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15 year break, back in and need lots of advice!!

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  • Member since
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  • From: Seattle, WA
15 year break, back in and need lots of advice!!
Posted by RonUSMC on Monday, April 7, 2003 4:25 PM
Hello Modellers!

Well, after a 15 year break I stumbled on a few modelling sites and realized how much I really enjoyed it. It also kept me out of trouble! Let me give you a run down of my experience and the tools that I have and what I worked with, hopefully some of you can point me in the right direction so I get off to a good start.

My Experience... I have built just about all kinds, aircraft, but mainly 1/35 Tamiya Armor. I really enjoyed building those pieces of armor, and probably one of the reasons I went into the USMC later on. My Battalion Commander enjoyed my LAVTP7, and Abrams models!

Here is what I have.

Double Action Airbrush, Paasche.
Single Action Airbrush, Paasche.
Air Compressor, simple small one.
About 7 brushes, all sizes.
Sandpaper holders, small emery boards.
Exacto knives.

Thats about it really, my entire inventory. For my first kit to get back into the swing of things, I bought an Italeri LAV25 in 1/35. Here are my questions, in no short order.

What brand of paints does everyone use? What type should I start buying to build up my stock? I just bought all the paints needed for the LAV in the Model Masters Brand. Is that a good brand in comparison to the Tamiya Brand? I notice lots of people use the Tamiya brand of paints.

What types of paints should I run through my airbrushes? I really want easy to clean, so I was thinking Acrylics. If I use Acrylics, what should I use to thin them? Could I use water to thin them, or should I use windex, buy a thinner or something?

What is the best kind of thinner to use? Should I just buy some Testors thinner and use that for my brushes?

Is there a reputable online store to buy from that has a large stock of paints/thinners/brushes/kits at a good price? I bought the kit and paints directly from the Testors site.

I need to buy the airbrush paint, the thinner for the Model Masters paint, and the thinner for the airbrush ASAP so it can be here when the kit gets here, so help me out if you have any advice at all.

Thanks for reading.
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Posted by naplak on Monday, April 7, 2003 4:46 PM
Lots of questions...

Paints: I use Testers Acryl, Tamiya Acrylics, and Alclad Lacquers mostly. Some PolyScale (very good stuff). I like Acrylics for the ease of cleaning etc.

To thin acrylics... Rubbing Alcohol will work fine -- I use branded thinners myself tho. For cleanup, I use Testors Acryl cleaner (buy the consentrate from Testors to save mondo dollars)... but Alcohol works too I hear.

For on-line shopping... I like Squadron (http://squadron.com/) they have LOTS of good stuff including most brands of paint.

Testors paints (Model Master, Acryl, PolyScale etc can be purchased from the Testors web site also. THeir shipping is pretty cheap too.

For Japanese models, I shop at Hobby Link Japan (http://www.hlj.com/) becasue of the price break.

But there are a LOT of other good suppliers too.

Do you have a pressure regulator on your compressor?? It is a BIG help in getting good results!

There are some pages in using Alclad, and other topics on my site, and many other sites too. I have a Links section also where you might find some good stuff too.
www.naplak.com/modeling ... a free site for modelers www.scalehobby.com/forum/index.php ... a nice Modeling Forum
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Posted by Anonymous on Monday, April 7, 2003 4:49 PM
Hi

Welcome back to the hobby, and they're all good questions. Nothing wrong with ModelMaster paints, there's an excellent range of colours. They're enamels (unlike Tamiya, which are acrylic), you might want to try thinning them with lacquer-thinner which dries quickly, and is also great for cleaning your airbrush after use. Definitely wear a mask, though :-) For Tamiya and other acrylics you can thin with water, acrylic-thinner or iso-propyl alcohol. And again, the lacquer thinner will do a good job of airbrush clean-up afterwards.

There are many good online sources for kits and tools- Squadron, Hannants (UK), Roll-Models all have easy-to-use sites and an extensive inventory.

I've built the Italeri LAV-25, thoroughly enjoyed it!
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  • From: Third rock from the sun.
Posted by Woody on Monday, April 7, 2003 5:15 PM
All the above is true and Roll-Models is also quite cheap. I came back from a long break and it is very weird. Things changed a lot and people were talking about products and companies I had never heard of.

" I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast; for I intend to go in harm's way." --John Paul Jones
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Posted by Anonymous on Monday, April 7, 2003 5:25 PM
SNIFF GLUE
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Posted by shermanfreak on Monday, April 7, 2003 7:29 PM
Ok ... let's take a run at all these questions.

1. Welcome back to the hobby

2. Acrylics...I use Tamiya mostly but still use a little Model Master

3.Thinning...well covered in the above posts...remember some of them will not even need to be thinned depending on it's consistency (and yes windex will work with some...experiment)

4. Welcome back to the hobby

5. On-line shopping...I don't..that's just me

6. Air-brushes....sounds like you have those bases covered....make sure you do have a regulator and I would strongly suggest a moisture trap too. Nothing quite like spraying that last shot and having your brush go pppssstttt...water all over your finish.

7. Other little tools you'll pick up along the way

8. Don't forget toothpicks

9. Cyano Glue .... such as Zap-A-Gap

10. Did I say welcome back to the hobby yet?
Happy Modelling and God Bless Robert
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Posted by Kolja94 on Monday, April 7, 2003 8:31 PM
For thinning I would stick with either isopropyl alcohol, or the thinner from the same company of paints you're using (for acrylics). When i use enamels, I use Testors Model masters and thin with Testors airbrush thinner.

For cleaning, I use windex (big jug at wally world = relatively cheap) and/or acryl cleaner when using acrylics and laquer thinner from the hardware store (with pump dispenser to keep me from making TOO much of a mess) for enamels.

In my opinion, the reason why you see so many paints used by so many different people is because they all work. If you see a brand of paint in a store and you've never heard people mention it, there's probably a reason..... I use both Testors Model Master (acrylic and enamel), and Polly Scale acrylic. A lot depends on what you can get your mits on easily! :)

I shop at squadron.com a lot, greatmodels.com (though sometimes their website behaves better than others, hannants in the UK, roll models, etc etc. Many of the aftermarket manufacturers sell direct through their websites (Twobobs decals, for example) and I buy through them too.

Micro-mark is a great place to get your mits on all sorts of different tools and supplies. I get their paper catalog but I believe they're online at micro-mark.com (or some variation thereof!).

Welcome "home" to the hobby!!!!

Karl

  • Member since
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Posted by RonUSMC on Monday, April 7, 2003 10:00 PM
Thanks for all the wonderful answers and warm welcomes!

I am still a bit confused about the cleaners and thinners. What is the difference between lacquers and enamels? Acrylics are water based... Enamels are oil based, but what are Lacquers? Will I be using them, do they need a special cleaner and thinner also?

I went to the Testors site to buy the things I needed, but I dont quite understand what I need I think. Here is what I was going to buy.

Floquil - Thinner/Brush Cleaner 32 Oz.

Is that Floquil what I need to clean my brushes with the Model Master Enamel paints AND Tamiya Acrylics? I wont be using the Enamels through my airbrushes, so I dont need the thinner for it, cleaning that up is just way too much. That airbrush is a pain to clean up oil based paints.

So here are my final questions I swear!!! [LOL]

I have enamel paints on the way, and plan on buying some Tamiya Acrylic Paints.

To clean enamel, I just need to get that Floquil I mentioned above?

To clean the Acrylic, I need? [There were many great answers, but I think I am just a bit confused about the names, lacquer cleaner, acryl cleaner, alcohol, etc]

To thin the Acrylic for airbrush use, I need [or use rubbing alchohol or water]?

In other words... I have the enamels on the way and I have no cleaners... I am going to buy Tamiya Acrylics.... what do I need to buy to clean them both, and to thin the Tamiyas for my airbrush? If you want to give me exact model numbers from the testors or the squadron site feel free!

I want to do the LAV in a Sand Scheme, but Tamiya doesn't have a Sand color.. or atleast from what I could find on the squadron site. Do you have the Color Numbers [XF-23 for example] for Sand and maybe a darker Sand to do the weathering and edges in Tamiya Acrylics so I can use them in my airbrush?

I swear I am not this high maintenance! I just need a big jump start to get back on track, :)
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Posted by RonUSMC on Monday, April 7, 2003 10:29 PM
Ok... to add to my questions above...

What is the difference between

50497 Model Master - Acryl Cleaner 4 Oz.

and

Tamiya from Japan : Thinner 250ml

Will both of these clean my Acrylic Paint brushes? Then I use Rubbing Alcohol to thin Acrylic? Or will the Tamiya Thinner be used for both? Or ....

Thanks again! Big Smile [:D]
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Posted by naplak on Tuesday, April 8, 2003 12:12 AM
Yes.. but I have found the Acryl cleaner works a bit better at cleaning that thinner... it leaves less residue. Thinners frequently have chems in them that can leave a residue when they evaporate... cleaners don't.

I do not know the chemical composition of these products... but I have generally found that it's best to use thing for what they are designed to do.

AND... if you order the 32oz size directly from Testors web site, and when you mix it with water, you get 2-3 quarts for $15. So the cleaner is cheaper too.

www.naplak.com/modeling ... a free site for modelers www.scalehobby.com/forum/index.php ... a nice Modeling Forum
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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, April 8, 2003 12:07 PM
Ron,

re: enamels, acrylics and lacquers here's my understanding.

MOST hobby paints are either 1. enamels or 2. lacquers (you'll see where 'acrylics' fit in a minute). There are some weird off breeds, but they are mostly specialty type paints rarely used in model building. Also, there are very 'basic' paints (like those intended for children) that are essentially just a paint pigment that dissolves in water. When the water evaporates, the pigment is left behind.

Enamels basically undergo a chemical process when they are drying. This is called 'curing'. There are a couple of different chemicals in the paint that bond and create a hard finish. This curing process can take anywhere from several hours to several weeks and is generally non-reversible.

Lacquers are basically paint particles suspended in some sort of vehicle or thinner. When the thinner evaporates, the paint is dry and complete. No 'curing' occurs here and the paint can actually be re-disolved in the thinner if needed. Enamels will not dissolve to their prior state in their own thinner.

Now, here's the tough part: acrylics as we know them are most likely enamels. (confused yet). It's just that they are water-based enamels, rather than oil based enamels. In our hobby, we've created the differentiation of acrylics and enamels in a way that isn't really valid. Both are enamels, but one is water based, and the other is oil based. The term 'acrylic' usually refers to the paint pigment itself (a component of the paint) and it's molecular construction. (Now I'm really stretching because I'm going into even darker territory here... there are actually acrylic-lacquer paints that confuse things even more...)

Here's the way I look at it:

Enamels (most commonly used in this hobby):
- you've got waterbased (commonly referred to as Acrylics), and oil based (commonly referred to as enamels). Both have the same basic qualities, but different carriers for the pigments. The major difference is in the ease of clean-up. There are obviously other differences as well, but essentially the paints 'perform' the same way. They essentially take a longer 'time' to cure to a hard/durable finish. I expect that it is newer 'technology' that has created paints that can work the same way in a water carrier rather than an oil carrier. Up until now, acrylics (water based enamels) were likely most limited by their color selection. However, now there are tons of colors available and that is rarely a limiting factor anymore.

Lacquers: - the carriers in these paints are very 'hot' and can attack plastic. Use a good primer before putting this on your model. These paints will dry quite quickly (no curing involved) and very 'hard'. Once the 'carrier' evaporates, the paint is as dry and as hard as it's gonna get. Many auto builders use these paints because the paint is so hard that it can be polished out to a very high shine. This can be done with enamels as well, but it just takes more time.

Make sense? If not, then just chock it up to me not really knowing what I'm talking about. If anyone else has any corrections or clarifications, please let me know.

M.
  • Member since
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  • From: Seattle, WA
Posted by RonUSMC on Wednesday, April 9, 2003 3:57 PM
Ok, this is great.

I have just ordered another $100 worth of paints and other items. I am really Jonesing to get back into it. So I ruffled through my storage boxes and found a model kit I never started! Yay.

I have been ordering paints, thinners, tools, airbrush thinners, cleaners, etc.

I just haven't decided if I should stock up on all tamiya stuff, or tamiya and model master acrylics. I ordered about 20 Tamiya Flats, and about 25 MM Acrylics, and about 8 MM Enamels, so I guess I will try them all until I find which kind I like.

The one thing I dont like about Tamiya Paints, there really aren't that many different colors. That I think is one big thing MM has over Tamiya, the colors and FS matching.

Some of the new things in the game, which I have never heard of but have seen you all talk about... like Zap a Gap.. Im getting ready to put together a big order of all that sort of stuff very soon too. I really want to stock up and start out right.

I need to practice with my airbrush and "washing" weathering... so Im excited to be getting this new model soon.

But this 1/32 Tomcat by Revell is keeping me busy with cutting, sanding!
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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, April 9, 2003 4:30 PM
Ron,

Zap-a-Gap is basically just crazy glue. It's called cyanoacrylate, or C.A. glue. I've never been able to tell the difference between all of the different brands, other than the consistency: some are really thin (like water) and others are really thick. I have some thin and medium in my collection and haven't found a need for anything else yet.

As for the rest of your 'stock-up', it sounds very exciting. Note that in many cases some of the specialty 'hobby' stuff (ie. expensive) can be replaced with common household stuff that you buy in bulk. For instance, Future floor finish is a great acrylic clear finish. Lacquer thinner from a hardware store is great for cleaning up tools, etc. that may have been used with enamels or oil-based products. Windex works really well on cleaning up acrylics. General purpose alcohol (drug store) can be used for thinning down acrylic paints. Windshield washer fluid has also been reported to work well.

Good luck and have fun!

M.
  • Member since
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  • From: Seattle, WA
Posted by RonUSMC on Wednesday, April 9, 2003 10:04 PM
Gotcha.

Sheesh. This hobby is a bit more expensive than I remember... or is it just because now I make decent money and can blow a few bucks if I am so inclined, I dont know. Now if I see something I like, I just buy it... before.. well, I did without or dreamed about it, :)

Well... here are my order totals so far.

51 - Testors
52 - Testors
36 - Squadron
141 - Squadron

lol, insane. And I still haven't bought the additional seats, paints, and decals for my tomcat, :(
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Posted by RonUSMC on Thursday, April 10, 2003 10:12 AM
Well crap...

add this order


92 - Home Depot
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Posted by RonUSMC on Thursday, April 10, 2003 6:56 PM
Woot, add two more orders.

67 - Galactic Voyager
82 - Great Models

For a grand total of 521!!!! lol, too funny.
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Posted by renarts on Friday, April 11, 2003 1:36 AM
I don't feel so bad now about my post hiatus spending spree.
Thanks Ron. Once more in to the breech....

Semper Fi

Mike
Mike "Imagination is the dye that colors our lives" Marcus Aurellius A good friend will come and bail you out of jail...but, a true friend will be sitting next to you saying, "Damn...that was fun!"
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Posted by RonUSMC on Friday, April 11, 2003 7:38 AM
Yeah, dont feel bad. I just want to get back into it in much better shape than when I left it as, would anyone.

I have about 6 packages out there now, maybe 7 with UPS.. with the "Just shipped" notices starting to arrive today. Im very excited about all of this. I feel like a kid at christmas.. but Santa is dressed in all brown and is named Tom, lol.

Im a bit of an extremist in the sense of: I like to own all the colors.. such as an entire line of paints. Even if they are just one single shade off, I like to have them all.. so I keep lists of all my paints by color and FS, to help me in ordering the ones that I dont have. I feel better about complete sets, :)

It took a team of horses to keep me away from buying that Aztec Airbrush kit that is on sale at bearair.com. Half off is a good price, but I already have two airbrushes... I still might end up getting it, haven't quite decided. I figured I should atleast _try_ mine before I decide to get a new one. lol.

The Dremel was a big expense also... 90 dollars. But I remember back in the day I had always wanted one, so this time I decided I was going to get one. I just haven't figured out what it is all good for except sanding, lol. I guess you can drill with them, sand with them, and maybe cut with them... not sure, I hope the manual that it comes with has some ideas, Eight Ball [8]
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Posted by paulnchamp on Friday, April 11, 2003 6:17 PM
Hey, Ron, don't feel bad. It's only money Smile [:)]- and you can't take it with you.
"You don't see no hearses with luggage racks."
Paul "A man's GOT to know his limitations."
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Posted by renarts on Friday, April 11, 2003 11:46 PM
I'm the same way. I like the ability to be able to do it when I want, how I want and not lack for anything when I do it. That means doing the same thing with buying paint. I used to have complete or extensive sets of Humbrol, Pactra, Floquil and Testors. Now I've started collecting it again starting with the Tamiya colors. Get the thinner or use isopropyl alcohol. It will save you lots of aggravation when painting and blending. Liquitex makes some products that I've used on their acrylics like inhibitors, and airbrush solutions. THese thin as well slow dry time. Try em. The dremel is a jewel. I have two. One is 25 years old and is still a workhorse. I've used it for jewelry making, and furniture detail work (The other money hole is my garage woodworking shop), modelmaking and any one of a million jobs where a full size power tool is just too big. They are routers, buffers, drills, tool and dye accesories, etchers, finishers, you name it. Get one and guard it with your life. ( I had to buy one for my wife).

Paulnchamp is right. It's only money and life's to short. Enjoy it.

My other suggestion is find a chapter of IPMS near you. The group near me are a great bunch of guys and are very helpful for sourcing, techniques, ideas and the model shows they put on will both inspire you and make you cry. The talent out there!

Mike
Mike "Imagination is the dye that colors our lives" Marcus Aurellius A good friend will come and bail you out of jail...but, a true friend will be sitting next to you saying, "Damn...that was fun!"
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Posted by RonUSMC on Saturday, April 12, 2003 11:55 AM
I just got my Dremel today, this thing is insane. I will post a new topic for advice on it.. it tears through plastic like no tomorrow.

Still very eager to receive the rest of my packages, Big Smile [:D]
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Posted by RonUSMC on Thursday, April 17, 2003 10:02 PM
Lets keep up this cost thing!

88 - Sam's Club
148 - Squadron
112 - Model Expo


!!!!!!! Blush [:I] Sad [:(] Dead [xx(] Disapprove [V]
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Posted by renarts on Friday, April 18, 2003 9:44 PM
Ron! Buddy! Your gonna make yourself insane! It's like counting fish on the boat before you're done for the day. You'll only jinx it. You're going to spend more time doing the books than building the models. Junkies don't account for the hit, just the trip.Wink [;)]

Build the model have fun, where else are you going to get that much bang for your buck? (o.k., besides range fire control officer) Tongue [:P]

BTW... 120 to squadron todaySmile [:)]

Regards,
Mike
Mike "Imagination is the dye that colors our lives" Marcus Aurellius A good friend will come and bail you out of jail...but, a true friend will be sitting next to you saying, "Damn...that was fun!"
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Posted by paulnchamp on Friday, April 18, 2003 10:16 PM
Renarts is right. Many of the items you're buying will last for years, if not a lifetime. There's going to be some initial expense, but it will be worth it.
Remember, it's about the journey, not the destination!
Paul "A man's GOT to know his limitations."
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Posted by RonUSMC on Saturday, April 19, 2003 12:08 AM
Yeah, very true. But I can't blame it ALL on the hobby.

I have noticed something very strange about my behavior this time around. I am prissy! I demand the best in everything, even if I have something so so.. I order the best.

Seriously... the equipment that I have bought is all top notch. For example... I have 2 airbrushes.. but I just bought the Aztek 4709 kit. Supposed to be the best airbrush you can buy within reason. So now I will have 3 of them. I bought a Dremel... and I just bought a special chuck, and super small drill bits.

Its all in good fun though. Its a hobby.. and I am enjoying it immensely.

But I am really stoked that I have all the tools I could ever want, with more on the way. I mean, I even bought Parafilm, lol.
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Posted by Keyworth on Saturday, April 19, 2003 4:05 AM
Bring me more toys! Seriously, you'll keep finding neat stuff for your bench, so pace yourself. The Aztek setup is a good choice. More goodies out there, so keep buying those lottery tickets-one of them will set you up for life! :) Have fun, guy. -Ed
"There's no problem that can't be solved with a suitable application of high explosives"
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Posted by paulnchamp on Saturday, April 19, 2003 6:52 PM
Evil [}:)]And Ron, now that you've got all the tools, now you've gotta start stockpiling kits! No other modelers will take you seriously if you don't have at least a couple of dozen kits waiting to be builtWink [;)]
Paul "A man's GOT to know his limitations."
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Posted by shermanfreak on Saturday, April 19, 2003 7:59 PM
Paul's right about the stockpile Ron. But I think the legal number is up to 36 kits gathering dust on the shelf before you're considered to be a modeller and of course you must have at least 6 sitting around on the work bench in various states of completion.
Only then grasshopper are you a true modeller.
LOL
Happy Modelling and God Bless Robert
  • Member since
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Posted by RonUSMC on Saturday, April 19, 2003 10:21 PM
Actually... getting the kits is the problem.

I want to order a few kits, but everyone is out of stock on them. Im looking for the Trumpeter Abrams with Plow kit.. Squadron didn't have it, now Im waiting forever from GreatModels... Its insane. Everywhere I order kits from either waits forever or doesn't have them.

So I just ordered 7 Kits from Squadron.. hopefully they will have atleast 4 of them.

I have an order for 6 kits from Greatmodels, they found 1 and have a searching/order for the other 5.

I need to find an online shop that shows exactly what they have in stock, and that I can order and they will send me right away instead of this 2-3 week turn around. My problem right now is.. I have built my first two kits and now I have nothing to work on this weekend.
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Posted by shermanfreak on Sunday, April 20, 2003 8:44 AM
You can try these folks Ron. I've ordered from them a couple of times and have recieved great service. This is the Canadian link but they also have a U.S. one.
http://www.militaryhobbies.ca/
Happy Modelling and God Bless Robert
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