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Spray by dsmith65 - FINISHED - BlueJacket Shipcrafters - 3/8" = 1'

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This is the first time I have ever blogged about a build.  I've kept notes on builds but not done anything like this.  The reason this time, is I am hoping to learn from comments made on my posts, and also my intention is to do weekly updates until the boat is built. My hope is having this "commitment" will help me to make progress on my build, rather than long lulls between activity.  


This is my fourth build, the first was a Lightning by Dumas, it is incomplete after I messed up the mast, and got holes in the foredeck.  It took me years to get to that point.  I've subsequently repurchased the messed up parts, and directions/plans with the hope of finishing it after I finish the SPRAY. 


Every summer for the past 9 years we have spent time in Acadia National Park, and driving up RT 1 would see Blue Jacket.  I've always loved wooden sail boats since I was a kid, and so we stopped in one year to look at the models and I was hooked.  I purchased a Friendship Sloop in 2015 and finished it in 2018. IMG_4890.thumb.jpeg.e4c7c9fb7aedc211b66dc1ba874f3417.jpeg I told you I'm slow.  


Before I started on it I built a small Model Shipways kit on sale at Hobby Lobby to practice with. IMG_7105.thumb.jpg.9e9cbbdb7ef85beb4f1f5be590e8d93c.jpgEvery summer we stop in at Blue Jacket and chat with Nic or his wife, they keep notes on their customers and ask about our kids and vacation, it makes me feel at home.  Two years ago I bought the SPRAY, and a year ago I finaly started the build.   This year we couldn't get to Maine, and I missed not being able to swing into the store.


Here are some pictures of the build so far, IMG_1499.thumb.jpeg.2e2834247fa88b327657597e691aaa84.jpeg

I use LEGOS to try and keep things square.



Oops top half of transom is upside down



That's better


Next a couple pictures at my attempt to steam the planks.



First planks are always the easiest



Today I tried using boiling water and a soup can to bend around and hold them in place seemed to work the best.  



I'm also experimenting here with not cutting the shape of the front of the plank where it meets the bow until after the bend is in the plank.  


It bent OK, but I think on the next model I need to use a jig, bend several at a time and let them fully dry before fitting them to the boat, rather than letting them dry on the boat.  I have issues with the wood shrinking as it dries, and then not fitting quite snug in the bow.  I push it forward, but all the bends are just a little off at that point.  Any tips would be appreciated.


And here is where we currently are.  I've seen the masking tape clamping method be used on strip built kayaks, and thought I'd give it a shot.  It works pretty well in pulling planks together and minimizes the chance of the wood getting dents in it from the clamps.



My goal is to get the next 2 narrow planks on each side by next week.  I get it way to wet, and it takes to long to dry before I can glue up, so that I can only add a row a day.  But I don't think the next several will require that much bending, so they shouldn't need steaming or heating to get into shape.  I spend too much time watching TV, it's not as if I don't have the time to do this.  And to be honest, part of me is scared about messing it up.






Edited by dsmith65
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It seems like the Spray has become a popular model as of late. 


Nice progress so far Don and great attention to detail in the effort to get it right. It should pay dividends later. I am looking forward to following your build.



Build logs: Colonial sloop Providence 1/48th scale kit bashed from AL Independence

Currant builds:

Constructo Brigantine Sentinel (Union) (On hold)

Minicraft 1/350 Titanic (For the Admiral)

1/350 Heavy Cruiser USS Houston (Resin)

Currant research/scratchbuild:

Schooner USS Lanikai/Hermes

Non ship build log:

1/35th UH-1H Huey


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  • 2 weeks later...

I didn't get as far as I had hoped I would this week, and this blog is latter than I planned.  However I did make some progress which is more than I can say for most weeks, and I also explored new techniques.


This model is stretching my skills and teaching me new things.  It is advertised as one for modelers with some experience, and reminds me a bit of the technical challenge on the Great British Bake Off where the instructions are simply, bake a Choux - plank the hull is one such instance.  There is some guidance given on what size planks to use and I've only ever done continuous long planks.  So after watching this video from Chuck Passaro , I decided to try his technique for bending and beveling planks so they lay flat, and butt up to the adjacent plank snugly.


I hopped on Amazon and got a cheap travel iron, and had some moderate success.IMG_7108.thumb.jpeg.8190a6af12919137d1e8d2296d3b0083.jpeg 


But my jig (made from the parts of the kit that the frames were cut from) wasn't long enough to get smooth long bends, I had to do multiple short ones.


After doing this for a couple planks, I decided to just cut planks to join at frames, and be laid parallel to the keel, with a couple plank width space between what I'd laid and this plank.IMG_7112.thumb.jpeg.aaacfa7ef8290eda8e8e5ad53ec3dc90.jpeg


I then made stealer planks to fit in the space, shaping and beveling them with a small plane and getting them nice and snug, which makes easy to glue in place.IMG_7111.thumb.jpeg.298927489328ce2ad12d01c342040c66.jpeg


I was originally going to leave the gap and fill it in with wood putty, but decided to make a stealer instead, and I'm glad I did.  This has been a fun new skill to learn, and increased my confidence in my building skills, that I'm not going to completely mess up this boat.  Granted there is still a good way to go.


So here is where we currently sit, I hope to finish the hull this week.IMG_7113.thumb.jpeg.be8d76444eedc702c3bf469e165a20e4.jpeg


One of my bigger challenges has been with glue.  I'm having a dickens of a time with my CA glue not bonding.  It is medium thickness and I can leave if for 30 minutes and it not bond, does that mean it is old?  I've been using Elmers because it dries clear, as opposed to Titebond that has a yellowish color when it dries.  



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CA glue has a shelf life of 6-10 months at room temperature. Not "kicking" is a sure sign of old glue. You can use accelerator for awhile, but at your point, I would scrap the glue and buy fresh.


Here at BlueJacket, we keep our CA in the freezer until sold. That way everyone gets really fresh glue. Once opened, you cannot go back to cold storage.



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  • 2 weeks later...

Slowly getting through the planking, wasn't able to work much this week as the grandkids were here.


Started a plank at the keel, and afterwards discovered I needed to bevel more and there was a dip in my bulkhead.  I obviously hadn't got it seated properly when initially installing it, and happened to but the joint on it.  Lesson learned, pay closer attention when installing bulkheads, and don't put joints in those spots.  I should be able to fair it out with wood filler when I sand the hull.


I also had to make a small stealer to fill in the hole due to cutting twice and measuring once.


Using the plans to mark out the curvature of the hull I placed some nails into a board to create a jig to bend the final few planks at the front of the hull.  It worked fairly well.



Besides clamping thins together clamps can be forced between things to push them against sides to hold things in place


The purple and yellow clamps are actually applying pressure against the plan below them.  I didn't get a picture, but also had similar success with the binder clamps. Squeezed the arms together and then placed the arms between the planks.


This glue is taking to long to set, so last night I ordered some fresh CA glue, blades and a few other things from Bluejacket.  I'm ready for planking to be over with, and move on to my next favorite part of building...sanding.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Spent time off and on over the last few weeks working on sanding and fairing the hull.  Hopefully I am about done, and I can work in the house and not the unheated garage.


Placed some blue painters tape across the transom to help protect it while using a razor saw to cut the planks close to flush with it.  Biggest lesson learned here is to not leave them so long and cut them to fit, and at the correct angle where they meet the transom.IMG_7166.thumb.jpeg.b52d1e80167ff012b31c9c7afa74ec37.jpeg




When I built my Friendship Sloop, which was my first planked model, I slathered the entire hull in wood filler then had a sanding nightmare.  This time I first sanded using 180 grit to try and get rid of high spots and fair out the hull.  IMG_7171.thumb.jpeg.bcd9dcbbe24bc816dd393e80e9275324.jpeg


I also started shaping the stem a bit as others have done, and then tried using sawdust and glue to make my own filler.  It worked ok, but shrunk a bit when it dried, so I went back to using the Elmers Wood Filler.  I'll experiment more with it on the next boat.



At this point I've switched to 220 and 400 grit sand paper. I'm going to now paint primer and see if it needs more shaping and fairing. 



I'm not going for a super smooth no seam finish, after all it is a wooden boat, not fiberglass :)


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Looks like she smoothed out really nicely!  I agree with the thought process on the "wooden boat"  look vs. fiberglass.  Good to see some plank seams in my opinion.  Coming together!

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  • 1 month later...

I can't believe a month has gone by and I haven't posted.  Happy New Year.  I am making slow progress on the model.


I added the stanchions and then the carefully notched the sub deck and margin plank. The instructions say to do the deck first then the stanchions, and I wish I had.  Others do them earlier, I thought waiting until now would make them easier to line up.  But I ended up with several that lent in towards the centerline.  Also the margin has notches in spots, but that will be hidden under the rail.



Used RAF Middleton as the paint for the margin plank. I put some wood sealer on the under side of the decking, and tried different stains.  Settled on one, and then put the sealer on the other side and then stained it.  The purpose of the sealer is to prevent blotches, and provide an even stain but it didn't quit work out that way.  That's ok, I think it came out ok, and unless you are doing individual planks there is the potential for this.



I'd originally painted the stanchions on the port side the same tannish color, but then I painted them white, I think I am going to go back to the same color for them and the inside of the bulwarks.


Then I moved on to the bowsprit, I made a template and tried to follow it as closely as possible.  It is sort of octagon shaped, I can live with it. Left the tip unpainted so I could hold it, I'll pain that when it is done right before rigging.  



Next I started working on the bulwarks. After a verification from Bluejacket on their height (thanks Nic) I marked off the heights on the stanchion. 




To bend the planks I used the sheet that had the sub deck in it as a form, after soaking/heating the plank I was able to bend them into the form.




I let them sit over night and then installed them.  I had purchased some padded sanding discs for my drill and at low speed used it to bevel some of the stanchions, then I attached the top bulwarks.



It isn't visible in this picture but for the life of me I can't get the forward end of the planks to meet at the bowsprit.  I mean I start at that end, glue it first, and slowly work aft, but when I come back there is a small gap. I can fill it of course but I'd like to learn how to get it right.  So if anyone has any suggestions I'd appreciate it.


The plan for the weekend is finish getting the bulwarks on and the then mark the water line and start painting the hull.  Here is a picture of my home made waterline marking gauge, the pencil gets clipped to it.



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  • 3 weeks later...

Slow and steady more work is getting done on SPRAY.  I got the rails and bulwarks on, and was pretty happy how they turned out.  


I had done the rub rail before the rails, and didn't realize they extended on to the bowsprit.  I was able to find just enough scrap to do the bowsprit, and I think it turned out OK.



Next I built the rudder, being real careful using a round file to create the grove in the rudder, for the rudder post.  This took way longer than it should have, because I couldn't find the rudder post, after about 20 minutes going between the kit box out in my cold garage, and the pieces on the dining room table that has been commandeered for the build right now, I finally found it.  I was pleased with my gudgeon, and wish I could have got the hole in the bottom of the boat, a little closer to the closer to the trailing edge of the keel.


At this point I also cut out and shaped the  Taff rail.



Then I used my new water line marking jig to mark the waterline.  This one went way better than my Friendship Sloop, both sides are almost at the same place on the hull.  They meet together at the bow and stern too which is a plus.  I just need to get a better way to fasten the pencil to the jig.  Keel was installed after the water line was drawn so it wouldn't be in the way.


















I'm using Tamia 6mm masking tape to tape off the water line, I'm going to paint the top half first tomorrow evening after my paint warms back up from being in the garage. I really need to come up with a way to store the wood while working on the model.  I have some ideas of trays to build to hold it, using PVC pipe.  


Thanks for reading and following along.

Edited by dsmith65
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  • 3 weeks later...

In the past couple weeks I have managed to get the hull painted, it took forever I don't remember how many coats of white paint I put on.  But the copper took 5.  I have it taped off for the boot stripe and will start painting that today.




Glad to have this part done as I kept knocking off the rudder, boot strip masked.  I'm having good luck so far with the masking I'm using.  The blue tape is incase I spill, or get too Bob Ross with my technique :) The nice thing about boot stripes is you can correct any waterline wavers.  The instructions call for a 3/16 wide stripe, so I cut a small piece of wood, and used that as a guide for putting on the second piece of tape.


While I've been waiting on paint to dry, I've started working on other small pieces that go on deck.  First I did the steering assembly.  I was real proud of the piece the wheel attaches to and then the piece that holds the rod snapped in half.  


You can see that in this next picture of it partially assembled.  Also at this point I discovered that it didn't sit flush.  So I put some CA glue on it and clamped it down.




















I tried unsuccessfully several times to create a new piece to go over it, but they kept breaking.  In the end I got something on, and I'm OK with it.



I had bought some wooden blocks, and stained them and got ahead on stropping them.  I also did the barrels, belay pin rack, and winch.



Today I'll start on the cabins and the rest of the deck furniture. I'm holding off on the dingy until the cabins are done, so I can see how much room it will have, incase I need to make it a little narrower.


 I'm waiting on some blackening solution so I can dip all the metal parts in it.  I am going to see if I can work with the blocks that came with the kit, they are just so small and I end up butchering them filing them and working with them.

Edited by dsmith65
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  • 1 month later...

I am slowly making progress. I bought some blacken and used it to blacken some of the metal parts like pad eyes and the traveler rail.


To soften the wood for the roofs, I put them in a ziplock baggie that I put around the head of a clothes steamer my wife was about to give away.  I've seen a couple videos of full sized boat builds where they use a wall paper steam, and plastic bags to steam full size planks.  I figured I give it a shot, and it worked awesome. I then used some right angle clamping jigs to help with clamping the bends in the roof and it turned out fairly well.  I'll be using this technique on future models.


IMG_7438.thumb.jpeg.74abf7ce23abe8d4fe2f9c8892ea2eea.jpeg  IMG_7437.thumb.jpeg.7c046f22ddf3599488e8f3ab5f7bf632.jpeg


Unfortunately the glue up didn't go quite as well on the large cabin, I got the roof a little off center. As a result it doesn't sit level and is warped.  I tried gluing it down tonight and the CA wouldn't hold.  I'm going to have to get something stronger.



But the cabins are done, I'm waiting for them to be installed before placing the hatches on them which have also been built and painted.



Got the taft rail, and steering gear done as well.  Happy how it turned, bumped off the wheel in the process, will attach it later.  


And the hawse holes, and winch brings us up to date.



Its turning into a busy spring, but I'd like to get this done by early summer. Next on the to do list is to finish the dinghy, and cabins mounted on the deck, and I am starting to work on the mizzen mast fixtures and wish bone




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  • 2 weeks later...

More progress, I've finally finished the hull, and am moving on to the spars and rigging.  I don't think it is going to be too much longer until she is done but we'll see.


I used a combination of steaming the rear cabin and sanding to get it to sit fairly flat and glued it in place.  I then added the eyes in front of the dingy and for now have it loosely tied in place.  I'll fasten it down just before the mast is installed, trying to leave room for my fat fingers.



Also got the wishbone, brace brackets and tie brace installed.  I am happy with how they came out, I had kept my sanding discs and drums that came with my Dremmel which has since died, and but them in my drill at low speed to help with the rounding.  I also got the mizzen mast step made, but am going to wait to instal that and the yoke until I am ready to install the mizzen mast.



Using my pin drill I carefully drilled out the holes for the dead eyes and installed them too. Right now it is just a friction fit, and I may go back and add pin heads to make it look like they are bolted on.



Now I'm on to the spars.  I'm starting with the main mast and woking aft.  I put the mast in my drill and holding sandpaper started shaping the top end.  Unfortunately when I was about 3/4 of the way there, I put to much pressure and snapped the mast at the chuck.



Fortunately that is below the deck, and I finished shaping the mast and glued in place.  


And that seems to have worked.


I also got the main boom shaped.  What I learned from the mast, was first to keep the drill sitting on my work bench.  Second take a small piece of sand paper and wrap it around the dowel, grit side in, then put it in the chuck.  I don't have a picture to show, but this method didn't leave any marks on boom.


I truly feel like the end is in sight, which is good as spare time is at a premium these days.  By the next post I hope to have all the spars done, painted and blocks installed.

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very nice indeed and so glad you did the thread

Its all part of Kev's journey, bit like going to the dark side, but with the lights on

All the best

Kevin :omg:



On the build table

HMS Indefatigable 1794 by Kevin - Vanguard Models - 1:64 - Feb 2023 



HMHS Britannic by Kevin 

SD 14  - Marcle Models - 1/70 - March 2022 -  Bluebell - Flower Class - Revel - 1/72   U552 German U Boat - Trumpeter - 1/48  Amerigo Vespucci     1/84 - Panart-   HMS Enterprise  -CAF -  1/48     


St-Nectan-Mountfleet-models-steam-trawler-1/32 - Completed June 2020

HMS Victory - Caldercraft/Jotika - 1/72 - Finished   Dorade renamed Dora by Kevin - Amati - 1/20 - Completed March 2021 

Stage Coach 1848 - Artesania Latina - 1/10 -Finished Lady Eleanor by Kevin - FINISHED - Vanguard Models - 1/64 - Fifie fishing boat

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  • 3 weeks later...

Started working on the spars, and the jaws all split, in part by me putting too much pressure on them trying to get them to fit.  Then I glued the jaws for the mizzen boom to gaff by accident.  So I ended up having to make a new one.  That took about 4 attempts, and I split that one too, nothing wood filler and paint won't cover.



I used the piece that held the main boom jaws as a template to trace out for the gaff jaws.  Drilled out where the mast goes, and just took my time cutting it out and sanding it.  I am fairly pleased with how it turned out.



For the boom cradle the instructions say to use card stock, I didn't have any so I thought if I get a thin enough piece of wood I can steam it and wrap it around the mast.  I planed down a strip steamed it and wrapped it.  It had some kinks in it, when I got what I thought was a bright idea.  I used the shavings from when I planed it to wrap around, and that worked well.  I am pretty pleased with it.



I then added the mast rings, and like a dummy cut one to many off, and so had to add a bail at the top of the main mast.  Added that parcel beads, and got everything painted.  I feel like if I had 2 days to myself, I could finish this.  

IMG_7543.thumb.jpeg.d51ea5bbda6817deb18802f4510d5dac.jpeg IMG_7545.thumb.jpeg.f7acffc4457f8b17d822eda2c226bb23.jpeg IMG_7546.thumb.jpeg.0b1d55a4cd39f2aa72763070dacc0ec1.jpeg IMG_7544.thumb.jpeg.2ef7c222f5f0b2a58f9bec39dedcf4e9.jpeg

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  • 3 weeks later...

More slow progress.  I managed to drop the mast hoops on the garage floor and found all but one, I decided I'd pick more up from Blue Jacket when I made my annual pilgrimage, I mean visit to them this summer when we're in Maine.  But I got them and all the remaining metal blackened. I installed the stove pipe, and tried blackening a piece of tin can.  It developed a cool look, that looked like it had been aged by the smoke, but mostly rubbed off while gluing it.  So I ended up paining it black.


Got the mizzen mast installed along with with the yoke,  I'd ben dreading doing that, but it ended up not being so bad.IMG_7562.thumb.jpeg.e505e0ee0f41c8539db5d53a880f35e9.jpeg 

I started working on the standing rigging, and all those years of teaching scouts how to whip a rope paid off.  Unfortunately I didn't get the port and starboard side of the dead eyes even.  I tried twice and both times it came out wrong.  I make the loop and seize it then insert the dead eyes.  Before inserting them I made sure they were the same length, but when I insert them I must have been shortening things.  Unfortunately I didn't double check before adding glue.  


At this point I was out of thread, and I still had the lazy jack to do.  So I decided to go ahead and order more mast hoops and thread from Blue Jacket.  While waiting on that to arrive, I painted all the belaying pins, and started making the sails.  





I got all the sails done few mistakes but I was able to fix them. I'm not a sewer, and have my moms old machine, and can get by. I messed up the rolled hems on the jib, and it ended up a smaller than it should be.  I have enough material to redo it which I'll do next.  The new parts have arrived so once I'm done with the  jib, I'll get back to rigging.  


I don't have a lot of free time these days, I'm trying to get in shape for a backpacking trip, and the grand kids are coming for a week.  So it may be a little bit before I can finish this.  

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  • 4 weeks later...

I've made some great progress this week.  Got the sails, running rigging, and standing rigging in done.

Not real happy with my sails, they are just a little to big in some areas, and to small in others. But I am happy with how they attached to the boat for the most part.



Then this afternoon while I was working on the last deadeye, disaster, I tugged a little too hard, and it came free from the line. This picture doesn't show it so well, but the line slipped through the whipping I had done around it.


So I had to redo it which was tough since I'd already trimmed everything back.  But it doesn't look to bad.


Got the mizzen in place, and added 4 belay pins to the taft rail. 2 each for the mainsail, and jib, I probably could have gotten by with just 2, but that is OK. 


Added the chains from the bow sprit to the hull, and that is it for the rigging. 


I've started making the stanchions for the rear rail, and I hope to have that done this week. There isn't much left on my punch list, the end is truly in sight.  I have a special bottle of beer I've been saving for the end, and am looking forward to opening it.

Edited by dsmith65
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Finished at last.


Using a method I copied from Ken_2, I made the stanchions but cutting them off and placing them in my drill, holding a file underneath and treating it like a lathe.  Got the stanchions on and the rail installed.




Then I stained and coated them with varnish.  Of course I managed to get stain on the cabin and rail, but it was easy enough to paint over what didn't wipe off.

Then the anchor and the mooring line were put in place, along with the decals.


Here she is finished.


Finally since Bluejacket is a Maine company, I've been saving this celebratory beer from Bar Harbor for now, and am enjoying it in a glass from my favorite place to eat Lobster in Maine.



This has been a fun and challenging build.  I've learned lots, like new curse words, CA glue goes bad, new modeling techniques, always use sharp blades, and it has built my confidence when it comes to this hobby.  This is a great kit, and the Nic and his team at Bluejacket have done a great job with it, and helping me when I was stuck.  I've also taken inspiration from Tomculb, Josh Williamson, and Ken_2 who have been building at the same time.


I am now confident enough in my skills to attempt to finish this Laser from Dumas, that I started over 15 years ago.  I got discouraged, by my crappy skills at making things come together, and when I sawed the mast in half thinking it was the boom, I gave up.  I'm not sure if I'll document this boat or not.



Thanks for following along, now to figure out how to change my title to say Finished.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 months later...

Congratulations!  Well done!

Building: 1:64 HMS Revenge (Victory Models plans)

1:64 Cat Esther (17th Century Dutch Merchant Ships)

On the building slip: 1:72 French Ironclad Magenta (original shipyard plans)


On hold: 1:98 Mantua HMS Victory (kit bash), 1:96 Shipyard HMS Mercury


Favorite finished builds:  1:60 Sampang Good Fortune (Amati plans), 1:200 Orel Ironclad Solferino, 1:72 Schooner Hannah (Hahn plans), 1:72 Privateer Prince de Neufchatel (Chapelle plans), Model Shipways Sultana, Heller La Reale, Encore USS Olympia


Goal: Become better than I was yesterday


"The hardest part is deciding to try." - me

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