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2008 Toy Preview
[October 15, 2007]

2008 Toy Preview

(Playthings Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge) Alex
2008 is shaping up to be the year Alex, Northvale, N.J., tells kids to go outside and playif the products it is previewing this month in Dallas are any guide.

Leading the company's line are versions of several classic lawn games. Wow Rackets make for a noisy take on badminton. The rackets, sold in sets of two along with a plastic ball, shuttlecock and a convenient storage bag, are said to make a thunderous noise. Jungle Croquet includes six wacky wickets made of real wood, plus four mallets, four balls and six stakes. It can be used indoors or out. The Munching Frogs Target Game is a toss-and-count game with four soft darts that stick to a target. Sack Racing lets kids get their sack racing kicks at home. It includes two nylon sacks with woven handles and comes in two styles: Kangeroo and Rabbit, and Frog and Monkey.

My Giant Parachute is a party-sized parachute 10 feet in diameter and with 12 handles. It comes with a storage bag and game ideas. The Super Parachute Party is a deluxe set that adds 16 plastic balls. Swirl-O-Disk is an 18-inch flying disk.

Battery-operated Monster Bubbles makes gi-normous bubbles. It comes with 4 ounces of bubble solution, but not the batteries needed to power the fan. Turtle Sprinkler attaches to a standard garden hose, then its shell spins and sprays.

It's been 16 years since the original TV series' debut and Power Rangers
just keeps going. Next year will be no different and Bandai America, Cypress, Calif., will once again offer its traditional early year lineup based on the television series' latest theme, jungle predators.

The toymaker's Jungle Fury action figure assortment features designs based on the new Tiger, Jaguar and Cheetah Rangers in two Megazord series: four Transforming Megazords that allow kids to mix and match animal Zords to create unique Megazord combinations; and battery-operated Deluxe Megazords with action features such as spinning or walking. In the role-play arena, Bandai's Power Rangers Morphers come in a new design that kids can wear, like sunglasses with interchangeable clip-on shields for each Ranger; each includes an earpiece for simulated communications with team members.

That's not all when it comes to licensing for Bandai America in 2008, it will also bring to market two action figure lines and more role-play items based on Ben 10

. The latest 4-inch Alien Collection figures put seven characters (Benwolf, Wildvine, Cannonbolt, BenMummy, BenVictor and a battlized Ben Tennyson) in battle poses with translucent body parts and other features. The new Planetary Powder Sets let kids play with the Ben 10 figures in a unique way. Each collectible set includes three packets of mysterious Planetary Powder that creates an out-of-this-world substance when mixed with water in the included beaker. Kids can then scrape away all the jelly to reveal the included 2-inch translucent alien figure. Bandai's Ben 10 role-play lineup includes the Deluxe Omnitrix with LCD game screen, Alien Voice Changer and a Transforming Arm Set with new alien arm attachments.

In the youth electronics arena, Bandai's Tamagotchi virtual pet brand grows with Connection V5 and its new theme, Familitchi, through which kids get to raise, simultaneously, multiple Tamagotchi characters. How the clan fares depends on how all the siblings are cared for. Bandai also plans to grow its just-debuted Girlz Connect brand with more gadgets. The cosmetics case-shaped LocketPal TXT offers new infrared interactivity that allows two friends to connect via their handheld LocketPals, play two-player games like Hangman or Secret Code, and text each other from up to 15 feet away. It also boasts an address book, calendar and calculator.

Basic Fun
Basic Fun expand its product line of mostly licensed impulse toys in 2008 with new categories, including the relaunch of the 1980's Madballs line and a new partnership with Hasbro for a co-branded, take-along Twister line.

Starting next month, the Southampton, Penn.-based manufacturer will ship limited quantities of its Madballs Classic Series I and Sick Series ball lines. The Madballs Series I line includes six styles of soft foam rubber balls, approximately the size of a baseball. Each ball is highly detailed with an outrageous face bursting with personality. Five of the Series I characters are based on original designs from the AMToy line produced in 1985. The sixth ball features a new character, Repvile. The company plans to release Madballs Classic Series II this spring.

In conjunction with the Classic line product launch, Basic Fun will take the yuck factor up a notch with the introduction of the Madballs Sick Series. This line will include three characters from the core line, sized slightly larger, and featuring over-the-top, repulsive functions. The Madballs Extreme Sick Series I will begin shipping in limited quantities next month.

In addition to the two ball lines, Basic Fun will also introduce the Madballs Launcher (pictured), a handheld shooter with three foam eyeballs, approximately the size of ping pong balls, that can be flung more than 20 feet. The launcher also features a retractable, skeleton-styled jai-alai scoop and will include a full-sized foam rubber Madball. It will set this spring.

Basic Fun's co-branded Take-Along Twister features a full-sized Twister mat that stores (and is merchandised) inside a take-along vinyl tube with strap. The tube lid will feature a fully working Twister spinner. Basic Fun will also offer a Littlest Pet Shop Take-Along toy, and is in the process of acquiring other tween/teen girl properties as co-brands for this line.

The Guitar Hero video game will get a new hand-held version in 2008. Basic Fun will fit an LCD screen and game controls into a scaled down version of the game's distinctive guitar-shaped controller. Players can choose from 12 songs and play along in the same manner as the original game. It will also feature a retractable guitar neck and built-in carabiner.

Basic Fun's core keychain line expands with designs based on characters from all six Star Wars movies. Twenty-four SKUs are planned, rolling out over a two- year period. It will also expand its Pokemon keychain line with series Series 16, 17 and 18 for 2008, reflecting the property's newest characters.

Briarpatch gets Fancy in 2008literallywith a game based on the Jane O'Connor's bestselling Fancy Nancy children's book series. The Millburn, N.J.-based game maker's Fancy Nancy Stupendous Balance Your Stuff Game challenges little misses to balance a tiara, cake and fancy accessories on one carefully placed clothes tree.

Briarpatch's other major licensed game stars preschool favorite Thomas the Tank Engine in Thomas' Great Race, in which the famous locomotive challenges friends James, Molly and Percy to learn their numbers and earn coal that powers them up and over a hill to cross the finish line. The action game develops sorting, counting and color matching skills, as they answer questions based upon what they see on a game card. Correct answers are rewarded with blocks of coal that are inserted into the slot behind the engine, powering it up the hill.

The Animal Soup Game is a British import in which kids create one-of-a-kind critters with the turn of a page in a flip book, and dash to the game board in search of that one, special, elusive animal that stands out among the crowd of critters in the soup bowl. Players seek out matches with the animals in the bowl until the bowl is empty and the player with the most animals wins. Briarpatch's I Spy game series grows with I Spy Private Eye, a race-the-clock game in which players have 30 seconds to memorize the pictures on nine blocks before they're hidden from view.

Cadaco has a few tricks up its sleeve for 2008, with the Chicago-based company ready to add more sports, outdoor and magic products to a lineup better known for more sedate pleasures.

Beat the Buzzer Shot Clock is a take-anywhere LCD display basketball shot clock for simulating buzzer beating shots. It features a recorded voice that counts down the final seconds before the buzzer, an automatic reset and settings for 24- (pro) or 35- (college) second intervals. It mounts to any pole in seconds, the company says.

For younger kids, Doodlebops Bop Scotch is a sidewalk hop scotch set featuring Doodlebops characters Deedee, Moe and Rooney. Its squares have interlocking puzzle edges to create personalized hop scotch courts. The set includes sidewalk and tracing chalk, and a reusable vinyl bag.

Cadaco's relationship with illusionist Ryan Oakes continues, growing to magnet include sets of varying size and complexity up to a 100-trick magic show, aided by instructional DVDs featuring Oakes himself.

Classic card games are getting a makeover with Cadaco's all-new board game versions of Go Fish and Old Maid.

Douglas Company
Douglas, the Keene, N.H.-based plush purveyor adds two 15-inch sealife designs to its line in 2008: Marshmallow Baby Polar Bear and Twinkle Baby Seal. Each are floppy and ultra soft, the company says.

Dowling Magnets
Dowling Magnets, Sonoma, Calif., will expand its Mr. Magnet Games series in January with a new charades game, What Am I? This twist on a classic game lets players choose from one of over 60 pictures in the provided picture bookletor make up their ownthen build them with a selection of 130 magnetic shapes made of chunky foam, after which the guessing begins.

Of the many items Mattel's East Aurora, N.Y.-based Fisher-Price division has on tap for 2008 are two on-the-go play products for infants.

Laugh & Learn My Learning Tools is a soft tool bag filled with an infant-appropriate set of keyring-style wrenches, a rattling screwdriver, a clip-clop hammer and a rattling saw designed to help teach babies about numbers, colors, size, opposites and greetings. It includes sound feaures.

For girls, there's the Laugh & Learn My Pretty Learning Purse, a soft pink purse that includes keys and a key ring to clip on the keychain, rattling lipstick, crinkle money, a mirror and a bracelet for baby to wear. Like the Tools version, the Purse's accessories are designed to help teach babies about numbers, colors, size, opposites and greetings. And like the tool bag, the purse makes music and sounds, as well.

Indianapolis' Fundex Games is expanding its Fundex Recreaction line of outdoor action games. It is also upping its line of customized games for the likes of colleges and professional sports leagues.

Disc Master is Fundex's version of flying disc golf. It includes a portable fold-up goal, two discs, nine number flags and a storage bag.

Jarts is Fundex's version of lawn darts. It includes four safe-tip Jarts and two target rings.

Chalk Line Express takes the guesswork out of whether a ball was in or out on an impromptu court. It's a chalk line marker that lays down the lines of any playing field with help from a specially designed wheel system that will keep track of the distance travelled as a line is laid out.

Fundex has partnered with NASCAR for a line of branded games. Three outdoor gamesChuck-O, a bean bag toss game; Top Toss, a bolo throwing game; and Bulls-Eye Washers, a washer toss gameare in the initial assortment. Fundex has also partnered with the National Collegiate Athletic Association to market similar outdoor games for 40 big-name universities.

Giddy Up and Color Loco
Blendy Blasta turns Giddy UP's Blendy Pens into an airbrush using only the power generated by an artist's own hands. The Blendy Blasta is squeeze operated and comes with 20 posters and stencils, and a dozen Blendy Pens.

The Ann Arbor, Mich.-based company's Magnetic Game Books feature 15 pages of reusable games and play scenes, more than 75 character and icon magnets from favorite children's licenses, and a magnetic game spinner.

Great American Puzzle Factory

Great American Puzzle Factory, South Norwalk, Conn., adds to its Double Challenge puzzle series with its latest design, Sleepy Shop Keeper, a 550-piece puzzle that when assembled invites inquisitive kids to try to locate more than 1,000 items in its picture that start with the letter S.

The Goldberger Co.
The Goldberger Co., New York, adds some new twists that go beyond its assortment of baby dolls.

In summer '08, it will debut Waterworks, a series of water creatures with built-in lights that flash when submerged in water, thanks to a mechanism that's both waterproof and water-activated. Each character is individually named and comes with its own back story. Six creatures will debut in the master set and new characters will be introduced periodically.

Lavender Dreams is the company's series of aromatherapic baby dolls designed to sooth with help from a lavender scent. Slumbersong Baby is a 12-inch soft doll with a musical nightcap that plays a soothing lullaby. MoonGlow Baby is a 13-inch, sleep-eyed doll with sleepwear that softly glows in the dark.

The Bundle of Joy series are soft, expressive baby dolls with huggable bodies. The line debuts with Wee One, a 19-inch baby doll that drinks and wets. Accessories include potty, bottle and potty training guide.

Mommy's Baby dolls are interactive. The assortment is led by Lizzie Anne, a 15-inch soft doll that plays with children in five different ways. She wakes to a morning song; makes fun sounds and plays a happy song; cries for care; makes drinking noises; and plays a lullaby and sleeps.

Imagination Games
Imagination Games, New York, has a line based on BBC Worldwide's Planet Earth

Launching in early November, Imagination Games' debut Planet Earth product is a DVD board game wherein players work together to answer a range of questions based around footage from the series.

iToys, Toronto, looks to keep fans of The Spiderwick Chronicles
busy this winter with products that bring the movie adaptation's action home. The assortment's stand-out is a version of the Seeing Stone. It lets kids catch a glimpse of the film's magical creatures thanks to four-way motion sensing technology that makes them magically appear when peering inside of it. iToys also plans Spiderwick electronic puppets and motion figures action figures.

Kid Galaxy
Radio-controlled toys continue to be a focus for Kid Galaxy in 2008. The Manchester, N.H.-based toymaker will offer new designs that fly, float and fight, led by the Elite Fleet Hyper Flyer, a next generation R/C flyer (pictured) with twin propellers and an elevator style rudder that the company says lets pilots achieve amazing land to air take offs, aerial maneuvers and touch-and-go stunts. It flies for three minutes and up to 300 feet.

The Elite Fleet R/C Field Flyer is a beginner-level R/C for ages 8 and up that boasts a 3-in-1 launcher/charger. The plane flies for four minutes in a 100 foot radius. Its double wing adds to the flight performance and the plane is made of EPP foam.

Elite Fleet Woosh Rockets are non-powered flying toys that kids throw to send aloft. The rockets are sold in a set that includes two launchers and three brightly colored foam rockets.

The Mega X Morphibian R/C is Kid Galaxy's next generation amphibious R/C vehicle. It features deep tread tires for diggin up dirt while riding across the terrain then morphing into watercraft mode as water spits up from the tires. Twin propellers provide power.

Kid Galaxy's interactive R/C Bump n Chuck bumper cars are space-themed. A car hit straight on or sideswiped will automatically eject its driver. The cars are designed with working fans, giving the illusion of being wind powered. Set includes two remotes, two cars and two drivers.

Little Kids
Providence, R.I.'s Little Kids is forever blowing bubbles, and for 2008 it has new designs that target toddlers, Nickelodeon fans and potential collectors.

For toddlers, the My First Bubbles Peek a Boo Surprise combines bubble play with a game of Peek-A-Boo. Pull down a handle and a whale pops up blowing streams of bubbles.

Bubble Botz will be the smallest battery-operated, collectible, no-spill bubble machines on the market. There will be thousands of Bubble Botz styles to choose from.

The company's licensed designs will soon include the Nick Jr. No-Spill Bubble Blowin' Play Pals featuring characters such as Dora, Diego and Pablo from The Backyardigans

. The Play Pals create continuous streams of bubbles. Nick Jr. Squeeze 'n Blow Pop-Up Bubbles feature Dora the Explorer, Go! Diego Go! and The Backyardigans characters in simple bubble makers with a pop-up wand. Nick Jr. Dip 'n Blow Bubbles with No-Spill Dip Tray are motorized bubble blowers featuring Backyardigans Pablo and Uniqua, plus Dora and Diego.

Game maker McWiz, Trois-Rivires, Quebec, has three new games on tap, including the update of its hockey trivia game, A Question of Hockey II. It features 1,200 new bilingual questions and has packaging shaped like a hockey puck.

BrainStonz is a coffee table game that challenges players to be the first to complete a horizontal, vertical or diagonal line of four stones by placing two stones at a time and by removing an opponent's stone when you are on twin symbols.

Insecto is a preschool board game requiring no reading or counting skills that's actually two games in one: Buzzy Buzzy Beez, in which players race to be the first bee to reach the nest, and Veggie Land, where players strive to be the first ladybug to reach the vegetable cart.

Mrs. Grossman's
Mrs. Grossman's Paper Co., the Petaluma, Calif.-based sticker company, moves into the games and activities space with its latest designs.

The company's Create-Your-Own Adventures Pack includes five themed re-stickable sticker setsPirate, Dragon, Tractors, Dinosaurs and Spaceshipsand a colorful two-sided play board. The Paper Doll Girlfriends Pack includes five re-stickable paper doll stickers for mix and match outfits, and a two-sided board.

Sticker Bingo to Go includes three bingo games in the themes of travel, restaurant and doctor's visit. Each game comes with two boards and two sheets of 25 reusable stickers.

Sticker Activity Packs include a 48 page booklet filled with puzzles, mazes, and brain teasers, plus a storage folder and more than 100 stickers. The debut assortment includes four themes: fantasy, bugs, sea life and pirates.

Play Along
Play Along's spring toys continue the Deerfield Beach, Calif.-based company's main lines, from Cabbage Patch Kids dolls to Care Bears plush to Puppy in My Pocket playsets.

Cabbage Patch Kids Fun to Feed Baby licks a Carvel ice cream cone, and when the Baby's face gets messy with sprinkles, just wipe the mess away with the accompanying magic washcloth. Play Along's Care Bears line grows to include My First Care Bear, a bear with ultra soft fabric, embroidered eyes and a rattle inside; and Care Bears Collectibles four collectible bears to go with 2007's 25th Anniversary Care Bear: Funshine Bear, Cheer Bear, Share Bear and Bedtime Bear. Each have Swarovski crystal eyes and sterling silver plated accents.

The Play Along Club Little Sisters are 2008's entries in the The Play Along Club Girlfriend Dolls series. The three Little Sisters are soft and poseable, and each comes with a storybook, a removable outfit, a booklet describing her personality and a Play Along Club membership card, which gives girls access to games, contests, personalized stories and other extras at the Play Along Club website.

The Hannah Montana Surf Shop Hang-out playset is replica of the TV show's surf shop. It includes a tiki hut with working lights and themed accessories.

Hot off of its success in 2007, Puppy In My Pocket will soon feature pocket-sized kitties and ponies, plus new playsets, including stackable Little Home sets in puppy, pony or kitty themes that include either three Pocket Puppies, Kitties or Ponies; Spin n' Swing Treehouses with exclusive puppies in either Yorkshire Terrier, Poodle or Beagle breeds; and the Puppy In My Pocket Awesome Adventure Park, the first theme park specially made for Pocket Puppies.

Outside of the core line, the ponies get glammed up with the Pony In My Pocket Charm Fashion Packs, each with four Charm Ponies and a piece of jewelry.

Play Along will also re-launch 10 Wiggles toys including plush, electronic role-play items, games, feature push and playsets, including the Ultimate Sing 'n Wiggle Guitar and the Wake-up Jeff interactive plush doll.

Playmates ToysPlaymates Toys, Costa Mesa, Calif., will introduce a new mini segment to its popular Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle brand in January 2008. The 3-inch Mini Mutants have super animated hands and feet for a cool new mutant look. The line includes a selection of figures, vehicles and playsets. Additionally, the basic Turtle line will be refreshed with all new themes and accessories including vehicles and role-play toys.

The Mini Mutants lines includes TMNT Mini Mutants figure two-packs; Fast Action Vehicles in two styles: Mini-Moto Sliders that feature pullback motors, front grills that fire projectiles and come with breakaway roadblocks, and Mini-Moto cycles with pullback motors and extra wide wheels for stability; TMNT Mini Mutants Battle Shell, which transforms from a vehicle to a super surveillance playset with room for all four Mini Mutant Turtles inside; and TMNT Mini Mutants Magnetic Playsets that connect, have action features and come with two figures each.

Playmates' Basic TMNT 7-inch action figure line includes Alien Hunters, figures of Alien Hunting Turtles and new Alien Creature villains; Global Mutant Missions, figures of all four turtles brandishing gear from around the world, plus two villains; Mutation Feature Figures, turtles that mutate from baby turtles to full size action figures and come with their own bottle of ooze and signature weapons; Sewer Sliders and Shell Cycles; and Action Gear, role-play sets that include the signature weapon for each turtle and several other accessories.

For girls, Playmates is expanding several of its doll assortments.

Soft & Sweet Little Princess & Ponies, 12-inch plush Little Princess dolls that each come with a coordinating pony. New combo assortments include Little Cinderella and Pretty Pumpkin, and Little Belle and Philippe. Little Princess 15-inch dolls will be offered in Cinderella and Mulan versions in a Fun 'n' Sun theme. Sing 'n' Style are Little Princess dollsCinderella, Belle, and Arielthat sing when their hair is brushed. My Baby Princess are birthday-themed 12-inch dolls in birthday outfits and packaged with musical gift boxs and child-sized ID bracelets.

Playmates extends its product line based on Universal Studios' The Land Before Time
with three action figures: Tail Thumpin' Spike, Flappin' Petrie and Bug Catchin' Chomper. Each comes packaged with a DVD. Also new are Pull Back Leaf Racers and three Bean Bag Plush characters.

Playmates' Popples are an update of American Greetings' 1985 property of the same name. The toy line will include: Pop N' Giggle Popples, four 8-inch plush characters that transform out of their special pouches with a distinctive pop! sound; and Pop N' Mini Message Popplings, 4-inch toys that not only pop, but which can record personal messages to keep or share with a friend.

Struts, Step Into Fashion, is a new assortment of 6-inch fashion model horses. Two series start the line: Runway Magic and Tropical Shoot, each with four horses with interchangeable hair pieces, fashion accessories and a collectable card. Struts fashion accessory packs will be sold separately.

Pressman Toy
Pressman's latest PRODUCTS feature licenses, including DreamWorks Animation's summer 2008 animated comedy Kung Fu Panda

. The New York-based company's Kung Fu Panda puzzles will include 100-piece and pal-size puzzles, as well as 3-D puzzles featuring scenes from the movie.

ESPN Jeopardy! lets sports enthusiasts put their knowledge to the test. Available in two versionsa board game and a deluxe attach travel editionit includes answers and questions created by Jeopardy! writers, as well as official ESPN categories. The board game includes an electronic buzzer.

The Suite Life of Zack & Cody
, Disney Channel's sitcom, comes to toy aisles as a fast-paced Double the Fun Card Game. Pressman will also introduce an assortment of 200-piece jigsaw puzzles based on the tween property.

Pressman has two Pokmon game up its sleeve. The Pokmon On a Roll Game is a dice game that challenges players to be the first to complete seven dice combinations of characters without rolling a Pok Ball. The Pokmon Pok Ball Flip Game has players flip a card to reveal a group of Pokmon and their number. Players try to beat that number in order to collect the cards they need to win.

Revell's Microsizers Room Flyers are small, impulse-price R/C planes designed for indoor flying. Lightweight and durable, they can fly for up to seven minutes between charges and up to 100 feet from their controllers. They include built-in battery chargers. Two color schemes are available.

Safari ventures into Mythical Realms for its next series of figurine miniatures following 2007's addition of pirate and princess themed collections to its historically nature-themed designs. The new collection from the Miami Gardens, Fla.-based company includes Poseidon, Griffin, Mermaid, Sea Dragon, Pegasus and Minotaur. Each is hand-painted and phthalate free.

SoftPlay, Chicago, will debut soft books in toyetic formats in 2008, including the Lift & Look Books series, which will include Lift & Look Colors and Shapes books featuring chunky, soft, lift-out pieces and shiny, foil-enhanced pictures. Display & Play 3-D Felt Playset Books offer open-ended play patterns and classic themes. Each includes 25 felt play pieces and multiple story scenes, plus a giant centerfold playscene.

StoryWheels vehicles contain activities and sounds. A soft, cloth book tucked in the undercarriage. Five designs are offered: Firetruck, Train, Truck, Car and Pony Rides.

3-D Story-Magnets include Treasure Hunt, Busy Farm and Noah's Busy Ark books with magnetic pieces used to complete pictures and act out the story.

Connect-A-Book uses illustrations to teach more than 100 words in each of 26 books that can link together to build new words. while Peek-A-Boo Pals are plush animal books in themes such as pet, farm and jungle with lift-a-flap activities.

Wooden IdeasRole-play products by Germany's Bartl GmbH are coming to the U.S. under a new name, Wooden Ideas, courtesy of Chalais Associates, Santa Monica, Calif. The debut assortment features medieval play, including a hood and tunic set of lightweight fabric with a metallic overlay that looks like chain mail. Crest shields and 25-inch long swords with scabbards come in three styles: lion, horse and griffin.

Zizzle, Bannockburn, Ill., extends its Spotz button making system with the Spotz Designer Purse. It comes with Jotz and Spotz charms and an adjustable strap for three looks.

For sports fans, Zizzle has created the ESPN Trivia Challenge Handheld Game features 300 trivia questions, and a sports-themed takeoff on the virtual pet genre: the X Games Digital Athlete. Three sport-specific units will be offered: Snowboarding, Skateboarding and Motocross.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Swashbucklers are new to Zizzle's action figure roster. The debut assortment includes Davy Jones with The Saber Cutter and Jack Sparrow aboard his Coffin Cruiser.

Zizzle's Hooked on Phonics line adds the Talking Smart Dots Pen, which reads special dots on the included cards and tells children if they are right or wrong using cool phrases and sound effects. Learning activities focus on preschool skills.

The company's High School Musical 2 Flip Phone looks like a cell phone but is actually a digital music player.

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information. All Rights Reserved.

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