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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Pre Order Hot Toys Hawkeye!

Hot Toys has pulled off another stunning likeness and array of accessories that are going to make the Avengers Hawkeye figure a must-have!

Sideshow Collectibles now has Hawkeye up for pre-order - click here to secure yours now!


Hawkeye comes with a boatload of accessories, hands and of course his bow - which, from the promo shots, it seems he'll be able to pose with very well! I think I'm as excited for the Hot Toys as I am for the movie!


Don't miss out - pre-order your Hot Toys Hawkeye now to avoid Avenger-Assembling disappointment later!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The AFB Podcast Episode Seven: Legion of Superheroes 12-Pack / Boxed Sets


Episode Seven of the AFB Podcast is now live at iTunes and available for direct download! Download and subscribe to the podcast at iTunes now! Follow the link and click "View in iTunes" to see the new episode!



Join Justin, Ben and Scott from the AFB Forum for Episode Seven of the Action Figure Blues Podcast! The AFB Podcast is a weekly look at action figures, statues and other collectibles from the worlds of comic books and popculture.



Episode Seven includes our Toy of the Week feature on the Legion of Superheroes 12-Pack from Mattel, and our Discussion Topic is “Boxed Sets".


We discuss the the first action figure boxed sets we remember, our favourite ever boxed sets, the things that bug us about them and the ones we'd give our left arms to be able to buy!



If you can't use iTunes, you can download Episode Seven here now! Click on the link to listen, or right click to save the file! The podcast will always be available from the “Podcast” tab here - but if you can subscribe and give us postive ratings at iTunes, that will help us greatly!


Have a listen, and please give us some feedback at podcast@actionfigureblues.com - we might even read out your feedback on the next show!



Happy listening!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

DC Direct blasts off with Cover Girls Starfire

From one of Marvel’s greatest cosmic villains, we move on to one of the DC Universe’s greatest cosmic beauties. The DC Direct Cover Girls of the DC Universe Starfire Statue brings to life a character with a rich history and a heap of recent controversy.

I have to preface this review by saying that, while I have a very supportive wife in terms of my collecting habits, there are certain things that Mrs AFB draws the line at having on display, especially since we have two AFB-ettes around. Some items I just don’t bother with buying for that reason, while other items have to be positioned at the back of a display. Thankfully, DC Direct has produced enough Cover Girls statues that I am able to “strategically position” Starfire amongst the crowd so that she doesn’t cause any marital strife.





I’ve spent a good deal of time talking about my admiration of this line of statues, and this is instalment is another great inclusion in the Cover Girls line. It’s always great to see lines reach out to new characters instead of repeating the same few over and over, and Starfire is a worthy inclusion.

Having started my comic reading life just around the time that Starfire first appeared, I will always have the George Perez / New Teen Titans Starfire in my head as the ideal representation of Koriand’r. I don’t think that many writers have really grasped the character since Marv Wolfman had the reigns, but that’s a theory for another time.





While this statue gives us a more modern version of Starfire, it captures enough of the Perez-esque elements, particularly around her eyes, to make it work for me and appeal to more Modern Age readers at the same time.

I always prefer the powerful females poses over the cheesecake style set-ups, and while this statue certainly makes the most of Starfire’s...er... assets, with her holding her hair which is draped over her left arm, it still strikes me as a powerful pose in a way. It’s sexy to be sure, but it shows Starfire in control.





The sculpting and paint work on this statue is on par with what we’ve come to expect from this line. I miss the billowy way that Perez always portrayed Starfire’s hair, but the more individual strands as portrayed here are nicely defined. The costume elements, scarce as they are, are all sculpted on. I have no tolerance for cheating by painting lines in on statues of this price point, and this piece doesn’t disappoint.

Apart from some paint slop on Poison Ivy, this line really hasn’t put a foot wrong in the QC department, and Starfire isn’t blotting that copy book. The colour choices for Starfire’s orange skin and orange/brown hair are perfect, and her green eyes work well, although I could have done with the tiniest touch less fluoro. The metallic touch to the purple of her uniform brings depth and light. It’s a great job, and a great piece.





While it seems that we only have Raven to go before the Cover Girls line becomes all DCNu, all the time, and one can always wish for more, this has been an outstanding line of statues. I like that the bases are kept simple and the statues are made at a scale that allows them to be displayed as a large group, so that you can really see the breadth of the DC Universe that has been built through the years.

You can see more pics at Facebook, discuss this at the AFB Forum, and comment on this post to enter the March AFB Comment of the Month Contest!

Until next time!



The AFB Podcast Episode 6: Gothitropolis Scarabus / Resurrected Toy Lines



Episode Six of the AFB Podcast is now live at iTunes and available for direct download! Download and subscribe to the podcast at iTunes now! Follow the link and click "View in iTunes" to see the new episode!



Join Ben, Eli and Scott from the AFB Forum for Episode Six of the Action Figure Blues Podcast! The AFB Podcast is a weekly look at action figures, statues and other collectibles from the worlds of comic books and popculture.



Episode Six includes our Toy of the Week feature on the Gothitropolis Scarabus Figure from the Four Horsemen, and our Discussion Topic is “Resurrected Toy Lines".


We discuss the toy lines that we've been happy to see make a comeback, and those that we feel are ready for another appearance on the pegs. We also get some surprise feedback from the Four Horsemen themselves on their thoughts on the matter!



If you can't use iTunes, you can download Episode Six here now! Click on the link to listen, or right click to save the file! The podcast will always be available from the “Podcast” tab here - but if you can subscribe and give us postive ratings at iTunes, that will help us greatly!


Have a listen, and please give us some feedback at podcast@actionfigureblues.com - we might even read out your feedback on the next show!



Happy listening!

Hot Toys teases Hawkeye!

Seeing as Clint Barton is a favourite character of mine, I'm very excited to see that Hot Toys is teasing Hawkeye as the next Avengers figure on the way! This image was posted on the Hot Toys Facebook page today:



Are you "in" for Hawkeye or any of the other Hot Toys Avengers series?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Frugal Dad names AFB a "Top Toy Blog"!

The Frugal Dad website has named Action Figure Blues as a Top Toy Blog! Many thanks to the folks at Frugal Dad for the acknowledgement!


You can check out the fill list here.



You can enter the March AFB Comment of the Month Contest by commenting on this post!


Until next time!


Monday, March 19, 2012

Bowen Designs Thanos Statue is Cosmic Indeed!

Bowen Designs is using a new crop of digital sculptors for many of its Marvel Comics Statues and coming up with some fantastic results. One of my favourites is Khurram Alavi, who has hit each of his Bowen assignments out of the park.

The Bowen Designs Thanos Museum Statue was released late last year, and fills a big gap on my Cosmic Marvel shelf. The cosmic characters that populate the Marvel Universe really capture my imagination, and stories from The Infinity Gauntlet through to Annihilation and beyond are some of my favourites. Thanos is a key character in these tales and therefore stands central in my Cosmic Marvel display - which, I should add, really needs a bit more attention from Bowen!





Thanos himself has had his fair share of attention from Bowen over the years, with a previous statue and two mini-busts already released and a Thanos on throne version and Faux Bronze revisit of the original statue on the way. With the previous Thanos statue being rather elusive on the secondary market, this new version is a good option for collectors who haven’t yet added him to their display.

If you’re considering purchasing this item, an important thing to note up front is that Thanos is not wearing the Infinity Gauntlet in this version. If that’s essential to your idea of Thanos then you’re going to need to look at other options. Instead, this version holds the Comic Cube. I wasn’t bothered by this at all - in fact the Cosmic Cube is a more novel inclusion - but it may put some people off.





Being a collector that is short on display space and likes to be able to display characters in groups, this is a great piece. The base is thin and compact which means that it can be displayed with other statues easily. The pose that Alavi is chosen is powerful - Thanos has both fists raised in majestic style as he clutches the Cosmic Cube in his right.

There are details aplenty to appreciate on this piece. Each element of Thanos’ costume is sculpted - all of the ridges on his body suit, his gloves and the various buckles that adorn his gear are sculpted - no cheating by just doing it with paint here. Thanos’ headsculpt is also excellent, capturing him at his malificent best.





The paint job on this statue is excellent. The metallic gold is striking and very well applied, while a wash on the darker tones of Thanos’ bodysuit provides clear muscle definition. The blue on the bodysuit is a touch dark for what I think of when I think of Thanos, but the overall look is very effective.

The only niggle I have with this piece is the scale of the Cosmic Cube. While Thanos is an oversized being, I still think the Cube could have have been bigger and have found art which supports this- see below.





This doesn’t hinder my enjoyment of this great piece by any means. While we can overdose on the A list characters in these lines, it’s great that Bowen recognises the popularity of characters like Thanos and gives collectors the opportunity to add them to their displays without having to chase down overpriced items on eBay. This statue is a very welcome addition to my ever growing Bowen display!

You can see more pics at Facebook, discuss this at the AFB Forum, and comment on this post to enter the March AFB Comment of the Month Contest!

Until next time!


Sunday, March 18, 2012

The AFB Podcast Q&A - Episode #1 - Ben!

Some of the feedback that we've received since the AFB Podcast started has told us that you'd like to know more about each of the hosts of the show and our individual collections and collecting habits. 


To that end, we're recording some "special episodes" of the Podcast called the AFB Q&A - an interview show that we will continue to use after we've focused on each of the five AFB Podcast hosts, we'll keep the Q&A going to introduce other interesting collectors to you and perhaps get the chance to talk to some industry pros as well!


You can download Episode 1 of the AFB Q&A - an interview with Ben "fishmilkshake" Mulder, in iTunes now or download direct from our site here.


We look forward to your feedback on these special episodes!


Until next time!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The AFB Podcast Episode 5 - Marvel Legends Waves One & Two


Episode Five of the AFB Podcast is now available for direct download and will be available at iTunes shortly! Download and subscribe to the podcast at iTunes now! Follow the link and click "View in iTunes" to see the new episode when it's ready!



Join Scott, Ben, Justin and Andy from the AFB Forum for Episode Five of the Action Figure Blues Podcast! The AFB Podcast is a weekly look at action figures, statues and other collectibles from the worlds of comic books and popculture.



You don’t need to know anything about AFB or the Forum to enjoy the podcast, so please have a listen!



Episode Five includes our Toy of the Week feature on the new Marvel Legends Waves One and Two, which is such a big topic we made it our Discussion as well!


ALSO: be sure to listen right to the end for the announcement of the winner of our AFB "Pimp the Podcast" Contest - with a great prize box courtesy of Mike's Comics & Stuff!



If you can't wait for the episode to appear iTunes, you can download Episode Five here now! Click on the link to listen, or right click to save the file! The podcast will always be available from the “Podcast” tab here - but if you can subscribe and give us postive ratings at iTunes, that will help us greatly!


Have a listen, and please give us some feedback at podcast@actionfigureblues.com - we might even read out your feedback on the next show!



Happy listening!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

DC Direct gives us Green Lantern vs Sinestro in Mini Statue Form

DC Direct has adopted quite an ingenious strategy in recent years by revisiting some of its earlier statue works and reproducing them as mini-statues. Up for review tonight we have the DC Direct Green Lantern vs Sinestro Mini Statue.





In principle, I really like the mini-statue idea. It gives collectors an opportunity to add items to their shelves that cost, space or availability might otherwise prohibit.  Having come to DCD statue collection after the time of most of the larger multi-character statues, so this is a fantastic opportunity to back-collect these pieces without breaking the bank. The most pleasing thing about the mini statues to this point is that almost all that I have seen or purchased lose none of the detail of the original despite the reduction in size.

The Green Lantern vs Sinestro is the most exciting release in this line to date. This is a beautifully designed and conceptualised piece which shows Green Lantern and Sinestro in battle above a mountain range. I'm always talking about dynamic poses - well you can't get more dynamic than this! The structure of the piece provides several angles for display depending on which character you want to highlight.

Sinestro is the character that anchors to the base of the statue, while Hal is grasping his enemy's arm and is otherwise suspended in the air. This creates a potential issue I'll talk about later, but from the aesthetic perspective, it looks great. Each character has a brilliant head sculpt and facial expression, which means that you can see the depth of the conflict in all levels of the statue.




Sculpting and paint are both top notch on this piece. The statue feels highly detailed despite its size. Both of the uniforms have sculpted elements as well as painted detail, which adds to the sense of depth. The paint is very neat with clear lines, and excellent choices of surfaces and sheen. There are some nice metallic elements but this is not overused.

I have two issues with this statue. The first is the change in the design of the statue from the original.  The large version of this statue had Sinestro in his classic gear, while the mini version has been updated to his Sinestro Corps garb. I'll always lean towards the classic rather than the modern, but to be fair I can see why this update was made considering the popularity of current Green Lantern storylines.

The second issue is a design issue, and one that I know has been a concern with the larger version of this statue and other "Vs" statues that DC Direct have produced. This is actually the second version of this statue I have owned - the first version cracked apart at Hal's wrist when I tried to assemble it, woth Hal's forearm splintering into pieces that couldn't be glued back together.




That wasn't a happy moment, and occurred without me putting any undo force on the statue. The second version assembled intact, but I have already noticed a tiny fault line in Hal's wrist which I'll be keeping a very close eye on. These toes of poses we obviously ambitious, but it's a concern if design of the piece can't actually support the weight of the elevated figure.

This last issue obviously adds some reservation to my recommendation of the statue. I don't feel convinced that this piece is going to last the test of time, so you need to keep that in mind when considering to purchase. The price point isn't huge for a statue, and worth it if you're dedicated followers of the characters, but I have to advise some caution. A shame, too, as it is a beautiful statue.

Next up in the DCD Mini-Statues line is Superman vs Wonder Woman. I'm keenly looking forward to this and very hopeful that there are no structural issues this time around!

You can see more pics at Facebook, discuss this at the AFB Forum, and comment on this post to enter the March AFB Comment of the Month Contest!

Until next time!


Friday, March 09, 2012

Marvel Universe - the Guardians of the Galaxy are truly out of this world!

Hasbro's Marvel Universe line has exceeded expectation in terms of the number of characters it's been able to cover in its relatively short life. I've run out of room for the display of action figures in my display as the statues have well and truly taken over, but I am still wholeheartedly collecting the Marvel Universe line simply due to its amazing scope.




The set of characters I'm reviewing tonight are a fantastic example of what I'm talking about in regards to my admiration for this line. The Marvel Universe Guardians of the Galaxy Boxed Set is something that I am confident will be held up as one of the MU line's true successes. The set consists of Star-Lord, Drax the Destroyer, Rocket Raccoon and, in very miniature form, Groot. Being a huge fan of Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning's Guardians of the Galaxy ongoing series, and their approach to the cosmic corners of the Marvel Universe in general, this set was a very welcome addition to my collection.

Drax the Destroyer is essentially a reprinted Absorbing Man, but depicted in his trademark colours, he almost takes on a completely different look and feel. He really would have benefited from a custom headsculpt, as some of the definition on the Absorbing Man headsculpt is lost when painted green. Thankfully the rest of the paint work that makes Drax who he is is very solid. The wash over his green skin really brings out his muscle detail, and his red markings and vibrant with clear lines. Drax is armed with his two knives, which he can either hold or holster in his belt. Drax is certainly getting some love from Hasbro at the moment, having been released in 6" form in the new Marvel Legends as well.





Star-Lord is also a clever re-use of parts, sporting a new head sculpt atop the Ghost Rider body with the custom sculpting. Again, a solid paint job does much of the work here, but there are some nice additions to the sculpt that make this a pretty true representation of Peter Quill. He comes with two guns and looks great when he's holding them both.





Drax and Star-Lord may be mainly comprised of reused parts, but Rocket Raccoon is something new and special, and he makes any re-use of parts in this set well and truly worth it. This is just a lovely piece. There only articulation here is at the neck and tail, but he is sculpted in an action pose which creates a dynamic look. There aren't really options for the position of his tail, because he needs it resting on the ground to be able to stand up. Not being an articulation guy, this doesn't worry me - getting a 3 3/4" Rocket Raccoon that looks like he's jumped out of the pages of a comic is more than enough to satisfy me - and the fact that he has a big-ass gun doesn't hurt either!




Last and, well, least, we get a small pack-in version of Groot in this set. This is Groot in very tiny pot plant form, and while he's good fun, I do hope we see a full-size Groot down the track.


Once again - this set is a brilliant example of what a toy line can do when they really put their mind to it. Hats off to Hasbro for this one, and here's to more!


You can see more pics at Facebook, discuss this at the AFB Forum, and comment on this post to enter the March AFB Comment of the Month Contest!


Until next time!


Wednesday, March 07, 2012

The AFB "Pimp the Podcast" Contest Prize Pack Revealed!

Last week we announced the first ever AFB Podcast Contest - the "Pimp the Podcast" Contest!


Now, we can reveal the amazing Prize Pack that the contest winner will receive from Mike's Comics N Stuff!


The winner's prize pack will include:


Marvel Legends Wave 1 Extremis Iron Man
Young Justice Aquaman & Aqualad Two-Pack
Doctor Who Ganger 11th Doctor Action Figure
DC Universe Classics Wave 20 White Lantern Flash Action Figure
Marvel Universe Iron Man 2020 Action Figure


Remember - all you need to do is share your enthusiasm for the AFB Podcast on your blog, website or forum and send the proof to podcast@actionfigureblues.com to be in the draw!


Get in quick - the comp will close soon!

The AFB Podcast Episode 4: Applause Darth Vader & Luke Skywalker Statuettes / The Completist in You


Episode Four of the AFB Podcast is now live at iTunes and available for direct download! Download and subscribe to the podcast at iTunes now! Follow the link and click "View in iTunes" to see the new episode!



Join Eli, Justin and Scott from the AFB Forum for Episode Four of the Action Figure Blues Podcast! The AFB Podcast is a weekly look at action figures, statues and other collectibles from the worlds of comic books and popculture.



You don’t need to know anything about AFB or the Forum to enjoy the podcast, so please have a listen!



Episode Three includes our Toy of the Week feature on the Applause Classic Collector Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker Statuettes, and our Discussion Question is “The Completist in You"


ALSO: be sure to listen right to the end for details of our first AFB Podcast Contest, which is also the biggest ever AFB Prize Giveaway, and it's all thanks to Mike's Comics & Stuff!



If you can't use iTunes, you can download Episode Four here now! Click on the link to listen, or right click to save the file! The podcast will always be available from the “Podcast” tab here - but if you can subscribe and give us postive ratings at iTunes, that will help us greatly!


Have a listen, and please give us some feedback at podcast@actionfigureblues.com - we might even read out your feedback on the next show!



Happy listening!

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Sideshow's Sue Storm Comiquette - as visible as possible, please!

I'm at a bit of a crossroads with Sideshow Collectibles' current crop of Comiquettes. They have a somewhat inconsistent scale, and a seemingly directionless approach to character selection. Most are are often the same size as a Premium Format figure, yet differ from that line in ways that make them hard to mix. As such, I've cut back on my Comiquette purchases quite a bit.



One preorder I'd committed to before I started scaling back was the Sideshow Collectibles Invisible Woman / Sue Storm Comiquette. Now that I've got this one in hand, I'm glad I didn't cancel it. For starters, there's a surprising lack of merchandise dedicated to Sue Storm compared to many other Marvel heroines, and when I look at the other Marvel Ladies that adorn the tops of my display cabinets (where I keep my Comiquettes), it does seem that she deserves a place amongst them.


One aspect of this statue, designed based on artwork by Marvel artist Jelena Djurdjevic (who, among other projects, did excellent work on the covers for the Heralds Mini-Series) that concerned me somewhat from the preview pics was the head sculpt. Sue is sculpted with her hair hanging over much of her face, and I was uncertain as to how this would translate to the shelf. While the design wouldn't be my first choice, it is interesting to look at. Her face is fully sculpted underneath, and you can position her on the shelf so that the majority of her face is visible on display.



This is a well sculpted statue. The form of her body is clean and well designed and proportioned. I'm not completely sold on the pose, which looks somewhat like it belongs on the dance floor, but it does add energy to the piece. This combined with the hair hanging over Sue's face helps give her an air of mystery that she sometimes lacks. The one sculpting quibble I have with the piece is the blocky way that her fringe / bangs (what you call it depends on where you come from) have been sculpted. Real strands of hair are much thinner, and the effect when painted lacks the detail it could have had. Hopefully this was a design choice instead of laziness. That's my sole issue - overall the piece feels like its been lovingly crafted.


Translucence is put to good use in this design. Sue is using her invisibility for her calves down, so the effect starts mid calves and is complete on her ankles and feet. Translucent effects are often lost on me on action figures, but at this scale the effect is really great to look at.



The Fantastic Four outfits have been depicted in countless shades of blue over the years. The hue chosen here is The base is a patterned design that appears to run through all of the Comiquettes designed by Jelena Djurdjevic. While I would prefer character specific bases, the patterned design does work well with the translucent effect on Sue's legs.


Once again, I'm glad I didn't cull this piece from my preorders. It fits nicely with the Hughes and Newman Comiquettes, and it's great to see Sue Storm getting some statue attention. I'm still on the fence about the Mohawk Storm that follows in this series, but am definitely signed up for the Magik that is on the way.



You can see more pics at Facebook, discuss this at the AFB Forum, and comment on this post to enter the March Comment of the Month Contest.


Until next time!



Friday, March 02, 2012

AFB Asks Matty for 1 March!


It's time for another round of questions and "answers" from Mattel as AFB Asks Matty!



Q: How much testing went in to "My Subscriptions" before it was released? It didn't seem to work for many collectors, and at the time of this writing has been offline for days. What's the plan to get it working properly?


A: We are working on this and other fixes and customers should see many new improvements rolling out over the next two months.


Q: There was recently an announcement that there would be no more split shipment for MOTUC items and that instead they wouldn't go on sale until all were in stock. However, it has now been announced that the February items will now be split-shipped. Why did you go back on your word so quickly, and will it happen again?


A: It was only a 3 day delay so we decided to go forward with the sale and just hold all product for 3 days. We didn't want to hold up any figures and longer due to the Jan delay.


Q: Many collectors who have been clamoring for Rocket Red in the DCU line have been hoping for the JLI version, but the MA version has now been announced. What was the thinking behind choosing a version of a character that's the opposite of what people have been asking for?


A: This was the version that used the least amount of tooling and we did not sell enough subs to get more tooling this year.


Q: Mirror Master looks great. However, he's shown with guns yet his right hand is closed into a fist. Will this be changed to an open hand so that he can hold both weapons?


A: No, he will have one closed fist per the Horsemen sculpt.


Q: It was very exciting to see Platinum and Tin revealed for Club Infinite Earths - thank you! They seemed to be painted the same colour - since they are meant to represent different elements will they have slightly different shading to show this correctly?


A: They are slightly different shades. It was hard to tell under the lighting.


That's all for this round. You can discuss this or add questions for future rounds at the AFB Forum, or comment here to enter the March Comment of the Month Contest!


Until next time!


Thursday, March 01, 2012

The AFB Comment of the Month Contest for March 2012!

​First off, thanks to everyone who commented on last month’s blog posts! Congratulations to Tom Badguy for being our randomly selected winner! Once we hear from Tom, (you can can PM your choice to "Andy" at the AFB Forum or email me at scott@actionfigureblues.com), his choice of either the DC Universe Classics Wave 20 Hawk OR Dove figure will be on the way when available from Mike’s Comics N’ Stuff.

Now to March's Contest: on offer are two great prizes, either the Marvel Legends Wave 1 Extremis Iron Man figure or the Batman Legacy Classic Catwoman figure from Mattel - either of which would be a great prize!

A few bits and pieces:

  • every genuine comment on a post from the calendar month will be eligible to receive the prize. I’m going to stick to my own time zone and call it at 23:59:59 Australian Eastern Standard Time – best to comment often and comment early!
  • if my super scientific randomizer comment selector system chooses an Anonymous comment, I’ll skip it and go again – you need to leave a name, a link, your AFB Forum username or email addy so that I can contact you if you are the winner. Blogger comments allows you to do this, as long as your profile is not set to private – check your settings.
  • you will be given a choice of one of the two figures on offer from the month’s contest – figures will be in their original packaging. figures will be sent by first class mail within the US (Mike is sending them, remember) and first class international to any overseas winner. An overseas winner can elect to chip in for Priority Mail or Insurance, but otherwise we can’t take any responsibility for a parcel that doesn’t arrive – after all this is coming out of AFB’s not dreadfully deep pockets!
Once again, thanks to Mike for making this all possible for us, and here’s to another happy month of commenting! Until next time!

 

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