craft, Doll, monster high, Uncategorized

Jinx! She’s ready.

My spring break is here. This means things are getting done!

This is in part because I work for a teaching dispatch company and when I’m not dispatched I don’t get paid. So in this month of freedom I will get paid for the dance work but not the English teaching. Thus it’s time for cheap creative fun.

Jinx is done, mostly.

Finishing tiny spandex and stitching on tiny mesh cleanly is a work in progress. Someday I may redo Jinx’s stockings and I’ll probably change her black hair elastics to wider spandex but here we are!

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We are ready for ….Girls Night Out!

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But wait…you might think…aren’t your Jinx and Starfire dolls SO MUCH smaller than the 14″ Raven you made?

to which I say….what part of I have time now and am obsessed don’t you understand?

 

 

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Chibi-Raven

I roam the Hobby-off (a used toy/hobby shop) with no real plan in mind. Sure, first I scope the dolls but then I just wander the figures until something speaks to me.

This isn’t unlike the time shortly after my first move and job change within Japan in August of 2004. I hadn’t planned to stay here…and then I was offered a new job. My cash was low, so I had to borrow money for the move.

There was a “recycle shop” near my new place with a used sewing machine for 3,000 yen, about 30 usd at the time.Worth  every yennie.

I’d already started hand-altering and embroidering my clothing about a year earlier. It was a way to cut down on the temptation to shop aimlessly. I’d also gained and lost weight in my first few years here so I had items that needed to be taken in.

My weeks at my new apartment I was broke but my new job was yet to start. My entertainment was sewing.

What will I make? What can I make?

I’d look at my pile of things I don’t wear and either alter them…or totally seam rip them and make something new. An old jacket became wool scraps became a purse. A dress became a tissue box cover and purse lining and so-on.

The Hobby-Off trips are similar.

Banpresto makes a lot of small figures, most of them for claw machines/UFO catchers.I pick them up used. They can be great presents for my geek people back home.

This is a figure from Monogatari, a series I know nothing of.

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She was around 200¥ and reminded me of Raven. I wanted to see how customizable these figures are. They have the same plastic and proportions of Nendoroids but aren’t poseable and are way cheaper. I have a Nendoroid face a friend would like me to customize later.

If it were a Nendoroid I’d just pop the hair and face off easily, they are made to have inter-changable faces.

This figure isn’t meant to be changed, I pried the hair off with a flathead screwdriver and removed her face with paint thinner (not acetone).

The heads are easy to remove and the bodies come in half. I assume she came in a box and had to be put together.

I removed her skirt and started removing her extra clothing with an X-acto knife.

I should probably learn how to film this stuff…not because there’s a need for more tutorials but because there might be a kink market willing to pay for such visuals.

I wish I’d slimmed down her chest/upper body more.  Regrets. Then I started smothing things out with Tamiya Epoxy Putty. I wish I’d glued the torso to the bottom half before this step because not doing so created cracking when the torso experienced pressure and I’d have to do it later. There are slight seams on the product now.

Not pretty. I not do a better job of clearing the work area of lint.

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After sanding I added more potty to create Raven’s power/chakra/thingy and build up her suit.

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More sanding and I decided to make THIS Raven more of the neutral gray hue they use for her in Teen Titans and Teen Titans Go.

Spray paint for plastics!

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I wish I’d gotten the chest a bit smaller and smoother and sanded more of the putty where the stocking indents were. Live and learn. I also started painting the hair with acrylics to make sure it took well.

This is where we are now.

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Next up I’ll work on her face, fix it, and then assemble her and do final paint touch-ups and gloss up her red power belt.

I’m about to have a month free from my regular teaching job. This means hustling more on the dance side, probably doing some paid cleaning work, and having time to craft. My goal is that by the end of the month having some of my larger Disney Animated Dolls finished and listed on Japan Mercari as a test to see if that’s a good local selling option for me. I also hope to get closer to finishing the reroot on the Belle-to-Melody for my friend Gina’s child.

There are plenty of crafts to be done, this is what the area about my computer looks like right now…

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So, yes, Wednesday Addams, Raven, Raven, and an almost finished Jinx.

 

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craft, Doll, monster high, Uncategorized

JINX!

I just can’t stop making Teen Titans Go dolls.

This should be no surprise to anyone who knew me shortly after college when I started to amass a collection of female action figures. It seemed like a hobby that had limits because action figures were even worse back then about not producing or short packing female figures.

I moved away from my collection and, behold, 16 years later realized I COULD MAKE MY ARMY MYSELF.

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JINX in the works!

I mean, Starfire and Raven need to have a (woot woot) GIRLS NIGHT OUT.

I found this used, bagged, Monster High Doll, Operetta, at Dollyteria when I went in last week to cash in my point card before it expired. She was stuck into one of the bins as I was browsing.

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And her previous owner had melted some of her hair, so I knew I’d be rerooting her.

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I wrote about her hair rerooting in “Hair Meditation

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Does Jinx have pink skin? Not really. It’s kind of a dusty gray/purple but when you put SHOCKING PINK hair on her it bumps the skin tone down a notch.

Does Jinx have swirls carved into part of her face and arms? Not to my knowledge but it didn’t seem it’d be that odd for her to have some sort of “jinxing” marks. Jinx in animation like Teen Titans and Teen Titans Go is WORLDS away from her original character…who was a cancer-bald badass Indian super villain in a loin cloth…and serves more as a naughty super powered teen who has moments of just fun.

She’s generally Perky Goth to Raven’s more classic goth…but you know when Dead or Alive’s ‘You Spin Me Round’ drops they both can’t resist dancing…and that’s what I’m going for.

Again I used photoshop express to mirror flip images to get symmetry close.

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I still struggle working on this scale. I used to draw on huge rolls of paper and work much looser.

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Close to finished.

I also noticed the neck peg was showing signs of wear so I put a layer of Tamiya Epoxy Putty on it. Don’t want the peg to snap after I’ve worked hard.

And this brings us to the hair. How was I going to shape Jinx’s hair? Well, I decided to make soft horns out of felt and stuffing. I wrapped and stitched down some of the shed acrylic fuzz left after brushing out her yarn (SO MUCH OF THAT).

I left a patch of scalp un-rooted on both sides of the head.

I coated the patch, and the felt base of the horns with liquid fusion and allowed to dry. I wanted to build up that glue base on the horn a bit.

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This horn will later be attached to the remaining horn-hole, pinned until the bond is formed, and the hair will be shapped around it and joined with elastic. I’m still figuring out if I want to color a band of hair black between the holders or use an elastic black band for the area near her hair point. It’s temporarily elasticed on one side to keep it out of the way but I have bang/trim shaping to tidy up and some last minute face touches to apply.

But now I rest and let things dry.

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Color Blocked to fight crime: Diana Prince part 1

The day after I wrote about craft as meditation the world decided to throw me a curve. Someone I had once been friends with has done something I can’t stomach and legal action against him has thus been thwarted.

I blocked him. I posted the information and screenshots I’d received as proof of his actions. I took a tea cup he’d once given me outside and smashed it with a broom and then swept up the shards.

I went inside and worked on Diana Prince.

In the 70’s, after Wonder Woman’s original creator had passed away, her readership had been flagging. Then Wonder Woman became the New Wonder Woman for a while. She gave up her super powers and became Diana Prince who ran a mod clothing shop, was a martial arts expert, and a ass kicking super spy who’d get dropped into any 70’s issue or fad: cults, biker gangs, occult witches, drug running, violent hippies and more.

And she might have been stripped of her powers but, damn, she embraced color blocked fashion and was styling. The look of these issues were lush, blending true romance comic art, 70’s ads, up to date fashion, and ass kickings

More info on this run.

I once bought a 1970’s chiffon dress in pink and yellow because it reminded me of her outfits.

In early December when my Step mother sent me three random used dolls, and one of them was a DC superhero girl Wonder Woman I knew I wanted to make Groovy and Hip Diana Prince.

She’s not my favourite version of WW but she’s the most visually compelling for me.

First I cleaned up her hair and gave it some curl.

I removed her face with Acetone and adjusted a Barbie jacket and dress to better fit her. I still need to reline the jacket in something without a Barbie print.

I’m still getting used to working this small and getting the eyes smooth (without some lumpiness of the white acrylics) is alluding me. Still, each time gets better.

To troubleshoot wonky symmetry I’ve been taking photos and mirror flipping them to better see shape differences.

And I added false 3-D lashes because if ever there was a Diana who was lashtastic it’s Romantic Spy Boutique Diana.

At a friend’s suggestion I used a black pipe cleaner as a “bump it” to increase hair volume. I realized my previous hair curling wouldn’t quite work for the new “bumped” style so she’s been gently boil permed again and is now waiting for everything to dry.

Which is fine because tonight and tomorrow I’m at live music and dance rehearsals where I am feeling imposter syndrome revving up as nervousness starts to shut down my second language skills.

I’m in a coffee shop on break to get some food and caffeine in me before I go back.

But, when I finish tonight, and spend an hour on the train getting home, I know the dolls in doll spa, like Diana, will be happy to see me.

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craft, Doll, monster high, sewing, Uncategorized

Heads up! Finish it February!

I haven’t been around because illness took me DOWN. After two rounds of antibiotics, more nasal steroids, and the joy of three days in a row  without kerosene fumes I’m almost better.

Welcome to Finish-it-February, wherein I try to be frugal by focusing on finishing projects instead of starting them.

Of course, as soon as I proclaimed this on February first and my buddy Ebony said hell-yeah! (she’d suggested Frugal Febuary and I added the ‘ffing Finish It)…I came home and started a new project.

Luckily the Hedgehog bonding scarf worked up quickly with items I had and I could count it as ‘Finished’ and decide to be more mindful in the following days. After February I could easily see myself making a second one and doing a tutorial on it.

 

Right now I have two focuses for the first half of this month:

1.Put faces on smaller dolls.

On my small balcony you can find these heads right now…plus one more.

Top to bottom:

  • Wednesday Adams via EAH Raven Queen
  • Teen Titans Go Jinx via Monster High Operetta
  • Groovy 70’s Diana Prince via DC Superheros Girls Wonder woman.
  • (not shown) Raven via EAH Royal Faybelle

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More on individual dolls later.

2. New Skirt for Romafest on February 17th. Roma Fest is the 8th annual Japanese festival highlighting Roma Music and dance. It’s my first year participating and I’ll be performing with live music….which I haven’t heard yet, that happens this week in rehearsals.

To save myself time and money, I’m altering an existing skirt I don’t wear…again, more details to follow.

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wish me luck for the first half of the month. If succesfull, the second half I’ll start tackling the larger doll heads and faces: Sally, Squirrel Girl, and Melody.

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Rerooting Wednesday

In early December I received an Ever After Doll and learned about glue seepage.

In some dolls there’s some sort of chemical reaction between the hair/head/glue used (often excessively used) and the doll continues to sweat greasy glue runoff out of her hair plugs. This all happens in the manufacturing process. There are online discussions about what dolls seem to be more affected by it, theories about if a specific factory in Indonesia is to blame for a portion of it, and a lot of tips for fixing it…none of which worked for me so I removed all the glue and hair from my doll.

Since then I’ve seen some baggie dolls at Hobby Off in Kashiwa that have stickers warning customers that the hair of the doll within has “styling wax” in its hair. Nope, Hobby Off, them dolls have seepage. Styling wax is something you can wash away. I know the dolls have seepage because I bought one knowing full well I’d be removing all the hair. I was not wrong.

And, hey, Hobby Off, why didn’t you mention that the Living Dead Doll I bought was infused with nicotine stank?

Back to Wednesday, who has taken more time than I anticipated.

My first mistake, as seen above, is that I forgot to paint the area of the doll the hair was being put into. I caught it midway up and painted the rest  and then tried to stain the rooted area with permanent marker…more on that later.

My second mistake was to not worry about how tight together the holes on the hair part were. All the squeezing and contorting of the doll to get all the hair and glue out weakened this already vulnerable area. When I started rooting in the area,  5mm of head/part ripped clear in two. Had I taken a few days to fortify the inside and outside of the holes with Liquid Fusion this probably wouldn’t have happened. As it was I had to do that in mid-rooting. I probably didn’t apply enough in thin layers on top…for fear of getting the Liquid Fusion in the rooted hair…so I had some additional rips later I had to stop and tend to.

I thought I was finished so I glued the inside of the head and let it dry…only to learn my third mistake.

Wednesday has two braids.

To get her part correct, the tight partline needs to continue to the nape of her neck. The picture above and on the right sort of shows that the hairline ends at where the paint ends and then the hair beyond that just hangs straight down. That’s fine if your doll has her hair parted up top only.

I had to fix that with more rooting…and permenant marker because ALL gaps in the black near the hair root SHOWED at the partline.

 

This is where I am right now. I’ll leave it a few days to make sure the glue has fully cured.

I also regret mixing a little bit of dark brown in the black hair. It wasn’t a bad idea but I didn’t work hard enough mixing it to prevent brown streaks. I wanted more color depth and just got…Meh.

However, I was looking for a deep purple/black hair for a different project, the sort of hair you see in comics where it’s mostly black but highlighted areas show color. I couldn’t find any in Japan and Etsy shipping is costly so I hand mixed pre-existing black/ the leftover purple/red from Starfire 1, and some newly purchased blue.

img_3642And that’s the hair rooting update. I hope you’ve gained from it.

Goodness knows my Roomba has gained much from the process.

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Aggretsuko!

Let’s move along to finished projects I should have told you about ages ago.

My Aggretsuko Blythe! Just in time for the Netflix Christmas Special!!

Her face just wasn’t right last time. I realized that it was because I’d given her lips. Red pandas have mouths that pop out from under white fur.

That issue solved:

Eyes I ordered locally:

Hearts and skulls!

I also used a pattern book to make that tiny shirt. I drafted the skirt myself.

Local wig! I decided to trim it after this picture. I made the ears out of white fake fur and orange felt. They are lightly stuffed and stitched to the wig.

Hair cut! Fake beer from a Gotchapon

Machine.

I used a pattern book again but altered a jacket pattern into a vest pattern.

With leftover white fake fur (I painted with watered-down acrylics and brushed between colors to prevent clumping) I created her tail.

I also drew one pair of her eyes and glued them to 14cm glass cabochons.

And printed out the last pair and glued them similarly

Tada!!!

Happy Holidays, Y’all.

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Beastie Boy

Craftsmas is coming! Craftsmas is coming!

Let’s be honest, every week is crafty up in here.

The dark months are craftholes.

I’m on medication for my anxiety and depression but when you add the darkness into that it becomes very easy to hyperfocus on a single task to release all the thoughts and energy…and one doesn’t always have the time.

I can’t very well be late to work at elementary school with the excuse “I really had to tweeze all the hair plugs out of that doll. I know I could do it after work but time just dissipated. First graders should understand.”…first graders WOULD understand but they aren’t my bosses.

Let’s get to some of the crafts I haven’t had time to tell you about.

Beast Boy!

I couldn’t well leave my Raven without Beastie, her once a season boyfriend.

I knew I couldn’t get a 17” tall one, like Raven, because Monster High doesn’t make Frightfully Tall Mansters (yeah, Manster…that’s not on me) but Beastie is a short dude. It’d be fine if he was half her height and made from one of the male Monster High dolls…Manster Hunt.

I’ve come to accept that the facial structures of MH dolls makes any cute character….hawt.

Beastie is hawt.

I’m getting ahead of myself.

I found this on Mercari locally for about 800¥.

He’s originally Fair Heath Burns: Son of the Fire Elements.

I know. He’s not green. I fixed that.

Head off. Remove the face with acetone. Prime with Mr. Super Clear! Start painting the hair.

I buffed his body with a high grit sandpaper to remove the sheen and give it some tooth for pigment to adhere to, of course cleaning to remove the dust afterwards. I primed the body with the usual Mr. Super Clean. Then I set to work using chalk pastel pigment to blush and color the body and face. This takes layers and patience.

I also added a shard of polymer clay for his snaggle fang.

Blushing is more like highlighting and shading with pigments than turning a doll one color.

For a very uniform color I’d need an airbrush.

I’m not ready to buy another tool.

Also, airbrushes remind me of my friends in art school who worked thankless jobs at airbrush t-shirt kiosks in Grand Avenue Mall in Milwaukee where they’d have to explain either that they don’t do gang signs or that each shirt will look a little different..and take abuse from people who didn’t think the bunnies or whatnot they were painting were cute enough. . Think “Make the bunny cuter” when I see airbrush equipment.

In that same mall I worked a while in a kiosk that sold a variety of Russian woodwork, nesting dolls and troll dolls,and the seasonal Christmas store owned by the same people.

All of us students there would eventually visit Pat S who worked in the bar (yes) in the food court. Milwaukee.

Back in Japan, to my doll bodies.

My small balcony in my second floor flat can easily be viewed by people exiting their apartments in the apartment complex next to me. I use it as my ventilated spray area. I wonder what neighbours make of the tiny hanging green bodies, primed faced, and full dolls in curlers.

Working up Beastie’s face.

I’ve purchased a lighted magnifier that clips on to my workspace. It helps at this scale. I’ve also found it helpful to take frequent photos of the doll. My phone flips images which helps highlight when something is off with proportions.

I spent a lot of time looking at eyebrows online and thinking about where resting eyebrows rest on the face (on the upper ridge of your skull socket…touch them). My Senior year of college I was in figure drawing and drawing classes 12 hours a week and doing huge pages of self portraits in my work time. I feel like I understand muscles and bones more than I grasp eyebrows. They vex me. I also don’t have much in the way of them, which doesn’t help.

Drawing in a comic or cartoony style always eluded me. I wish we’d done rapid (30sec-1minute) gesture drawings of faces like we did for live figure drawing every session. The way dolls play with facial proportions and simplification is more tied to cartoon work than representative figure drawing.

Satisfied with Beastie’s hawt face I sent many photos with texts to friends and then returns him to his body.

These pictures where taken before I remembered to add a bit of gloss medium to his eyes and lips.

I don’t yet have pink spandex to make his Teen Titans Go outfit yet so he’s been hanging out in a black top and MTM Soccer Barbie’s shorts. I’m not sure what I’m doing with the rescued TaeYang next to him yet…so TaeYang gets rotated through humiliating outfits from the Madison Christmas Box.

Making his outfit will involve finding (or making) shoes. I’m not easy yet, it maybe when Craftsmas is in full swing.

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Seepage part 2: Acceptance.

It’s “Forget the year” season here. Forget the Year parties are something Japanese people have to do with their co-workers, their clubs, their friends, their old high school friends, everyone they ride the train with each morning and more. This means December is chock-a-block full of these parties…and they always involve alcohol.

TOKYO IS DRUNK every weekend now.

And as a bellydancer who does restaurant shows at Turkish restaurants, I’m busy.

 

Saturday night I did two restaurant shows (one in Shinjuku and one in Shibuya, back to back for two restaurants owned by the same man) after three hours of dance lessons… and that’s always crazy, The first show never starts on time, which means I get trapped in the “dressing area”, and then have to RUN to the train to my next gig.

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It’s a closet/office/storage space/ dressing room.

But I don’t have any Sunday private lessons this weekend so my Sunday and Monday have been free to…LET THE HEADS ROLL.

Let’s catch up to Queenie.
Last we saw she had GLUE SEEPAGE.
No amount of scraping and oil blotting would work so I cut off her hair and stuffed it into a glass of soapy water.

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And then started the NASTY process of scraping and boiling and pulling all the nasty glue-hair clots from her head.

 

This took more than an hour. It was like pulling hairy slime-snot from the head. It seemed endless….like a magic show you DO NOT WANT.

I figured I’d remove it all, clean it all out, and reroot…because my friend Ebony pointed out the head would make a great Wednesday Addams base.

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This isn’t the only doll head floating around my kitchen on these days off….

Sunday I went into Akihabara to buy some more hair/Tamiya putty/tools.

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MegaMan/RockMan was in front of Radio Kaikan. What I loved wasn’t so much all the dudes getting pictures with him…which was awesome…it was how many of these dudes ALSO gleefully wanted hugs.
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I also spotted the world’s saddest Pachinko Panda….

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And by the evening I was rerooting Wednesday with black and dark brown hair.

 

I might finish the reroot tonight but even when it’s finished I’ll have a lot of rerooting in my future. One of the Disney Animators dolls is transitioning from Belle to Princess Melody for my friend Gina’s daughter. A GIANT HEAD TO REROOT.

This….this is how I relax?

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Sculpting Sally

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Sally has little boots and slumpy striped socks.

My Freaky Friend doesn’t have real shoes. She has red shoe-shapes covering wide, triangular leg ends. Nothing foot-like under the shoes.

Like Bratz before them, oversized shoes are a HUGE part of the Monster high look. Doll Sally won’t have the tiny little feetzies of film Sally.

It’s not like a Sally doll is going to wear other outfits or need to change her shoes. I’ve decided to sculpt her socks and shoes right on her.

I’m learning to sculpt with Tamiya epoxy putty. It comes in two different colored sticks, like flat gum, and you mix two equal parts together to create the chemical reaction needed for the epoxy to airdry. I picked up two small packets of Tamiya Epoxy Putty (Smooth type and quick type) at Yellow Submarine  for about 500yen each on Monday.

Last night I tried the quick type, without familiarizing myself with epoxy and how you need to keep your fingers and surfaces wet, and wasted about  250 yen worth last evening. not much but still…meh

Moral of the story: When you take the Ambien… GET IN BED.

When I got home today I tried the Smooth Type.

I figured I’d build the socks and the tongue of the boot first.  Tomorrow I teach dance after work and Friday and Saturday are restaurant gigs after work so I probably won’t be able to do a thing until Sunday…but smooth type sometimes needs a full day to cure.

After that dries I’ll fashion the body of the boot (cant make heels, alas, due to her foot wedges). Then I’ll sand a bit and add the laces. Everything will be painted later.

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