, which is still off in the future, my goal is to tip the hobby bifurcation from painting towards gaming. Both will remain in the mix, though. We all realize that our eyesight may not be as sharp as in our younger days. Better to "strike while the iron is hot" so to speak and "make hay while the sun shines." Therefore, painting takes an enjoyable yet sometimes urgent precedence for me.

    Finally, these separate facets of the hobby are not taken in isolation. For me, it is a package deal. Painting without the research or gaming without painting would not be as satisfying. Besides, I have found a great fraternity in the hobby.

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  6. I am very much a gamer who does the minimum amount of painting to get by. Each to their own

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    1. That's what's good about the hobby each to their own and something for everyone.

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  7. I firmly in the painting camp at this point. It certainly didn't used to be that way but at some point I decided that the spectacle was almost more important than the game itself. That's particularly evident with my western town of Calamity. Yes, the progress has been slower than I like but its because I'm more interested in the display aspect of the town than the gaming. Its certainly designed for gaming but it maybe another year before a gunfight takes place on the streets of Calamity. In the meantime I can paint miniatures to my game standard and detail my buildings way beyond what comes in the kit. I want a game that will visually draw people in and that starts first with the painting and the modeling, the game will come later.

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    1. I have been watching you build Calamity and the detail is amazing, The whole spectacle works well thanks for your comment Kris

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  8. I agree that 'time consumption' is the most crucial factor. I also spend more time painting than I do gaming, because that's what maters to me (to echo Big Lee). I paint little and often and this suits me fine. However, I spend less time painting at a single sitting than I do when playing a game: about an hour to an hour and a half painting, versus my usual game time of three hours. So it's about time management as well as time consumption (if that makes any sense!).

    All the best
    Paul

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  9. I go in and out of enjoying painting, but I find I value figures more if I paint them myself, so I paint most of them. My output is down in recent years as the internet is a deep distraction.

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    1. I dont have the PC on when painting, unless its playing music far too much of a distraction I agree

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  10. Its the story of Gamer Pie. Painting, Building, Playing, Thinking. All are necessary to some degree and some people like more parts than the other. Myself personally vowed never to play with unpainted figures again like I did as a teen. So I tend to paint more than play. I enjoy it and though it is nice to get stuff painted by others it never feels rightly 'yours' I guess thats where personal satisfaction comes in.

    The feeling of II painted those and they just kicked that units ass Whoop Whoop! As well as lamenting when your favourite regiment is lost to enemy fire! We all build up an emotional attachment to our little soldiers!

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    1. Im with you on the unpainted, maybe that was acceptable back in the day when I first started the hobby but wont play with them unless painted

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  11. Interesting read. I am generally on your side. Funnily enough i have done commission painting for people to pay for a decorator to do my house - better to do something i am good at than something i hate. With the cowboy collection i had to make a decision on painting to certain quality - which was difficult .- but has meant i could complete the project in decent timescale so i can game if i want to. I will revisit items that need a little extra tart up! Painting and model making is the real joy - gaming is the bonus.

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    1. I like that Idea Dave, I dont take commissions but maybe I should.. Though it is doubtful I would sell much

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    2. Oh quality Napoleonics will always comand a price..

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  12. Painting first for me.
    I have been painting for nearly 40 years.
    I still love it and hope I continue to do so.
    Gaming is another aspect of the hobby that I am very passionate about.
    I do paint to game as new interests and periods in history will often dictate this to me.
    But as much as I enjoy gaming, painting will always come first.

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    1. I knew you would agree buddy, its a great hobby and always fun

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  13. I can't really say as to whether I am a gamer or a painter. I love to game and really enjoy scenarios where my forces are the underdog.
    I also am driven to distraction by fielding or facing a "tin-boy" army. I have my forces painted if they are to venture on a table and expect the same from my opponent. The only exception is SciFi where a new troop or vehicle is being tried out with new rules or a case of terminal shineyitus. Historical figures are researched and painted as close as I can get them and will not be fielded until I am content with their appearance.
    I get immense pleasure from finishing a unit and moving it from box, to desk, to shelf. I find the painting way to therapeutic to surrender to a third party when the extra cost cuts into future recruitment! Unfortunately , I live far from my opponents and it seems I spend more time lately painting than gaming! At least my children are into SciFi and zombies so I can roll some dice every now and again.
    So far the Waukerloo paper minis have peaked their interest in Napoleonic and historical conflicts. They are cheaper than my figures to boot!

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  14. I'm definitely with you Andrew. Painting (for the reasons you already mentioned) is what is most important to me, than a long way off comes gaming. After a hard day at work I find it relaxing picking up my brush and splashing some paint on my figures. The plus point in beeing a painter first in my opinion is as a side product of your main hobby you can play with what you've painted... as long as the shinyitus doesn't kick in all too often and you get a playable force done. Beeing a gamer first would mean I always had to motivate myself to get some paint on the figures only to play them... I think to me it would be a bit like kitchen work. It has to be done but you don't really like it.

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    1. Aah shinyitius it afflicts us all my friend, I am constantly suffering from it

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  15. Makes sense to me. Obviously since I paint for a living I'm glad there are many who don't care so much if they paint it themselves, but they want nice minis, but for me personally I think I've got the same balance as you have. I enjoy painting, I want to paint my own minis,and while I do enjoy gaming (sometimes in our group someone puts on a game or campaign and provides all the minis) I enjoy gaming more when doing so with my own painted minis. I enjoy the research aspect too, and if something isn't historical I create the history, develop a background, setting, etc. This story-building aspect to the hobby is something I really enjoy. It is the setting, backstory of the game you'll be playing, and that context makes the game more enjoyable to me. Without it a wargame is more like an action movie: maybe exciting, but no emotional investment in what is going on, and odd as it sounds, having that background makes the games more entertaining for me. In the end it's a symbiosis for me: the gaming gives me an excuse to work on a project (paint & plan) and the painting and planning makes those games more enjoyable. Hard to untangle them, but if I couldn't paint & plan I would probably game less, if I couldn't game I'd probably paint & plan just as much, so I guess that's the more important part, but, for me, the whole together is better than the sum of the parts.

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    1. Thank you LF an nice considered reply and will give me some food for thought

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  16. Beginning to feel like The Old Man and the Sea! Spent last weekend on a long (my God, it was long!) game over the better part of two days with two mates with whom I formed the original 'Gang of Three' back in '67. It was like being in a time capsule: they simply hadn't moved on in game or painting style. I was (hopefully) jokingly told that I wasn't a wargamer because I don't game enough these days.

    Now, that's true to an extent because I also have a life of sorts and certainly time commitments which don't allow for unlimited periods of painting or gaming. In the past I've played in clubs (3), with informal groups and with those two buggers from last weekend. I've gamed in a variety of periods, scales and styles, so I think it begs the question: what is a wargamer? I'm not aware of any criteria and there's certainly national or international qualification, so who's to say?

    Nevertheless, in all of this, the main driver for me is, and always has been, painting. It's the one part of this hobby where the individual has complete control and it also satisfies the artistic or 'craft' side of our mind. I've never bought painted figures and wouldn't consider doing so because painting is an integral part of the hobby. Sometimes I find it tedious, but mostly I enjoy it. However, it's well supplemented by research and background reading.

    So, I'm afraid I'm firmly in the painting camp. I'm pragmatic though in that I don't give everything my best attention because sometimes the figures involved simply don't justify it. Thankfully, I've been at it long enough to have learnt enough tricks to make figures that have had a minimalist application of paint look reasonable. Nonetheless, nothing gives quite the same satisfaction as a well finished figure, even it that's one which I've made a few shortcuts on.

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    1. you are a wargamer my friend without doubt, thanks for the additional blog post :)

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  17. Surely as it is a hobby (and therefore your own very personal thing), each of us should take from it what we want as individuals. We shouldn't judge or score ourselves against others in terms of the enjoyment we derive from it as that defeats the purpose of doing something for pleasure...

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    1. I dont judge or score myself against others, but if I see a great painters work I like to try to improve my skills to my betterment therefore as a painter I improve my own work.

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  18. Excellent, thought provoking post, Andrew. I've become a painter over time. But gaming the figures I paint is crucial. If I paint something and it never sees the tabletop, I'll unload it. It is for me, a 3 part journey. Planning, painting and then playing. When I'm painting, I generally read on the topic that I'm painting. Its all tied together and I'm a lucky man to be a part of this great hobby!

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    1. I have been doing some unloading of late, due to lack of table top attention as well

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  19. I was very seriously a painter first, only through a lack of opponents and a love for history and research, yet the club I am a part of means I get to game much more often. So it is now a need to get stuff painted to table top standard (no golden demons for me) and yet I am running the painting competition at my club!!! Why? because I would like to see the others (kids big and small) have painted minis on the table and get the same feeling of satisfaction. Do they have to paint, no, but the aesthetics makes it better, well to me at least. Should I force a painting competition on the kids? Should I spend club money and grovel to wargaming businesses for prize support? The odd part is, though I will play against opponents with unpaitned figures without any issue I feel I let the others down if mine are not painted. Yet on occaison for the game I will use unpainted or undercoated miniatures. So for me paint-history-research-gaming hold similar sway but I still paint more than i game.

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  20. The hobby has always engaged gamers and painters at all levels, from those who are happy to plonk bare metal figures on the board and never get round to painting them to those who paint fastidiously yet never have a game with the figures they have lavished so much attention on... For myself... I want to play the game, and I want to do it with well painted figures on a well crafted terrain board - I want the game and the 'show'...
    The games drives what I paint... and there is no more pride than putting down great looking figures on the table you have painted yourself... I would never pay someone else to painted figures for me, and if I do buy 2nd hand,... I strip and repaint...

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    1. ..., I can paint most evenings each week, and hopefully get a game in at the weekend... that seems a decent balance to me :-)

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    2. Great reply Scott, I am in the same camp

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  21. I am a painter who games, rather than a gamer who paints, I reckon. That being said, I won't paint anything unless I intend to use it on the tabletop, so it's strictly Napoleonics with a dash of late antiquity for variation.

    As to your post, I don't think there's any controversy. It's clear it's your personal view and I reckon that's the main point. I have no problem with playing against people who do the barest minimum of a paint job on their troops as they much prefer the gaming aspect. They're often better players than I am!

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  22. I believe that "controversial" comment was from me, wasn't it? Oooh I feel important! ;-)

    But yeah, not much to add to my comment, I think it said it all. I just really, really love to paint! I can genuinely get excited on a saturday morning if I know I get to paint all day!

    But that's not to say I don't like gaming, of course. But it would a much more boring hobby to me if figures came already painted and armies already assembled.

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    1. Indeed it was you Iannick and it was a great comment :)

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  23. I like painting/building figures and generally being creative with miniatures.
    I like war games.
    I paint for my games.
    I paint because I enjoy it a lot
    I play games because I enjoy it a lot.
    Perhaps gaming gives me the assignments for painting. The reason what I paint and purchase.
    But the why I paint and spend so much time doing it is because I like it.
    There is no choice...gaming or painting. They are interconnected for me and I can not separate them.

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  24. Quite awhile back it used to be all about the painting where only my very best would do, but now to quote Lee "I love painting but I can't say I game to paint or the visa versa" sums me up pretty darn good. Nowadays a spend a lot of time finding that happy place where I'm both pleased with the results and the amount of time it took so they(the figures) can played with. Spend too much time or too little time on either and I'm not happy. I'm getting close to that balance, but I'm not quite there yet, however I do see the light.

    Christopher

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  25. Hi Andrew,

    to be honest I can't find anything offending in your post. It's your personal view of your very own interpretation of the wargaming / modelling / painting hobby and that's completely all right. No matter whether other people share this point of view or not.

    However in most parts I completely agree with you. For me gaming is the last step of a staircase. I love it to have a special setting, battle or unit in mind, then engross my mind into the topic, order the figure and start painting them. But the next step of watching how my imagination of the result comes to live and having a satisfying result is the most important for me. That's what kept me going while I was serving in the army and didn't have much time for gaming.
    Gaming by itself makes it round then. I love it to spend some time "with the boys" having a nice chat and a beer or two. Rolling the dice and pushing some miniatures is just the last stone for my wargaming mosaic then.

    Just my humble to pence...

    Cheers
    Stefan

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  26. Hi Andrew, late on this one but I agree with what you said. For me I enjoy creating things. I could probably buy all the figures and terrain pre-painted and be done with it, but there is a certain satisfaction in the craftsmanship side of the hobby that I enjoy. I won't kid myself that my skills are that great, but if you don't try you will never improve.

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  27. To me its all one hobby but the greatest part and the one I get the most enjoyment from is the painting of the figures. Now it might be because I am pants at playing the games but it is more that I find miniature painting to be a destresser, there a new word I have invented. I find painting figures totally rewarding and I have a real sense of joy once I have completed one. Playing a game to me is just that, playing a game.

    Now I than a greater involvement than some, most, with games development, direction and design with my involvement with Solway Crafts and Miniatures and VBCW, so maybe it is that that stops me form totally getting into games, I am always comparing them to the rules i have had the pleasure on working on and thinking how too improve them.

    But painting to me is where it is at. I simply love painting figures, breathing character and life into them and enjoy looking at them once I have finished them. I always look to ways to improving my techniques and love looking at other peoples figures and talking to them on how they have done that look or style.

    So what I am saying in a round about way is that I guess like you I game to paint and there is nothing wrong it that as there is nothing wrong with the person who dips paints their figures to play either. The only thing I find I dont like in the hobby is gamesmanship but thats a different subject.

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  28. Interesting post ... for those who play games ! (no offence, Sir !)
    For me, the question is only the time I have to paint and it's never enough !
    I dont' play games, but sometimes, if I should have the opportunity, why not ?
    Maybe, the most important question is :
    Do I have pleasure when I do what I do ??

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