Corgi July to December 2016 launch, Pearl Harbor Defender plus lots more...
Welcome to the latest edition of Die-cast Diaries, where we give you an insight into everything that is happening behind the scenes in the world of Corgi Die-cast. Before we begin, we would just like to thank everyone who has been good enough to contact us with their collector stories and model photographs – including this type of feature really does enhance our blog and is a great way for fellow collectors to share their passion for the subject. As we continue to mark our 60th Anniversary year, please keep sending us your stories, which we certainly enjoy reading and may just see you featured in a future edition of Die-cast Diaries.
So what do we have for you in this latest edition? Well, what about the launch of our July to December 2016 range for starters! You can also look forward to seeing some exclusive ‘First Shots’ images from one of the eagerly anticipated new tooling releases announced at the beginning of this year. Our ever popular ‘What’s on the Desk’ feature will look at all the latest models to have arrived at Corgi HQ for pre-production evaluation and we take a closer look at a fascinating piece of artwork that takes historic aviation on to Britain’s roads. We really do hope that the latest edition of Die-cast Diaries has something for all our readers to enjoy.
New Corgi Catalogue Goes LIVE!
Twice each year, the die-cast collecting world is glued to the Corgi website, hoping to catch their first glimpse of the newly announced Corgi model range. We are extremely pleased to be bringing you the exciting news that all the models from the new July to December 2016 range can now be viewed on the Corgi website – this is always a time of great interest for the die-cast collector and the launch of any new Corgi range is greeted by hugely increased web traffic heading for the Corgi website, as collectors rush to see all the latest models.
The new Corgi July to December 2016 range includes a number of newly tooled models and will continue the celebration of our 60th Anniversary year. As usual, the range also includes some magnificent new liveries to much loved Corgi models and we have a trio of releases which commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941. Without any further ado, let’s take a look at some of the highlights from the new Corgi July to December 2016 model range.
AA28101 – Curtiss P-40B Warhawk, 160/15P, 2nd Lt. George Welch, 47th PS, 15th PG, USAAF, Wheeler Field, 7th December 1941, Pearl Harbor Defender
AA28101 Curtiss P-40B Warhawk George Welsh ‘Pearl Harbor Defender’
Later in this edition we will see how the American Curtiss P-40 series of fighters proved to be incredibly important to RAF and Commonwealth air forces during the Second World War, but it was also one of the most advanced fighters in service with the USAAF at the time of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Indeed, the exploits of USAAF P-40B pilots during the Pearl Harbor attack are the stuff of aviation legend and were the inspiration behind the first release of this new 1/72nd scale tooling.
Following an extremely late night at the Squadron Christmas party the day previously, USAAF pilots George Welch and Kenneth Taylor woke to the sound of explosions and low flying aircraft - the date was 7th December 1941 and the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor was under attack. Still wearing their mess dress from the previous night’s celebrations, the men rang ahead to Wheeler Field, where their Squadron had been recently deployed for gunnery practice and instructed ground crews to prepare two P-40 fighters for flight. Driving their Buick at high speed towards the airfield, the pair came under fire from Japanese aircraft that filled the skies all around them.
Eventually arriving at Wheeler Field, the pilots immediately made for their aircraft. Taking off beneath waves of attacking enemy aircraft, the two pilots fought valiantly against overwhelming odds, even landing to re-fuel and re-arm, only to take off and fight again. During a frantic few minutes, Welch managed to destroy four Japanese aircraft, with Taylor accounting for at least a further two. For their heroic actions during the Pearl Harbor attack, George Welch and Kenneth Taylor were both awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, but more importantly, displayed the bravery and determination that America would now bring to bear against the Axis forces.
AA28001 – Messerschmitt Bf 109E-3, W.Nr.5057, ‘Yellow 1’, Oberleutnant Josef ‘Pips’ Priller, 6./JG51, Mardyck, France, October 1940
AA28001 Without doubt, the Messerschmitt Bf 109 is one of the most famous fighter aircraft of WWII
During the Second World War, the Bf 109 earned a fearsome reputation with its adversaries and was synonymous with the ruthless effectiveness of the Wehrmacht, particularly during the early years of the conflict. It was also the mount of many of the worlds most accomplished air ‘aces’ and proved to be one of the most reliable and hard-hitting fighter aircraft ever produced. Significantly, the Messerschmitt Bf 109 was the most heavily produced fighter aircraft in history, with no fewer than 33,984 machines being built – undoubtedly one of the most important aircraft in the history of powered flight.
Already a Luftwaffe fighter ace by the start of the Battle of Britain, Josef ‘Pips’ Priller and the pilots of JG51 would be heavily involved in the fighting against the RAF over the summer of 1940, with many of his comrades falling to the guns of the British airmen. Priller and his Bf 109 were to score at least 14 victories during the Battle of Britain and was to eventually end the war with an astonishing 101 victories from 307 combat missions flown. Within this number, Priller claimed at least 68 Spitfires destroyed, which was the highest Luftwaffe ace tally against Britain’s most famous fighter. He was also one of only a small number of Luftwaffe aces to fight solely in the West, against the best aircraft available to the Allied air forces.
AA27203 – Avro Vulcan B.2, XM607, RAF No.44 Squadron, ‘Operation Black Buck’, Falklands Conflict, South Atlantic, 1982
AA27203 The 1/72nd scale Avro Vulcan is one of the most impressive models in the Aviation Archive range
As the final RAF Avro Vulcan Squadrons were contemplating their impending withdrawal from service in early 1982, developments in the South Atlantic would see this mighty bomber go to war for the first time in its 26-year service history. Operation ‘Black Buck’ would require a Vulcan to drop 21 conventional 1,000lb bombs on the runway at Port Stanley, in the Falkland Islands, preventing Argentine forces from using their most capable strike and support aircraft and sending a strong message that Britain would stop at nothing in re-taking the Islands. The raid would be launched from RAF Ascension Island, which was some 6,300km from the Falklands and presented something of a logistical nightmare for military planners. Flown almost entirely over the sea, the Black Buck raids would require the support of twelve Victor tankers on the outbound leg, with a further two for the return flight and all the associated contingency plans.
Taking off from Ascension Island at midnight on 30th April 1982, Avro Vulcan B.2 XM607 piloted by Flight Lieutenant Martin Withers was to fly as reserve aircraft to the primary bomber XM598 on this highly complex raid, but was quickly promoted to lead aircraft on ‘Black Buck 1’ following technical difficulties encountered by XM598. Embarking on what was the longest bombing raid attempt in history, XM607 was refuelled seven times on its way to the Falkland Islands, before successfully releasing its payload of bombs across the Port Stanley runway. Following a further rendezvous with a Victor tanker on the way home, XM607 returned to its base on Ascension Island and a place in the history books – if nothing else, this raid illustrated Britain’s determination to take back the Falkland Islands and that they had the capability to do it. Of the seven Black Buck raids planned against Argentine forces on the Falkland Islands, five actually took place and were the only time that the Mighty Avro Vulcan went to war.
CC16004 Volvo FH cab, Eddie Stobart Haulage livery
CC16004 Volvo FH cab in classic Eddie Stobart livery and CC14124 DAF 105 cab with Battle of Britain airbrushed artwork
The heady mix of a new Corgi 1/50th scale Hauliers of Renown tooling release, and one of the best loved haulier liveries on Britain’s roads is sure to be of great interest to the truck collector. After working with his father in agriculture, Edward Stobart started his haulage career using his father’s delivery trucks and formed Eddie Stobart Haulage Company in 1970. From this point, Edward was able to grow his business into Britain’s most recognised haulier, employing over five thousand people. The FH Series is a larger, but more aerodynamic truck from Volvo. It boasts increased drivability and an overall more futuristic design and looks great with the instantly recognisable and world famous Eddie Stobart logo and livery.
Established in 1982, family run business Slough International Freight & Packing Ltd is headed up by Managing Director David Matthews. The company focuses on offering customers a personal and professional service and has achieved growth each year thanks to David’s knowledge and experience in the freight forwarding industry. Their fleet of trucks, which cannot be missed, feature airbrushed designs of famous faces such as pop singers like Rihanna, as well as this new design, which commemorates some of the pilots, aircraft and historical figures connected with The Battle of Britain. Including Churchill’s famous ‘Never in the field of human conflict’ speech this magnificent artwork will draw admiring glances wherever it is spotted.
OM46511 Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 Harry Potter Warner Brothers Studio Shuttle Bus
OM46511 Harry Potter Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 Shuttle Bus
After making the last of the Harry Potter films, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2”, the producers were left with a treasure trove of props, sets and artefacts from one of the most memorable and iconic franchises in the history of British cinema. Now, visitors are able to walk the sets and see up close, the costumes, animatronics and even take a seat in the Great Hall! Regular shuttle buses run to and from the studio, making it easily accessible for guests. The Wright Eclipse Gemini 2s are decorated displaying the iconic Harry Potter logo and imagery from the films. They stand out on the city streets and they’re sure to stand out in your collection.
VA10816 Ford Capri 2.8i Special in Rosso Red
VA10816 The beautiful Ford Capri 2.8i Special is a motoring enthusiasts dream
Although the Mk.3 Capri had been announced in 1978 and could trace its origins back to the 1961 Mk.1, strong sales prompted Ford to instruct Rod Mansfield’s Special Vehicle Engineering team to develop a more sporting model for 1981, the 2.8 injection. From 1984 the left-hand-drive Capri was dropped, but strong UK demand meant the right-hand-drive UK market exclusive Capri 2.8i Special was announced. This featured a colour-keyed grille, leather facings for the seats, gear-lever, steering wheel and trim panels, plus a standard limited-slip differential and seven spoke RS alloy wheels. The 2.8i Special we have modelled here was given a total rebuild in 1995 to ‘better-than-new’ standard. Retro Ford Magazine has called it ‘the best Capri in Britain’.
Project P-40 Update
The distinctive lines of a Pearl Harbor veteran Curtiss P-40B at Duxford
At the beginning of 2016, Die-cast Diaries readers were the first to hear about two brand new 1/72nd scale toolings in the ever popular Aviation Archive range – the Messerschmitt Bf 109E and the Curtiss P-40 (early versions). As we brought you an update on the Messerschmitt in the previous edition of our blog, it’s time we gave you the latest news regarding the new Warhawk – once again, Die-cast Diaries will be bringing you exclusive images from this exciting project.
As far as fighters of the Second World War are concerned, the Curtiss P-40 series of fighters are generally not regarded amongst the most successful of the conflict, but as Europe fell to the advancing Germans and Britain and her Commonwealth fought to stem the German tide, it is difficult to think of a more important aircraft on both sides of the Atlantic. It could even be argued that the P-40 was not even the best US fighter available at the time, as the twin boomed Lockheed P-38 Lightning was only a couple of months behind it in development terms and was considered a much better fighter aircraft. The new Curtiss fighter did possess some critical attributes that ensured it would become an aircraft of significant historical importance. The P-40 was a very good, extremely well built fighter, that was easy to maintain and operate and relatively cheap to produce – critically, it was in full scale production by the time WWII began.
CAD screenshot from the new Corgi Curtiss P-40 project
Having seen the gathering clouds of war and the sleek, modern fighters being developed by the European air forces, the US Army Air Corps placed their largest ever order for 524 Curtiss P-40 fighters, not knowing that this decision was arguably one of the most significant of the entire war. As America allowed the European Allies to access all their latest military hardware, large orders for Curtiss P-40 fighters came from France and Britain, at the same time as their own Army Air Corps began to re-equip with the new fighter. Not only would the P-40 bolster depleted RAF fighter forces in Europe, but it would also go on to allow America to challenge Japanese dominance in the Pacific theatre.
The Warhawk Goes to War
Despite the fact that the Curtiss P40 was one of the most advanced American fighters in service at the outbreak of WWII, it would be the Royal Air Force that gave the aircraft its combat introduction. Early RAF Tomahawks (the British name for the P-40B) were not deemed suitable for fighter operations against the Luftwaffe and were initially used in Army cooperation and reconnaissance roles, operating from bases in the UK. The RAF made a number of suggestions to Curtiss following their experiences with the early P-40s and a number of improvements were incorporated into the next aircraft deliveries. This resulted in the Desert Air Force receiving Tomahawks in 1941 as replacements for their Hurricanes and being hurled into battle against Axis air forces. It was also in the desert that the RAF Tomahawks became some of the most famous aircraft of the entire war, as No.112 Squadron pilots painted sinister looking shark’s teeth and eyes behind the propellers of their P-40s, giving the aircraft an extremely aggressive appearance. In fact, the profile of these early Curtiss P-40s really does resemble that of a shark, a fact that was fully exploited by the pilots of the Desert Air Force.
The P-40 was the best American fighter available during the Pearl Harbor attack
The Curtiss P-40 went on to equip 27 RAF and Commonwealth Squadrons during WWII, which is an indication of just how important the aircraft was to the war effort, at a time when the production of home developed aircraft was struggling to keep pace with demand. Also serving with the Chinese Air Force and the famous ‘Flying Tigers’, the Curtiss P-40 was essential in allowing the US military to fight back against Japanese forces across the Pacific. In conjunction with the diminutive US Navy Grumman F4F Wildcat, the P-40 effectively allowed American air forces to challenge Japanese air superiority in the Pacific region between 1942 and 1943, until her industrial might could make the significant difference.
As the Japanese launched their infamous attack against US forces based around Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, they were fully aware that the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk was the most capable air defence fighter in the region and as such, posed a particular threat. With attacks directed at airfields specifically aimed at destroying the American fighters on the ground, many P-40s would be caught unarmed and unfuelled by the strafing Japanese aircraft, parked in neat rows on their home airfields and making for extremely easy targets. Of the 99 Curtiss P-40 fighters stationed on Hawaii during the attack, many were destroyed before they could even start their engines. In a glorious episode in US military history however, pilots George Welch and Kenneth Taylor managed to launch two P-40s whilst their airfield was under attack and mount a ferocious defence against the Japanese aircraft. Shooting down at least two aircraft each, before landing for fuel and ammunition and embarking on an even more dangerous second sortie, this display of bravery and defiance must have shown the Japanese what they could expect from America forces in the months of conflict to come, as they would face retribution for their unprovoked Pearl Harbor attack.
Aviation Archive and the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk
Exclusive ‘First Shot’ images from the new Corgi P-40 tooling
Over the past few years, the ranks of the die-cast aviation collector have grown significantly as more aircraft types have been introduced into the range and the quality of the models continues to improve. Collectors can also be quite vociferous in trying to encourage manufacturers to produce certain models they feel will enhance their collections and without doubt, the early Curtiss P-40 fighters have always been high on this most requested list. The later versions of the Warhawk/Tomahawk first appeared in the Aviation Archive range in 2005, but it seems that for many collectors, the early P-40s are the definitive version of this distinctive aircraft – with 2016 marking the 75th anniversary of both the introduction of the P-40 Tomahawk to Desert Air Force operations and the infamous Pearl Harbor attack, Corgi planners felt that this was the ideal time to introduce this much requested aircraft to the range.
Announced at the same time as the new Messerschmitt Bf 109 earlier this year, Aviation Archive collectors were delighted to hear that this extremely important American fighter was finally going to take its place in the range. It is testament to the enduring popularity of this aircraft that it received at least as much positive collector comment as the Bf 109, which was the most heavily produced fighter in the history of warfare and Britain’s most recognisable aviation adversary during the Second World War. With so many iconic P-40 schemes to choose from, collectors seem genuinely excited at the prospect of filling the gaps in their collections.
Already looking like an Aviation Archive winner – the new P-40 ‘First Shot’
Using all the very latest design and manufacturing techniques available to them, the Corgi engineers are determined to bring the best 1/72nd scale version of this important fighter to the market and we are extremely pleased to be able to bring you an exclusive update on this fantastic new model. As usual, we include the important caveat that you are seeing these early pre-production test models at the same time as the Corgi design team - they are still at quite an early stage in this project and there may well be some issues that require alteration or modification. In other words, please enjoy these fabulous images, but don’t be too worried if you spot any errors, or omissions, because the Corgi team will already be addressing them. These pictures show the ‘First Shots’ die-cast model from the new Curtiss P-40B tooling and although there is still much work to be done, it shows that this fantastic new model is progressing nicely. The casting is already looking nice and clean, with the distinctive front profile of the early P-40 looking particularly impressive.
A pair of ‘First Shots’ Curtiss P-40s, looking magnificent even at this early stage
One thing that will certainly be apparent to collectors when this model is eventually released is its weight – this is quite a heavy model. Certainly compared with the rather diminutive Bf 109 we announced at the same time, the P40 is a much larger proposition altogether. Operationally, the Warhawk would avoid tight turning dogfights with the nimble Japanese fighters, preferring to use high energy slash and run tactics, where the weight and firepower of the American fighter could be used to devastating effect. If the aircraft lost speed and altitude, this would be taking the pilot into extremely uncomfortable territory and was to be avoided if at all possible. Displaying your P40 Warhawk next to a Messerschmitt Bf 109 or a Mitsubishi Zero will illustrate just how much larger the American fighter actually was in comparison and due to the extra metal that will be required to produce the die-cast version, the new Corgi P40 will also be significantly heavier than the other two. As you can see from the first shots images above, the new Curtiss P40 tooling is already looking extremely impressive and we will soon be able to add this important WWII fighter to our Aviation Archive collections.
Classic Art on the Move
CC14122 DAF 105 FreshLinc fridge trailer features artwork by Alisha Miller
A recent release in the successful Hauliers of Renown range has been receiving significant attention from traditional truck enthusiasts, collectors with an interest in aviation and people all over the Lincolnshire area. The stunning DAF 105 fridge trailer features the beautiful artwork of Alisha Miller and we have been lucky enough to be able to speak to Alisha recently about this fascinating project.
Alisha told us that this particular project began when she became aware of an initiative through Transported Lincolnshire, which is an organisation that aims to promote the enjoyment and participation of art in the Lincolnshire area. Funded by the Arts Council of England, ten artists were asked to create artwork which would be carried on Lincolnshire based trailers and seen all over the country and Alisha was determined to be considered. This would prove to be a hotly contested competition, but Alisha was eventually shortlisted with four of the other artists and commissioned to come up with a concept for the project – her ‘Tulips’ design saw her selected as the winning artist and she immediately began work on her ten trailer designs.
Alisha’s magnificent artwork on the FreshLinc truck © Electric Egg
Close up image of the RAF Holbeach artwork © Electric Egg
Even though all ten look absolutely spectacular, one of Alisha’s Fridge Trailer artwork designs has attracted particular interest from a great many people and a 1/50th scale representation of the design has just been released in the popular Corgi Hauliers of Renown truck range (CC14122) – Alisha said that it was really fantastic to see her work appearing in the Corgi range for collectors to enjoy. She also described how her art is very much inspired by the people, places and heritage of the communities in which she is working. For this particular project, she spent time in the Lincolnshire area, talking with the farmers who supply the FreshLinc produce and immersing herself in the personality of the region. Whilst driving around the land of a local farmer, she noticed a strange looking tower in the distance and started asking questions – the building was the control tower at Holbeach, which is a local bombing range used by the RAF. Speaking to local people about Lincolnshire’s aviation heritage, it soon became clear to Alisha that the Avro Lancaster and the nearby Battle of Britain Memorial Flight are extremely important to this region and wanted to reflect this in her artwork.
This magnificent artwork will brighten the day of anyone who is lucky enough to see it © Electric Egg
It was a real treat having the opportunity to speak to Alisha about this project and her enthusiasm for the subject of art is totally infectious. You can find out more about this project and Alisha’s other work by visiting her website - the fantastic Corgi RAF Holbeach DAF 105 FreshLinc fridge trailer (CC14122) is available now on the Corgi website and at good model shops across the country.
We would like to thank Electric Egg for allowing us to use their images of the actual RAF Holbeach FreshLinc truck to illustrate this feature and Alisha herself for taking the time to speak with us. If any of our readers manage to spot this distinctive truck around the country and it is safe to do so, please do send us your pictures, as it would be really interesting to see Alisha’s artwork out and about, spreading the heritage of Lincolnshire wherever it goes.
What’s on the desk?
We bring this latest feature packed edition of Die-cast Diaries to a close with our popular look at some of the latest pre-production models to arrive on the design desks at Corgi HQ. Before we show you all the latest models, we always like to reaffirm that the models you see in this section are still pre-production samples and could include some omissions and alterations that will be rectified before the model is actually released.
For this edition, we actually begin with a fantastic Aviation Archive release that is already available, but heralds the first of three jet releases in our Gulf War 25th anniversary series. The Blackburn Buccaneer S. Mk.2B ‘Miss Jolly Roger’ (AA34112) was the old lady of the RAF Gulf War contingent in 1991 and we have included it in this section specifically as the Corgi team have just produced a product video, which showcases this fantastic model and is available to be viewed now.
The first model in our ‘On the Desk’ feature will actually be the first of three RAF Jet models in our Operation Granby series and presents an example of the main RAF strike aircraft of the conflict. Again, this extremely appealing aircraft wears spectacular nose artwork and will be all the more popular with the collector as a current Lossiemouth based Tornado has been painted in a similar scheme, to mark the 25th anniversary of Operation Granby.
AA27603 Hawker Hurricane Mk.I, V7357/SD-F, Sgt. J.H ‘Ginger’ Lacey, RAF No.501 Squadron, Gravesend, Battle of Britain
This superb Hurricane is one of the three aviation subjects in the 60th Anniversary Collection and really does represent something of a bargain for the Aviation Archive collector. Using the new Hurricane Mk.I tooling, this release is being made available at an exceptionally keen price and presents an aircraft flown by one of the most successful British pilots of the Battle of Britain - this really is one model not to be missed.
AA39211 Supermarine Spitfire Mk.I, R6800/LZ-N, Sqn. Ldr. Rupert ‘Lucky’ Leigh, RAF No.66 Squadron, Gravesend, Battle of Britain
In exactly the same way that the 60th Anniversary Hurricane is a must have model for the Aviation Archive collector, this Battle of Britain Spitfire is a superb addition to any collection of Aviation Archive models. With its unusual red spinner, this is a fine example of a Battle of Britain Spitfire and is again being made available at a celebratory keen price.
OM46510A/B Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 ‘The Witch Way’ dual destination Nelson to Prestwich
This extremely attractive bus will be familiar to anyone living in the North West of England and especially around the Burnley area. This route takes passengers past the imposing Pendle Hill, which was famously associated with the 17th century witch trials and is still very much associated with witchcraft and the supernatural. The attractive livery carried on this bus includes artwork of a particularly attractive witch on her broomstick and will be of great interest to bus collectors and anyone who has seen one of these distinctive vehicles.
Classic Vanguards Mini Pair – VA02537 Morris Mini Cooper Mk.1 998cc and VA02538 Austin Mini Mk.1 Cooper S 60th Anniversary
The popular Vanguards range presents collectors with a selection of classic motor vehicles in 1/43rd scale, taking their subject matter from over the past sixty years of motoring in Britain. No collection of Vanguards models would be complete without an example of the classic Mini, which has to be considered quintessential British motoring at its very best. The above image shows two of the latest pre-production Minis to arrive on the development desk at Corgi, both marking relatively early incarnations of this much loved little car. VA02537 is a 998cc Mini Cooper Mk.1, which was produced in 1965 and has been finished in Tweed Grey and Old English White – how very British. The second model, VA02538 is a Surf Blue Austin Mini Mk.1 Cooper S, which appears in our specially presented 60th Anniversary model range and would make a fine model gift for anyone who has ever owned a die-cast Corgi model. As both models are now at the pre-production sample stage, we hope that they will be available to collectors in the near future, but please keep checking the Corgi website for the latest release information.
There was certainly a lot of information to pack into this latest edition of Die-cast Diaries - we hope that we managed to include something that was of interest to you. Please do continue to send us your ‘My Corgi’ collectors stories and help us to mark our 60th Anniversary year in style – we will have another story in the next edition of Die-cast Diaries. We are always pleased to receive reader correspondence at Diecastdiaries@corgi.co.uk and there is every chance that you may find yourself included in a future edition.
As always, we are keen to hear your views on Die-cast Diaries and any ideas you may have for future blog content. There are a number of ways you can get a message to us - as well as our dedicated Diecastdiaries@corgi.co.uk e-mail address, we also have our Die-Cast Diaries forum and our social media pages on Facebook and Twitter using #CorgiDiecastDiaries.
Until the next edition of Die-cast Diaries, enjoy your model collecting and don’t forget to check all the latest models in the new July to December Corgi range!
The Corgi Team
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