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Raiding the Dusty Wastes

Raiding the Dusty Wastes

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Project Blog by horati0nosebl0wer Cult of Games Member

Recommendations: 637

About the Project

A build of a display piece that was started about summer 2019. Now a year later it might be ready to paint as I get other projects done. This was fun for the idea of a desert dungeon crawl. Looks like things have changed as its now a SAGA Age of Magic project

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All Hasn's horses and all Hasn's men

Tutoring 9
Skill 8
Idea 8
No Comments
All facial hair present and or accounted forAll facial hair present and or accounted for
All peasents presentAll peasents present
All work; no horseplay!All work; no horseplay!

So I went back to do all the facial hair and eyes.  It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I found a way to cheat! A Pigma Micron 005 black pen is just the right size to consistently make eyes in scale without killing your own or going insane with trying to stop the jitters caused by nervous twitches or caffeine. Aside from that I revisited all the foot soldiers to paint over their kanjar (those beautifully curved daggers) on their belts. Feeling feisty I also thought “Should I finish off any other oddball detailing? Eh, why the hell not?”. It was then that I finished the  cavalry in its entirety and all other bits and bobs for the footmen. With that done I tossed on some tufts for fun and visual effects before spraying all parts with Testor’s Dullcote for all the matte parts. I went back over my metallics with VMC Natural Steel and washed with GW Nuln Oil. No undercoat with gloss black to start as I think there’s only so much effort I can put in before getting overwhelmed by the growing scale of this project…. which reminds me. The skirmish trays from Litko really help to keep things organized.

Things can only be taken to a greater level from here as the fantasy of Age of Magic demands the fantastic!

Commanding the masses

Tutoring 9
Skill 9
Idea 9
No Comments
A proud full frontalA proud full frontal
Round and round for a Lloyd and other shot anglesRound and round for a Lloyd and other shot angles

Here is the glorious leader of my Arabian Knights forces, Hasn Al Qlb al’Akrab, in all of his glory for regular Saga. I was quite pleased with going back over the whole thing with Testor’s Dullcote. The rattlecan version of the formula seemed to just seal the figures and make it all glossy. Making certain that I had the glass bottle variety all shaken before loading the airbrush and doing short bursts of coverage has given this command group real definition as the matte settles the details of the paint. Admittedly it would look all the better once I got my banner on the pole for the flag bearer but for the moment it looks damn spiffy as I work regular work and set back the time to play with Photopea and edit the design. I’m also thinking about how the hell to get it printed as I neither have a printer nor am willing to just randomly get it as a Fiverr gig. I think that the amount of cash that I’d need to shell out would be more than just one flag, therefore requiring more work to design and have things on hand to add to models.

On the command group I’m rather happy with the design work that came out from the masking. It does need more work in order to perfect this technique and might well be better suited for simpler curves on models for flowing fabric. Then again I might revisit the spray duration as either short bursts that are drawn over or lower pressure continuous spray with a quick pass. Other than that the design work for the clothes was the only other technical component that I think I managed with the minimal amount of fouling. I might be wrong there but for freehand I’m not stressing too much since I think there’s enough detail to keep the eyes wandering. The waterslide decal from Little Big Men definitely gave a front view something to arrest attention while a mixture of tufts from Army Painter litters the ground nicely. As Lloyd is fond of adding horses to the total model count for cavalry I think dropping four models on a 60mm base as I have has worked well.

  • As far as progress along what I’ve mentioned I will be done with the regular troops finishing touches as long as work doesn’t run me down too badly in the near future.
  • The banner will be worked on and hopefully printed quickly. I might need to do some digging as to where I can get this done aside from an office supply store. I’m not keen on the idea of what kind of color balance I’d get with that.
  • The ultra interesting and most excellent unit that I needed to possess has arrived. I’ve cleaned the models of flash and mold lines. I’ve added weapons that needed to be put on. I need to repair/modify a few details here and there but all is will with regard to them. I’ve already got paint schemes in mind and I’ll be ready to go quickly.
  • My expanded option for Age of Magic is underway and I’m busy in the background making things happen. I’ve dropped The Russian as my ultra secret task seems to be below the commie mutant bastard (see the game Paranoia). I’ve opted for a secondary source and I’ll be getting more work done that Gerry can’t peer over the electronic fence upon my progress like the neighbor in the series “Home Improvement”. He’ll just have to wait like the rest of you. People should be glad that I don’t resort to the measures of German intelligence and start doing my typing on an  actual typewriter to avoid digital sneakery.

Not quite just a simple one or two more things

Tutoring 6
Skill 6
Idea 6
No Comments

So it seems like when one wants something it can’t just *poof* appear as they wish, huh? Well, I’m currently dog-sitting at a friend’s house and unable to do hobby this week. I’m negotiating with The Russian about my upcoming digital project and have arranged payment to be made (its all hush hush type stuff for the rest of you lot not to know yet). The printer is back and gladly awaiting the gig on Fiverr as I have other tasks that I’ve decided to go ahead with otherwise.

I’ve fallen victim to expanding my force with more minis that “I had to have” which means I’ll, of course, need to get more bases to give it all a grand presentation when this is all said and done. Ugh… can’t I just do this all on clear acrylic? Pffft! Dash that nonsense. I’m glad that my Age of Magic assets are taken care of with regard to MDF basing already on hand as I just need to actually get them, assemble the parts, base and paint. Those are just the little details, right?

I swear that all of this really will be worthwhile to those of you following along on this meandering … Squirrel!!! Seriously though I’ll set out my next steps:

  • Finish the command corps paint scheme and basing
  • Finishing touches on all the regular troops (faces/weapons/basing details)
  • Finally rework the banner and get it printed
  • Receive and paint up another mounted unit (the one I saw and said “That must be mine.”)
  • Show first unit of expanded options from an Age of Magic battleboard

 

Taking the mask off!!

Tutoring 8
Skill 7
Idea 9
No Comments
Pre-priming photo shotPre-priming photo shot
Present painting gloryPresent painting glory

In looking at the paint so far all the turbans tie my dudes together with a color element. This element needed to be centered on the head honcho, his attendants and the waving banner which marked the fearless man of action. With that in mind the banner needed to be reworked. To say that I hate the prospect and ensuing work is an understatement; I really liked the way my first run of the banner looked.

Oh, did I forget to mention I changed my mind about a color scheme? Well blow my nose, I did in fact do something radical yet again.

Short hiatus for the week

Tutoring 6
Skill 6
Idea 7
No Comments

So I sat and decided to take a bit of a break from Saga (Yes, I admit to my transgression, I have come back to my project only to self flagellate.. flatulate? Lol). I only did so to recharge my batteries. It also is due to the fact that I wanted to get some non-painting work done.

I’m in communication with a 3D sculptor from Russia and a printer here in the US to get a copy of my idea together. I’ve painted some non-Saga minis (relax already, its only for a short time) and now I’m tackling the Big Projects I stated I’d be doing. I have only a few more basic Saga posts left before the major Age of Magic stuff comes around.

Here comes the cavalry!!!

Tutoring 8
Skill 8
Idea 8
No Comments

Barely scripted, nearly unedited and almost uncut

Legal disclaimer: Stallions unrelated to Elke or Megan Thee

Throwing a monkey wrench into the mix in order to get more content out I thought finishing off these guys and letting my ideas collect for the leader and his retinue was in order. Switching my direction of travel like throwing the E-brake and drifting into these minis seemed like a good idea. We’ll see how well it worked out from your opinions.

Horse painting commenced and breaks down as follows….

Brown:
Airbrush VMA Burnt Umber 71.040
Drybrush RMS Intense Brown 09138
Drybrush RMS Chestnut Gold 09073
Wash GW Reikland Fleshshade

Black:
Airbrush VMA Black
Drybrush 1:1 VMA black/RMS Midnight Blue
Wash Nuln Oil

White:
Airbrush Gray
Drybrush 1:1 gray/RMS white (slight contamination of previous brown that wasn’t cleaned off well)

I initially had no set idea for what could be done for the patterns of fabric but I believed that I might want to see about getting some help in reducing the detail level somehow. That didn’t happen as I kept rolling around the thought of “If you do something, do it well; leave a sign to let the world know that you were there”.

Here I’ve looked at the footsoldiers and considered what was done with the dishdasha on the 4pt box art for soldiers and hearthguard. I think I went a step beyond what I intended but I stepped back and considered the color palette. These needed to be brighter as it would be more expensive and attention grabbing; my problem had been solved by pigment prices.

Further on with the cavalry I had an idea about the riders. Yet again I find myself both loving and hating the fact that I push the envelope for detail at times. I was inspired by the decorated Easter eggs that are typically seen all made up for the celebrations of Orthodox Christians and then my recollection of the intricate tile work of the Islamic world.

Dramatic Robe? Check! Horn? Check! Big Banner? Uhh.. Check!

Tutoring 8
Skill 8
Idea 8
1 Comment

Slight disclaimer: There were noises made by some semi-Internet-famous entities that this project wasn’t updated enough. Well, just like good bowel movements, this will get some more regularity

Collected command elementCollected command element

My little dudes are now the epitome of making battle beautiful, atleast outside of the fabulous fashion sense and antics of things related to Slaanesh. I’m quite pleased with the results of all my figures, to include the noble steeds, as these take the cake for the regular game. I’m also happy with the difference made by the lighting in my room.

Right now the pinnacle of the regular game must be attended to.

The initial cohesive pattern for the command unit was a thought that ended up becoming a critical element. All the warriors on foot and horseback stand as unique entities for clothing from cash. The levy are dirt poor and by virtue of conscription have cheap clothes but, as we have seen, this leader of men cannot have his roused rabble running about in rags so they got uniforms. In the end the command would stand on its own too but must first be built. Having looked at the max base size for warlords in Saga I thought that the 60mm footprint was good to put multiple figures on.

I modified the heads a little with greenstuff as the shemaugh have been unwrapped and show the faces. This really was a case where I wasn’t happy with the one armored head option that came on the sprues and found a way to hide the chain coif while tying in the helmet/turban that was done with others.

Unlike Lloyd’s experience sometime back with pinning hands I managed to not blow out the fingers in the hand held forward. The only issue I had was that the rear hand still had the remnants of the spear I clipped from the spearmen arm I had plenty of. There was no way to clean that off so I drilled through it and just fed the piano wire between the hands. Pretty damn good I say to just eyeball the angles for and get as close as I did.

The trumpeter was again more wire work that needed to be done. The plastic sculpt is beautiful, the drawback is that the horn is flimsy and broke at the hand. Again, just a bit of alignment was required to make this a non-issue. A little bit of glue liberally hit with accelerant that was sanded down to shape would see the detail problem resolved.

The final build portion for my army’s leader was now at hand. More scratchbuild modeling with greenstuff was the way to go. In order to make the figure significant I added a robe that billowed from riding in order to break up the monotony of the plastic sprue bodies. Its nice to have uniform parts that I can build as I need pieces but this was going to be my centerstage piece for regular Saga. To have that detail meant I could show off some paint skills later that would signify he didn’t buckle swashes but had cash to sling on silks and scimitars as I was inspired by the metal Mutatawwi’a leader from Gripping Beast. I got this all done before I found out about the Saladin figure that would have lead me down the path of putting the horse in a 12th century flapper dress.

Prior to all the primerPrior to all the primer

The whole thing is a multi-element base so I’ll finish it all and then base appropriately to tie all the figures together. What I need to do now is finalize my banner and have it printed. I see good things in the future.

This man has money

Tutoring 9
Skill 9
Idea 9
4 Comments
Look! Even his peasants have shoes!!!Look! Even his peasants have shoes!!!

I decided that it might not be in the best interest of presenting a fine and noble man such as Hasn without presentable peasants. It is the lowliest of men that are the example of exactly how wealthy and mighty a ruler may be.

I painted the dishdasha with what I think is VMC Khaki Shade. I can’t say for certain as I’ve had it for so long and used it so many times that I’ve rubbed the label blank from handling. and the washed with GW Reikland Fleshshade and highlighted before the mandatory inclusion of the blue people seem to think is the bees knees. I’m fond of it myself since it keeps as a compliment to a general yellowed tone to my army. What else can you expect from the desert… maybe some red, a touch of pinks, the occasional green? No, this is not that kind of desert. Maybe another army will get that but for now you get yellowed brown, nearly baby turd brown. No color joy for you with the desert!

Anywhat, the simple freehand to break visual space was something to give these guys some flair to their generally drab attire. Its nothing fancy as these guys lack money for better threads but the lord of the land can’t have underdressed murder hobos in the lowest ranks of his

Swish you said? I say not swish enough!!!

Tutoring 9
Skill 9
Idea 10
1 Comment
I'll flap mine proudly in the breeze, thank youI'll flap mine proudly in the breeze, thank you

I heard the term “swish” relating to my work thus far and got all chuffed thinking that my effort was not in vain so more effort was going to be put into making this project fancy. As posted before, I had a much different shape than the standard square in mind, since I saw what Little Big Men Studio put out with crenellated banners that caught my attention. This digital work helps as I’m preparing boxes and making ready to relocate to where I can set up a proper hobby desk once more.

In building the banner to what I saw in my head I thought finding a border was most useful. I managed to hunt down a Victorian era styled border that would serve me. There was quite a bit of rebuilding for what would be the leeward edge as it began as a full rectangle. After I got that all done I copied the main layer of the circular name and placed it. The colors will need to be reworked as I could only salvage the initial black image from the many layers. This isn’t a loss as I’ve cleaned up everything and I can begin to edit again. I’m a little miffed that I’ll need to relocate a diamond mesh texture that looked good at 28mm scale but the Internet is vast and I have time before any printing.

There’s more work to be done as far as fabric texturing and any warping due to curvature in the banner is concerned but this is a good place to put out progress beyond figures.

Not painting at the moment, I’ve managed to do a quick build of levy archers and plan what I’ll have for my standard Saga warlord. I’ve thought to use the same parts on him to keep consistency between fantasy and regular play. Since I can only track down a Saracen banner bearer from Gripping Beast on horseback I think I’ll just kitbash one on foot. Oh joy, more customization!

Now in colorNow in color

Project Runway... Medieval Middle East Edition

Tutoring 10
Skill 10
Idea 10
No Comments

2nd squad of eight

I plugged away at trying to make every one of these guys an individual (cue Life of Brian) and I think I did a good job in not explicitly repeating patterns. No I do not plan on creating such a broad array of insane brocade in future… though I won’t rule that out as this project is a building love/hate relationship from the level of intricacy its beginning to have.

Now on to painting up the cavalry. This will be a bit for the riders as I’m about to move but the horses are nearly there. After that I have my leader planned for regular play. I’m very excited to start on the fantasy elements and share them here.

Lloyd shots...in SAGA!?!

Tutoring 11
Skill 13
Idea 12
No Comments

1st squad of eight

Not quite as terrifying as tigers in Africa but not any less important to take note of. These tiny fighting men donned only the best in haute couture for the fray as it would be dishonorable to show up in anything less.

The problem of painting all this is that you need to get to the torsos of the models to align fabric patterns. Initially I thought this couldn’t be done with the shields doing what they are intended to do, blocking ready access to the body, but I was wrong. I’m not so involved in these being painted perfectly from a 2′-2″ rule or box art but they’ll do the job I want and catch eyes.

Fortunately I have learned this lesson as I build the horsemen and will be adding shields after painting the clothing/armor.

Nope, not toasted quite enough yet

Tutoring 11
Skill 12
Idea 12
No Comments

Getting about to the pain of working Photopea was not as bad as initially conceived. I started into the process of inverting the black and white for the netting layer with Ctrl+I. I then went on to changing the color of the lettering with the Magic Wand tool (W a couple of times and you’ll see the icon change under the lasso tool) to select a general area of the script. The program already lacks a background to worry about as I have already erased it from the layer.

Nope, not toasted quite enough yet

A portion of the image gets selected and I jump into the search area for Fill. I don’t need to retype the command I want as Photopea has saved it.

Nope, not toasted quite enough yet

I saved the Hex code for the specific color(1a1ad8) as I got tired of entering the rest of the value information. This is definitely something that copy/paste comes in handy for. With that all done the area is filled with the appropriate color and a new layer is created in a growing list of entries. I’ll merge these all down later to create a cohesive image.

Nope, not toasted quite enough yet

A happy accident from all this is that the script does have defects from the program not completely filling in the shapes. When I remove the underlying layer of initial black it shows some fading that I might just keep running with. The circle was done with another tool that lacked variance as the pigment image did so I’ll manually add the effects there if I do.

This seems to have come out well and I have a few more ideas to run with in order to create the banner with serrations to flap wildly in the breeze.

My brain on banners is toast

Tutoring 7
Skill 9
Idea 8
No Comments
"Bez muke nema nauke" - Without pain there is no learning

So there is quite a bit of mental struggle to go around but thankfully Photopea is halfway intuitive. I’ve managed to get a general handle on layering and managed to find the Background Eraser. Not a tool that I had been aware of before but monkeying about with keys and mouse-clicks I managed to get it. After some time in clearing out sections of crap that would interfere with layering and general tidying up this banner is starting to look good.

Now on with more headaches to figure how to invert the netting design and color it.

See his name and know your better

Tutoring 10
Skill 9
Idea 12
No Comments

I’ve been holding off this entry away from the project until it was ready. I’ve wanted to make this a bespoke fighting force. That may seem crazy as I’m literally using mass produced plastic figures and numerous other elements that could be slapped together and reproduced. Well, what can’t be redone as an original idea, is creating banners and demarcation for my warlord with his name done in calligraphy.

I have thought about the best way to multipurpose this force, should I decide to play plain old Saga, and translated the name of my guy into Arabic from English to place it on command banners akin to what medieval Arab forces might’ve used.

Using Google Translate I threw in Hasn Heart of the Scorpion, Master of the Desert and got a quick result. I am an amateur linguist, having done translation/transcription professionally in the past but no longer, and I know these things can be tricky but I trust it from my limited knowledge. From there I went to Fiverr in search of a calligrapher to write out what I wanted. This wasn’t too hard as I wasn’t looking for awesome results as I knew there would be some forgiveness found in how damn small the details would be. On the contrary, knowing that there is a lot of detail that can be put into work, I had all the diacritics put into the writing. The fancy whoop-dee-doos all over the place in fancy written Arabic denote vowels and other inflections beyind the consonants of every character. Making this a formal banner I decided that would be the route to take.

I was inspired to take such measures by the owner of Little Big Men Studio from all the written pieces on flags. Its an effort he’s done to bring us all great products that we might take for granted which I can say is a pain considering graphic design. These days he’s been overworked and, after reaching out and not hearing back from his workload, I decided to plan out my standards.

The two lines of “Hasn Heart of the Scorpion” ( حسن قلب العقرب )and “Master of the Desert” (سيد الصحراء) I had written separately and then combined in a circular manner. With each section I figured I could work with bits and pieces like lance pennants and other large flags that go flapping in the wind. Overall the presentation of the name with some wiggle room as to how it gets shown off is less stressful by avoiding the absolute need for the one piece to be perfect.

I’ve also taken inspiration from Lloyd in his presentation to Gerry on banners using Photopea but I have neither the confidence nor patience to play with the tool at present. I need to figure a means of getting the transfers printed once I get the rest of the design work settled. That really should have been something planned out ahead of time but like the rest of this project its a haphazard and blissfully organic development.

Boots on the ground

Tutoring 11
Skill 13
Idea 13
1 Comment

I’ve completed the block colors for the unmounted troops I have and applied shield designs. Ill need to touch up shield edges, the fancy detailing for the fabrics, the belt weapons and facial details before metallics for helmets/spears/shield bosses.

Too many to show on movement traysToo many to show on movement trays

On the recommendation of @avernos I’ll be distinguishing each unit type from one another. Unlike him I’ll have the turbans be the unifying element for my army.

My warriors will be these first two units. They, after all, are the ones with money to spend on being fashion forward on the battlefield. My mounted units I’m working on now will also be as colorful as the footsoldiers since it takes some cash to actually buy a horse/maintain the prestige of keeping one.

My future levy will be in a drab single color as the literal poor bastards they are aren’t so well to do as spend their earnings on looking exceptional. No chance to gain anything more than a good meal or something to smoke as far as comfort goes for that lot.

The beginning of cavalryThe beginning of cavalry

How to make my opponent cry

Tutoring 6
Skill 6
Idea 10
No Comments

Trying to figure out the best way of adding big nasties capable of doling out much in the way of pain and misery I’ve found some inspiration to what I can get made. Not giving any spoilers to what’s definite here’s just a bit of what my tabletop fighting force might feature.

Dusting off minis for a new year

Tutoring 8
Skill 11
Idea 10
1 Comment

I’ve been sucked into SAGA. So much for being disinterested in historicals. The fantasy element is really what works for me as generally its all some sort of swords and scale mail between the two. Take out the mythic beasts and monsters from Age of Magic and you have the regular rules set that can be easily played out with archaeological proof to back up potential battles (mostly).

A lot to go but a startA lot to go but a start

Thus far I still haven’t quite finished blocking in the basic colors for my first unit of foot soldiers but its close enough for a photo. The details of interest for the fabric will come. The second unit has been built and primed to await attention and affection via paint. I’m rather pleased to see them on trays. My next goal, after these warriors/levy are done, is a unit of cavalry that is built/primed with base texture material on the movement trays.

Humble beginningsHumble beginnings

Seeing the trays from bare MDF and how they develop to looking good is very helpful to my sense of accomplishment. The cavalry has been different from the soldiers because of the number and shape of bases. They both hold together the units visually and since the same basing material is in play it all ties together. Considering that, I think the display piece of the swordwoman will be a separate  entity relevant to the idea but not so much a part of the playing army.

Going back to the fantastic there are gears turning in the background for additions to be announced in future. For now the bog standard human element of my army is being taken care of.

Giftmas Delivery!!!

Tutoring 4
Skill 4
Idea 6
2 Comments

I got my SAGA order of starter Arabs, the core rules/Age of Magic and I am pleased as punch. The Arabian Nights (Knights?) will be worked on piecemeal as I get some flying carpets printed and I get a better handle on a uniform element for a paint scheme. The shield transfers from Little Big Men studios work very well and require little retouching. Plain water worked well enough as I don’t have immediate access to my hobby stuff in storage. Color matching th shield designs has been solved with weathering the edges.

At the moment I’m inspired to hop over to some historicals and get medieval Koreans to run as a fantasy force under the leadership of the wise lord Gyeon Chul-moo atop his giant eagle. This idea might work better with a dragon or maybe a tiger. I could swap this leader option out and have the lady Song Eun-Kyung on the back of a pheonix. I need to read more folktales for that yet but the idea seems to feel right. I have a lot more ideas that might work but I will figure out model builds as time progresses.

Shield your eyes

Tutoring 6
Skill 6
Idea 7
No Comments

So there’s been some background work done since last putting this on hold for Giftmas presents that have gone out. Yes, more paint and more minis. The transfers from LittleBigMen Studios for the shields really make the fronts pop and add some class. I have a plan for the headwear and dishdashas (the roe/tunics) to really draw the eye which will really pull the force together.

In other news, I got a second batch of plastic Gripping Beast Arab spearmen as I saw that a starter box of SAGA only needed eight men. I’ve purchased the starter box set as a thought to get more options for an Arabian Nights mix-up for the future. Right now I’ll hold off on the flying carpet light cavalry (perhaps horse archer equivalent?) as I need to get access to a 3D printer. I have enough clear acrylic rod to put beneath the airborne rug raiders (can’t help but laugh at that term as I thought of what to call them) so the elevated status of the models be believable. Perhaps with the Age of Magic rules I could add djinni, efreeti and perhaps a roc.

A Task of Masks

Tutoring 10
Skill 13
Idea 13
No Comments
Visual interest increasedVisual interest increased

I’ve put aside the work on this for a little as I’ve been pushing commission pieces for a buddy of mine. I threw some Vallejo Air Ultramarine Blue (72.722)  through my airbrush and found that using scale mesh has definitely brought up the appeal to the clothing despite my efforts. The happy accident of the fade was pure overspray that I kinda like after sitting and pondering the visual design. I’m not one for going crazy over print/pattern/design in clothing but it does have appeal in breaking the space. I believe that this technique might be the means of making more realistic fishnets in future. Three figures (probably more) on the shelf will benefit from this knowledge.

The downside is that I found that my masking was lacking for the front and I completely missed some areas. I’ll try to cover them as best I can and match the pattern. That is the biggest downside of using masking materials with airbrush. If you screw up the work at first its twice to three times as difficult, if not impossible, to recover. I’m not sure how well the paint/seal method for layering helps much to avoid this from here on out but I’ll keep at it. I think maybe double sealing before intricate painting to allow for foul-ups might be best.

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