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Title: Maelstrom Games dead - but sneaky trading
Description: Wayland Games lays the smacketh down!


Wolf Lord Mjolnir - November 12, 2012 01:33 PM (GMT)
Not so straight cut and very interesting:
http://www.belloflostsouls.net/2012/11/ret...wn-and-out.html

Pacific - November 12, 2012 02:22 PM (GMT)
The writing has been on the wall for Maelstrom for some time - incredible that this managed to happen in years when the wargaming/miniature industry has supposedly grown almost 20%, but then as the article says they were just taking too much money out of the company and when they hit a bump in the road couldn't protect themselves.

I've got a lot of time for Wayland though and I can completely understand why they have done this. Maelstrom Games taking Simple Games down with it would have been a massive blow to the gaming industry. I already think this is going to be really damaging though - I was relatively lucky and only lost 5 in outstanding orders from them, but anyone who has lost serious money over this is very unlikely to want to go and spend the same thing again elsewhere, and is more likely to dump wargaming as a hobby entirely.

Will be interesting to see where things go from here though - Wayland have always seemed a quite conscientious company, and having spoken to the guy who runs it he seems very prudent and mindful of mis-managing the company down the path followed by Maelstrom. They are having a massive refurbishment at the moment for instance but are doing it gradually rather than sinking a massive amount of cash and then leaving the company vulnerable.

ShroudFilm - November 12, 2012 05:12 PM (GMT)
QUOTE (Pacific @ Nov 12 2012, 02:22 PM)
Wayland have always seemed a quite conscientious company, and having spoken to the guy who runs it he seems very prudent and mindful of mis-managing the company down the path followed by Maelstrom.

Wow... really?

Looking at Wayland's business practices, they are 100% dedicated to bringing down all competition with extremely aggressive marketing and undercutting. Buying up debt on a rival is practically loading a gun...

Knowing the kind of crap they pull behind the scenes, I'm amazed there isn't more geek-rage directed at them by the gaming community.

The Fabricator General - November 12, 2012 07:28 PM (GMT)
I've generally heard pretty good things about Wayland games in the media but my group of gamer friends have had very poor experiences.

I will continue to shop with Firestorm games down in Cardiff, great guys and a great venue.

Marcoos - November 12, 2012 08:57 PM (GMT)
I don't think either of the retailers has come out of this in a good light. Maelstrom's practices are highly dubious (possibly worse) and show terrible customer service, but I do not buy for one single minute that Wayland did what they did for anything other than their own gains. Now that's not bad business practice, and I'm sure it only replicates what happens in many other industries. But to try and paint themselves as the gaming community's knight in shining armour is treating us hobbyists as though we are naive in the extreme.

I won't be using either business for my hobby fix in the future (well obviously not Maelstrom, but not their derivative company either). I am in more of a quandry about Maelstrom's Gaming Centre. This is seond only to GW in my opinion in the UK, and offers much better events (and drinking hours!) compared to GW. It's a great benefit to the community, and I don't think it serves us well to 'take it down' just to get back at Maelstrom.

Astelan - November 12, 2012 10:27 PM (GMT)
While I agree with the general consensus that Wayland Games have not acted out of altruism or a sense of lead figure based nobility, I also agree with their decision and would even go so far as to applaud their course of action.

Whilst Shroud might describe the purchasing of a competitors debt as 'practically loading the gun', it's common business practice and can be argued that by doing so, secured Simple Miniatures as a healthy and continuing business. Without the quick purchase by Wayland, Simple may have been left waiting months longer for a less favourable deal from a debt purchaser. Loading the gun and then taking Ol' Yella out the back of the barn might seem unscrupulous, but Maelstrom/Rob Lane were clearly in a pit of trouble that they could either, not climb out of, or had no intention of trying to.

The borderline legality of continued trading, taking orders and cash from customers in what basically amounts to a Ponzi scheme, enhances the possibility that the latter of the two previous options was the reality. Funnelling cash and company assets out of Maelstrom into assorted shell companies and new concerns, really seals the deal for a lot of people who have been following this case.

I personally like Wayland, the fact that they are based in my backyard helps matters, and I hope that TTN (Table Top Nation) proves a big hit. Sure, they have an aggressive attitude toward competitors and pricing, but that is the nature of business these days. Online sales and competitive pricing are what currently drives the industry. With the plethora of forum and online meeting places with which hobbyists can share their ideas, the age of bricks and mortar stores is slowly coming to an end.

I will be boycotting future ventures by Rob Lane, this includes Eye of the Storm and Mierce, simply because I strongly believe that his intention during the last days/weeks of Maelstroms death rattle, was to take customers for everything that he could. I'm truly surprised he hasn't grown a twirly bounder moustache and run for the hills with a vaudeville cackle.

Pacific - November 12, 2012 11:33 PM (GMT)
Think Wayland just offer 10% off RRP right? I don't think it's too aggressive, more the fact that they are almost a kind of gaming 'megastore' where it's possible to buy a bunch of different stuff all in one go. Although often I try and order from the smaller places (Total Wargamer etc.) if possible.

And if Simple Games had been allowed to fail the fallout would have been even worse for the rest of the smaller sellers who would have had their supply cut off. So, I guess regardless of their motivations it's probably better that they didn't go down.

rabblerouser - November 13, 2012 03:46 AM (GMT)
QUOTE (ShroudFilm @ Nov 12 2012, 05:12 PM)
Wow... really?

Looking at Wayland's business practices, they are 100% dedicated to bringing down all competition with extremely aggressive marketing and undercutting. Buying up debt on a rival is practically loading a gun...

Knowing the kind of crap they pull behind the scenes, I'm amazed there isn't more geek-rage directed at them by the gaming community.

+1

It was an aggressive tactic to eliminate a competitor before they could pay down the debt. The whole saving simple games and avoiding the fallout is a bunch of bull.

ShroudFilm - November 13, 2012 05:53 PM (GMT)
Astelan - is that what they're saying? Buying out a debt does not mean lending the struggling business a hand - it's the complete opposite. They buy the debt from whoever Maelstrom owed money to, for a discount quick-sale, so the legal creditor changes - Maelstrom (or whoever is in charge of that cack-handed operation) now owes Wayland the SAME amount of money as they owed the previous people.

How is that supposed to help anyone? That just forces Maelstrom into even quicker bankruptcy, because Wayland will start seizing assets and selling them off at even greater discount.

TBH, if I were Maelstrom, I would have destroyed all my unsold stock and liquidated all assets as quickly as possible. Screw you, Wayland. :lol:

Marcoos - November 13, 2012 07:31 PM (GMT)
QUOTE (ShroudFilm @ Nov 13 2012, 05:53 PM)

TBH, if I were Maelstrom, I would have destroyed all my unsold stock and liquidated all assets as quickly as possible. Screw you, Wayland.  :lol:


That's pretty much what they did. Dozens of spam emails alleging a 'warehouse move' to sell off stock, whilst transferring assets to two new companies.

Astelan - November 14, 2012 08:12 AM (GMT)
QUOTE (ShroudFilm @ Nov 13 2012, 05:53 PM)
Astelan - is that what they're saying? Buying out a debt does not mean lending the struggling business a hand - it's the complete opposite. They buy the debt from whoever Maelstrom owed money to, for a discount quick-sale, so the legal creditor changes - Maelstrom (or whoever is in charge of that cack-handed operation) now owes Wayland the SAME amount of money as they owed the previous people.

How is that supposed to help anyone? That just forces Maelstrom into even quicker bankruptcy, because Wayland will start seizing assets and selling them off at even greater discount.

TBH, if I were Maelstrom, I would have destroyed all my unsold stock and liquidated all assets as quickly as possible. Screw you, Wayland. :lol:

Shroud, Wayland buying the debt did nothing to help Maelstrom, why would they want to help Maelstrom, one of their largest competitors, out of the greedy hole it's owners had dug?

It did, however, help Simple Miniatures, the main creditor, out of the hole they were in. By buying the debt from Simple, Wayland helped to secure one of the most important wholesalers in the business. Without Waylands purchase, Simple could have been waiting months extra for a regular debt purchaser to come up with terms, or Maelstrom may, by that time, have already gone into liquidation, leaving them chasing the possibility of pennies on their owed pounds.

I get that you dislike Wayland, I'm sure everybody gets that you dislike Wayland, but why support Maelstrom, the company which blithely rips the customer off? As for burning assets? They didn't need to, they transferred everything out of Maelstrom during their last period of business, something which I'm sure the appointed liquidator will look at in due time.

Cloud Runner - November 14, 2012 01:49 PM (GMT)
I don't always agree with Shroud's opinions on things, but I must say that this time I think we're both on the same page.


@Asteland - IMO there's a couple of flaws in your post and the statements issued in general.


Wayland purchased a debt for a 'nominal fee' which does not mean they would have paid anywhere near the amount owed to Simple Miniatures.

Simple Miniatures themselves said that the debt in question has depleted the reserves they built up over time, but that they would be able to continue and just have to take longer to implement their plans.


So tell me how Wayland paying a pittance gets them out of aa hole? All it does is give them some short term cash and remove the debt from their books.



If you look at Waylands statement they openly admitted that they tried to purchase the Maelstrom business on two seperate occassions, both of which were rejected.


So in true spolit teenager tantrum style, they go wading in with a debt they've purchased and I suspect they issued a sell us the business or we put you under ultimatum.



Don't get me wrong, I think maelstrom's practices have been questionable at best, but Waylands motives and bull about saving the industry just don't wash.

If anything, I think Waylands (and Maelstrom's) actions will hurt the industry more than help it.


And don;t start on the Maelstrom knowingly took money without stock to supply rubbish either.

It's exactly the same thing that Wayland (and probably a lot of other retailers - certainly in other sectors) are doing. Their system (which they have corroborated themselves) satys that a green light means it's in stock or they can order it.

Hmm, sounds a lot like taking the money without having the goods to supply doesn't it?


The only saving grace that Wayland have is that they still have good relations with their suppliers and can get stock in.

But to be honest, if I were GW (probably Waylands major supplier and best selling lines) I'd be thinking about changing the terms for supply to independents like they did last year, to remind them that trade accounts are a priviledge and not a right.


Wayland did a good thing in helping out a supplier, but I don;t believe for one minute that was the reason they did it - it was too good an opportunity for them to miss, and they did what any other business would have done.

As have Maelstrom and the protection of assets.


At the end of the dfay, it's all good business and no-one here wins at all.

Astelan - November 14, 2012 04:31 PM (GMT)
QUOTE (Cloud Runner @ Nov 14 2012, 01:49 PM)
I don't always agree with Shroud's opinions on things, but I must say that this time I think we're both on the same page.


@Asteland - IMO there's a couple of flaws in your post and the statements issued in general.


Wayland purchased a debt for a 'nominal fee' which does not mean they would have paid anywhere near the amount owed to Simple Miniatures.

Simple Miniatures themselves said that the debt in question has depleted the reserves they built up over time, but that they would be able to continue and just have to take longer to implement their plans.


So tell me how Wayland paying a pittance gets them out of aa hole? All it does is give them some short term cash and remove the debt from their books.



If you look at Waylands statement they openly admitted that they tried to purchase the Maelstrom business on two seperate occassions, both of which were rejected.


So in true spolit teenager tantrum style, they go wading in with a debt they've purchased and I suspect they issued a sell us the business or we put you under ultimatum.



Don't get me wrong, I think maelstrom's practices have been questionable at best, but Waylands motives and bull about saving the industry just don't wash.

If anything, I think Waylands (and Maelstrom's) actions will hurt the industry more than help it.


And don;t start on the Maelstrom knowingly took money without stock to supply rubbish either.

It's exactly the same thing that Wayland (and probably a lot of other retailers - certainly in other sectors) are doing. Their system (which they have corroborated themselves) satys that a green light means it's in stock or they can order it.

Hmm, sounds a lot like taking the money without having the goods to supply doesn't it?


The only saving grace that Wayland have is that they still have good relations with their suppliers and can get stock in.

But to be honest, if I were GW (probably Waylands major supplier and best selling lines) I'd be thinking about changing the terms for supply to independents like they did last year, to remind them that trade accounts are a priviledge and not a right.


Wayland did a good thing in helping out a supplier, but I don;t believe for one minute that was the reason they did it - it was too good an opportunity for them to miss, and they did what any other business would have done.

As have Maelstrom and the protection of assets.


At the end of the dfay, it's all good business and no-one here wins at all.

Strawman arguments to a letter.

I am aware that the debt was bought for a nominal fee. I am also aware of how much that nominal fee was. I assure you, if you think it's a case of 'Nowhere near what was owed', you would be wrong. A nominal fee is just that, nominal, decided by the fee issuer. It does not always mean a 'pittance'

Simple Miniatures statement, that they are not about to go under, was issued after the debt had been purchased by Wayland. If the issue of the debt had been allowed to run to it's conclusion (Maelstrom going under) then this might not have been the case. Although supplier creditors sit higher up the food chain than customer creditors do when the remains of the company are divided up, it's not much higher when compared to banks and landlords.

Wayland have openly admitted that they offered to buy out Maelstrom. What you make no mention of was the fact the initial offers were to buy the company and honour ALL of their debts. Maelstroms final debts ran to the figure of over 500,000. These offers went unanswered. It's a matter of opinion as to the style of how they went about purchasing the debt and issuing their statement to Maelstrom that the debt was being called in. It was done professionally and legally, very little of the 'Spoilt teenager' about it.

As for taking money without stock, I have never said this was an issue, it's done all the time in every industry in the world. You take an order from a customer, either take a deposit and use your capital to order their goods or get them to pay for the goods up front and then order it from your supplier. However, taking money for items then using that money to pay for a previous customers order, is fraudulent. It is known as a Ponzi scheme. The people most hurt by this scheme is, you guessed it, the customers who place their orders last.

The protection of assets when a company goes into liquidation, is a hotly contested point. Firesaling everything and funneling large amounts of cash into other ventures, is borderline. I expect the appointed liquidator will have quite a lot of dodgy paperwork to wade through.

Finally, I'll just ask you one question. With over 500,000 (that's half a million s worth of lead figures) of debt, and their main creditor already looking at debt purchasing companies, what need did Wayland have to purchase the debt? Why spend the money (most of which they will never get back) when Maelstrom would likely be down the pan by Easter '13?

If they had no interest in Simple or the rest of the industry, they could have sat back with a bucket of popcorn and watched the good ship Maelstrom go down without lifting a finger.

I'm not trying to White Knight Wayland into being the saviour of all things miniature, but I cannot see why some people would be aggrieved by their actions. Rob Lane is a scumbag who took customers for a ride while trying to line his own pockets.

rabblerouser - November 15, 2012 03:48 AM (GMT)
QUOTE (Astelan @ Nov 14 2012, 08:12 AM)
It did, however, help Simple Miniatures, the main creditor, out of the hole they were in. By buying the debt from Simple, Wayland helped to secure one of the most important wholesalers in the business. Without Waylands purchase, Simple could have been waiting months extra for a regular debt purchaser to come up with terms, or Maelstrom may, by that time, have already gone into liquidation, leaving them chasing the possibility of pennies on their owed pounds.

No one is saying Simple Miniatures is worse off by this. They took the deal because it made them better off. However, Wayland did not buy the debt because they wanted to help Simple Miniatures - they bought the debt because they knew if they called it, it would force Maelstrom into liquidation.

Pacific - November 15, 2012 08:44 AM (GMT)
Although it in Wayland's interests to not let Simple Miniatures fold, which would have happened if they had lost the money owed to them by Maelstrom (which was substantial). They would have lost one of their main suppliers - not doing anything would have been a massive kick to the balls, to put it crudely, of the entire UK wargaming industry.

Maelstrom games are the ones at fault here - it's been written above so I won't repeat here, but essentially taking too much money out of the company and a level of mismanagement that meant they owed a massive amount of money which they were unable to pay. Then are the ones now responsible for people having lost money to a company that has now gone into liquidation, not Wayland who from the looks of things recognise that this industry isn't really large enough to be able to withstand such a failure and are at least trying to prop up the storm-damaged foundations.

Noserenda - November 15, 2012 10:12 AM (GMT)
Frankly Maelstrom are the ones who took my money in the knowledge that that couldnt provide the goods and likely would never be able to, I bought the items in August so it looks like they werent even filling old orders with new customers money as they claimed.

A company going down the tubes because they cant help it is one thing but going down because you put all the money into your other businesses and screw the consequences for the customers and suppliers is quite another.

Whatever their intentions may or may not have been Wayland has done us all a favour!

(Not that id buy off them again after some awful customer service in the past either...)

Ilmarinen - November 15, 2012 02:24 PM (GMT)
QUOTE (Noserenda @ Nov 15 2012, 10:12 AM)
Frankly Maelstrom are the ones who took my money in the knowledge that that couldnt provide the goods and likely would never be able to, I bought the items in August so it looks like they werent even filling old orders with new customers money as they claimed.

A company going down the tubes because they cant help it is one thing but going down because you put all the money into your other businesses and screw the consequences for the customers and suppliers is quite another.

Whatever their intentions may or may not have been Wayland has done us all a favour!

(Not that id buy off them again after some awful customer service in the past either...)

So... we're all going to happily buy direct from GW from now on then?!? :lol:

*ducks for cover*



Actually, that should have read '...buy happily from FW from now on...'! :D

Pacific - November 15, 2012 07:11 PM (GMT)
Was going to say.. not unless they have started selling mkIII armour or Infinity minis? Perhaps I should phone up and ask? :D

I've always tried to order from smaller shops where possible - Total Wargamer is pretty near to me, and the owner is a top chap so I'd rather buy from them whenever possible.

Lord Commander Solus - November 15, 2012 08:14 PM (GMT)
Play EVE online, and stuff like this would be considered gentle. Usually instead of using clever marketing, corporate opponents will infiltrate you, access your assets and wallets, then shut down all station shielding, empty the assets into their private wallet, then run away and laugh. :lol:

'course, this is real and EVE is not, but still... playing that game gives you a thicker skin when it comes to scumbaggery in the economy. Scamming is encouraged ffs.

rabblerouser - November 15, 2012 10:18 PM (GMT)
QUOTE (Pacific @ Nov 15 2012, 08:44 AM)
Although it in Wayland's interests to not let Simple Miniatures fold, which would have happened if they had lost the money owed to them by Maelstrom (which was substantial).

You don't know that. And I sincerely doubt that's the case. First of all, it's not THAT much money considering they are a pretty big distributor in the UK. Second - simple miniatures could have sold the debt themselves or forced maelstrom to liquidate. This is all assuming that Maelstrom wasn't going to pay off the debt in due time - which may be false too. Wayland probably paid a premium for that debt just to take out a competitor.

Pacific - November 15, 2012 10:54 PM (GMT)
So you're saying 'you don't know that on the one hand', then just assuming the entire reasoning behind it was just to f over a competitor?

First of all, the data released so far supports that Maelstrom had racked up massive debts and that those debts were not being paid (not just from Wayland's comments, from Simple Miniatures statement about this).

Secondly having spoken to a person who is 'in the know' (sorry.. I know I sound like a tosser for saying that ;) ) I was told about a month ago that Maelstrom was going under because of its massive debts. I was told (and this has been corroborated by the statements released subsequently) that despite their profit levels they had taken too much money out of the company - they hit a bump in the road, debts multiplied and a vicious tail-spin began. The person thought at the time that Maelstrom had at least paid Simple Miniatures, because if they hadn't they would have taken the distributor with them as Maelstrom were their biggest customer.

I guess the point is here though that we won't know 100% what has happened. I do think though that Maelstrom folding, and taking people's money with it, is bad for everyone, other retailers and even Wayland. Imagine if you had sunk a couple of hundred pounds into goods you hadn't received - you are hardly going to go and do the same thing in the near future with any other mail order retailer. You're far more likely to have a bitter taste in your mouth and keep the money, possibly even quit wargaming altogether. The whole thing is a mess, but considering how bad things could have been (with the loss of Simple miniatures, and the fallout that would have caused) then, whatever part Wayland played, what we have seen since is something of a lesser evil.

Noserenda - November 16, 2012 12:46 AM (GMT)
QUOTE (Ilmarinen @ Nov 15 2012, 02:24 PM)

So... we're all going to happily buy direct from GW from now on then?!? :lol:

*ducks for cover*



Actually, that should have read '...buy happily from FW from now on...'! :D

Forgeworld is my master now :D

That and Dark Sphere now they want money again... Tbh if they hadnt stopped selling id never have gone elsewhere and had all these issues!

rabblerouser - November 16, 2012 04:09 AM (GMT)
QUOTE (Pacific @ Nov 15 2012, 10:54 PM)
So you're saying 'you don't know that on the one hand', then just assuming the entire reasoning behind it was just to f over a competitor?

First of all, the data released so far supports that Maelstrom had racked up massive debts and that those debts were not being paid (not just from Wayland's comments, from Simple Miniatures statement about this).

Secondly having spoken to a person who is 'in the know' (sorry.. I know I sound like a tosser for saying that ;) ) I was told about a month ago that Maelstrom was going under because of its massive debts. I was told (and this has been corroborated by the statements released subsequently) that despite their profit levels they had taken too much money out of the company - they hit a bump in the road, debts multiplied and a vicious tail-spin began. The person thought at the time that Maelstrom had at least paid Simple Miniatures, because if they hadn't they would have taken the distributor with them as Maelstrom were their biggest customer.

I guess the point is here though that we won't know 100% what has happened. I do think though that Maelstrom folding, and taking people's money with it, is bad for everyone, other retailers and even Wayland. Imagine if you had sunk a couple of hundred pounds into goods you hadn't received - you are hardly going to go and do the same thing in the near future with any other mail order retailer. You're far more likely to have a bitter taste in your mouth and keep the money, possibly even quit wargaming altogether. The whole thing is a mess, but considering how bad things could have been (with the loss of Simple miniatures, and the fallout that would have caused) then, whatever part Wayland played, what we have seen since is something of a lesser evil.

Yes, I firmly believe it was to take out maelstrom. Because otherwise it's highly unusual for one company to buy a competitor's debt. If it was not for that, why did wayland get involved? Simple miniatures was not struggling. As they said in their statement, maelstrom was one of several dozen customers, and the debt had no affect on them being able to pay their own bills. They could have called it themselves or sold it to collections, but wayland probably offered them a premium, or at least a quick solution because this way they would be able to eliminate a competitor before christmas.

Pacific - November 16, 2012 10:02 AM (GMT)
I've already said twice mate why they bought the debt!

I guess ultimately the evidence is there for what happened, the impetus is on the purchaser to read through it and come to a conclusion about it. Then to make a decision on where to buy from in the future, assuming they haven't been burned by Maelstrom and decided to give this whole toy soldiers thing a rest.

rabblerouser - November 17, 2012 03:36 AM (GMT)
I know what you're saying, I just don't buy it. Would you give up the hobby if you were burned by maelstrom? Assuming my credit card refused to reimburse me, I would probably huff and puff about it but would not give my toy soldier crack. I honestly doubt there are many that would stay away for long (hard to do since GW & others keeps putting out cool stuff)

And to be honest, I find this whole mess puts me off buying from wayland in the future if anything.

eFTy - November 18, 2012 02:13 AM (GMT)
QUOTE (Lord Commander Solus @ Nov 15 2012, 08:14 PM)
Play EVE online, and stuff like this would be considered gentle. Usually instead of using clever marketing, corporate opponents will infiltrate you, access your assets and wallets, then shut down all station shielding, empty the assets into their private wallet, then run away and laugh. :lol:

'course, this is real and EVE is not, but still... playing that game gives you a thicker skin when it comes to scumbaggery in the economy. Scamming is encouraged ffs.

You, sir, make me miss playing EVE...

As for the whole Wayland vs Maelstrom - they're both companies out to make money. One has gone under (good riddance) the other is flourishing. So far Wayland hasn't lost any of my minies, and they have good prices (20% off RRP with occasional free shipping).

In the end, what matters to me is getting the lovely miniatures at the most affordable price, and so far Wayland has done what I need them to do. Until they cease doing so, I don't care about what else they do (so long as it's legal). The whole TTN thing is a bit meh, but we'll see how that ends up.

And another point re: assholery in business - didn't GW trump everyone with the 'no more dealing outside EU' change in dealing terms, for the sake of hobby shops (think of the children!)?

Pacific - November 18, 2012 10:49 AM (GMT)
Yup, that one got me in the ass when I was living in Korea. I can understand the logic of doing it in Aus/NZ, where they were defending the inflated prices in stores (based on out of date exchange rates), but it essentially killed GW in any country in Australasia that had limited or no GW/local gaming stores (i.e. most of them).

Proof of the pudding was that an annual painting comp held in Seoul changed from all GW stuff in previous years to probably no more than 50% the last year I was there, the rest of the entrants being made up of Warmachine/Infinity/Malifaux and the like.




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