Nostalgia

This is not the first time, I’ve written about nostalgia in relation to collecting model cars.  I bought a Kinsmart 1967 VW Classic Beetle, a model made in China, my purchase was influenced by its dark blue colour, which reminded me of the Dinky model from the early seventies.

Kinsmart Beetle nostalgia
Dinky Catalogue (1974) and Kinsmart Beetle

Nostalgia relates to our sense of identity, it kindles fondly remembered aspects of our past and helps to cool the anxieties of our present. Music and smells can also evoke the past, a tune or a smell like TCP (the antiseptic frequently applied to my childhood cuts) , will transport me in my mind back to my childhood.

I have the Kinsmart Beetle in yellow, too. But the yellow model doesn’t give me the same nostalgic buzz.

I don’t have any of the models I had as a child, but I have bought similar ones and others like the Kinsmart Beetle that recall those models. I favour models of sixties and seventies cars, and the Matchbox brand, largely because that is what I played with most as a child.

The catalogues also kindle the nostalgia, like this 1970 Matchbox Catalogue (the year Matchbox went Superfast). Matchbox Superfast – 50 years

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Matchbox Superfast Catalogue and early Superfast models

Matchbox Cars from the period 1968 to 1972,  resonate most strongly with me in a nostalgic sense. I was born in 1964, so these years were the peak of my toy car playing years. I probably stopped buying toy cars when I was around 12, and started buying music with my pocket money instead. Corgi and Dinky, the other major UK diecast manufacturers, resonate less, because they were more expensive. As a child it was only around Christmas or when Dad’s friend Norman came for his annual visit, that there was a chance for a Corgi or Dinky car.

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Corgi Marcos Mantis, this evokes playground memories.

Nostalgia comes from two Greek words, nostos meaning homecoming and algos meaning longing or pain. My collecting of model cars really took off, when I moved to Tbilisi, Georgia. Maybe I am trying to make a connection to home (England) or my past. The French writer Proust, describes how tasting a Madeleine cake, which he hadn’t tasted since childhood, triggered a cascade of warm and powerful sensory associations. Nostalgia can boost psychological well being.

Sometimes it is not the models themselves that trigger nostalgia but their associations. I loved watching Hanna-Barbera cartoons as a kid, so models like the FlintstonesFlintmobile and Scooby Doo’s Mystery Machine also stoke the nostalgic fires within. I wish Hot Wheels would put out a model of Dick Dastardly’s Mean Machine from Wacky Races.

Scooby Doo models
Scooby Doo Merchandise

 

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1955 Porsche 550A Spyder 1:18 Scale

I don’t collect 1/18 scale models.  I appreciate the detail but the price is high, they take up a lot of space and don’t resonate with me like the Matchbox cars of my childhood. The 1/18 scale for diecast cars appeared in Europe around 1970 with brands like Schuco and Polistil and became popular from the mid eighties onwards with Bburago and Maisto. However, when I came across a Porsche 550A Spyder today in a secondhand shop near Tbilisi Central Station, I couldn’t resist it. The price of just 25 lari ($9.41) helped. On Amazon the same model is between $40 and $60 depending on the seller (Amazon link).

Porsche 550A Spyder
Porsche 550A Spyder

This model is by Maisto and was made in Thailand. It is similar to the car in which James Dean crashed and died. I am not a James Dean fan, I haven’t seen any of his films, although, I would like to see “East of Eden” as it is based on my favourite Steinbeck novel.

The model is a little dusty but intact, the rear engine is detailed and the wooden look steering wheel turns, turning the front wheels. I would have been even happier had I found a 1:18 Porsche 911 but the 550A looks good. I won’t be getting into collecting 1:18, but I’m happy to have this one.

Monthly Acquisitions: January 2019

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January 2019 Haul

January was a relatively calm month for collecting, I didn’t go crazy but I still picked up 14 models. At a cost of around $1 a piece on average. For the first 12 days’ hunting, I only had one model to show, a Hot Wheels ’63 Studebaker Champ found in the Secondhand Toy Store.  On 13th January, I picked up 5 models from the cheap secondhand store for just 5 lari. They were playworn and missing parts but still interesting.

monthly acquisitions january 2019 13 jan
13 January 2019…the 5 models cost me 5 lari

Three of the five models were made in Europe…

  1. ERF Fire Engine  (Corgi Juniors) … missing a ladder this is a model from the seventies. Made in Great Britain.
  2. Volvo “Ferrymasters” Truck (Matchbox)… missing a canopy. Made in Macau. Issued in the late eighties.
  3. VW 181 (Siku). Missing a lot of parts: canopy, aerial, lights, siren

    and a windscreen.  The one I picked up is on the left, how it should look on the right. Made in West Germany.

  4. Porsche 928 (Bburago). This model is not missing anything, just a little playworn. Made in Italy.
  5. T 34 Tank. Don’t know much about this it is plastic and has been painted by a previous owner.

So got to the 20th having only spent 8 lari in the first 19 days of January. On the 20th January there were sales in Super Toys, XS Toys and Pepela. I picked up a half price HW Exotics 5 Pack in Pepela for 19.95 lari and a ’64 Chevrolet Impala from the Hot Wheels Black and Gold 50th Anniversary series (at 30% discount).

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I also picked up a couple of secondhand models made in China a Maisto Porsche 911 Turbo which closely resembles the Matchbox Porsche 911 Turbo and a Toyota Celica Supra by Yatming.

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Porsche 911 Turbo (Maisto) and Toyota Celica Supra (Yatming)

Bilan

Totals: 14 Models: 1 Matchbox, 7 Hot Wheels, 1 Siku,  1 Corgi,  1 Yatming, 1 Maisto, 1 Bburago and 1 Unidentified brand

6 bought new, 8 bought secondhand

Outlets: 8 Secondhand Toy Stores, 1 Super Toys  and  5 Pepela

Net expenditure: 38.82 lari ($14.57)

1 lari = 38 US cents

 

 

HW Exotics 5 Pack

I don’t often buy 5 packs; the last was, Surf’s Up (Hot Wheels 5 Pack), last January. Usually, I will get a five pack for one car I really want, like the Lamborghini Miura P400S in the 2014 Matchbox Exotics five pack. This time the temptation was different, I saw that Pepela was offering 50% off all Hot Wheels 5 Packs, the temptation was too great, I headed to Pepela in Saburtalo Mall, to see what was available.

hw exotics 5 pack pepela
5 packs half price…

They had Track Stars and Car Meet, but the one that caught my eye was HW Exotics. This pack has five great cars.

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HW Exotics 5 Pack

The five exotic supercars are (from top to bottom):

  1. Jaguar XJ 220 in British Racing Green, I love sporting Jaguars
  2. McLaren F1 GTR this is the highlight of the pack according to the Lamley Group (video). Pearl white with red trim.
  3. Aston Martin DBS another British sports car that looks fantastic
  4. Lamborghini Sesto Elemento in gold not the more realistic grey carbon fibre, this is on the artwork on the back and represents a very fast super car
  5. Renault Sport R.S. 01 (orange) this was on my Wants’ List.

There was not one car which drew me, it was the combination of all five.

Matchbox Superfast – 50 years

The launch of Hot Wheels by Mattel in 1968 sent shockwaves through the diecast world. With their low friction wheels and track sets, they were faster than anything on the market. Lesney had been selling a lot of models in the States, but with the introduction of Hot Wheels, Lesney’s US Sales plummeted. In response the following year, 1969, saw Lesney introduce Superfast wheels to its Matchbox model line. Some models were adapted from regular wheels to Superfast, three brand new models were introduced for the Superfast wheels: #20 Lamborghini Marzal, #5 Lotus Europa and #56 BMC 1800 Pininfarina.

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Superfast models marked in 1969 catalogue (second edition)

The first Superfast wheels were very thin and buckled easily, later they were made thicker. Some bases had to be supplemented with a plastic insert to accommodate the thinner axles.

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Bases with new Superfast wheels… note the plastic insert to accommodate thinner axles in the Grit Truck (right)

In the 1970 catalogue they suggested the fun you could have “matching a Lamborghini Miura against a bus, or a fire engine against a refuse truck. That’s racing with a difference – Superfast style.” In my opinion turning the cars Superfast was fine but making the trucks Superfast was a mistake. There were some new models but most were just regular wheeled castings with new Superfast Wheels. There were also new colours, the Ford Mustang went from white to an orangey red. Not all models went immediately Superfast, the Foden Concrete Truck and Horse Box were listed in the 1970 catalogue as “Non Superfast”, they would later become Superfast models. Some like the Case Bulldozer with its caterpillar tracks would never become Superfast.

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Superfast models and track in the 1969 catalogue (2nd Edition)

I was 5 in 1969 but remember the thrill of seeing the first Superfast cars.

 

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#20 Lamborghini Marzal, #56 BMC 1800 Pininfarina and #5 Lotus Europa

Hot Wheels also introduced hot rods and fantasy vehicles, Matchbox would soon follow suit but it was too late, the seventies saw a dramatic fall in sales of European diecast brands. The giants of British diecast floundered first Dinky went bankrupt in 1979, then Lesney in 1982 and finally Corgi went into liquidation in 1983. The brands continue today, Matchbox has been a brand of Mattel since 1997, so a stablemate of former rival Hot Wheels. In this the anniversary year Matchbox have brought out some premium models to commemorate the 50th Anniversary like a Mercedes 300SE, which harken back to their history.

mercedes 300se
Mercedes 300SE (from Lamley Group video)

I don’t expect I’ll find the new premium models here in Tbilisi, but I’ll continue to look out for the Superfast models from the transitional period when regular wheels became Superfast.

 

 

 

 

 

Let it Snow

Here in Tbilisi, we don’t get a lot of snow, but venture a couple of hours from the capital and there is plenty of snow to provide a simple natural backdrop for our Matchbox cars. To meet the New Year we ventured to Tsagveri, a small village between the spa town of Borjomi and the ski resort of Bakuriani.

Cars in the snow snow groomer and vw 4 x 4 (2)
Snow Groomer and VW Beetle 4 x 4

There was plenty of snow to amuse us, I’d taken some Matchbox vehicles suitable for snowy conditions: the Highway Maintenance Truck, a VW Beetle 4 x 4 (with Dora the Explorer tampo), Wing Chiller and Snow Groomer. Here are some of the shots.

 

 

In early 2018, I had also taken Snow Groomer out with the BMC 1800 Pininfarina to Bakuriani for some shots.

BMC 1800 Pininfarina and Snow Groomer 7
Snow Groomer and BMC 1800 Pininfarina

Wishing all my readers a Happy New Year 2019… have fun with your collections!

Monthly Acquisitions: December 2018

Monthly Acquisitions December 2018
December Haul

I didn’t go as crazy as last month but 26 27 models is still a significant number of additions to the ever growing collection. Ten of these were made by Matchbox my favourite brand.

Matchbox

Monthly Acquisitins December 2018 MBX
Matchbox haul

Some of the Matchbox models are in quite a rough condition and many date back to the late sixties/early seventies (my favourite period).

  1. DAF Girder Truck – transitional Superfast, the wheels’ axles are a little bent, the girders are missing, which isn’t surprising for a model which was produced in 1970 or 1971.
  2. GMC Tipper Truck – regular wheels (1968-1969). This has its red cab painted black by a previous user, the chassis is slightly bent.
  3. Dodge Wreck Truck – regular wheels (1965-1969). This is missing its cab light, but it still has its towing hook unlike the other two examples I have of this model.
  4. Dodge DragsterSuperfast (1972-1976). This is a funny car, the body lifts up from the chassis like Dragon Wheels. The support for the body is broken and the axles are slightly twisted.
  5. Dodge ChallengerSuperfast (1976-1980). Aside from some paint chips this model is in reasonable condition.
  6. VW 1600 TL – transitional superfast (1970-1972). A previous owner has painted the model black even painting over the windows.(it would have been purple).
  7. Dodge Dumper Truck – regular wheels (1967-1969). Another Dodge, this is in surprisingly good condition considering its age.
  8. Mercury Cougar – King Size (1968-1970). The highlight of the month has been finding a Matchbox King Size Mercury Cougar, this was from 1969, the first King Size car and it came just before the range became Speed Kings with Superfast style wheels. This model is missing its two back tyres but the steering mechanism on the front wheels still works.
  9. Porsche 944 Turbo – Super Kings. (1988-1991). This is the only Matchbox model this month not made in England. It is made in Macau, in the Matchbox International Era. In very good condition.
  10. Matra Rancho – Super Kings (1985-1987). The base is marked Lesney Products even though this is slightly after the Lesney era. Made in England. The model is missing its opening tailgate.

All the Matchbox models are over 25 years old, some are around 50 years old. There is a tremendous frisson of nostalgia with some of these models.

Hot Wheels

Unlike the Matchbox models the Hot Wheels models were new.

Monthly Acquisitins December 2018 Hot Wheels
Hot Wheels haul

The Audi RS6 Avant was on my Wants’ List  but I was surprised to find the Super Treasure Hunt! 

Super TH Audi rear
Audi RS6 Avant (Super Treasure Hunt)

The Dodge D100 Pick up is the fifth Dodge model added this month. The Millenium Falcon is a Star Wars Character car, it looks strange on 4 wheels. I’m not usually interested in character cars because they are very expensive and just an elaborate kind of fantasy car. The Millennium Falcon I found in a Toys Outlet for just 5 lari, which was too tempting to pass by. The Nissan Fairlady Z was also on my Wants’ List.

Siku

Monthly Acquisitins December 2018 Siku

Last month (Monthly Acquisitions: November 2018) I picked up 7 Siku models, this month another three. I don’t know a lot about this German brand, it wasn’t part of my childhood. It seems to be a kind of German Matchbox, two of these models are from the seventies a Hanomag Henschel Pritschenwagen (#215) and a Ford TSF Feuerloschfahrzeug (#237) (missing its ladder). The ESA Rocket is more recent and would have come originally with a Scania Low Loader (#1614).

Majorette and Norev

Monthly Acquisitins December 2018 Majorette and Norev
Majorette Mercedes AMG GT Norev Maserati Boomerang and Renault 4L

Majorette and Norev are French brands, now like Matchbox, Majorette are “Made in Thailand”. They have an interesting selection, I picked out a Mercedes AMG GT from the limited edition “Glow in the Dark” series. The Norev models: a Maserati Boomerang and Renault 4 are made in France, I found them at Dry Bridge Market.

Maserati Boomerang
Maserati Boomerang (Norev)

Other Brands

Monthly Acquisitins December 2018 other brands
Other Brands

Finally I added five models from other brands:

  1. A Dinky Austin Mini Moke This is in a rough condition, missing many of its original parts like a steering wheel, a canopy, a tyre on the spare wheel and maybe even a parachute. It was cheap, just 2 lari and reminds me of the model I had in my childhood, which had a parachute.
  2. Oil Tanker This is a TootsieToys model, an American Brand.
  3. Audi Quattro “Polizei” This is a Welly model made in China. I imagine it was for the German or Austrian market, I also have the same model with emergency doctor “Notarzt”livery.
  4. 1934 Ford Model A “RNLI” Van, Lledo. Made in England. One of many promotional vehicles made by Lledo for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.
  5. Corgi Bedford Tractor Unit. This is from the mid sixties and would have been sold originally with a Carrimore Machinery Carrier. It is missing its side view mirrors.

It has been yet another interesting month on the collecting front. I was pleasantly surprised to find so many old Lesney Matchbox models here in Tbilisi.

Finally…after publishing this post I found one final model in the Secondhand Store, a 2016 Wing Chiller…a Matchbox fantasy model for ice and snow exploration, with a propellor that rotates. Perfect for taking to Tsagveri.

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Wing Chiller

 

Bilan

Totals: 27 Models: 11 Matchbox, 5 Hot Wheels, 1 Majorette, 3 Siku, 1 Welly, 1 Corgi,  1 TootsieToys, 1 Dinky, 2 Norev and 1 Lledo

5 bought new, 22 bought secondhand

Outlets: 18 Secondhand Toy Stores, 4 Dry Bridge Market, 2 XS Toys, 1 Carrefour, 1 Lilo Toys Outlet,  and  1 Pepela

Net expenditure: 125.07 lari ($46.93)

1 lari = 38 US cents

 

 

Highlights 2018

At the end of the year, I like to indulge myself looking back on some of my favourite diecast finds throughout the year. Previous highlights : Highlights 2017 and Highlights 2016.

Around 250 to 270 cars were added to my collection in 2018, so I think I now have around 1400, which is rather excessive, as I don’t own a museum…yet!

Highlights 2018
Highlights 2018

January saw 38 models enter my collection, including a dozen from “Dutch” (Package from the Netherlands) Many of these would be contenders: the Lamborghini Miura, the Renault 17TL, the Mazda RX500 but I choose the Ferrari Berlinetta with regular spoked wheels, this is a Matchbox representation of a very beautiful sports car. February’s choice is easier with a mere 3 models entering my collection of which the Nissan Skyline GT-R (R34) (Hot Wheels) is easily the standout piece.

Highlights 2018 jan to Mar
January, February and March highlights: Ferrari Berlinetta (Matchbox), Nissan Skyline GT-R and Simca 1100

The highlight from March (22 models) was the Simca 1100 Ti (Majorette)…this model was “Made in France” in the seventies, it has a frisson of nostalgia and was on my Majorette Wants’ List.

In April (21 models) the highlight for me was the Lancia Stratos, a Hot Wheels Mystery Model, which wasn’t a mystery to anyone who could interpret the code on the back of the packaging (Hot Wheels Mystery Models 2018 (Series 1)). May saw 37 models added, the highlight of which appeared on the last day, a Corgi Marcos Mantis, which reminded me of a playground incident from my childhood (recounted here : Therein lies a tale… ).

Highlights 2018 apr to Jun
April, March and June Highlights: Lancia Stratos, Marcos Mantis and VW Dragon Wheels

June was crazy, I added 56 models to the collection, difficult to choose a highlight but I’ll go with VW Dragon Wheels a Matchbox Funny Car, I’d found several Hot Wheels Funny Cars and even a Corgi Funny Car but this was one of two Matchbox Funny Cars, for which I was looking for (the other the Dodge Dragster I found in December).

July saw a strange selection of models (23) including a couple of diecast planes, the highlight for me was an old Chrysler Imperial (Corgi) from the mid sixties which turned up surprisingly in a Secondhand Toy Store here in Tbilisi. August was a quieter month with just nine models added. I also sold a few at Dry Bridge market. The highlight was a Corgi Mercedes C111, I found at Dry Bridge market, maybe I’m becoming jaded, I nearly let it slip away.

Highlights 2018 Jul to Sep
July, August and September highlights: Chrysler Imperial (Corgi), Mercedes C111 (Corgi) and ’34 Ford Model A “Dunlop” Truck – from Days Gone

September saw me double up on a few castings I already had, but I also found this nice model of a ’34 Ford Model A “Dunlop” Truck – from Days Gone.

In October I visited Cyprus, but didn’t find many models, I found an ’85 Honda CR-X from Hot Wheels Honda Series, which isn’t available in Tbilisi, but the highlight of the month was the Ford Escort RS1600 in Hot Wheels 50th Anniversary Livery, which I found back in Tbilisi.

November was a crazy month like May and June, I added 47 models to the collection including a Majorette Jaguar F Type, I’d been looking for a while.

Highlights 2018 oct to dec
October, November and December highlights: Ford Escort RS1600 (Hot Wheels), Jaguar F Type (Majorette) and Mercury Cougar (Matchbox King Size)

December has not quite finished, I did find a Hot Wheels Super Treasure Hunt! but for me the highlight of the month has been finding a Matchbox King Size Mercury Cougar, this was from 1969, the first King Size car and it came just before the range became Speed Kings with Superfast style wheels.

3 Matchbox, 3 Hot Wheels, 3 Corgi, 2 Majorette and 1 Days Gone a reasonable reflection of the brands I like to collect.

It is difficult to pick out one highlight from the 200+ models I added over the year but if  pressed I would choose the Majorette Jaguar F Type, a new model in British Racing Green, a fantastic looking car, the model has opening doors reminding me of the Matchbox cars of my childhood.

Highlights 2018 jag f
Jaguar F Type (Majorette)

Super Treasure Hunt!

Wow! Christmas has come early, today (24 December: Christmas Eve in some parts of the world), I found a Super Treasure Hunt. What is special about Super Treasure Hunts? You may well ask. They have a different colour to the standard model, they have “real rider” rubber tyres (not the regular plastic wheels) and they are rare, maybe one in every 15 cases of Hot Wheels (a case will have 72 cars). At retail, individual Treasure Hunts cost the same as regular models. On the secondary market, Treasure Hunts can range from a few dollars to several hundred dollars.

Super TH Audi rear
The “TH” logo on the back shows it to be a Super Treasure Hunt

I was doing some grocery shopping in Carrefour and as I usually do, I glanced at the Hot Wheels pegs, when I saw the Audi RS6 Avant just hanging there in its dark spectraflame red paint. I picked it up in a state of didbelief seeing the gold circle flame logo behind the car proved it was the real McCoy. I don’t usually buy Hot Wheels in Carrefour, as they are rarely discounted, but I look just in case there is a Super, an error or a model I haven’t found elsewhere. This Audi is only the second Super Treasure Hunt I have found, the first was the Mystery Machine almost two years ago. The first time was more exciting and eventful, I recounted this in a previous blogpost: Mystery Machine Super

Mystery Machine Super TH
The Mystery Machine

On short cards Super Treasure Hunts are rarer than on long cards. I have spent a lot of time looking and I’m very happy to have found a second one. The regular Audi RS6 Avant was on my Wants’ List finding a Super is an unexpected bonus. I also have an earlier Matchbox casting of the Audi in yellow.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

 

Maserati

Maserati is one of my favourite Car Makes, unfortunately they are not served as well by diecast manufacturers as Lamborghini, Ferrari or Porsche. I have thirteen models in my collection (compared to 76 Porsches and 54 Lamborghinis).

Maserati x 13
Maserati x 13

The Maserati tagline is “Luxury, sports and style cast in exclusive cars“. As a teen my dream supercar was a Maserati Bora, it was fast, but not as fast as a Lamborghini Countach or a Ferrari 512BB, but I preferred its more restrained style. The Bora was a mid-engined two-seat sports car powered by a V8 engine and produced from 1971 to 1978, it had a top speed of 171 miles per hour (275 km/h). The closest I got was a Matchbox model.

Maserati Bora
Maserati Bora (Matchbox)

I bought some Chinese models that were based on the Bora and its smaller engined cousin the Maserati Merak, these are not great quality models (the blue Bora is plastic not diecast) but I love the shape.

Maserati Bora and Merak
Matchbox Maserati Bora with Chinese model of a Bora and two smaller Chinese made Meraks

The Bora was derived from a concept car designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro, the Maserati Boomerang. I found a Norev version of the Boomerang at Dry Bridge Market in Tbilisi.

Maserati Boomerang
Maserati Boomerang (Norev)

I tend to focus on Matchbox sized cars, but I did splash out on a 1:24 scale Maserati Gran Turismo by Bburago, this is the largest model in my collection. I also have a Kinsmart model of the Gran Turismo in 1:38 Scale.

Maserati Gran Turismo and Indy
Maserati Gran Turismo (Kinsmart and Bburago), Maserati Indy (DeAgostini)

In my 1968 Ladybird Book of Motor Cars the fastest car was a Maserati Mistral (155 mph), Hot Wheels made a Mistral but it was only on sale in 1969, I haven’t found the Hot Wheels model but I have found three Soviet made models in 1:43 scale.

Ladybird Book with Aston and Maserati
Ladybird Book of Motor cars (1968) with Aston Martin and Maserati

It would be nice to find some models of other sixties and seventies Maseratis like the Khamsin, Kyalami and Ghibli.