Nami is the Straw Hat Pirates’ Navigator and one of the first to join Luffy’s crew. Initially forced to serve the fishman Arlong as his cartographer, Luffy frees Nami from their service, after which Nami decides to permanently join the Straw Hats. Nami is obsessed with obtaining large amounts of money and her dream is to draw a complete map of the Grand Line.    

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Name: Nami (Sailing Again Ver.)
Line: Portrait Of Pirates (Excellent Model)
Manufacturer: MegaHouse
Released: 2011
Price: Then: 5,700 YEN, Now: about the same if bought in Japan
Scale: 1/8
Accessories: Base

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Originally my wife and I (who is the bigger One Piece fan out of the two of us) were going to watch the Anime together, that was until we reached the end of what Madman had put out here in Australia and are waiting for more DVDs to be released.

In the meantime, my wife bought herself the complete comic series up to the most recent book. (All in Japanese obviously) so I don’t know if we will continue watching the DVD or if she will just read the books herself.

Either way, I’m quite happy to buy the characters I like the most in statue form which the two of us can both appreciate together.

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SCULPTING

One thing I always tend to find about Japanese toy companies is they will always understand the characters which originate from Japan stylistically better than western or other Asian countries.

They just seem to have a better grasp of how to go about making the character look like it walked off the screen and into your hands and P.O.P Nami is no different. There was a little bit of hit and miss with the first figures in the series but MegaHouse has really upped their game with every new release.

This particular version of Nami is after the series time-jump, where Nami has grown up a bit and filled out (to paraphrase Sin City) and in a lot of ways has now become fan service and a lot more sexualized then she appeared before the time-jump.

There are things I like about the design (longer hair, more mature, proportioned body) and things I don’t (bust size is a bit over the top and she could wear better fitting clothes).

With that, all said it’s still an excellent representation of how Nami now looks in the Manga and Anime. MegaHouse have done a great job of translating those drawings into 3D and not losing the things that make Nami look unique. (Even if a lot of Anime/Manga female characters look pretty similar, to begin with.)

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PAINT

As expected nice and neat, the highlights for me are the hair, which has a translucently near the tips and the jeans which have some subtle blending of colours. Besides that, everything is up to standard and you have little to nothing to worry about.

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ARTICULATION

Nami is a statue and there fore has no articulation at all.

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ACCESSORIES

Nami comes with a base to help her stand up and that’s about it, it’s cast in a bright orange plastic and feels like it’s quality plastic in hand.

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POTENTIAL PROBLEMS

You aren’t going to have any issues with Nami, unless you bought a fake (hopefully not) or bought a really bad second hand one. (Once again, hopefully not)

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PRICE

I bought my Nami, just like Nico Robin from my mate who was down grading his collection so I got her for a really good price (about $40 AUD, if I remember correctly) and if you can make it to Japan you will be able to find her in various conditions for decent prices. Obviously the place to go is Japan, Mandarake among others always has a seemingly endless supply of One Piece P.O.P and the prices are always great, plus you know it’s not a knock off too.

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OVERALL

As far as character representations go I’m quite happy with this particular version of Nami and that’s what it comes down to if you are going to collect MegaHouse P.O.P ‘Excellent Model’ series, just buy whichever ones you like the best, they all tend to work together in a display cabinet, even if they are from different parts of the overall One Piece story.

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Kenner’s line of ‘Aliens’ Space Marine toys were fairly short lived. After only 1 & 1/2 series of figures, the Marines were dumped in favor of Predators instead to do battle with the Aliens. What marines we did get however were quite cool and in most cases had action features to add more play value. Drake, a character that appeared in the Aliens film franchise, also received a figure in this toyline.

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Name: Drake
Line: Aliens
Manufacturer: Kenner
Released: 1992
Price: Then: $10-$16.  Now: $10 – $26 MOSC or less if loose
Scale: 4 -5 Inches in height
Accessories: Smart Gun, Bayonet

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I really can’t remember why my brother and I decided to collect the Kenner Aliens toys when we were kids – being a toyline based off an MA 15+ series of movies – but they did look cool. The Alien designs were nice and there were a variety of figures.

But you can’t just have Aliens… You need Marines as well! Regardless of what collectors at the time and collectors now think of this toyline, I still like what Kenner did with about 90% of the figures they made.

When my brother and I first saw these figures, normally each one of us would choose which ones we liked best, my brother owned Drake so from a nostalgia point of view, I don’t really have that same connection as say Ripley or Hudson figures which I personally owned.

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SCULPTING

For the most part, I’d like to think Kenner did a good job of taking the source material and putting their own spin on it. Apparently, there was going to be a cartoon to tie in with the toys so that would make sense changing the characters a bit. Drake has all the key elements: blonde hair, tank top and camo pants. All things the character had in the movie, even if it looks nothing like actor Mark Rolston. Still, overall I think it’s a great looking figure.

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PAINT

The paint on most of Kenner’s toys and figures tend to be quite neat. Drake is a pretty good example of this, but there is a little slop around his hairline. Otherwise, it’s all very neat and expertly applied, as always, if you are able to get a good look at what you are buying you can pick one with a good paint job.

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ARTICULATION

Drake technically has about six points of articulation, swivel head, arms, legs and waist, however besides the arms and legs the rest will all move when using Drake’s action feature, where you rotate his waist, it moves his upper torso with the head staying in place, so it looks like he’s maneuvering his Smart Gun around at different targets. (You can still move his head independently if desired.)

This is a pretty cool action feature and really captures the action from the movie quite faithfully, however, it does limit Drake as he’s essentially stuck in the one, unchanging pose.

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ACCESSORIES

Drake only comes with a bayonet which can be attached  to the end of his Smart Gun, it makes sense that you would want to keep aliens as far away from your person as possible and this would help to do that, but just the Smart Gun by itself would be enough, I’d like to think. I guess it’s just thrown in there for extra play value.

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POTENTIAL PROBLEMS

None that I can think of;  Drake is rock solid. What would you expect from an early 1990’s toy?  Just make sure your one has a good paint job before you buy it.

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PRICE

I was happy with the $10 + shipping costs; however, I wouldn’t pay too much for this figure, as he is not worth any large amount of money.

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OVERALL

Drake is a pretty solid figure, even if he is sculpted in the one pose. His action feature is fun and really adds a great amount of play value to the figure. He may not be the most important character in the Aliens franchise, but memorable none the less. If you are looking to complete your Kenner Aliens collection Drake definitely needs to in there.

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Diamond Dallas Page has done it all in professional wrestling from manager to colour commentator to wrestler, at age 31 DDP decided to start his wrestling training and in less than 5 years he won his first WCW World Heavyweight Title and many more title reigns followed after that first one. Since retiring DDP has developed his own type of fitness system: DDP Yoga, which has improved the lives of not only many former wrestlers and athletes, but everyday normal people too, myself included.

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Name: Diamond Dallas Page (DDP)
Line: Legends Collection
Manufacturer: Mattel
Released:
2012
Price: $16.99
Scale: Roughly 18 CM in height
Accessories: Vest

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One of the reasons I decided to review this figure is because DDP and his DDP Yoga has had a pretty big effect on my life, using DDP’s Yoga programs has really helped me get through a rough part of my life, health wise and really helped me turn a corner. I can’t say enough good things about DDP Yoga so if you are interested it is best you check it out yourself. It will help if you keep working at it and do it every day.

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SCULPTING

When Mattel first displayed pictures of their smiling DDP head sculpt a lot of fans weren’t happy with it, a lot of people thought it looked goofy and didn’t suit the character enough. I didn’t really mind it either way, having met DDP in person, it really does look like him when he’s smiling, so they’ve nailed it in my opinion at least. Do we need a second serious/focused DDP head sculpt at some point? Yes, we do, just like we need a second better Scott Hall head sculpt.

Coupled with the variety of blonde and orange paint, the head sculpt really looks amazing! The parts Mattel have chosen to make up DDP’s body are a good choice and pretty good match to the type of build DDP had/still has. The height is also just about right as he’s not too tall and not too short either.

If I was going to point out a negative, it would be some of the hair strands look a little bit too thick around the face.

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PAINT

Mattel seem to always do a pretty good job when it comes to their products paint applications. DDP is up to the usual high standards I have become accustomed to from Mattel. There are a lot of different tones on DDP’s facial hair, they all contrast each other a bit, but still manage to work well together, even if they can look a little odd as well. I don’t think this bothers me too much, but it is a lot of different colours just for the figures face.

The Tattoos and DDP logos look amazing and are neatly applied, Mattel rarely drop the ball with the paint applications, even if at times they make odd colour choices.

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ARTICULATION

DDP has the following articulation: ball jointed head, swivel and hinge shoulders, bicep swivel, ab crunch, swivel waist, hinge elbows, swivel and hinge wrists, swivel/hinge post hips, swivel thighs, double-hinged knees, boot swivel, hinged ankles and rocker feet.

All of Mattel’s Elite Collection style figures have the above articulation, it’s quite a lot and you can pose the figures in plenty of poses or performing different wrestling moves. It’s not perfect at times but is still more then enough to keep hardcore wrestling fans happy.

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ACCESSORIES

DDP just comes with his black vest with DDP logo on the back and blue lining on the inside. The big DDP logo on the back looks fantastic! It would have been nice if he came with a title belt or some tape for his mid section, but the vest is still a nice addition, by itself.

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POTENTIAL PROBLEMS

You aren’t going to have too many problems with this figure, if any. Mattel continue to make some of THE best wrestling figures/toys out there.

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PRICE

I paid the retail price at the time from the one and only place for wrestling figures I trust, Ringside Collectibles, they have never let me down and in my opinion, their prices are quite decent when compared to here in Australia. Also, I have noticed my local Target finally has Elite Collection figures in store again! Currently the Nasty Boys series! It’s good to see Target carry these figures again, hopefully, the WCW ring will be for sale there too at some stage.

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OVERALL

This is a great DDP figure! If you are a fan of DDP or WCW from the Monday Night Wars era of professional wrestling, then you need to have DDP in your collection and this is definitely one of the best DDP figures made to date.

Mattel continue to produce more and more WCW related wrestlers from the ‘Monday Night Wars’ era (1996-1999). As a big fan of wrestling and WCW from that time period, I’m more then happy to buy the figures they make and the list of wrestlers only continues to grow!

Now if only Mattel would make a DDP vs. Macho Man two pack, that would be great!

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Long time readers of my blog will know I’m a pretty big Terminator fan and have plenty of Hot Toys’ figures from Terminator 1 and Terminator 2. What I also like to do is kit-bash my own Terminator figures from time to time and have made plenty of my own interpretations of the character mainly based on 2029 ‘Future War’ setting. Although I really like the all leather look from T2 I’m not crazy about the leather jacket Arnold wears in T2, plus I preferred it when he was the villain, not the hero.

With that in mind, I decided to create a leather-clad version of the T-800 I would be happy with that used parts from many of Hot Toys’ Terminator figures.

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I ended up using the original MMS head from the first Terminator 2 figure that Hot Toys released as it is one of their better Arnold heads, even if it was shunned by most collectors when the DX10 was first announced and released, I feel it is still the better look to match Arnold from the film as it looks a little older and compliments the Terminator 1 MMS Tech Noir release.

One thing to note is, this head is from the second batch of T2 MMS Terminators Hot Toys made, I know a lot of fans were in up roar when Hot Toys announced they were doing a second run of Han and Chewie and Obi-wan.  But it’s not the first time Hot Toys have done this, the Appleseed Saga figures (MMS 51 and MMS 52) had two runs as did the Terminator 2 T-800 (MMS 117)  figures that I know of and there could have been more instances of this. Being a second batch, the detail on the head has been increased, especially the skin texture.

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I also made up a custom body, using parts from the DX10 (arms), T1 Battle Damaged (chest) and even Tech Noir (neck connector) to get the desired look for the body. This may seem like a touch overkill, but I wanted the right look and even if I had to Dremel the head to get it to fit on the new neck, it was worth it.

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Next was putting the clothes together, nothing too hard here, just T1 Battle damaged jacket, DX10 pants and gloves, MMS boots and a black shirt, from, I’m assuming, Joe Colton as the MMS black shirt, the neck fits too loose. To top it off DX10 sunglasses which are much superior to the MMS release in size and shape. Throw in a variety of weapons and this Terminator custom is good to go. Looks a lot more sinister and intimidating than the MMS or DX10, almost how Arnold should have looked in T3.

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I’ll let the rest of the pictures do the talking, but I’m very happy with this kit-bash, only thing left is to team him up with Robocop, perhaps…

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Snoopy is the pet beagle of Charlie Brown in the long-running comic strip, Peanuts. Appearing in the comic strip since the 1950s, Snoopy has become one of the most iconic and recognizable characters from the series.

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Name: Snoopy and Woodstock set
Line: Vinyl Collectible Dolls
Manufacturer: Medicom Toy
Released:
2011
Price: Then: 3,990 Yen, Now: roughly 9,000 Minimum.
Scale:  (Snoopy) 11.5 cm in height, (Woodstock) 4.5 cm in height.
Accessories: None

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This particular figure hadn’t really been on my radar to purchase, I knew of its existence, But never went out of my way to pick it up. That all changed after watching the peanuts movie fairly recently, seeing my wife and son both like Snoopy too, I thought why not pick up one of the best looking collectible figures available from Medicom.

 

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SCULPTING

It’s always going to be hard to turn a 2D drawing into a 3D figure, but I think Medicom have done a pretty good job. Snoopy and Woodstock look best from the side, front on, not so much. From the side, they definitely evoke that distinctive Peanuts look, so I guess you could say that’s their best side. Lots of very smooth surfaces and hardly any texture matching what you would assume the character would have if you turned a drawing 3D.

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PAINT

Snoopy and Woodstock are both cast in the colours they are meant to be, normally that’s my personal preference for most figures over painting them, so that is already a big plus for me. What paint there is, is kept to a minimum. It’s nice and very neatly applied, up to Medicom’s usual high standards.

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ARTICULATION

Snoopy has very basic articulation, his head is a ball-joint and his arms are swivel joints. It’s not really too much, but once you play around with Snoopy a little bit, it’s nice to have the option to change up the basic pose even if it’s just a slight variation.

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ACCESSORIES

I could technically count Woodstock as an accessory, seeing Snoopy is the biggest draw of the set to me. He’s got one swivel joint where his head meets his neck. He’s sculpted just as excellently as Snoopy and it’s neat he’s included as he really rounds out the set.

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POTENTIAL PROBLEMS

None that I can see, except maybe Snoopy’s white plastic; could yellow if placed in direct sunlight and his neck joint might become loose over time if regularly posed.

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PRICE

I paid a fairly decent price seeing I bought mine off Ebay, pretty much the same price as he can go for on Amazon JP, which was around $90.00 AUD including shipping, from Japan. That’s not too much of a mark up when compared to some of Medicom’s other products, considering I was fairly late to the party. With this particular set, I would try and pay as close to retail price as you can.

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OVERALL

If you are a fan of Peanuts or Snoopy you really need to have this figure set in your collection, it’s an excellent representation of Snoopy and Woodstock, I haven’t seen anyone else make a figure that comes close to looking as good as these two do.

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Dino Riders was a short lived toy line by Tyco started in the late 1980s; it also had an accompanying cartoon series and combined very detailed dinosaur models with futuristic weaponry. Each dinosaur came with its own unique armour which, depended on the size of the Dinosaur included 1-3 small humanoid figures, in scale with the dinosaur.

The Ankylosaurs’ role for its Rulon masters, was to be used as infantry support weapon with a crossbow mounted on its back which fired a ‘high explosive projectile’. Being a small toy, it didn’t have any action feature or motorised walking action. 

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Name: Ankylosaurus with Sting
Line: Dino Riders
Manufacturer: Tyco
Released:
1988
Price: Then: $7.00 – $ $17.00 MIB Now: At least $20.00 Loose
Scale: 1:24
Accessories: One Rulon mini figure, one mini figure weapon set.

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The Ankylosaurus was one of those toys I vividly remember receiving as a child. The closest toy store my parents would take me and my brother to was the Big W in Chullora. (which is still open today) we were bought all manner of toys from there, Lego, Transformers, Toy Biz wrestling figures and even Dino Riders.

I remember seeing the shelves stacked with the many Dino Rider toys, my brother and I came away with an Ankylosaurus each and did end up receiving a few larger ones for Christmas and Birthday gifts. That memory for whatever reason has stuck with me all these years. So, of course I plan to review most of the Dino Rider toys that were made. (Even if it takes a while to do so)
Also this Ankylosaurus is one of the many of Tyco’s Dino Rider toys that fall under the “Colours may vary” label as the prototype shown in the toy box art and catalogue is orange as opposed to the released figure which is grey.

 

LIST OF PARTS

Inside the box you get the following items:

One Ankylosaurus dinosaur

One Sting Rulon mini figure

One Brain box and harness

One crossbow

One mini figure weapons set

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PACKAGING

The artwork on the front of the box features a very colourful battle scene portraying the Ankylosaurus engaged in battle the Dino Riders. Upon lifting the flap, you are able to view the toy inside the box as well as a number of pictures listing the highlights of the product.  A cropped section of this artwork is displayed on both sides of the box, with the back of the box showing all products from the current series engaged in battle with each other.

The excellent graphics do a great job of attracting you towards the box. (This was one thing I loved about Dino Riders when I was a child.)

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SCULPTING

Tyco have done a great job with the amount of detail on not only the dinosaurs in this series but the mini figures too. There are lots and lots of great details all over the Ankylosaurus’ body, it looks great!

The Rulon mini figure looks excellent too and has the same body as the other standard Rulons; he also has the same head type as Antor. For a small scale figure, it is very detailed and has many creases in the clothing as well as smooth armour sections.

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PAINT

Besides paint on the Ankylosaurus, the paint applications have been kept to a minimum. I really think Tyco tried very hard to get the best application possible on all the Dinosaur toys. The end result is wonderfully blended multi-toned grey colours for the Dinosaur. The colours work really well to contrast with the plastic grey and purple of the armour and weapons!

Sting has a little bit of paint application – mainly just for extra details on his costume or on the toys head. It’s all nice and neat. The rest of the figures parts are cast in the colour they are meant to be, which is perfectly fine as this works really well for the toy.

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ARTICULATION

The Ankylosaurus has very limited articulation being his four legs with are all swivel joints, it’s not much, but this is a basic figure after all and it still helps to add plenty of play value to the toy.

Sting has the same amount of articulation that all the other Rulon figures have: swivel head, swivel arms – where the arm meets the body, swivel legs – where the legs meet the body and hinge joints at the knees.

For an older figure, this is more than enough for it to not only work well with the accessories but be put into a number of poses too.

Obviously, articulation has come a long way since then, but you still get quite a lot with Sting.

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ACCESSORIES

All the Rulon toys in the first series came with the same weapons: one crossbow, one binocular, one shield, one bazooka, one electronic whip or ball and chain and one ladder. You get a good number of weapons for each Rulon and I really like the red colour it’s been cast in, it really pops!

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POTENTIAL PROBLEMS

I would be careful with the brain box/harness when you are taking it off as you can potentially create plastic stress marks on parts of it due to the age of the plastic. Otherwise just avoid samples that have been yellowed.

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Series 1 Mini Comic

PRICE

Depending weather, it’s MIB, MISB or loose will affect the price you pay. However, from time to time you can grab a bargain on eBay.

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OVERALL

This is one of the more basic figures that Tyco released in their Dino Riders line, obviously the cheaper price point for children whose parents wouldn’t buy them the larger toys, I have fond memories of not only receiving the Ankylosaurus, but plenty of hours playing with it and the other Dino Rider toys my brother and I were lucky to get as children. It makes for a great army builder, I actually have about four of these myself and in a group, they look pretty impressive. Worth picking up if you really want to have a complete Dino Riders Collection.

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