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Old 08-17-2009, 12:56 PM   #251
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Many thanks to Kees(Varese2002) of The Aerodrome forum for the above picture ,which up until now I never knew existed.
It is a glass negative from the Chicago Daily News and it shows Mr J.E. Mair in his backyard at 3106 W Fullerton Ave Chicago in 1910.There is no record that it ever flew.Evidently the backyard is still there on Google maps.
Of course like so many other things that have happened to me while building these dioramas, this info has come to me just when I needed it.(strange but true)
My thoughts have recently been turning to the next step, the landscaping of the backyards.I see from the pic that the backyard is just like I thought it would be ,lots of mud in front and overgrown vegetation in the back.(Who the hell has got the time to worry about things like that when there are much more important things to be done?) Sound familiar?
I also noticed a smaller version of a boardwalk along the L/H fence line, which if I install it will have to run along the opposite fence due to the positioning of my figure in the composition.
Mr Mair and I have something in common, his backyard looks like my workshop/studio.Note the angle measuring device laying on the boardwalk's bottom left in the pic, and what looks like a yardstick on the ground under the wing.
Funny how he just had to install the pilots seat and control wheel even if it now gets in the way.Mr Mair must have sat behind that wheel many times during this build with wonderful dreams of flight running though his head.
Fifty years later and we were headed for the moon.Thanks Mr Mair.
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Old 08-18-2009, 11:05 AM   #252
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Old 08-18-2009, 12:42 PM   #253
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Kees found me a third pic to go along with the other two.Mr. Mair is on the left in this pic the other man is unknown.
There is a lot of good info in this pic besides what our builder looks like.The front building facades confirm this to be a fairly well off neighborhood.I can't see a roof on the building but this could be a separate apartment building ,different from the row houses that I am building.
Some of the airplanes structure is shown but on first impression it looks like what you might expect ,a very primitive build.This has been identified as a copy of the Wright Flier but I beg to differ for many reasons.First and foremost is the square wingtips more reminiscent of a Curtiss design. I still believe that this was a true backyard flier of Mr Mair's own design, with a little Wright and Curtiss thrown in.(more on this later)
From the picture Mr. Mair looks like a young ,intense,intelligent man(look at the eyes)who got caught up in the excitement for aviation at the time.An early EAA'er for sure.
If you look closely above the upper wing you will see what looks like a porch or veranda probably from where the first two pictures were taken.
Note Miss Nosy Parker peering from behind the curtains,I guess there is one in every neighborhood.
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Old 08-20-2009, 01:12 PM   #254
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Old 08-20-2009, 01:29 PM   #255
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This is the pic that first inspired me to do a backyard flier.Somebody identified it as a Wright brothers copy, which is wrong for a number of reasons.Besides that, what is really interesting is that the builder looks like he was experimenting with some type of design for longitudinal control, other than wing warping ,a patent at the time that was jealously guarded by the Wrights.If you look carefully at the pic you will see a hinged flap sort of design outboard near the wings leading edge.He has cut the ribs at the spars and hinged it to the trailing edge of the front spar on both upper and lower wings.There also seems to be the beginning of some sort of rigging for their control.If this is what I think it is Mr Mair was surely involved with some very early innovative and creative aeronautical engineering.
I love this pic as it tells so much about the human creative spirit.Don't forget this is 1910 when many looked upon aviation as a oddity and a foolish thing to pursue.I can only speculate what his family and neighbors might have thought.
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Old 08-23-2009, 01:15 PM   #256
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Old 08-23-2009, 01:36 PM   #257
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I was going to use 3 different colored bricks as seen in this pic, but I am afraid that those long vertical lines between brick wall separations may distract the viewers eye away from the airplane to the wall.
When I first look at this pic I see the policemen,then the brick wall and then the cars.In my diorama.I am looking to reverse this a bit and put less emphasis on the building and more on the airplane.The figure because of its position in the diorama would not be the first thing the viewer would notice but would probably be replaced by the "welcome home" sign.
I know that I seem to be going overboard with all this but it really is very important to the success of diorama.The connections to the storyboard part will come after the initial visual impact.The solitary figure,the sign,the weathered flier,the different backyards etc..will come later into the viewers imagination. (I hope)
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Old 08-24-2009, 11:52 AM   #258
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More what to leave in and what to leave out decisions that I soon will have to make is regarding the flier itself.As you guys who have been following this thread already know,my storyline is a lot different than what is depicted in the original pic.
As it is already it would make a very nice story about an early EAA'er building a flier.The very busy Mr. Mair working intently on his flier pretty much unaware of all the things going on around him. The kids more fascinated by the lady with the dog (I think but hard to see) ,the boys sitting on the fence either too shy to approach because of the girls(this is 1910 remember) or maybe Mr Mair doesn't want them around his airplane.The washing on the line etc..etc leads me to believe that the photographer really knew what he was doing when he created this composition.Mr. Mair himself was probably staged but the rest is probably spontaneous.A wonderful "slice of life" story in itself.
I have however decided to cut down on the complexity of the story .I want to make it simpler but with more emotion.My story revolves around a single individual and his relationship with his love for aviation.It is a story of the loss of innocence both of the individual and aviation itself.What seemed like such a wonderful,innocent thing to do in the beginning now turned out to be just another instrument of war.Looking at his flier he is probably wondering "can I bring myself to complete it" knowing now what I know to be true?
The feeling among the general population after all the killing in WW1 was not very positive about machines of war,airplanes included.Most fathers would not encourage their sons to become pilots.Most pilots couldn't even find jobs other than exhibition pilots or barnstormers.So it was the mood of the times that I want to capture in my diorama.I am not sure that everyone will get it but I bet a pretty high percentage of servicemen will.Those who don't will still have something interesting to look at.
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Old 08-24-2009, 12:50 PM   #259
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A fellow modeler has just informed me that these buildings on Fullerton St in Chicago still exist,in fact he lived not too far away on the same street in the 1970's.
Art is truly a living thing and does provide us with a little comfort knowing that it does really have a life of it's own, beyond the lifespan of the individual artist.
I wish I knew the photographers name ,in his day he would be at the top of his game which really comes through to me in the pics.In fact ,that is what first caught my "artist's eye" ,the creative angle from which the pic was taken.Rather than just the usual airplane pic he captured a story which lives on to this day.100 years ago an artist/photographer takes a pic and all these years later an artist/modeler builds on the foundation of his work.Maybe a 100 years from now, using a medium that we can't even imagine today ,another artist will be influenced and expand on our work.And so it goes.........
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Old 08-25-2009, 11:03 AM   #260
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Old 08-25-2009, 08:33 PM   #261
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Bricks,bricks and more bricks!
Last night as I was painting the sun was setting at a low angle and I decided to take a few shots.The brick face looks very rough from this angle and magnification but at scale distance under normal lighting conditions it is fine.The cement grouting is hidden in the shadows so very little shows in this pic.I now have to repeat the same thing again ,in mirror image, for the other row house and then another quarter or so for the partial house.A lot more bricks to go I'm afraid but it will be worth the time and effort in the end.At least that it the story I keep repeating to myself.
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Old 08-27-2009, 07:37 PM   #262
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Old 08-27-2009, 08:27 PM   #263
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After studying the 1/48 scale mock up I decided to stay with the multi-level idea after all.I think that it is visually more appealing and I like the fact that the flier's backyard is on the highest level as this tends to put more focus on the airplane and main storyline.
It may complicate the landscaping of the backyards but I will deal with that a little further down the road.In the above pic I haven't yet cut the roofline so it looks a little odd ,but it too will show a slight drop just like the foundation line.The joint between each row house will be covered by the evestrough's downspout.The brick will be the same color but the trim will be French Blue.All those windows need to be built and installed.I am planning to put lighting and curtains behind the windows with maybe a half concealed ,shadowy, nosy neighbor looking out upon the scene.This will be down in such a way as not to draw the attention of the viewer except as an afterthought.
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Old 08-28-2009, 11:43 AM   #264
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Old 08-29-2009, 12:09 PM   #265
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Old 08-29-2009, 12:43 PM   #266
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With a small,soft,cheap brush and gray pastels I have worked a little cement color into some of the spaces between the bricks.The abrasive nature of the bricks are really hard on brushes so be aware.
Any unnecessary gray color on the face of the bricks can later be removed using brick colored pastels.

When putting it all together I will do a final weathering of the facade using my old toothbrush and thin acrylic paint spray technique.
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Old 08-31-2009, 01:16 PM   #267
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Old 09-01-2009, 03:58 PM   #268
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Old 09-01-2009, 04:11 PM   #269
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For those who maybe interested:
I took the rare opportunity to take some really closeup pics of a static display Bleriot XI that usually is hanging from the ceiling at the Canadian Aviation Heritage Center at Montreal.They are changing the prop for a more authentic one of the period. One wing has been removed for convenience.
These are very good reference pics for those wishing to scratchbuild a static or a flying model of this famous airplane.Please note that these pics are for your reference only and may differ significantly from the real airplane.
See my photobucket album CAHC, then click on Bleriot model at CAHC in the sub albums.
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Old 09-07-2009, 10:45 PM   #270
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Old 09-08-2009, 07:38 PM   #271
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Old 09-12-2009, 12:50 PM   #272
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Old 09-12-2009, 01:47 PM   #273
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This is a very slow process for a number of reasons.First and foremost is my ambition usually exceeds my energy level.Where I used to be able to work eight hours at a stretch ,I now only work three or four.The repetitive nature of the stuff I am doing now may also have something to do with it. My inability to drop one project for another, before the first one is completed ,could be another factor.When I get tired of building I usually am doing some kind of research instead of actual building.
Why do I mention this? well aging is not something we normally build into our future plans.If you want to get good at this stuff there is definitely a learning curve involved. Better to get most of the steep learning curve part out of the way while we are relatively young.It takes a lot of energy in the beginning to commit oneself to learning something new,energy that may be not be there as we get older.I read somewhere that every man or woman should have at least three careers in their lifetime,the last one beginning in their fifties.Aside from all the usual pressures of life work,family,etc..it has been said that the most creative time in the life of most artists begins during this decade.I guess what I am trying to say is don't rely upon your retirement to get it done.If you feel a need to be artistically creative better start now.
"Whatever you can do or dream you can,begin it.Boldness has genius,power,and magic in it.Begin it now."(Johann Von Goethe)

End of lecture........


In the latest pic you can see the difference between the almost finished brickwork and the newer facade.
Once the basic color is on the face of the facade, the real fun begins.Each brick has to be worked on individually to achieve a nice varied and subtle look.It can really be time consuming but it is worth the extra effort in the end.
The most important thing to remember is that you are essentially working with watercolors (gouache-acrylic) and it is important to use lots of water in your mixes and not get things too dark too quickly.Take full advantage of the transparency of the medium and paint in thin coats to achieve subtle differences in color or intensity.All the colors in the brickwork you see is the result of only one tube color put on in thin layers.
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Old 09-28-2009, 07:28 PM   #274
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Old 09-29-2009, 12:10 PM   #275
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My confuser has been down awhile,something about the power supply.
The last pic shows how I will use the two brick facade panels for photography.
Brick facades are common everywhere, so they make great backdrops for a lot of subject matter.The museum will have to wait awhile for this one,I guess.
Speaking about the CAM ,it seems that their building project has been delayed.The money has been approved so I guess that it is just government bureaucracy.
Speaking about museums, I went to the RCAF museum in Trenton Ontario this month.There has been a lot of very nice improvements going on there but the aircraft that are sitting outside still look a lot worse for wear.
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Old 10-01-2009, 02:01 PM   #276
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Old 10-01-2009, 02:23 PM   #277
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This is the only figure that I plan to use in this diorama, except for maybe a nosy neighbor peeking out from behind one of the window curtains.
It is the 120mm Guynemer figure from Model Cellar Productions. It is up to their usual fine standards and well worth the price, when compared to some similar quality figures that are on the market.
For my purposes it is just perfect and reflects the mood that I am trying to create in this diorama.Like a lot of my figures it is just the starting point as I foresee having to make lots of changes.Medals to be removed,alterations to the uniform and a new head will be among them .I also plan to put an old duffel bag leaning up against one of his legs.
With all these great figures around to be modified ,my ambition to one day sculpt my own from scratch, keeps getting pushed back further in time.So much to do,so little time!
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Old 10-02-2009, 05:00 PM   #278
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Old 10-03-2009, 02:22 PM   #279
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Old 10-03-2009, 03:02 PM   #280
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I may keep the head and modify the hat,as I really like his facial expression.The blank stare, as I would call it,fits in with the mood of the piece.The coat over the arm suggests spring or fall which gives me a lot of options when doing the vegetation.I don't want a summer look as all that color would distract attention from the main subject matter,the figure and the airplane.
A muddy backyard would be more common in spring in this part of the world and springtime does symbolize rebirth.Fall on the other hand here in Canada indicates the end of something.
My storyline could go either way,the beginning of something or the end.Will he find a renewed interest in aviation now that he has lost his innocence in the war above the trenches? or will he just scrap the whole idea and go on to a new future and leave all of that behind him?
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Old 10-08-2009, 01:56 PM   #281
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Old 10-08-2009, 02:04 PM   #282
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Out of curiosity I scrolled back in this thread and found that it has been three months since I started the brick facades.Sure I have done other stuff as well but actual modeling, that's it.As I approach the end of this period I can say that I am glad I did it, but to be honest, I probably would hesitate at doing it again.
Long repetitive work such as this does have its positive side however,as it teaches patience and a willingness to put your best effort into even the most boring of tasks.It also allows for a build up of creative energy and a renewed enthusiasm to get at the more rewarding stuff again.Some of my more creative ideas have come during this period, not only involving the piece I am working on but future projects as well.
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Old 10-11-2009, 01:12 PM   #283
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Well except for a few finishing touches my bricklaying work is finally finished.Now I can finally move on to more creative stuff.Maybe finish the airplane,maybe modify and paint the new figure.
Even at this late stage I am still fooling around with the composition.I kind of like the facades forming a corner to surround the backyard with the airplane in the middle, but I have pretty much ruled this out as it would be too obstructive for the viewer and would necessitate the diorama being placed in a corner arrangement of some kind ,which would not be too museum friendly.However it would be great for picture taking.I will have to be careful when finishing this piece. How and when to permanently glue things down will be a major consideration ,as I plan to use it for many vignettes including a series on 1920-30 gangsters and their cars.
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Old 10-13-2009, 02:15 AM   #284
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Just Fantastic!!!!!!!!!

you ever post on hyperscale?
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Old 10-13-2009, 09:01 AM   #285
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Wow! all this stuff is amazing!!!
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Old 10-13-2009, 01:18 PM   #286
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Very nice from what material is this house? Im thinking of creating 1/400 airport and looking for the best material for it. Thank you
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Old 10-13-2009, 02:15 PM   #287
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Quote:
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Just Fantastic!!!!!!!!!

you ever post on hyperscale?
Once in awhile but not recently!
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Old 10-13-2009, 02:19 PM   #288
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Quote:
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Very nice from what material is this house? Im thinking of creating 1/400 airport and looking for the best material for it. Thank you
I used foam board as a base,then glued on the bricks made from artists watercolor paper.I have a full description of the method over on the Aerodrome forum.
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Old 10-13-2009, 07:50 PM   #289
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Finishing up the backyard flier.
Started back building the backyard flier today.The first order of business will be to make the outboard streamlined interplane struts and their fittings.The engine will be next and I probably will use a old Ford T design and then partially cover it with an old tarp, so I can suggest that there is an engine there without having to be too detailed.Remember this airplane project has been abandoned for some time while our aviator has been off to war.I thought about putting tarps on the wings as well but I don't what to cover up too much of the structure.Because there will be a "welcome home" sign on the wall they were obviously anticipating his arrival and therefore may have removed some of the tarps.
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Old 10-14-2009, 02:29 PM   #290
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Old 10-14-2009, 03:14 PM   #291
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Default Re: How I build large scale dioramas!

This is the general arrangement that I will be using for my backyard flier.I don't know what this engine is (probably modern) but I will be using the same 4 cylinder in-line type.
Our budding aviator probably would have used something easily available and relatively cheap like a new or used Ford Model T engine modified it to direct drive, without the gearbox of course.What I plan to do is partially cover the engine with a tarp but leave the prop ,rad and gas tank etc...uncovered.Should be fun!
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Old 10-15-2009, 10:34 AM   #292
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Old 10-15-2009, 10:50 AM   #293
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I took an old 1/16th Lindberg 1910 Model T engine and removed the gearbox to make it look more like an aircraft engine.The propeller shaft in there now is temporary and was only used to line things up.This mod was simple to do with a razor saw and a sanding stick.Working slowly you can eventually get what is left of the gearbox to line up with the rest of the engine.There is not a lot of nice crisp detail on this engine but for my purposes here it is OK as I have the option of showing what I want of it because of the covering tarp.The outline alone would really be enough.
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Old 10-16-2009, 11:19 AM   #294
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Old 10-16-2009, 09:03 PM   #295
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Old 10-16-2009, 09:33 PM   #296
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Wow! working in here is like working in a bird cage.This is the general arrangement of the engine,fuel tank and rad.I have used brass rod to connect everything up.A little judicious use of the tarp should cover most of it.I am just looking for a general overall shape here.
The fuel system is gravity feed therefore it is set higher than the engine.The rad is from the Ford T.I will not be using a lot of piping or fittings other than maybe the large rad hoses to hang the tarp on.Speaking about the tarp, it should be fun making that in there
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Old 10-17-2009, 11:33 AM   #297
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Old 10-17-2009, 05:40 PM   #298
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Old 10-18-2009, 09:00 PM   #299
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Old 10-18-2009, 09:20 PM   #300
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