(Topic ID: 49344)

Bally Playboy Restore

By rufessor

7 years ago

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  • 231 posts
  • 30 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 10 months ago by rufessor
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There are 231 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 5.
#1 7 years ago

Hi All-

Well... here we go again. Got a 1978 Playboy for free. Probably saved myself 200 bucks, cause the only great part of the game is the back glass the electronics and the mechanical. The play field is moderately trashed with some medium sized areas worn through to wood, mostly lower dead center and a stripe down the middle of the grotto capture lane (all typical). The plastics are worthless and need to be thrown out now. The cabinet is decent actually, very clean interior no structural issues good paint for the most part with a little chipping along the bottom from people having it in storage and dragging it around on carpet with the legs off. The head is a little worse, some structural issues with the top trim piece being loose (can fix) and worse paint but stenciling is actually mostly pretty good.

So... I am thinking that I will get new plastics, top strip the play field and try to retouch the whole thing to as near to original as I can get it. I have done a hand retouched restoration before and it came out very well, but this has a bit more wear through to the wood and more lettering that would need to be restored... so its a step up the difficulty scale.

If anyone happens to have a better play field they want to sell... please let me know. Not willing to put CPR repro money into the game- so maybe someone has one they replaced but its in better shape than mine.

I managed to get all the wiring harnesses sorted and apparently plugged into the correct sockets cause power on and the game plays! Seems perfectly functional but for the fact that 50% of the bulbs are out, it had about 15 new bulbs in a bag in the cabinet and every place I have replaced bulbs they have worked immediately, so power is going everywhere (I intentionally replaced random bulbs across the entire machine to check this). Play is actually kinda fun, its very fast compared to my 1977 Gottlieb super spin, one year older but pure EM.. the SS games are a lot more powerful when your used playing the EM's.

So, thinking- what the heck, dump 250-300 into it in plastics, rubber, a few things like bumper caps etc, new glass... and do my best on the play field, clear it and play it. Why not- it cost me zero.

Pics follow for those interested.

#2 7 years ago

All self explanatory... pics of game as I received it- did wipe down playfield and lightly wash with novus 2 on a rag. Nothing close to a cleaning, just getting big chunks off. The rest was not touched what so ever.

photo-39.JPG photo-40.JPG photo-41.JPG photo-42.JPG photo-43.JPG photo-44.JPG

#3 7 years ago

and more

photo-45.JPG photo-46.JPG photo-47.JPG photo-48.JPG photo-49.JPG

#4 7 years ago

Anyone care to tell me why I cannot just replace bulbs with LED. I see LED kits sold with a new lighting driver board.... why is that required? I would rather custom order my LEDs to color match and "sex" it up a bit... it is a playboy after all.

2 weeks later
#5 7 years ago

Found answer to question above by posting as independent Q-

Discovered that player 1 score display was flaky- flashing randomly over the top of the correct display, it was suggested to pull display and check all solder joins on board. Yep- 3 cracked solder joints were re-flowed and now player 1 display is rock solid and pretty! Yeah!

Ordering up a new air brush and some nice colors as well as the tacky cellophane type stencil- will strip top of playfield and remove from game, mount and start on paint restoration. Probably hit it hard with a magic eraser then either shoot a thin clear to lock in the good parts and begin with restoration or possibly, depending on how good the paint is- just go ahead with the restore.

Decided against the possibility of a overlay or a CPR playfield. I restored my first game using acrylics and a brush and the rub on rub off technique to fill in cracks in the colors and I find I actually really like seeing the old paint with the slight texture and cracking in it. So going for a restore while trying to maintain the appearance of a 1978 play field, just one thats not full of wear spots and defects.

1 month later
#6 7 years ago

Ok... after acquiring and assessing and generally thinking about if this was savable without having to invest 600+ dollars on a play field. I started the restore.

Thus far I have acquired a complete set of brand new CPR plastics, a new air brush and Createx paints with Frisket for the mask. I spent a few hours one night on the beginnings of the project and managed to top strip the playfield. Its much easier, working on the second machine, first one to get this far was a few tenuous days of careful work. One thing... which idiot decided that it would be a good idea to pre drill the play field for screws to hold down the wood rails (for the ball shooter lane etc) but then use a single screw to anchor the front of the rail and simply staple the rest in.

I was able to get two of the three long pieces off in good shape and intact. The third one was simply stuck and broke when prying between a staple. Oh well, no big deal, its a piece of wood... I can cut another and paint it to match... I clear all those parts anyhow. So. Here is a pic of the playfield top stripped. I need to get under and remove a few things like pop bumpers and drop targets but thats pretty easy. Should be working on full clean up with Magic eraser etc over the weekend and then paint work from there... until I am done which may be a good long while.

At least its a properly started project now with pics to prove it.

You will notice the lack of paint around the top of the bonus "box".... asside from that major issue the playfield is in pretty good shape and should come back to about new with some work. Hoping I can nail the black and white outline on the bonus. Thats got to be perfect or its not worth doing.


1 week later
#7 7 years ago

I have watched the entire video series from Chris on his restore/rebuild of a playboy.

This is my second fairly in depth project on a pin restore... and I learned a good bit from watching his videos, most importantly it has made me decide to go ahead and re do all the connectors on the game to the boards and the display.

My play field is in worse shape than I had hoped... and I started pulling the mylar off last night. I got the right side lower sling mylar off (it had two layers on it WTF). But there is a very very heavy layer of glue on the playfield now and I am going to get some goo gone to deal with it. Hope the paint stays down.

Last night I got the middle pop bumper and the remaining hardware off the game, two pop bumpers left and its totally clean on the top and time to seriously clean and Magic Erase this thing.

My tentative plan to deal with the game and the re-paint of the entire top of the bonus tracking (center of playfield between lower slings) graphic is I think something people will be very interested in... if I can pull it off.

I am going to purchase a Silhouette cutter, its marketed to scrap booking mothers and grandmothers... but its a very powerful tool. Basically its like a CNC lathe but instead of having a bit its got what amounts to an xacto blade mounted on the tip. You can cut cardboard stock, vinyl, and FRISKET with it.

So... I am going to take a pic of the region in question with a nice camera I have with a lens that has minimal distortion. Fix and align the image (I will lay rulers along the sides for scale and perspective) and create essentially a CAD image to send to the Silhouette cutter and cut a FRISKET mask for every color and perhaps multiple versions. Then, I will lay them out and starting with the largest solid color regions spray it with my IWATA HP-SPS gun with custom mixed CREATEX colors (per VID instructions).

We shall see how the heck this goes. Its probably beyond me to free hand the font and fine details in the black and white lines around the orange.

#8 7 years ago

I spoke to the folks at Silhouette and its got plenty of detail, you could easily cut a 12 pt text document (so they say), which is well more than enough fine detail to manage the play field graphics. In regions where I have art work that needs subtle semi-minor repaints, like the hair of the brunette.. I will free hand that with the air brush. But I intend to use the Silhouette (if I can get it to work for this project) to do everything that I can possibly use it for as I suspect I will be able to manage a near perfect restore of the original playfield. Its a little faded but really not bad. I got a set of new plastics and the pinks are different but nothing to worry about, its still bright and kinda a fluorescent-ish slightly purple pink. Which is I think as it should be, it matches the cabinet more or less.

IF ANYONE HAS A FLAT SCANNER AND A BALLY PLAYBOY I WOULD SERIOUSLY LOVE A SCAN OF THE ENTIRE BONUS AREA!!! That would be the ideal way to do this, but I dont have an unlimited budget and cutter was met with a raised eyebrow, but only one... so I am good so far... but no budget for a scanner right now. And, would not do me any good, what I cannot do right now is recreate the text. If I have to I will find something close or try to pull from other regions of the game and photo, and attempt a conversion and reconstruction, but if you have a bally and can scan that region, I would seriously owe you.

#9 7 years ago

Those with interest-

Here is the cutter.
amazon.com link »

#10 7 years ago

If I had that magical cutter tool, I think I would cut some Rubylith and make a silkscreen for all the black.

#11 7 years ago

Ok, what the heck is the difference between Rubylith and Frisket? I looked it up and its some kinda two layered mask-ish thingamajig (thats its technical name for those confused).

And when you say a silk screen I am a little confused- I think your suggesting something different from my plan of using Frisket to cut a stencil- but have to admit I don't grasp exactly what type of procedure your implying.

Please be gentle I am an art virgin but willing to try anything once.

#12 7 years ago

Frisket is not the best thing for fine lettering, it tends to stretch and distort when you lay down small pieces.

But Rubylith has a backing, so it does not distort.

If you use solvent and make Rubylith stick to a silk screen, you now can make a perfect print of the design.


#13 7 years ago

Ok... this now makes sense. I am however, unsure that you could cut Rubylith on the Silhouette machine. It allows you to set depth of cut and down force but I kinda wonder if it would be able to penetrate and cut only the top layer... might go through. Will have to try it.

I looked more searching for how detailed the cutter can get, and found someone who is essentially writing their own code to actually drive the cutter and they managed to get it to cut a 0.2 mm perfect square. Thats impressive as hell, and they are now using it to fabricate PCB masks at some quite high resolution... so absolutely this machine will produce stencils with precision FAR outstripping the under spray of the paint- so I am ordering one and will simply see how it goes.

This is going to be a while... so check back if your interested but honestly its going to be weeks before I get it and weeks more before I probably attempt painting from a cut template. However, the restore will continue in the background.

#14 7 years ago

People cut Rubylith with the Cricut, so I would imagine you should be able to do it too.

#15 7 years ago


Why does the cab color on your Playboy look purple? All the pics I see with a google search shows the cab color to be more of a pink to match the playfield.

Is yours really a purple or is it something to do with the camera?

#17 7 years ago

Hold on, you got that for FREE?? ....yeah, I'm jealous.

#18 7 years ago

Free indeed.

As well, that's a pretty accurate color on the pics. it's indeed a bright pink with distinct purple in it. It was in a home in a basement since my wife's friend was young, so at least 25-30 years with no natural light. THe last 10+ yrs it had the head off wrapped up with the body also wrapped up sitting in a closet in a nicely controlled environment. I suspect the paint color is accurate to original, the play field closely matches the cabinet but a bit faded.

1 week later
#19 7 years ago

Well, I finally got over the "hump" on the play field restore!

Process is now complete in terms of the tear down and clean, although I *may* end up hitting a few select spots with the magic eraser again. I removed anything that sticks through or is attached to the play field, got all the parts more or less arranged so that I can put it back together again. Although I am much less worried about this - having done this once before. I find that the best part of pinball is that in reality they are very simple (in this era) mechanical machines and its kinda fun to take them totally apart and see how it works.

Anyhow, after removing anything attached to or sticking up above the surface of the play field...
And then using two entire large boxes of magic eraser and a full 500 ml bottle of isopropanol- the result being some sore fingers and a very clean, if also significantly damaged play field. But one that I believe is restorable to new condition with some time and effort.

I was super pleased that I got all 5 pieces of mylar off, the lower mylar guards in front of the slings was actually two sheets one laid over the other and I was super sketched out about removing that because the paint is so very bad in that section, but they came up without even a fleck of paint pulling. Then, my GooGone bottle did the trick, once again, removing essentially zero additional paint. The process of magic eraser ALWAYS removes paint, in fact I like to think about it in terms of "sanding" through about 1/2 of the paint on the playfield to remove all the grit.

Next post will be a bunch of pics of the process, its been shown before but for those interested in what it looks like and how far you can bring something back... or how bad it might look (perspective) when your done, I post a series with some detailed shots of the results.

#20 7 years ago

Jeff @ Classic Arcades (you can find them on Ebay) has a good looking overlay for the Playboy bonus area.

#21 7 years ago

That pin is a survivor. I'd leave it as an example of a "played original". Be very careful with restoration attempts, I've seen some that turn a descent playfield into a turd. Remember, it only original once.

#22 7 years ago

I know... its possible to screw this up but I have done this before (not a playboy) and I am certain I will get this right. I typically take a good long time and work slowly, if I get a single small region dead on in 2 hrs I consider it a success. However, I admit the bonus region is a tough restore.... keep a watch here and see what you think as it progresses.

Those promised pics are coming now... was having issues with the post but I think the photos were too big... resizing now.

#23 7 years ago

Here are photos in some reasonable order...

dirty stripped play field... my friends keep texting me awaiting the first "naked" photo of my playboy....

Then what happens after ME/Isopropanol
Then how it looks after cleaning and Novus 2 polishing.

Then. detailed segments of the playfield... I took shots of mostly bad areas although the upper 4 keys region is quite good if cracked.

PF_Dirty_striped.JPG ME_iso_dirty.JPG CleanPF_pre.JPG

#24 7 years ago

And more... to be honest 95% of the problems are trivial to get perfect.. the only area that is going to test me is the bonus region... and that will be a firm test...

Bonus_pre.JPG Keys_pre.JPG Grotto_pre.JPG Playmates_pre.JPG BonusLane_pre.JPG Lower_pre.JPG

#25 7 years ago

Hey Vid... or someone with experience on multiple restores like this... If I catch you back here, would you care to comment on what your recommendation would be for dealing with the literally hundreds of paint chips that came up. Its full depth to wood... in terms of the restore they are trivial to color and leave but then you have depth issues to deal with in clear. Trying to fix them first seems the legit path, but then you have a very very long road ahead trying NOT to get bondo anywhere but where its needed yet somehow manage to level the hundreds of spots without sanding through the other decent regions of paint.

To be honest, although I know this is going to suck to fix in clear, I am contemplating doing it this way, just hit it heavy with the air brush, maybe 3 coats to "fill" it up a little... start with white then 2 coats of color, and simply spray the first clear coat a little heavy and use a fine sand paper on an orbital to bring it level... but that is also real hard to do right. Taking something high down to level is a lot easier than bringing a low spot back up with clear.

#26 7 years ago

First sand and fix any wear in the shooter lane, glue down your inserts, then hit the whole playfield with a thin layer of clear.

This will lock down the wood fibers, and prevent any further paint chipping.

Once the PF is cleared, you can start painting and waterslide decal-ing.

Fill deep chips with 2 part clear coat using a GLASS eyedropper.


#27 7 years ago

Ok, sounds good. I have some nice clear sitting around but just enough for this first coat. Then I will spend the money to get another quart and activator after I finish the restore. All ready got the shooter lane pretty good. Not inspected for clear coat good, but close. So minimal work there. Inserts will be a pain as they always are. I guess thats up next.

Will post back when I have it cleared once with all inserts re glued.

#28 7 years ago

Cool, keep us posted (with pics)

#29 7 years ago

Decided to modify this procedure a little bit. Since I actually like the aged slightly cracked look of the play field paint on these old pins, but I don't like to see big wide open cracks through to the base coat (which is white) I am going to go over all the solid colors with the air brush and real lightly spray followed by a light wipe down with a cloth- in my experience this will fill the cracks with the correct color and even out the slight variations on color on the play field. At that point, before working on redo of artwork, I will clear the PF. Then, I have a nice solid clear coat base to deal with for sticking down the cut stencils and spraying onto, and if I fubar I can simply wipe the entire coat of paint off the clear with a little solvent or even lightly sanding. In this way I can keep the original slightly faded colors, clean up the cracks and fill most of the chips in the solid regions, lock it in with clear and finish the project focusing on the hard part.

I spent a while last night going over the play field with a very careful eye using more magic eraser and isopropanol to remove any dirt or fade that looked like I could get it up. I also paid careful attention to the shooter lane and the EDGES of the play field all the way around. I have learned that those are typically waxed or in some way treated and if you not hit it hard with magic eraser when you spray clear it sometimes has a little trouble laying flat on the very edges (not that you would ever see it as all of that is covered in the game)... but since I am trying to take this up to a very nicely finished project- well... that would just bug me. So, its ready to paint and wipe all solid colors. The shooter lane came out pretty much perfect, beautiful wood grain. Amazing really based upon where it started, got lucky there for sure because some times its simply near impossible to bring it all the way back. This region will look brand spankin new after its cleared.

Next project will be to drag my wife out to the shop and sit down and mix up larger batches of color for all the play field colors, when we get them to match I will bottle it up and use it for the entire project. I know that without her help I will never get them right... but with her help it comes out literally perfect.

#30 7 years ago
Quoted from rufessor:

Next project will be to drag my wife out to the shop and sit down and mix up larger batches of color for all the play field colors

Yep, women have excellent color vision!

#31 7 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

Yep, women have excellent color vision!

Problem with this is that way more men will be looking at your playfield than women.

My humble advice is to match the color yourself.

#32 7 years ago
Quoted from schmoo:

Problem with this is that way more men will be looking at your playfield than women.

Not at my house....

#33 7 years ago

I am literally a little bit color blind. Men and women see the same colors so its not a matter of... have a guy do it cause then it will look right to guys... I just happen to be handicapped in this arena. If women in fact see color matches better than men, I do not know this for a fact. But considering that color blindness (at least common versions) are X-linked (as in the X-chromosome, but were now far afield from our topic) the number of women suffering from this issue is going to be real real small compared to men... so they are to be more generally trusted on color.

1 week later
#35 7 years ago

Time to get impatient!

I ordered the Silhouette Cameo cutter last night. I found a "good" deal for a new machine bundled with a bunch of tools to enable fine removal of cut segments and purchased their upgraded designer studio software which enables the use of CVS files which are vector graphic representations that can be scaled continuously- which may be invaluable to me. In this way I can create my stencil in illustrator or photoshop, export a CVS file, bring it into the Silhouette software and using the ruler ensure its scaled perfectly and then cut it.

I went back and forth about even going ahead with the purchase cause its expensive, however I decided that this tool will have more than one use, that the play field is a lost cause (in terms of my ability to retouch by hand) without it and that its still less than about 1/3 the price of a CPR play field repro, and I actually would much much rather have an original play field. So- I did it.

Funny though- around my parts its known as a toy of the local house wives used for scrap booking and labeling shoe boxes (right up my alley wouldn't you know )- but as soon as I told a few friends about this I had offers to actually give me cash to help with the purchase so they could use it for all sorts of stuff unrelated to scrap booking! I ended up just going my own and telling my friends that they are free to use it if they just purchase a new knife and cutting mat... but I am thinking this will end up being used a bit more than even I anticipate.

#36 7 years ago

Please take lots of pics of the Silhouette in action. It sounds interesting.

#37 7 years ago

Will do- It arrives today, I spent some time with a square and a nice camera with a good lens, hanging out over the play field balancing on a step ladder to try to get a square shot ... looked good on the camera. Will play with making stencils in a bit- for now----

I spent a few hours with a couple real fine paint brushes and the black Acrylic from Createx Colors.

I retouched literally hundreds of small areas and fine lines starting in the center of the playfield. I am not going to claim these are final pics, cause the color has not been retouched at all, and I probably need to look at the black again.

There is one area I think I have wrong, if you look at the first picture and the girl on the right- look at her right eyebrow, I thought I saw a black line kinda connecting the top of that with her hair so I carefully recreated it but now I am not so sure it should look like that. There were a TON of chips through the black lines EVERYWHERE... Let me know how you think its going.

REMEMBER- I have not done anything with the colors, so there are still major defects in the art but the black outline should be very close to good on these pics. Obviously this just a start, but I was very very happy with how the mansion came out and its a great place to start because the pop bumpers nearly completely cover it from direct view, although I have no issue with how it came out. The bonus FREE ball area and the center #5 key were hammered, I reconstructed a lot of the stenciled lines and I think it came out real straight. Any slight issues will be corrected when I go back to fill and retouch the white, yellow, orange, pink, or blue. But as of now, its a start and so far I am feeling good about this. I had to reconstruct some lettering, like the "W" in When Lit on the extra ball and the #5 on the center Key... not completely but enough that I was happy to be done and have it look decent.

Let me know if you see things I am doing that I should change...

Mansion_BLACKdone.jpg EXTRA_Ball_BlackDone.jpg Key5_BLACKdone.jpg

#38 7 years ago

Tips from experience:

1. Take pictures with the playfield outdoors, hanging upright. Put camera on tripod. Use lens correction in photoshop for your particular lens to undo field curvature and pincushion distortions.

2. Sand off gloss with 800 grit sandpaper before doing touch up work, otherwise your new work may lift with tape and frisketing.

3. Shoot a light coat of clear over entire playfield to lock down any of that peeling paint and rough wood fibers before you start.

#39 7 years ago

Missed the sand part! Will DO! THANKS!

Play field will be cleared once I get done dealing with the fine detail work, I feel more comfortable doing this on the original surface for some reason. Never tried the other way but this currently is not hurting anything and I have no intention of working on large areas with a air brush until the play field is cleared.

One other question-

I note that on-line and for sure at my local art supply store, although Createx has a wide selection of colors their opaque line is very limited and is in the primary color or at least simple, red, green, blue, white types. Their transparent line has colors that are very very close to the pink, yellow, orange, and blue... and I am currently writing down "master formulas" for the correct mixing ratios to get the color right with my wife's help. Is the idea here that you need to spray it with multiple coats? Cause one or even two coats with these does not cover- not even close. I was trying to avoid having to re spray entire blocks of color because once I do that, its going to look different than anywhere else because the cracking and slight color variations will be replaced with a nice even layer of paint and I am concerned about this, I am also unsure I want to commit to redoing entire color blocks on the play field- thoughts?

#40 7 years ago

I still need to deal with the inserts- Got a little ahead of my self- I guess I will attempt the remove and re-glue method so I can take those without graphics and flatten them. Thats now the next item... painting is on hold. Will use Vid guide to work through this.

#41 7 years ago
Quoted from rufessor:

I note that on-line and for sure at my local art supply store, although Createx has a wide selection of colors their opaque line is very limited and is in the primary color or at least simple, red, green, blue, white types. Their transparent line has colors that are very very close to the pink, yellow, orange, and blue

Spray down white first, then use transparent colors.

Air brush artists often value transparent colors more than opaque ones (as you've noticed).

Quoted from rufessor:

Play field will be cleared once I get done dealing with the fine detail work

If you clear first, it levels out many of the cracks and checking, making a really nice workspace.

Quoted from rufessor:

I guess I will attempt the remove and re-glue method so I can take those without graphics and flatten them.

Don't "flatten" them with sandpaper, they are already too thin. Sanding will make them even weaker.

Once you reglue them level with the playfield, fill the cupping with 2 part clear. This will reinforce them.

#42 7 years ago


Here is what I am going to do.

Remove and re glue all inserts-
Clear play field.
Retouch ALL black-
Deal with colors starting with white-
one way or the other get it right- either wholesale repaint or touch up.

I am off the fence, I will deal with the chips and the solid colors after its cleared and sanded. Never done this, but I am going to take the experts advice here and if it takes me a month of frisket and fine razor work... well.. so be it.

#43 7 years ago

I have leveled inserts this way on another game, it works great... no sanding for me. Thanks again- I owe you a beer- at least. Very much appreciate your taking the time to help me do the right thing. I have read your entire guide, its just hard to take the leap and completely change how I work even though I have only 1 other game under my belt, that came out so well I was just worried about trying something new. Over it- moving on.

Will keep a lot of info flowing into this forum so as to ensure I do not skip steps- THANKS!

#44 7 years ago
Quoted from rufessor:

There is one area I think I have wrong, if you look at the first picture and the girl on the right- look at her right eyebrow, I thought I saw a black line kinda connecting the top of that with her hair so I carefully recreated it but now I am not so sure it should look like that.

I think it looks OK. That is what it looks like on my old PF and my CPR PF. You are doing a nice job.

#45 7 years ago


I have the CPR close up photos but am very hesitant to use them to retouch a original play field. Its close but not exact I think... so I very much appreciate your taking the time to look and let me know. I will continue to post Q's about this kinda of detail when/if I run into it again. If you happen to have a reasonably intact grotto lane, and a shot of the playmates on the left side (single targets for each mini girl face) and the brunette's face and hair (as a close up) I would really appreciate that! Those are the most worn areas for me asside from the bonus but since I will be doing that through the cutter... I don't need a close up to go from by hand.


#46 7 years ago

I can get you some of those shots over the weekend. Those parts of my original PF are in pretty good shape. I'll put up some of the originals and the CPR's.

#47 7 years ago


#48 7 years ago

Pinside seems to be giving problems for multi uploads. THis may take several posts.

Old PF pics are first. Total of 11.

IMG_0847.JPG IMG_0853.JPG IMG_0848.JPG

#49 7 years ago

old PF continued. IMG_0849.JPG IMG_0850.JPG IMG_0852.JPG

#50 7 years ago

old PF continued.

IMG_0854.JPG IMG_0855.JPG IMG_0856.JPG IMG_0857.JPG IMG_0858.JPG

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