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Update: I have renamed this topic, given that it is now more than my "Hornby E2 Conversion".  

The first topic in here is my conversion of a Hornby E2:

So I assume we all know what I'm converting it in to...
I have no shame, I want to make a 'realistic' thomas - which I believe Hornby did a terrible job of so I'm doing a bit of bodging. 
I'm getting a standard Hornby LBSC E2, I'm going to extend the cab sides to be almost as wide as the tanks. I'm going to add comically large splashers and extend the tanks. Then I'm going to cut up and re-add the piping details and hand rails which came with the model, spray it with primer and paint it. 
For now I'm going to leave the paint job as just blue with a black smokebox and running board. I'll attempt the lining later after I get more experience with it. 
So my basic plan, visually represented with a dodgy paint image is:


I've already done quite a bit, so I'm just going to post photos and descriptions as I assume this will make some nice reading for somebody :)


So I started with the cab, first making the pieces out of robust cardboard to check and see if it would work. I dismantled the entire thing: It comes apart into the cab back and sides, the main body frame, and the boiler and cab front. I removed the cab section and checked with my cardboard cuts, then started to make plasticard cuts. This is my first time working with plasticard so making everything perfect was relatively difficult. It's certainly far from perfect as it is, but I'm alright with that until I get the skills to fix it up better. 




Here are three cab sides up. Here I still have to cover the other side of the cab front. I pushed the plasticard up to the edge of the tanks, along the whole model theres a little lip whichs helps to place all of the sides down. Originally I wanted the cab flush with the tanks but I think this looks better. 




showing the back. I drilled the holes by turning a modelling knife around and around and then sanded it to even by wrapping sandpaper around a screwdriver nd spinning it through the hole. I'm a man of crude ways :)
The bars over the back window were made by cutting up spare off-cuts of card finely and gluing them over. I'm aware that one is wonky but I'm not subjecting myself to that again and it doesn't bother me enough. 






Edited by RAWRlab
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Further updates (I work very quickly) 

Here we have me setting the cab roof in place using rubber bands: 


After this, I made the splashers, which were easy. I made four "semi-circular" (not particularly circular) plasticard cuts. I split them into pairs and glued a few offcuts in between to space them, then I put 10 thou plasticard over the top of each and they were done. 

The extended tanks were not so easy. It was a lot of measurement and cutting down to make something that fit. None of the photos below (except the one covered in putty) show the little thin pieces which I had to cut out to continue the border around the tanks. That was the most fiddley part. post-23017-0-69992600-1403771651_thumb.jpg


And then, when it was looking as thomas as it could get, when I was in the peak of modelling...I screwed it all up. 
I knew it was "Put down the putty, smooth it into place and then sand it", and I deviated stupidly in two ways. 

The first is that my brain computed this is "wait until its dry"

The second is that I didn't check the grit on my sandpaper


So now I have a lumpy and scratched thomas. Oh well. the first project was always going to screw up somewhere. At least the gaps are filled up though :)
The next step is to prime the model. Unlike the putty, I have decided that a Triang 08 and wagon will be my test dummies. If anybody has any advice on priming I'd love to hear it. I'm going to leave a 24 hour waiting period for the drying of the primer. Hopefully this will all work out.

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I've been going solidly without updating, although I'm not sure if anybody is lurking or cares. 

Here it is after first primer:
and here it is after a visit from the putty fairy and primer claus. Note that I managed to buff out the inconsistencies on the cab front and the scratches on the boiler. 

There were quite a few inperfections on the surface, but I'm fine with them. I've accepted that it wont be perfect, but hopefully after a few more projects I will be able to make something of better quality :)

I first painted an 08. I used Mr. Hobby acrylic paints and I brush painted it. This did a few bad things to the finish. The black paint was especially hard to work with. It went dry and sticky within seconds of application. This meant that brushing over areas to fix inconsistencies resulted in taking paint off and making the problem worse. The only solution was to use really thick paint or leave it to dry for the day. 

I certainly could brush up on my painting ;)


Today I had a go, nervously, at painting my converted E2. I apply the masking tape well, making sure that it's patted down and stuck to the surface well. This doesn't however stop leaks and there are a few minimal but buggy leaks around the paint work > :(. I'll jst have to be patient, wait a day for everything to dry and settle and then attempt to fix these up without causing a greater problem. 


I did two coats of the blue, waiting 1 hour for the paint to dry between the coats. I think it turned out nicely but there are obvious thin and thicker regions. 

I quite fancy that little lick of red down the running plate
Painted just the front o the running plate in black. The smokebox is done but I have to fix up some black paint going into the blue territory. In order to complete the basic paint job I have to paint around the splashers and down the running plate. 

If anybody has been looking at this project feel free to drop a comment :) (even if it is two or three years from now)

Edited by RAWRlab
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Interesting project, not sure if you need one but there's a spare Thomas face on Ebay for very little money


Cheers for the link Londontram, but i'll be sticking the smokebox door back on as the idea of the project is to make a thomas that looks like a (quote, unquote) "real engine" :)

I've also saved the handrails and other details which will find their way back on to the body once painting is finished.

Thanks for taking interest. 

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I have always fancied converting a Wills E2 into the longer tank version, as most of the photos I have seen on Google show the extended tank version. on reflection conversion of the Hornby plastic body may be easier

The plastic in the Hornby body is of less quality than you get these days and much easier to cut up  :butcher:

A quality outcome an be done both ways though. I'd suspect the kit would have more detailing also. 

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I have always fancied converting a Wills E2 into the longer tank version, as most of the photos I have seen on Google show the extended tank version. on reflection conversion of the Hornby plastic body may be easier

ISTR the Brighton actually built 5 of each, short and long tanks, the latter after water capacity on the first (short) batch proved marginal.

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ISTR the Brighton actually built 5 of each, short and long tanks, the latter after water capacity on the first (short) batch proved marginal.



I have read that the second batch of 5 were built with a larger tanks, but apparently still had the problem of how much coal could be carried in the bunker, which was never enlarged. Don't know why there are more photos of the extended tank versions though

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The main paint job has been finished (apart from the wheels) and the smokebox door is glued into place. 
I wont attempt the red lining just yet - I know I'll screw it up because I've never done it before. Instead I'm going to repaint Triang-Hornby Jinty 16440 and attempt lines first there, or maybe on the repainted and unfinished 08 diesel (which will eventually be painted full black). 



here I'm priming the wheels for their paint. I did try painting the wheels without priming but the finish was horrible. If you look at previous posts you'll spot one blue wheel. This was the one test I did with priming and it turned out fantastically :)


cheers for looking and commenting. It makes this more worth while. 

After I'm finished with this project there are a few more things I will do with this thread. Firstly I will make Annie and Clarabell (as if I wouldn't after making a nice thomas) out of (most licely) some cheapely priced Grafar LNER suburban coaches for sale at my train club. Then I will attempt to make some kind of fictional atlantic engine,  taking inspiration from the LBSC atlantic engines. 

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Moving on further I had a go at starting the lining. 


I will never ever thing badly of anybody else's lining ever again. Getting the lining semi-decent is was the single hardest part of this whole project. Surely there's a better way. And of course there is, I used a tooth pick and a kind-of-small paint brush to do the lines. This was the same paint brush as I used for the body. I underestimated the entire painting challenge :no: 


And here's one I prepared earlier. and by earlier I mean two and a half hours of concentration later:  

Both sides aren't exactly symmetrical, but you can't see both sides at once unless your eyes are very close to the sides of your head, so I don't think it matters :)
What does matter is that it's still fairly dodgy. But I will only re-attempt it after having done more projects. I'm not done yet though, blue has dribbles onto the running plate on the tank sides, so I'll have to give painting the running plate another go. This will be very interesting with the lining. 
Once this is done, I'm going to varnish the loco (and wheels, although I'll have to get advice on that) to seal the paint and finish. Then we're done here :)

Speaking of more projects, this is how my test-dummy 08 turned out:
Painted in BR black with red buffer beams and coupling rods. I'll need to buy buffers and transfers for the BR logo. One thing I plan to do in future is scratch make the outside frames with working coupling rods. Feels like that one is harder than it sounds. 


cheers for reading 


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Whilst I finish some touching up- details on my thomas and wait for the paint to dry, I thought I'd try my hands at something else. 

Here is a repainted Triang Jinty that I bought at a train show when I was eleven. 


I believe it was the second loco that I ever owned, but I always found the paint finish rather weird, much too glossy. I also had no idea what the livery was and why the number on the cab side (7286) was different to the number on the smokebox door (16440). Then I realised that somebody had repainted it in its lifetime. Now it's my turn, but I'll be doing more than that. 

I want to turn it into an "open cab" style tank engine with round front windows. It will be painted the same colours as my thomas engine, but without the lettering or numbering. I will at some point make a railway for all of my freelance bodge-job locos, I just haven't thought of anything yet. 

It should, all in all, resemble a 1F loco (image from a quick google search):



I took quickly to the cab with a newly bought saw. It came away easily, but I had to break the cab floor and back. I will make these again out of plasticard. I managed to save the controls, which is important as an open cab engine leaves a lot of cab detailing visible. 





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Using my test dummy, I had an attempt at applying the matt varnish to seal the coat of paint. 

as you can see, it failed. 
I was using Tamya flat clear finish spray. An employee at the hobby store told me that it is suitable for acrylic paints


As is clear though, the varnish took away about a layer of black paint off of the model. I'm certain that I was a fair enough distance away, but I might have misjudged. Would this simply be the wrong product to use?

Once I get this sorted out I can spray thomas and then my first project is completed, which is very exciting :)



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The Humbrol Acrylic sprays should be ok, available as matt,satin and gloss. They should be available in all good hobby shops.

Thanks Nile :) - you're work is amazing and the reason why I started wanting to do projects like this, I'm a little star struck that you're contributing to my thread



So detailing added this is what Thomas looks like:




Once I get the proper acrylic spray, it will be finished, but I mean it's pretty much "finished" now.

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Bought my Annie and Clarabel  - Grafar non-corridor LNER suburban coaches - I don't think I'll modify them, although they look a bit long when paired up with thomas (photos taken at my local club layout)



That being said, the coaches might be long but Thomas looks stupidly tall next to them. And that is because he is stupidly tall. Way too tall for scale I realised. The thing is that I didn't change his height from the original E2, they have the same dimensions (cab height varies by about half a millimetre). This then says that Hornby's E2 was stupidly tall also. 

The buffers are high too, which suggests that the whole model rides too high on the chassis. I would cut down the plastic joiners on the chassis, but that would cause the cab interior to foul to back wheel, and the running plate to foul the splashers. I think I'll just have to leave it for now which is a shame. I could cut it up, but not after all of the work I put into the paint job. It would be a shame to cut up the running plate and splashers (as these aren't hollow) and repaint them. I might do it in future. I'm not so concerned about the cab floor because it's not very visible anyway. 


Moving on with my 1F project:

I made a cab for the engine in much the same way as thomas' cab. I used a roll of duct tape to give me the curvature of the roof. I glued the cab top assembly onto the controls/firebox that I had saved. 


then I added in some little details - two pipes and two gauges - and placed it on the loco to check the aesthetics



Next I made the cab floor and back. I haven't found any really useful images of cab insides, so my detailing is basic, but goes off what I've seen on other models and what I think would make sense. 


At this point I realised that the floor fouled the wheels, so I would have to make functional splashers. I also added a bunker door. 


Then I built the splashers and made a nice looking lever. 


The splashers don't look right on their own because they're built to fit snugly with the firebox and control detailing on the cab front. 


more things coming,  thanks for you interest.





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  • 4 weeks later...

Haven't posted on this in a while, but I've finished the existing project, and another, and started a new one. 

So, to wrap up my freelance/1F loco:


I bought some brake fluid at the auto shop, soaked my loco in it for a bit so that the paint flaked off:

Eventually enough had come off that I was happy with it, I sanded down some of the other flakes but some of them seemed so well stuck on that they wouldn't be a future issue, so I left them. 


I then glued the cab and floor into place, it gives the final shape which I was happy with, so I moved on to the priming stages


Whilst I waited for the primer I also painted the wheels. One of the conrod screws was absolutely stuck - never to budge. So I thought of a radical solution. When I primed the centre wheel set, I just left both conrods in place and primed them too. I then painted them white which I think adds a nice touch:


Isn't it nice how complete a model looks with primer?


unfortunately a few paint flakes did cause a problem, so heres a shot after a bit of sanding. You can see how bad it looks around the chimney and hand rails. I sanded that back too after this shot and continued on. 

Then I went on to painting. It would have the same colour scheme as my converted thomas, but I also wanted it to have white lining to match the conrods.I also think that the white lining makes it look...prettier for lack of a better word. I like the class and old-style look given to it by the double lining and the spectacle windows.


and then a completed shot, of this freelence/1F inspired locomotive


I added the white to the buffers because I believe this adds to the old style of the paint scheme. 

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Moving Swiftly on, a few side notes. 

The height of the thomas bugged me enough during the planning stages for my next projects, a freelance atlantic engine, that I changed it. 

I tore off the cab roof and then cut down the back and sides of the cab. I altered the front of the cab so that the original cab roof height was used. Instead of filling gaps with plasticard (what lead to the heightened roof originally) I just used putty. 


I don't have a shot of it, but I primed the cab front and the roof, then I painted and we have Thomas MkII



A side thing that I did was one wagon repaint and a wagon build.


the open wagon is a triang wagon, I replaced the wheels so that it runs much smoother and cuts much less pizza.

The closed van is a freelance design, just like my whole fleet now apparently. It's based of of a southern four wheel utility wagon.
I thought to build it because those wagons feature a lot in the original seasons of Thomas, and I always liked the look of them, so it would be appropriate to make one for my rendition of the blue engine to haul. 


It's made entirely of plasticard. I took in the triang wagon to the hobby shop so that I would know what a good spacing for the indents (representing the wooden plank width) was. There were a few options for "wood" looking plasticard.It went together easily enough, I'm happy with how it turned out, but I just don't know what to do with the roof! It's so plain, it just needs some details but I'm not yet crafty enough to make them.  


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Final update for today, here starts my new project:

I bought a Hornby 90's-something tender drive scotsman from ebay. My original plan (a while ago) was to do this:


but I revised my plan, using a scale drawing to this:


I drew it using the dimensions of the flying scotsman drawing in 4mm scale, although the length of the front truck and the spacing between the wheels was guesswork. 


My ebay purchase came in the mail a few days ago, so I went straight to work at carving it up

Here it is, although I'm sure you've all seen a Hornby flying scotsman


but I'm sure not all of you have seen it's guts. Here it is with the back wheel removed and the conrods appropriately cut. 


Heres a comparison to the scale drawing. 


it turns out that I underestimated the length and spacing of the front truck. This means that I know how more space to work with, which is nice because the model was looking particularly short. 

One problem that I do face is mounting the pony truck. I have to carve up the metal chassis...somehow...and put it on. 

Luckily for me a solution was handed to me. The truck wheels were rediculously not parallel to eachother. There was so much wobble that this thing probably could and would derail on the best made straight track in the world. So what else was I to do but remove the tyres


now I can just solder (weld??glue??) the truck in place on the chassis and it can be fixed, like on the super detailed A3's and A4's. 


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  • 2 weeks later...

Another week's work on my atlantic project:

I bought a well priced metal cutting hacksaw from the hardware store, and a tube of PVC pipe which is just under the diameter of the scotsman's smokebox. It measures at a scale 5'2" diameter, which is kind of small. I'm thinking of gluing 20thou plasticard around the outside to increase its diameter. 

Anyway, I used the hacksaw to cut down the chassis:


on the front bit is a piece of the original running plate that I had cut down to fit. I didn't really want to make a sweep like that out of platicard so I had to be resourceful. 


I cut down the smokebox a bit more, just to make it a bit shorter and allow for a longer boiler. One of the hardest aspect of this project is making the boiler look long enough. As is exampled from my cut and shut flying scotsman image, if done wrong this could turn into a stubby engine indeed. 

I had to cut off the steam pipes and sand down the sides of the smokebox too, to make it all round. 


I also cut the chimney in half


and made it larger. I also made the front running plate assembly. 


I used putty to fill in the rest of the funnel. It's not the greatest funnel but I wanted something taller. I'm going to do something similar once I salvage the dome. 

You'll also notice that I cut down the side rods significantly, getting rid of the valve gear and the reverser. I could make the running plate as low as I wanted it with those pesky things in the way so I cut them off :)

Needless to say this would be a 2 stroke engine - 2 strokes and it stops. Oh well. 

Next I assembled the running plate of the wheels. The splashers were significantly easier to make, as I had a spare driving wheel which I could take off the axle and trace around. 


and gluing it to the rest of the running plate asembly


then I completed the tops. My idea here is that I will cut the boiler to fit over the splashers. I thought this was the easiest way to assemble the locomotive from experimentation. 


and here with the cut pipe


you'll notice that the smokebox is sort of slanted. This is a result of the front of the running plate leaning upwards. If it didn't do this then the buffer beam would be way too low. It doesnt fuss me that the angle of the plate is wonky, but I'll have to cut down the smokebox cradle at an angle to flatten this all out. 

There is also a significant gap between the boiler and the smokebox. I'll just cut some pipe (I have a whole metre and a half more) to fit in there and putty it all up when I'm done. 


Next, onto the back running plate, the cab and firebox. 


I should also mention that I cut the tender down significantly. I don't right now have any photos which demonstrate this, but that tender was at the entire height of the flying scotsman, which is much too high for this lower atlantic engine. 

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  • 1 month later...

Glad people are still interested :)
well...the word "progression" is open to interpretation. None of these interpretations would say that I have porogressed. 
Uni got back on the heat and I realised how much stuff still had to go on with this build. 

The piece of boiler I got, I cut it up to fit (as shown above) but the diameter is still too small and it's an incredibly wonky fit. I'm currently trawling ebay for a cheap B12 body becaue I think it will be better suited for the job. 


Also not shown here is a tender. I find that weird because I swear the fisrt photo was of the tender, but I guess I didn't put it up. It's a fowler style tender,using the base of the scotsman's. So it's fairly long but it'll do. 

I'll have to really jump back into this soon though. Summer holidays are on the way and I'll have four months to do whatever I like and fill my time with getting this complete. 

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And the updates roll on. 

I got around to buying that B12 body. Wasn't as cheap as I'd imagined, but I didn't have to buy a whole engine either so that's better. 

It should arrive just after my exams, so  procrastination will be low thank god  :good:


Anyway, I took some pictures of the tender I made. Like the rest of the project it's very rough. As I noted in my updates, I had to put it down a bit, so it's rough on top and I  haven't sanded it yet. 



The tender looks like it's wonky, I assure you that it's not and that I just didnt put it on the base properly before I took the photo (and only realised when I uploaded the images to my computer). Theres a lot of putty work to go in filling up the area between the base and the walls, although I'm reluctant to do that (or glue anything) as this restricts all access to the motor, which isn't good. 

The motor also needs a nice fix. The pickups from the loco work fine but it can't pick up power from it's own wheels. I'll have to do  bit of investigation into the problem by pulling a few things apart and making it worse  :crazy:

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  • 4 weeks later...

Alright, Exams are over so its time to get things back in swing. 

Firstly (and not pictured) I removed the trailing wheel and connection piece from the back truck. I'm going to build a light plasticard one under the cab as my dummy because this is just easier than thinking about welding or other metal joining techniques. 


The B12 came in the mail:post-23017-0-76500200-1416187244_thumb.jpg

I was really surprised by the quality. This coming from a triang mold and being within the "railway" range made me think it would be sub-par, but it was absolutely worth every dollar and had some really nice detail so good job Mr. Hornby. 

The only guff I have with it is that it's not as long as I'm expecting. I wasn't going to use the cab anyway, but I'm forced to remove it and extend the body. It wil work because the extension will just be the firebox, so I just need to add in the top half of a pvc tube cut-off and made the desired triangular shape with plasticard. I also need to cut off the running plate, as tragic as that is, and use my custom one, because the B12 running plate will not fit over the pistons. 

Now, if you look at the original drawing, I would have hoped for a bigger dome than the B12 has, and a different type of safety valve. I had a mainline pannier tank body shell lying around, whose lovely safety valve and massive dome gave me an idea - cut him up!  :crazy:  


Pictured is the lovely tank, murdered in plain daylight for it's lovely looking parts. When will the tragedy end? 
Well not soon, as I cut off that short dome in the B12 and sanded it down. 


I then sanded the dome and top feed to the profile of the boiler by wrapping sandpaper around a pvc tube and getting to work. 


And here with the dome glued on and the top feed fitted on. Those with sensitive stomachs and attachment to engines of the LNER may want to avert their attention.  post-23017-0-13702700-1416187213_thumb.jpg

I'm not sure about whether or not the top feed suits the aesthetic I was going for so I wont glue it down until I have the whole model structurally complete. 


Next thing is that the running plate needed little sweeps down from the splasher height to the buffer height under the cab. I just didn't know how to make those lovely curves out of plastic. "If only there was one long piece of curved plastic which is thin enough," I wondered to the universe, and then the answer came, it's once again the pvc pipe. 



I cut out a quarter of the circle, and then cut that in half. I trimmed these to fit the width of the running plate and glued pieces together to from two "s" shapes. This made my gentle sweep down which the firebox will follow to the cab. 



That's all for today. Thanks for reading  :sungum:




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So today stuff really kicked off. I have most of the basic structure finished, the only thing to go is making a mock pony truck and figuring out the firebox (which I am not looking forward to at all). 

First thing was to finish the running plate. Was pretty easy, just glued components together and cut them down in places to eliminate wonkyness. The largest problem I've had is stuff being wonky and only discovering it after the glue has set. It's a real pain and it happened a few times with each section of the running plate. 


Then I removed the boiler of the B12 from the rest of the body (also cutting out the splashers)


Then the hard part, I did take in pictures but I had to figure out where the new splashers would need to be on the boiler. I then used a piece of tube and for an hour I sanded down the boiler to fit the splashers. Then I spent at least another half hour adjusting this and other aspects of the boiler piece to make it fit properly (and non-wonky in all directions). It was just so draining but it had to be done. In the end I was left with this:


I also added some detail on the running plate front. Not sure what those details extended from the saddle are called, but they really improved the look of the locomotive and helped me get a little bit closer to the big picture.  


Then I faced the issue of needed more boiler section for the firebox. Whilst searching through parts I found the flying scotsman boiler. The front section was only slightly too large, So i sanded it down to fit nicely on the back of the B12 boiler and it worked very nicely. post-23017-0-83083300-1416830408_thumb.jpg


And I though I'd have troubles making the boiler long enough :P

Then, and without many photos, I constructed the cab. I'm not happy with it though. It makes it look toy-like. But I don't know what I can do to improve it. There's just something wrong. 


for the interior I salvaged the firrebox detail from the B12 and the reverser (I think its the reverser. Otherwise big red lever  :pardon: )  from the pannier tank. I had some wood-detail plasticard left from the wagon scratch build, so I used that to decorate the floor. 



all for now, more progress soon. Thanks for reading. 


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