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Pardelhas

1:32 Sopwith F.1 Camel "USAS"

1:32 Sopwith F.1 Camel “USAS”

Wingnut Wings

Kit No. 32072

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Available from Wingnut Wings for $79.


Introduction

Today we look at our fifth Sopwith Camel, being the USAS engine version.

 

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Like all our reviews, I will try to convince YOU that this is the version you want or at least one of the Camel version that you also need if not all.

But, to keep in mind all other camel versions, take a look at our other reviews too:

 

F.1 Camel ‘BR.1’

 

F1 Camel ‘Clerget’

 

2F.1 ‘Ship’s Camel’

 

F1 Camel “Le Rhône”

 

 Now its time for the USAS Camel review and I do have a very hard task comparing with all others reviews made by review masters Jim Hatch and Jeoren Peters, so please bear with me.

 

Sooo, the big question once again is:

Why should I choose the Sopwith F.1 Camel “USAS”?

 

 

 Wingnut’s official kit info describes the kit as thus:

 

  • High quality Cartograf decals for 6 aircraft;
  • 185 high quality injection moulded plastic parts;
  • Optional fuselage halves with alternative lacing details, windscreens, cut down cockpit decking, propellers, 20lb Cooper bombs & carrier;
  • Highly detailed 18 part 140hp Clerget 9Bf;
  • 19 part 160hp Gnome 9N engines;
  • 10 photo-etched metal detail parts;
  • 22 pages of high resolution instruction booklet;
  • Fine in scale rib tape detail;
  • Full rigging diagram.

            The only thing that is different for all others, besides the scheme options is the 160hp Gnome 9N Monosoupape engine.

 

The Monosoupape (French for single-valve), was a rotary engine design first introduced in 1913 by Gnome Engine Company (renamed Gnome et Rhône in 1915). It used a clever arrangement of internal transfer ports and a single pushrod-operated exhaust valve to replace a large number of moving parts found on more conventional rotary engines, and made the Monosoupape engines some of the most reliable of the era. British aircraft designer Thomas Sopwith described the Monosoupape as "one of the greatest single advances in aviation".

 

Produced under license in both seven and nine-cylinder versions in large numbers in most industrialized countries including Germany (by Oberursel), Russia, Italy, Britain and the US. Two differing nine-cylinder versions were produced, the 100 CV 9B-2 and 160 CV 9N, with differing displacements and a dual ignition system on the later 9N version.

 

2,188 units were produced under license in Britain, with an uprated 120 hp version later built in Russia and the Soviet Union, two of which flew the Soviet TsAGI-1EA single lift-rotor helicopter in 1931-32.

 

Contrary unlike other rotaries, the early Gnome engines like the Gnome Omega, Lambda and Delta used a unique arrangement of valves in order to eliminate pushrods that operated during the inlet phase of the combustion cycle on more conventional engines. Instead, a single exhaust valve on the cylinder head was operated by a pushrod that opened the valve when the pressure dropped at the end of the power stroke. A pressure-operated inlet valve, which was balanced by a counterweight to equalize the centrifugal forces, was placed in the centre of the piston crown, where it opened to allow the fuel–air charge to enter from the engine's central crankcase.

 

Although ingenious, the system had several drawbacks. The cylinder heads had to be removed to perform maintenance of the intake valves, to adjust the timing correctly, and fuel economy suffered in comparison to other rotaries because the inlet valves could not be opened and closed at the ideal times.

Description

In 1913, Louis Seguin and his brother Laurent (engineers who founded the Société Des Moteurs Gnome [the Gnome motor company] in 1905) introduced the new Monosoupape series, which eliminated the inlet valve, replacing it with piston-controlled transfer ports similar to those found in a two-stroke engine. Beginning with the power stroke, the four-stroke engine operated normally until the piston was just about to reach the bottom of its stroke (bottom dead center, or BDC), when the exhaust valve was opened "early". This let the still-hot burnt combustion gases "pop" out of the engine while the piston was still moving down, relieving exhaust pressure and preventing exhaust gases from entering the crankcase. After a small additional amount of travel, the piston uncovered 36 small ports around the base of the cylinder, leading to the crankcase which held additional fuel–air mixture (the charge). No transfer took place at this point since there was no pressure differential; the cylinder was still open to the air and thus at ambient pressure. The overhead valve exhausted directly into the slipstream since no exhaust manifold could be practically fitted to the spinning crankcase and cylinders, partly in order to save weight and prevent excessive amounts of centrifugal forces in flight.

 

During the exhaust stroke, scavenging occurred as the air moving past the cylinder exterior lowered the pressure inside due to the direct exposure of the exhaust port to the slipstream. The piston continued its exhaust stroke until top dead center (TDC) was reached, but the valve remained open. The piston began to move down on its intake stroke with the valve still open, pulling new air into the cylinder. It remained open until it was two-thirds of the way down, at which point the valve closed and the remainder of the intake stroke greatly reduced the air pressure. When the piston uncovered the transfer ports again, the low pressure in the cylinder drew in the balance of the charge.

 

The charge was an overly rich mixture of air, which was acquired through the hollow crankshaft, and fuel that was continuously injected by a fuel nozzle on the end of a fuel line, entering the crankcase through the hollow crankshaft. The nozzle was in the proximity of, and aimed at, the inside base of the cylinder where the transfer ports were located. The fuel nozzle was stationary with the crankshaft, and the cylinders rotated into position in turn. The compression stroke was conventional.

 

The spark plug was installed horizontally into the rear of the cylinder at the top but had no connecting high-voltage wire. An internal-tooth ring gear mounted on the engine drove a stationary magneto mounted on the firewall, whose high-voltage output terminal was in close proximity to the spark plug terminals as they passed by. This arrangement eliminated the need for distributor and high-voltage wiring found in conventional mechanically timed ignition systems. This ring gear also drove the oil pump, which supplied oil to all bearings, and through hollow pushrods to the rockers and valves and also drove an air pump which pressurized the fuel tank. The later, 160 CV Gnome 9N engines had dual ignition systems for safety, with twin spark plugs per cylinder which were electrically wired, with the wires routed onto the crankcase and a central pair of magnetos driven by the spinning engine crankcase.

 

Control

The Monosoupape had no carburetor or throttle, and since most of its air supply was taken in through the exhaust valve, it could not be controlled by adjusting the air supply to the crankcase like other rotaries. Monosoupapes therefore had a single petrol regulating control used for a limited degree of speed regulation. In early examples, engine speed could be controlled by varying the opening time and extent of the exhaust valves using levers acting on the valve tappet rollers, but this was later abandoned due to causing burning of the valves.

Instead, a blip switch was used, which cut out the ignition when pressed. This was used sparingly to avoid fouling the spark plugs, since it was only safe to be used when the fuel supply was also cut. Some later Monosoupapes were fitted with a selector switch which allowed the pilot to cut out three or six cylinders instead of all nine when hitting the blip switch, so that each cylinder fired only once per three engine revolutions but the engine remained in perfect balance.

 

Lubrication

 

The Sopwith Tabloid reproduction shows the sheet-metal cowling used to redirect the oil sprayed by the rotating engine.

The lubrication system, as with all rotary engines, was a total-loss type in which castor oil was pumped into the fuel–air mix. Castor oil was used because it did not readily dissolve into the fuel, and because it offered lubrication qualities superior to other available oils. Over two gallons of castor oil were sprayed into the air during each hour of engine operation. This explains why most rotaries were fitted with cowls, with the lowermost quarter omitted to direct the spray of castor oil away from the pilot.

Unburnt castor oil from the engine had a laxative effect on the pilot if ingested.

 

Because the entire engine rotated, it had to be precisely balanced, requiring precision machining of all parts. As a result, Monosoupapes were extremely expensive to build, the 100 horsepower (75 kW) models costing $4,000 in 1916 (approx. $89,000 in 2017 dollars). However, they used less lubricating oil and weighed slightly less than the earlier two-valve engines.

 

Variants

Gnome Monosoupape 7 Type A

(1916) seven-cylinder rotary engine, 80 hp (60 kW). Bore and stroke: 110 x 150 mm (4.3 x 5.9 in).

Gnome Monosoupape 9 Type B-2

(1916) nine-cylinder rotary engine, 100 hp (75 kW). Bore and stroke: 110 x 150 mm (4.3 x 5.9 in).

Gnome Monosoupape 11 Type C

An 11 cylinder version

Gnome Monosoupape 9 Type N

(1917) nine-cylinder rotary engine, larger diameter crankcase than the B-2, 150 or 160 hp (112 or 119 kW). Bore and stroke: 115 x 170 mm (4.5 x 6.7 in) – This is the engine version on this model.

Gnome Monosoupape 9 Type R

180 hp nine-cylinder rotary engine, development of 9N with same 170mm stroke.

(Information courtesy from Wikipedia).

 

 

 So the Gnome Monosoupape 9N engine is the only thing new from the others Camels variations.

So we start for a close look to the kit sprue – E from engine.

 

 

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The engine Gnome engine is the only that we will take a close look.

Only a very trained eye to WWI rotary engine can in fact see the different between this one or the Clerget or the BRI and with the tight and close cowling, the engine really doesn’t make a different in the final look of your camel.

So I have to agree with Jeroen Peter when he also concludes that is not for the engine that why you should chose this kit.

So it would have to be for the colorful options the USAS have to offer:

 

A-   Sopwith F.1 Camel D8245 “B”, FE Kindley, “A” Flight 148th Aero Sqn USAS, August 1918 (12 victories)

 

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The Camel is for FE Kindley ace that had 12 victories confirmed. A large B on the side fuselage is a distinctive mark and the white and red wheels with the spinner gives it a nice cool touch.

 

The man that flow the airplane was Field Eugene Kindley was born at Prairie Grove in northwestern Arkansas.

The son of George C. and Ella Kindley, Field Eugene Kindley was a motion picture operator living in Coffeyville, Kansas when he joined the Kansas National Guard in May 1917. Transferring to the U.S. Army's Signal Corps, he attended the School of Military Aeronautics at the University of Illinois before going to England for advanced flight training at Oxford. To gain combat experience he was assigned to the Royal Air Force's 65 Squadron on the Western Front on 22 May 1918.

Flying the Sopwith Camel, Kindley scored his first victory on 26 June 1918, shooting down a Pfalz D.III flown by the commanding officer of Jasta 5, Wilhelm Lehmann. Reassigned to the 148th Aero Squadron as a flight commander, Kindley's patrol engaged Jasta 11 on 13 August 1918. That day he scored his fourth victory, shooting down a Fokker D.VII possibly flown by Lothar von Richthofen who was wounded in the battle. Promoted to Captain on 24 February 1919, Kindley assumed command of the 94th Aero Squadron at Kelly Field in Texas in January 1920. Less than a month later, in preparaton for a visit by General John J. Pershing, he was severely injured and badly burned during a practice flight when a control cable broke and the S.E.5a he was flying crashed to the ground. He died that evening at the post hospital. Clayton Bissell, one of Kindley's closest friends at Kelly Field, transported the body home to Gravette, Arkansas for burial – information courtesy from “The Aerodrome”.

Kindley is with no doubt one important and historically American flying Ace and it´s a good excuse to get this Camel variation.

 

B-   Sopwith F.1 Camel D8250 “O”, EW Springs, “B” Flight 148th  Aero Sqn USAS, Augsut 1918 (16 victories)

 

 

 

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This Camel with “O” is from the great Elliot White Springs, another American fling ace with 16 victories. In photo in WnW booklet show that EW Springs camel is the most different of all 5 camels in this box, in structure level: it’s the only one with large opening in the top wing centre section which will give the camel a new look and the details of your models will be more visible.

 

Let`s check the Ace history.

The son of Colonel Leroy Springs, a wealthy textile manufacturer, Elliott White Springs attended the Culver Military Academy and Princeton. He enlisted in the army in 1917 and was sent to England for training with the Royal Flying Corps. In 1918, he was one of several pilots handpicked by William Bishop to fly the S.E.5a with 85 Squadron in France. After recovering from wounds received in action on 27 June 1918, he was reassigned to the 148th Aero Squadron which was still under the operational control of the RFC. When the war ended, Springs returned to the United States where he barnstormed while writing "Warbirds: The Diary of an Unknown Aviator." His book was largely based upon a collection of letters written by his friend, John McGavock Grider, who was killed in action while serving with 85 Squadron. "Warbirds" was a bestseller and Springs continued writing books based on his experiences during World War I. At his father's request, he returned to work at the family textile business in 1931. Recalled to active duty in 1941, Springs served with the United States Army Air Corps during World War II. He died, age 63, at Memorial Hospital in New York following a battle with pancreatic cancer - information courtesy from “The Aerodrome”.

These two schemes options are not in fact very colourfull ones however are from well know flying aces and with some long and fantastic history behind.

 

C-   Sopwith F.1 Camel “4”, HR Clay Jr, “A” Flight 41st Aero Sqn USAS, Late 1918 to early 1919 (8 victories)

 

 

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The Camel “Camel” version. At least for and personally one of my favourite with the red cowling, large 4 on the wings and stripes on the top and below of the wings. The final touch is the V with a Camel inside. Great look!

 

And this one is also for a well-know flying ace, Henry Robinson Clay Jr.

 

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Captain Henry Robinson Clay, Jr. was a World War I flying ace credited with eight confirmed aerial victories.

 

Though born in Plattsburg, Missouri on 27 November 1895, Clay later lived in Fort Worth, Texas.

 

He was one of the first contingent of American fliers shipped to England to gain seasoning with the Royal Flying Corps. While assigned to 43 Squadron, he claimed a win, but it went unverified.

He then transferred to the 148th Aero Squadron. He scored eight times between 16 August and 27 September 1918; on the latter date, he shared in the destruction of a Halberstadt reconnaissance plane with Elliott White Springs. In total, Clay destroyed five Fokker D.VIIs, considered the best fighters in the war and drove another down out of control; he shared in the destruction of two German reconnaissance planes.

Clay was promoted to command of 41st Aero Squadron, but the war ended before it could see action. He died during the great influenza epidemic, on 17 February 1919 at the age of 23 years of age – wikipedia information.

Even at the young age he was award with Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) and there the citation for posthumous award:

 

The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Henry Robinson Clay, Jr., First Lieutenant (Air Service), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action near Sains-les-Marquion, France, September 4, 1918. In an action wherein Lieutenant Clay's patrol was outnumbered two-to-one, he attacked the group and shot down the enemy aircraft in flames. He continued in the combat and later attacked two enemy aircraft which were pursuing a plane of his patrol and succeeded in shooting one enemy aircraft down. Again, on September 27, 1918, near Cambrai, France, with one other pilot, Lieutenant Clay observed five enemy planes approaching our lines and, although hopelessly outnumbered, immediately attacked and singled out a plane which was seen to crash to the ground. He was immediately attacked by the other enemy planes and compelled to fight his way back to our lines. (General Orders No. 60, W.D., 1920)”.

 

D-   Sopwith F.1 Camel “18”, JB Hickman, “C”, Flight 41st Aero Sqn USAS, early 1919

 

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This particularly scheme is not about the pilot but the squadron, the  41st Aero Sqd with a blue nose and a fantastic badge: a V with a Camel.

The only difference for the C version is that is not form a famous ace and its has a blue nose.

E-    Sopwith F.1 Camel F1430 “13”, EM Kelton, “A” Flight 185th Aero Sqn USAS, October 1918 (1 ? victory)

 

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“The 185th Aero Squadron was a Air Service, United States Army unit that fought on the Western Front during World War I.

Known as the "Bats", the 185th Aero Squadron is notable as it was the first and only night pursuit (fighter) squadron organized by the United States during World War I. Its mission was night interception of enemy aircraft, primarily bombers and observation aircraft. It was engaged in combat for less than a month before the 1918 Armistice with Germany. After the armistice, the squadron returned to the United States in June 1919 and was demobilized.[2][4]

There is no modern United States Air Force or Air National Guard unit that shares its lineage and history.

History

Origins

The 185th Aero Squadron was organized on 11 November 1917 at Kelly Field #2, Texas by the transfer of men from the 24th Aero Squadron. Many of the men had experience flying or maintaining the Curtiss JN-4B "Jenny" trainers. On the 15th, additional men were transferred to the squadron from the 2d Recruit Battalion and 3d Recruit Battalion. On 20 January 1918, the squadron was transferred to Aviation Concentration Center, Mitchell Field, Long Island for duty overseas. After just over a week, the squadron embarked on the RMS Adriatic, arriving in Liverpool, England on 16 February after being delayed in Halifax, Nova Scotia for a convoy. At Liverpool, the squadron boarded a train and arrived at Winchester, England that evening, where it was assigned to the Romney Rest Camp.[2]

Training in England

On 28 February, the squadron was divided into Flights and placed under control of the Royal Flying Corps for training. "B", "C" and "D" flights were transferred to 4 Training Depot Station (TDS) at RFC Hooton Park in Cheshire. "A" flight was transferred to 63 TDS, RFC Ternhill, Shropshire.[2]

At Hooton, the squadron was trained in the airplane repair shop, the engine repair shop and also in motor transport repair. Other men were trained in various clerical duties. The men at Ternhill were trained in a similar manner. The squadron was trained on both Sopwith strutters and Sopwith Camels with rotary engines and Sopwith Dolphin fighters equipped with Hispano-Suiza 8B engines. In April, the 185th Aero Squadron was recombined at RFC Hooton where the squadron continued training. On 16 June, the squadron was inspected by RFC Colonel Mansfield, Commander of the 37 Wing and he expressed his appreciation for the work provided by the squadron, owing to the shortage of British men who were at the front. By July, the men of the 185th were becoming impatient, as it was rumored the squadron would remain in England on a permanent basis, however orders were finally relieved to report to the Flower Down Rest Camp near Winchester on 7 August.

After a final inspection at Flower Down, the squadron received a final inspection before boarding a train to Southampton on 11 August. Late the next afternoon, the squadron crossed the English Channel and arrived at American Rest Camp #2 in Le Havre, France.

Combat in France

The next day the squadron boarded a troop train, bound for the St. Maixent Replacement Barracks, arriving on 16 August. There the squadron was equipped with steel helmets and gas masks and training in the tear gas chamber. On 20 August, the squadron boarded a troop train and proceeded to the 1st Air Depot, Colombey-les-Belles Airdrome, arriving on the 23d. Once the authorities at the depot realized the 185th was fully trained, the men were assigned to aircraft maintenance duties and also at the depot.

The need for pilots being so great on 16 September, seventeen squadron pilots were transferred out to fill vacancies in other squadrons at the front, leaving the 185th with two trained pilots, and still without any aircraft to fly. Finally, on 7 October, orders were received to move to Rembercourt Aerodrome and join the 1st Pursuit Group. After a rainy, long, uncomfortable trip by truck, the squadron arrived on the 10th late in the afternoon. On 12 October, fourteen Sopwith Camels were assigned to the 185th and the pilots began trial flights. A few days later, five pilots, who had been transferred out at Colombey returned to the 185th.

At Rembercourt, the 185th was designated as a "Night Chase" Squadron, the first of its type organized by the American Army. Night Pursuit work was in its infancy. The Sopwith Camels were planes that were considered almost to be obsolete, except for training. The pilots were not trained in night flying, with many of them never having taken off after dusk. Also, the squadron had to experiment with wing flares, parachute flares and instrument lights. Also the airdrome had no landing lights, and the searchlights and Anti-Aircraft batteries were not versed with American planes flying after dusk. In addition, there were not enough searchlights for the guidance of our pilots, who frequently could not find the airfield at night and had to make forced landings after running out of gasoline. Many accidents were caused and there was a chronic lack of spare parts for the airplanes.

Night Pursuit Operations

Nevertheless, on 18–19 October 1918, the first orders were issued and the 185th Aero Squadron (Night Pursuit) stood its first alert that night from dusk until dawn. On the night of the 21st the squadron was alerted that there were several enemy aircraft flying over Troyon, and the squadron took off in its first night interception mission. However upon arrival over the area, no enemy aircraft were seen. On the night of the 22d, the squadron made a low-level fight over enemy territory and Lieutenant Kelton fired about 100 rounds into a troop train between Spincourt and Longuyon. However, due to poor visibility, he was unable to report the results.

The only aerial combat of the squadron happened on the night of 23 October when Lts Kelton and Johnson were on alert when a report came in that enemy Gotha bombers were over Bar-le-Duc. Immediately, both pilots took off to intercept the enemy aircraft. Kelton reported that he observed searchlights in the Bar-le-Duc area performing sweeps to locate the enemy aircraft. He saw one bomber and fired a burst of 20 shots that struck the aircraft. He then saw another enemy aircraft that he fired a burst of 10 shots at. He observed Anti-Aircraft fire and searchlights in the sky and saw tracer bullets being fired into the air. He fired at long range at the aircraft but the results were unobserved. It was later learned that Kelton and Johnson frightened away the enemy aircraft by their unexpected appearance before dropping all of their bombs. They later jettisoned the remainder of their bombs in an open countryside area as they returned to their lines. Although the 185th did not shoot down any of the aircraft, by disrupting their mission, a symbolic victory was achieved.

One pilot was killed in an aircraft accident, Lt Ewing on 28 October. His plane caught on fire and crashed 500 yards southwest of Rembercourt due to a malfunctioning altimeter. Lieutenant Kelton went missing on the 30th. He was on a strafing mission in enemy territory and was shot down. Taken POW, he escaped and walked back to the unit arriving one month later.

Active operations of the squadron ended on 11 November with the signing of the Armistice with Germany.

Demobilization

Daylight Proficiency flights were conducted after the Armistice with Germany, however, no flights were permitted to be flown over German-controlled territory. The squadron remained at Rembercourt for about a month. On 11 December 1918 orders were received from First Army for the squadron to report to the 1st Air Depot, Colombey-les-Belles Airdrome to turn in all of its supplies and equipment and was relieved from duty with the AEF. The squadron's Sopwith aircraft were delivered to the Air Service American Air Service Acceptance Park No. 1 at Orly Aerodrome to be returned to the British. There practically all of the pilots and observers were detached from the Squadron.

 

During the organization's stay at Colombey, the men attended to the usual camp duties. Personnel at Colombey were subsequently assigned to the Commanding General, Services of Supply and ordered to report to one of several staging camps in France. There, personnel awaited scheduling to report to one of the Base Ports in France for transport to the United States and subsequent demobilization.[7] On 6 May 1919, the 185th was moved to Base Station #5 near the port of Brest prior to its return to the United States. Upon arrival the men were caught up on any back pay owed to them, de-loused, a formal military records review was performed and a passenger list was created prior to the men boarding a ship.

On 1 June 1919, the 185th Aero Squadron boarded a troop ship and sailed for New York Harbor, arriving on the 28th. It proceeded to Mitchel Field, Long Island on 15 June where the personnel of the squadron were demobilized and returned to civilian life.

 

 

F-    Sopwith F.1 Camel F1471 “12”, 185th Sqn Aero USAS, March 1919

 

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The scheme is the most awkward of all schemes as you got in this box, a total white fuselage.  The squadron is the 185th Aero Sqn USAS  so nothing more to say about this Sqn but its believe that was delivery to this Squadron 2 days after the Armistice being unknown the pilot.

The beautiful White Camel with a bat badge (a very first batplane??) is a very strong argument to get the version of the Camel.

So Batman fans just go and treat yourself! :D

 

Verdict

Well, this will sound very repetitive but is the perfect kit of a great plane.

Having built the Clerget engine version from the final test shot I do know for a fact that this little Camel is a gorgeous model that it`s not difficult to build, with tons of details on the cockpit, on the engine and well-made rip-tapes.

The decals are perfect register colour and fantastic options.

 

VERY VERY VERY highly recommended.

 

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My sincere thanks to Wingnut Wings for this review sample.

 

Francisco Guedes

 

 

 

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JeroenPeters, rhwinter and kuya like this

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