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Airfix HMS Prince & Wasa comparison

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  • Member since
    February 2003
  • From: Lacombe, LA.
Posted by Big Jake on Friday, August 19, 2016 7:10 AM

The Royal Charles stern piece in the Dutch Museum, was shown in the recent movie I spoke about, they cut it in 4 pieces and fit it back together to show to their Govt. ministers.

 

 

  • Member since
    April 2016
Posted by Staale S on Friday, August 19, 2016 9:29 AM

Not too surprising... having brazenly sailed right into the enemy's main fleet base and stolen their fleet flagship out from under their noses I'd want to do some serious bragging too :)

 

  • Member since
    February 2016
  • From: Western No. Carolina
Posted by gene1 on Friday, August 19, 2016 11:28 AM

TB , My fingers & eyes are crossed & I have a fairly new fun thing called trigger finger & it's not from shooting. It's from ,guess, old age. It is when your fingers get stuck & when you pull them down there is a .click. I have gotten cortisone shots for it & they work well. I am just real happy to have everything still working tho, I can't gripe. 

  • Member since
    February 2016
  • From: Western No. Carolina
Posted by gene1 on Saturday, August 20, 2016 10:39 AM

I spent yesterday doing the Anchors, lanterns & lifeboats. Here are some pics showing that & my shaky hand at work on the lanterns. It is ready for some masts.

Busy little devil isn't it.

 I guess I wil go make the masts now. I did paint the rudder off white too. I do take suggestions.

  • Member since
    February 2016
  • From: Western No. Carolina
Posted by gene1 on Saturday, August 20, 2016 11:24 AM

I forgot to add these 2 showing how I put the wood in for screwing to a base. You have to be careful when you glue just one side at a time as if the wood is not just right it will hold the second side down.  Tape the hull together & be careful with glue & glue the one side in & then take it apart . 

 

  • Member since
    September 2005
  • From: Groton, CT
Posted by warshipguy on Saturday, August 20, 2016 11:32 AM

Gene,

I am most impressed!  That is absolutely stunning work!

Bill

  • Member since
    February 2016
  • From: Western No. Carolina
Posted by gene1 on Saturday, August 20, 2016 1:20 PM

Bill Thank you, but couldnt you make the letters bigger ? It's just an old man having a lot of fun. You could put that gold paint on with a white wash brush & it would look good. 

  How do you sew sails on ? I don't know if what I figured out how to do is new or what every one does. I will have to do it again to be able to tell you how I do it. The old brain is not a store house of information anymore.

  • Member since
    July 2013
Posted by steve5 on Saturday, August 20, 2016 3:51 PM

just beautiful gene , [I wish my hands were that shaky lol]

steve5

 

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Sunday, August 21, 2016 4:15 PM

Regarding the attachment of sails to yards - I hope I may be forgiven for jumping in here.

I always figure the best way to deal with a problem in scale modeling is to start by learning how the real thing was done, and then make whatever changes to that method are necessary.

Real sails are not and were not sewn to yards. In the seventeenth century they were fastened by ropes called robands, which were passed through holes at the head of the sail and secured around the yard with a special knot. The typical sail was made out of strips about two feet wide, and there were two roband holes in each strip. In the case of a big ship like the Prince or the Wasa, that made for a heck of a lot of robands.

Each top corner of the sail was secured, and spread out to its maximum, by a piece of rope called an earring. The earring passed through a hole in the top corner of the sail and around the yard several times. A wood cleat was nailed to the yard in the corresponding location, and the earring was lodged outboard of the cleat.

If I were doing this job on a small scale, my strong inclination would be to forget the robands and just rig the earrings. That means two pieces of thread per sail to secure it to the yard. Eminently do-able.

I wonder, though, if you might consider an even simpler alternative approach: leaving the sails off. People who've read my posts know that I'm not a fan of vac-formed sails - or any other sails that are set as though wind was blowing into them. (Exceptions: models on very large or very small scales - like 1/4"=1' or 1/32"=1'.) Personally I'm a fan of furled sails for most models, but a model under "bare poles" can look mighty fine too.

The most famous model of the Prince is the contemporary "Board Room" model in the Science Museum, in London: http://www.jans-sajt.se/contents/Navigation/Modelling/R_HMS_Prince.htm .

(Incidentally - the guy who set up that web page is wrong about the model being used to build the ship. The shipyard certainly worked from a set of drawings on linen. You can't build a big ship by taking measurements of individual parts from a model - and that model, like most Board Room models, isn't framed like a real ship.)

I think everybody will agree that it's spectacular. To my eye, the gold carvings are even more impressive if the sails aren't there.

I'm currently planning my own Prince model, thanks to the unbelievable generosity of Bill Morrison. One thing I've already decided is that I'll rig it with bare spars.

If you do decide to go that route, remember that the topsail and topgallant yards go up and down the masts when the sails are set and furled. A model under bare poles should have the yards in the lowered positions.

But certainly, don't bother stitching thread all along the width of the yards.

Good luck.

Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

  • Member since
    February 2016
  • From: Western No. Carolina
Posted by gene1 on Monday, August 22, 2016 9:05 AM

Hi John, wonderful post on tieing sails. It was very interesting. I just got to using the shroud tieing  rig & learned a lot. I think I learned architecture by building models. It did teach me to read plans at an early age, but I didn't read the instruction enough on the rig. 

 There is a very good post on an Airfix forum on using the rig. After my firrst mistake, I can see it will be real good & fairly fast. The man on the Airfix forum said use Loctite, or equal,liquid super glue with a brush it come with. I tried my R56 white glue let down & it didn't hold well.It is super stuff & I use it on most final work where  I don't want to screw up the paint. It is used to glue canopies on flying models so it is very strong when dry. I glue all my cannons on with it Paint to paint it is strong.

  I will probably put the sails on the Prince, so I don;t have to do as much rigging. The prince does have two locations for the spars, up & down.They have a small hole in the mast & a small post on the spar to glue them with. I always choose to drill a small wire into the mast & spar & let it stick out about 3/8" to locate & glue the spar. Then I clip it off when it is set. I use a lot of wire like that & it is way stronger.

 Thanks again for the sail post, very informative.

  • Member since
    February 2016
  • From: Western No. Carolina
Posted by gene1 on Monday, August 22, 2016 9:05 PM

I thought for anyone using this rigging tool that I would add that I tried the white canopy glue again, it's called Formula 560 now, & it seems to have worked great. I am letting it dry overnight so I don't loose another one.

   The brush on super glur was terrible for me. Maybe it could work if you were real careful, but the white glue gives a much cleaner job. I tried some black craft thread, but the kit supplied white thread works much better. I will just spray it black when it is dry. Where can I get some more of that white Airfix thread? Anybody know or does anyone have any they will sell ?

    I will keep posting on this rigging tool as I have learned a lot just by doing it. 

  • Member since
    February 2016
  • From: Western No. Carolina
Posted by gene1 on Wednesday, August 24, 2016 11:26 AM

  Well, I don't have to commit Hari Caari now as I think I have mastered the rigging tool. Boy, what a mess it has been. I did 9 shrouds & barely got one usable on out of 9. The problem mostly was the glue. I ended up using my Formula 560 white canopy glue. It does a clean job ,unlike the super glue with a brush. 

  I was taping a small piece of wax paper over the cross pieces, but the strings stuck to that. The plastic is semi white glue resistant & I waxed the cross pieces. I thin the glue about 50% & be careful to block up any low places in the thread where they don't touch together. I then brush on the white glue & get a good cover & use canned air & a rag to get the excess off. Then I use a hair dryer on the glue. Then I do the glue again & the dryer. I let the last ones set overnight & they came out perfect. I put another pair on this morning, but with the dryer I will take them off in an hour or so.  I carefully check each thread to make sure they are stuck before I take them off.

  Also I carefully measure the heigth of the shroud from the model & the width of the bottom where they tie in . I am using the black polyester thread ,2 sizes, & the glue works good with it. I will still put a coat of black paint on them before I install them. More to follow.  I think the rig is a good tool, but the glue & little things are what the problem is.

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Wednesday, August 24, 2016 1:32 PM

Well, Gene, you're just about the only person I know who's gotten one of those gadgets to work satisfactorily. For rigging shrouds and ratlines on small scales like that, my choice is the old-fashioned "needle through the shroud" trick. Caveat: I haven't done it in a long time, and my eyes aren't what they used to be. When I actually try it, my ideas may change. 

The bottom line, of course, is that if you're happy with the results, they're fine.

Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Wednesday, August 24, 2016 3:23 PM

My understanding is that "Admiralty", or half-hull models, were for the purpose of making a presentation to acquire financing for the ships construction.

I would second the Prof.s comments about sails on models in every way. Having sails set does let the modeler add all of the running rigging- another argument for large scale models with only a few sails!

And set sails need sailors. I've been prejudiced against that, but lately have tried adding sailors to models- my Viking ship.

Really nice models. I've never built either of these, they certainly are classics.

 Modeling is an excuse to buy books.

 

  • Member since
    February 2016
  • From: Western No. Carolina
Posted by gene1 on Wednesday, August 24, 2016 3:30 PM

John, ffoget it , you don't know anyone that can do it. I just took the 4 I thought were good & they fell apart on me. So I am back to square one. I might rig the shrouds as that is easy,  better & stronger, but then the ratlines are another matter. I have sewed a lot of ratlines, & I think they might look better than tieing them on small scales. I don't remember ever tieing them.

   John, that rigging tool is really easy to use, it's the glue that screws things up. I can get 2 shrouds ready to glue in about 20 minutes. But the darn glue fouls them up. I do cheat as I don't run the ratline level. but drop down 1 notch, & you can hardly notice at all.The slope is only about 1/4 of a step, about 1/16".

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Wednesday, August 24, 2016 5:31 PM

Are you trying to use the Heller style loom thing?

CryingIck!Bang Head

 Modeling is an excuse to buy books.

 

  • Member since
    February 2016
  • From: Western No. Carolina
Posted by gene1 on Wednesday, August 24, 2016 6:15 PM

Yes GM, The loom thing works fine, it is the glue that is all the trouble. I can rig 2 shrouds up in about 20 minutes, but trying to get them glued is another story. On an Aifix site one man gave a full review with pictures & he used Loctite Super Glue with a brush in the bottle. I found that at Wallmart & it made a messy job & most of them had a lot of loose ratlines. 

   He had a pretty nice job on his, & I tried about everything on at least 10 shrouds with the super glue & white canopy glue & no luck. With a proper glue you could have a great job.

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Wednesday, August 24, 2016 9:15 PM

Well, I've never been a fan of "ratline looms" or any other gadgets that claim to make the job easy. It isn't - though it also isn't as hard as a lot of people think.

If both the "clove hitch" and "needle through the shroud" methods are more than you want to take on, in my opinion the best solution, in the case of a small-scale model like this, is simply to leave the ratlines off. If the rest of the rigging is done well, nobody - least of all me - is likely to mind that the ratlines aren't there.

A little terminology might be in order. The shrouds are the heavy ropes that support the masts - and pull the ship through the water. The ratlines are relatively thin lines that are knotted across the shrouds, to serve as ladders for the crew going up and down the masts.

Maybe a little ship model history is also in order. The term "Admiralty model" is usually applied to the exquisite models of English warships built in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. (Actually "Navy Board model" or "Dockyard model" is more accurate.) Most of them are characterized by beautiful boxwood or pearwood carved details, and by the omission of the hull planking below the wales - and often on sections of the decks. The curious thing is that the exposed frame structure of Board Room models doesn't accurately represent the way real ships were framed. The frames are too widely spaced for scale accuracy, and the frame layout in general is simplified (though plenty complicated enough for most of us.) For some reason or other, as time passed the frame spacing of the models got closer, and by the second half of the eighteenth century some Navy Board models were replicating the framing of the actual ships.

Some Navy Board models have masts and rigging (though the rigging on them now is almost always modern). A lot of them show nothing above the decks. So there's plenty of precedent for building a model of H.M.S. Prince with no masts or rigging.

Nobody is quite sure why the Navy Board models were built. There's actually very little contemporary documentation about them. There's no way the parts of such a model could be scaled up to build a real ship. And it wouldn't be of much use in estimating the cost of the real ship. The old story that the models were built before the ships in order to show the bureaucras what the real ships would like has also been pretty thoroughly debunked. (There are some - not many - records that date the models after the ships they represent were built.)

Current thinking among the experts (one of whom I most certainly am not) is that the models were built to serve exactly the purposes they're serving now: to serve as wonderful decorations, and to provide an historical record of what the ships looked like. One of our best sources of information about seventeenth-century English history is the multi-volume Diary of Samuel Pepys. Pepys was the secretary to the Board of Admiralty. Several of the diary entries mention that he bought models of warships because he simply liked having them around his house. He was the original owner of several models that still exist. In at least one case he said the model was "most handsome and delightful." Indeed.

The term "half model" usually refers to a method of ship design that was common in the late eighteenth through early twentieth centuries. The first step in the process of designing a ship was for the naval architect to peg together a stack of boards. Then he would carve the resulting big chunk of wood into the shape he wanted the ship to be. The next step was to separate the boards, and trace them onto linen or paper. Those tracings became the basis for the plans from which the shipwrights worked to build the ship.

A lot of half models have survived - including quite a few representing British warships beginning in the latter eighteenth century. And hundreds of half models of American warships and merchantmen from the nineteenth century can be seen in maritime museums. Most of them are pretty crude (and, if they're real builders' models, beat up). Half models were in use as late as the 1950s, mainly to help work out plating layouts. (Maybe they still are.)

A well-built half model, even with virtually no detail on it, can be a mighty handsome wall decoration. One member of our model club specializes in half models.

Fascinating stuff. For anybody who's interested, I can recommend three books: John Franklin's Navy Board Ship Models, 17th and 18th Century Ship Models From the Kriegstein Collection, by Henry and Arnold Kriegstein, and a recent book that's one of my very favorites, The Rogers Collection of Dockyard Models at the U.S. Naval Academy Museum, by Grant Walker. Here's a link:  http://www.seawatchbooks.com/115005 . Pricey, but a superb book. It's the first volume in what we hope will be a series covering that collection, which is one of the best in the world. 

 

Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

  • Member since
    February 2016
  • From: Western No. Carolina
Posted by gene1 on Wednesday, August 24, 2016 9:26 PM

 John, I already have half the shroud lines on. I will think on ratlines. I wouldn't be able to sew on a model this small.  I would have been done if I hadn't made all those rig shrouds. It is a good idea if you can find the right glue.

   I will use the sails as I have really got a nice finish & weathering on them . This kit has 1/2 the sails in a semi furled shape, whatever you call that. Like David K said, the shrouds are easy, it;s the ratlines that are the killer.

   That boy is one great modeler & super on colors.

  • Member since
    April 2016
Posted by Staale S on Thursday, August 25, 2016 4:21 AM

"A well-built half model, even with virtually no detail on it, can be a mighty handsome wall decoration.."

Truth. I saw an unorthodox presentation of a small half-model once. It was mounted in a small box, the rear wall of the box held a print of the rigging of the ship, scaled so that it fit the hull perfectly. Simple and effective! I think it was a Bluenose-type schooner, not a square rigger anyway.

As for the framing of the Navy Board models, the simplified style may be inaccurate but it is highly attractive visually. Probably more so than a more realistic, more complex framing style would have been.

I think it is Franklin that speculates that this style of framing may well have been accurate when such models were first built (models since lost), and that they just kept using it for the models even after the framing of real ships changed.

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Thursday, August 25, 2016 10:29 AM

All very true. Another oddity about Board Room models is that, as the frame spacing got closer over the decades, the amount of planking increased. I like Donald McNarry's speculation on the reason for the widely-spaced, representative framing of the earlier models: "Maybe that was just seen as an attractive way of doing it." It certainly is.

For a truly sobering experience, another highly recommendable book is Building a Miniature Navy Board Model, by Phillip Reed. It describes the construction of a model of an English first-rate ship, complete with exposed framing, on the scale of 1/16"=1'. When I bought the book I thought I might like to try such a model myself. By the time I got halfway through it, I realized that, even if I started that evening, I probably wouldn't get finished in this lifetime - even if I had the requisite skills, which I don't. Here's a link: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/building-a-miniature-navy-board-model-phillip-reed/1014814278?ean=9781591140924 

Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

  • Member since
    April 2016
Posted by Staale S on Thursday, August 25, 2016 3:36 PM

Ah, yes, a Navy Board model in 1:192 scale. That way madness lays.

  • Member since
    February 2016
  • From: Western No. Carolina
Posted by gene1 on Saturday, August 27, 2016 6:45 PM

Here are some pictures I just took of the Prince with masts & sails. I do like the half furled sais as it shows the deck detail better. I used a lot of burnt umber in the recessed areas over my sail mix color. I always am a little worried taking pictures on my high railings. We do get a lot of wind up here

I am a long way from finishing the rigging on the Prince & the Wasa still has some to do. I am noy doing all the rigging as it is too hard on these small models, & I don't like to do it anyway. Shaky hands. 

Here is that darn rigging tool, this is only about 20 or 30 minutes work, but the glue is the problem. Also getting all the threads glued. The tool is good & I am sorry it didn't work as I rigged the prince without ratlines. 

 

  • Member since
    July 2013
Posted by steve5 on Saturday, August 27, 2016 6:52 PM

those ship's are so good no-one will notice the ratline's missing gene ,

steve5

 

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Saturday, September 3, 2016 2:24 PM

Through the fantastic generosity and courtesy of our good friend Bill Morrison, my Prince and Sovereign of the Seas arrived yesterday. Bill, I can't thank you enough.

So now I can comment a little more intelligently on those two kits.

These two in particular are from a relatively recent issue, still with the factory plastic around them, with "Special Edition" on the boxes. Also with modern, cryptic instruction sheets, rather than the well-written (but English only) original ones that identified all the parts and explained the assembly process verbally. I think these kits date from the period (early eighties, I think) when Heller and Airfix were owned by the same consortium in France.

The Sovereign of the Seas is a much older model. That shows in the slightly less sharp "carved" details, and (maybe most obviously) in the lack of detail inside the bulwarks. But the basis for a serious scale model is certainly there.

The Prince is one of the nicest plastic sailing ships I've ever seen. The biggest problem with this particular example is severe warping in the deck piece. Airfix generally made all the decks of a sailing ship in one piece, from bow to stern, with vertical slabs of plastic forming the various deck levels. Those slabs are to be covered up with beautifully-rendered bulkhead pieces. I'm thinking it may be easier to saw all the decks apart and fit them individually. Or replace them with wood.

Oddly, there are no coamings (raised rims) around the hatches. And I'm not sure what that big, oblong shape running down the middle of the maindeck represents. (A long row of gratings? Hatch boards?) Maybe I can find photos of the Navy Board model to clear that up. Slightly later edit: I found such a photo: http://www.modelships.de/HMS_Prince_I/Science_Museum_IMG_0596.jpg . The Navy Board style of omitting planking makes it a little sketchy, but it looks to me like the space along the centerline between the capstan and the main mast bitts was open to the next deck down, with just a few beams crossing it. That replacement wood deck idea sounds better and better.)

The deadeyes, lanyards, and chain platforms, and chain plates are molded integrally with each other - one piece for each mast on each side. Airfix took a different approach to the deadeyes than usual. Each upper deadeye has a small hole drilled right through the middle. The modeler is supposed to run the shroud (produced on the "rigging loom," which went into the trash along with the vac-formed "sails") through the hole. Easy, if not particularly convincing. (The shroud is supposed to go around the upper deadeye, and the last few feet of the shroud are supposed to be seized back on the shroud itself.) Not an unreasonable compromise, given the intended purchasers and the limitations of injection molding. I've thought of several ways to make the bottoms of the shrouds look more convincing - though rigging individual deadeye lanyards on that scale is beyond my capacity. (I might have been able to do it once, but my post-middle-aged eyesight rules it out nowadays. Besides, I'm itching to build quite a few models in the years I have left.)

Airfix packaged various kinds of thread with its ships over the years. The stuff in both these kits is awful - an apparently synthetic white thread with a slick, shiny, rather wispy appearance. It's nowhere near big enough for the lower standing rigging. It's going in the trash.

The kit does indeed offer the option of mounting the topsail and topgallant yards in different positions. But the upper positions are too low. The topsail yards should be raised right up to a few feet below the topmast crosstrees, and the topgallant yards to those tiny crosstrees that support the flagpoles. Yeah, those topsails and topgallants were enormous pieces of canvas.

I don't care for Airfix's approach to lower deck guns - "dummy" barrels that plug into holes in the middle of recessed squares in the hull halves. To fix this on a three-decked ship would take an enormous amount of work. On the other hand, the port lids are beautifully done, and the recesses for the "dummies" are deeper than those of the Sovereign of the Seas kit. And it's worth noting that the old Board Room models scarcely ever have guns at all. I may end up building this kit with the gunports shut.

The molding of the windows and lanterns is exquisite. Maybe it's also worth noting that the big, 1/48 scale Board Room model of the Prince in the Science Museum shows all the glass parts as flat, black-painted pieces of wood, with gold dots to represent the intersections of the frame pieces. (It also doesn't have any guns.) In this, and several other respects, the Airfix kit is simply more detailed than the Navy Board model.

The rigging and painting instructions are pretty weak. (The originals may have been better.) But - unlike those of many other kits - the rigging diagram isn't exactly inaccurate; it's just very, very simplified. I'm sure many purchasers would be quite happy with it.

The flags are beautifully printed. But they have a feature that I've never been able to understand. Why do kit manufacturers insist on making flags with "wrinkles" drawn in perspective? This set isn't as bad as some (the most egregious example is the old Revell Santa Maria), but why do such a thing at all? It surely would be easier for the designers to draw the flags flattened out, and anybody with enough dexterity to build a model (or put on his own clothes) surely can put genuine, three-dimensional wrinkles and waves in a flag in a few seconds. One of Tilley's minor pet peeves.

Overall, it's a fine kit. It will be a beautiful model built carefully straight from the box, and with a little extra effort it can be turned into a show-stopper. Thanks again, Bill! I hope my deteriorating skills and eyesight can do it justice.

 

 

 

Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

  • Member since
    February 2016
  • From: Western No. Carolina
Posted by gene1 on Saturday, September 10, 2016 8:33 PM

Thank you Steve, we ought to start a mutual admiration society. I just finished both the Wasa & the Prince & put them on oak bases. Here are some pictures I took this afternoon.

 

 

I had to add my new Victory, I have a bunch of finished bases & I have one for the Revenge Bill.  I look at these as their graduation pictures. I will be 86 in December & I am still having a ball building models & these plastic ships have really been fun. 

  Steve5, I am going to inundate you with those plans & riverboat pictures now,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Member since
    July 2013
Posted by steve5 on Saturday, September 10, 2016 9:32 PM

no worries gene , I'm having bit of a spell from ship's at the moment , just finished a tank over in armour , it was fun doing some different painting techniques .

 

  • Member since
    September 2005
  • From: Groton, CT
Posted by warshipguy on Sunday, September 11, 2016 11:11 AM

Gene,

You continue to impress!  Those are works of art!

Bill

  • Member since
    February 2016
  • From: Western No. Carolina
Posted by gene1 on Sunday, September 11, 2016 3:05 PM

Thanks Bill, I nearly built the Revenge this time, but the Victory won. I have the finshed oak base for the Revenge so it is probably next. Darn, but I am enjoying these ship kits. I am trying to figure out what else I can do to the deck, it is painted with Tamiya Deck Tan which is gray. It is not easy on these raised lines on the Airfix kits decks.

  • Member since
    September 2005
  • From: Groton, CT
Posted by warshipguy on Monday, September 12, 2016 7:50 AM

Gene,

Vallejo makes a good "Aged and New Wood" set that helps the builder to create great wood effects.  You should check them out.

Bill

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