30 June 2014

Fab's Taking Requests (Maybe)!

Some of y'all may have already run across it on the FFG X-Wing Forums, but I received an email from our old pal in France earlier today. 

Hello Clint,

Congratulation for your qualification !

On the X-wing frint, as I will be on vacation soon, I started a kind of "get requirements" campaign on some boards. So if you think that you can relay this it will be great.



So there ya go. If you've got any brilliant ideas for Fab's Squadron Generator, by all means, follow the link above and share your thoughts with him. 

Thanks Fab! 

Elite Pilot Skills- Decoy

This post regarding Elite Pilot Skills is part of a larger article regarding Wave 4 listbuilding- the rest of the posts n this series will be available in the coming weeks as I'm revealing a post or two per day on the various topics in that larger article. For more info, click the "List Building Resources" tab at the top of the page or simply click here.

Decoy (2)
Card Text: At the start of the Combat Phase, you may choose 1 friendly ship at Range 1-2. Exchange your Pilot Skill with that ship's Pilot Skill until the end of the phase.
Usage in game: Game turn progression modification
Action?: No.

Breakdown: So this is an interesting little card, no? Admittedly, with much sexier and accessible Elite Pilot Skills (Marksmanship, Push The Limit, etc.), this card maybe doesn't quite get the attention it deserves yet, but it's got some possibilities.

The thing the first occurred to me when I read this card was how it compares to Swarm Tactics as it has kind of a similar effect. I mean, at the end of the day, you're (probably) raising another ship's PS to that of an ally's PS, right? So what's the difference?

The main thing here is Decoy is kinda like Swarm Tactics in reverse.

What I mean is this- how many times did you take Swarm Tactics on a guy like Vader or Wedge so you could enjoy that sweet PS elsewhere? If you've been playing since Wave 1 especially, probably a lot. The only downside was when these other cool Elite Pilot Skills started turning up and you kinda thought to yourself, "Dang- I'd really rather have Push The Limit (or whatever) on that guy, but I really like being able to push around that high PS via Swarm Tactics..."

Well, instead of sticking Swarm Tactics on a Wedge or a Vader, now you can stick it on the guy you were going to benefit.

It's not quite the same, and hopefully I've made that abundantly clear with the preceding paragraphs there, but functionally it's a similar end result. Again, the main benefit here is that you're not wasting the high PS pilot's EPS slot to bump up a buddy's PS.

The downside to all of this is unlike Swarm Tactics, you don't just bump up the low PS guy to the high PS value, you actually exchange it in this instance. What I mean by that is this- say for example you've got Wedge with Swarm Tactics and a Rookie Pilot flying next to him (within Range 1). For all intents and purposes, at the start of the Combat Phase those guys are both PS 9. Trade out Swarm Tactics and now you've got Wedge with Decoy and a Rookie. At the start of the Combat Phase (should you choose to use Decoy of course), now you've got Wedge firing at PS 2 and the Rookie firing at PS 9.

That's the tradeoff. Well, that and Decoy works out to Range 2 where Swarm Tactics is Range 1 only. 

So is it worth it? Compared to Swarm Tactics, I mean. I think the main benefit of Decoy rather than Swarm Tactics besides what's been previously stated is that Decoy doesn't require you to stick to formation or devote forethought while selecting maneuvers nearly as much. Conceivably, anybody that's an ally and within range can be the target of Decoy, where the high PS ship was the necessarily obvious focal point of Swarm Tactics, so you get some flexibility there. Doubly so perhaps since that high PS pilot already has a big ol' bullseye on him to begin with.  

Is Decoy likely to invalidate Swarm Tactics or guys like Garnet Roark? Nah, I don't think so. However, I do think for only a couple of points it's worth sticking on a Black Squadron TIE or Green Squadron A-Wing once in awhile for grins. It doesn't suddenly make those ships truly menacing or anything, but it does change up the way the Combat Round progresses, which depending on your ability to apply it and your opponent's ability to mitigate it, can make for some rather interesting situations that'll keep him on his toes. Good for making your opponent decide whether or not to burn that Focus token a little earlier than he'd planned, for example, or for burning off that last shield on a Falcon with a lesser PS ship then letting somebody cooler move in and use their card text or Secondary do more work than possible had they fired earlier in the Phase. Stuff like that. Like I said, it's subtle in it's application. 

26 June 2014

Potpourri for $500- Wave 4 is in stock at MM, Down with tha Sickness

Wave 4 In Stock!
So as you may have noticed from the ad graphics change, or maybe because you follow me on G+ and/ or Twitter, Miniature Market is now shipping the new Wave 4 ships! So if you missed out on your fighter of choice at Imdaar Alpha like I did, now's your chance to get some new stuff on the table! 

Down with tha Sickness
And no, I don't have World Cup-itis (though I have been following, of course), I really have been like incredibly sick the past 17 days. Long story short, I had an upper respiratory infection that was antibiotic-resistant which changed into an ear infection in both of my ears. In addition the usual coughing, sore throat, and snot problems, I also lost a lot of my hearing from all the sinus congestion and was in a pretty good deal of pain from all the pressure built up in and around my ear parts or whatever. Good news is I'm on some really hardcore antibiotics now. Bad news is my hearing may still take a couple of weeks to resolve. 

Anyhizzle, it's hard to write while you feel like Khan put those worms in your ears and my energy has been pretty low lately as my body fights the infection, so I've been neglecting the site as a result. With any luck, that changes very soon as it seems the new antibiotics are already starting to work. Thanks as always for being patient and thanks to the handful of y'all who emailed to check on me! I should have something up tomorrow one way or another. 


16 June 2014

Wave 5 Speculation

So I'd kinda planned on doing something else today, but as the comments on the Wave 5 reveal article is already filling up with speculation on the other cards included with the VT-49 Decimator and the YT-2400, I thought it might be kinda fun to spend a few minutes squinting at the rest of the contents of each Wave 5 Expansion.

So, starting with the named pilot cards, the PS 2 card seems to begin with the word, "Wild Spa-." Past that, I had no idea, so I rolled over to the Dash Rendar entry on Wookieepedia and found it's most likely Eaden Vrill, and the PS 5 card is likely LE-BO2D9. Towards the middle of the article there's a reference to Dash being caught in Wild Space, which kinda makes me think the PS 2 card is probably like Wild Space Pilot, Wild Space Pirate, or Wild Space Smuggler. Or maybe Wild Space Drifter. 

Moving on to the tokens and whatnots, it's the usual bevvy of stuff aside from these new debris fields and some itty bitty tokens that I figure are most likely for the new mission that inevitably comes with the Expansion. 

The upgrade cards, as usual are a mix of new and old stuff. Starting top left, we've got a dotted card that I can't tell if it's a crew member or just what. I don't think it's a ship title because it doesn't have that italicized line beneath the title saying "YT-2400 only" or at least it doesn't seem to, which is kinda why I'm thinking it's a Crew Member and we just can't quite see the actual Crew Member symbol in the lower left. 

Moving right, we see what's gotta be Stay On Target, then the Crew Member version of Dash, then something that starts with "Gu" I think (EDIT: I'm a dumbass- it's just) a copy of Gunner, then Lando, then a dotted card that yields some sort of Action and looks like it might be a droid Crew Member- possibly that LE-BO2D9 chap again. We round out the top row with Mercenary Copilot. 

Bottom row, we've got a Missile called Proton Rockets which is a Secondary of course because we can see the "Attack:" blah, blah in the description. Then a HLC card, a card that says "Expe- Inte-" that seems to yield some sort of Action, the Outrider title card, and a Modification that looks like a cloud of gas. "Cou- Mea-" kinda makes me wonder if it isn't Counter-Measure, which is perhaps some kind of anti-ordnance card. Or not. Who knows? 

The Decimator has even less mysterious tokens and whatnots- we've seen all of that before, of course. Running through the cards, this ship can take a lot of upgrades. Who knows if they're actually worth it, but if you look closely, you'll see this bad boy can roll a Torpedo, three Crew Members, and a Bomb with the Elite Pilot Skill as usual being available to the higher PS versions. 

The PS 3 version seems to be "Patrol" something, the 4 version is Captain somebody, the 6 Commander somebody else, and the 8 is Rear Admiral Gorreanu or Carbonneau or something like that. 

I looked up some VT-49 info online, I guess this ship was added in for Star Wars Galaxies and was intended to be kind of an evil Millennium Falcon. Other than that, neither Wookieepedia nor the Star Wars Galaxies wiki had much more info than that. 

Going through her upgrade cards, we see two cards that seem to start with the word "Ruthless" and while there's some italics below, I can't make out what it says- might be "Imperial Only", but I'm kinda guessing saying that. Moving right, we see what looks to be "Intimidate" or "Intimidation" or something along those lines. Then we have a couple copies of Ion Torpedoes, then a dotted card that seems to be a name which likely  makes it a Crew Member, then Crew Member Mara Jade. 

Bottom row we start with the revealed Fleet Officer card, then what appears to be Ysanne Isard- an Imperial Intelligence officer during the Galactic Civil War (thanks again Wookieepedia!), then a VT-49 only dotted card of some kind that seems to start with "Dal" or maybe "Dau", then a copy of Proton Bomb, and a Modification that looks to be a Tactical Jammer maybe? Hard to say. "Tal", "Tac", or "Tau" then "Ja" is all I can see there. 

Brief sidenote- does anyone else find it kind of counterintuitive that Lucasfilm/ Disney/ whoever made such a big deal about the EU not being canon but then FFG knocks out all these EU ships? Maybe it's just me. 

13 June 2014

Wave 5 Revealed!

No, it ain't April Fools and I'm not kidding around! Wave 5 ships have been revealed just now on the FFG site!

For those of y'all not familiar with the EU stuff so much (i.e. me), That's an Imperial VT-49 and a Rebel YT-2400. They're both classed as big ships of course.

Those shapes in the lower left are debris clouds, apparently. I get the impression from the verbiage in the article itself that they're going to be some new type of obstacle. Not sure if they're only available in particular game types or if they're a deployable or just what, but that's what they are, in any case. Nice for all of y'all who have been making your DIY busted up ship miniatures- it appears they're about to get some rules!

We also had a few cards revealed already-

More like Crash Rendar, amirite? That's a very beginner friendly ship right there- ignore obstacles during the Activation phase and when performing Actions, turret gun, 10 shields+hull? Not cheap at 36 points for only 2 Attack and 2 Defense, but pretty forgiving and upgradeable to a nice degree if you do think you can afford it. Maybe Han Shoots First will morph into Dash and the Headhunters. 

Bit of a tradeoff, but if you're rocking a HLC or something else that's way more fun than the relatively puny 2 Attack primary, it's pretty awesome, no? 

Interesting card. Kinda wondering how it'd work on a ship with Advanced Sensors. Seems legit for only 3 points, even if it is kinda gambling (which is just so Lando by the way).  

The article says you got a VT-24 if you were a particularly good Imperial boy and that it provides long-range recon and drop off raiding parties. Seems like it's also got guns for days. 

This seems nice on any Imperial ship with a big base- reach out and touch a buddy or two with a Focus token. Happens in the Action phase, so there's some debate on whether it's better to put this on a high PS or low PS ship, depending on your opponent. Interesting possibilities though for sure and obviously frees up those other two ships to use a more exotic Action like say an Interceptor pulling a Barrel Roll or something too. Notice too that this card is NOT dotted!

That's pretty rough. I can see Mara riding alongside suicide Vaders in a Shuttle pretty easily. 

That's it for now! What do y'all think? FFG says the release is late Q3 and just like the other recent releases, they'll be dropping more info in the coming months. 

Also, sorry for not writing much the past week. I've been sick and have been trying to get to bed earlier. I'll get back on track Monday. 


03 June 2014

MiniatureMarket.com Tantive IV Promotion

As you can probably tell by the fancy new banner ad at the top of the page, Miniature Market is offering anyone who orders a Tantive IV 10x the points they'd normally earn when making their purchase!

If you've not already picked one out or you were looking for an excuse to buy another one, this could be just the ticket for you! Just don't wait around too long- I'm not sure how long this promotion will go on.

The price is the same as it has been since release- about 30% off retail. Tough to beat that deal, no?

Just click on the ad at the top of the page or within this article update and you're there!

Storage Solutions: Sabol Army Transport Case and Pick Foam

Whaddaya mean WE'RE HOMELESS? I just woke up! And where the hell are the rods for my gun?

Back around 2008, I decided I wanted to start a 40k Necron army. I'd painted a couple of 'Crons here and there and they seemed like an army with a lot of conversion potential, so I picked up a few boxes of the metal skeletons and before I knew it, I had about 2000 points worth. 

Prior to the 5th ed Codex, going heavy on Destroyers was a fairly popular setup and I liked the models, so I picked up some of those too. And a Monolith of course. Oh the plans I had for that Monolith before I had kids. You have no idea. Seriously. Remember how the Monolith used to slowly rotate once it was active in Dawn of War? Yeah, I figured out a way to do that. And make it light up. And make it make sounds. Let me just say, Electronics Technology degrees have been largely worthless in the professional sense since around 1996, but for rigging up crazy-ass model conversions, toys, and random stuff purely for personal use? Priceless. 

I know this seems completely off-topic, but just hang with me here for a second. 

Because I'd gone Destroyer heavy, I knew I couldn't just re-use my existing GW figure cases for the army, so I started looking around for alternatives and since one of my FLGS had a sale going around this time, I picked up a Sabol Designs Armytransport for pretty cheap. I'd seen a lot of people using them and hadn't heard any complaints, so I figured I'd give it a shot. It came with some pickfoam trays that were perfect for storing the oddly shaped Destroyer models as well as some of the stuff I picked up later like the oddly shaped 5th ed Necron Wraiths and Tomb Blades

Then it sat on the shelf in the garage pretty much ever since; collecting dust until they might yet again awaken from their pickfoam and nylon shroud to reclaim the galaxy.

I get a lot of emails about storage solutions for X-Wing Miniatures and I even wrote an article a long time ago about my own setup, which worked great for awhile, but as I bought more stuff and the larger ships came out, my setup quickly devolved into this- 

Now maybe it's because I've worked at a Japanese automotive site for the past decade or maybe it's because as a married guy with kids I have basically no space to call my own, but my ridiculously unorganized shelf o' gaming stuff bothers me. I've wanted to do something about it, and judging by those emails asking me "Where the hell do I put all this stuff?", I imagine you guys are in basically the same boat so when I ran across that old Armytransport case a few weeks ago, I thought I'd try to change it over from Necron tomb world to X-Wing Miniatures Storage Hangar. 

Note that I'm not saying this is the be all, end all in X-Wing Miniatures storage. There are lots of folks out there with toolboxes and tackle boxes and stuff like that who are doing just fine. There's also some specialized products that have silhouettes cutout in the shapes of the ships that are pretty nice too. The main reason I decided to go this route is because I wanted a storage solution that was- 

1) Customizable enough to house not only my current collection of ships, but also the ones I add in the future.
2) Modular in that I don't necessarily have to drag my entire collection of stuff to a tournament, league night, etc. 
3) Be relatively compact and take up less space on "the shelf." 

All that said, I've seen a lot of folks who play miniatures games of one kind or another with these types of cases that store the "standard" sized pickfoam, so hopefully this isn't something that appeals and pertains only to me. 

When I ordered my Tantive IV from Miniature Market, I'd also stuck a copy of Sentinels of the Multiverse in my cart because BC has been harping on my to buy it for like a year or something now. This got me close enough to the magical "Orders over $100 get free shipping!" mark that I decided to throw some more stuff in the cart to get me over the edge. I picked out three pickfoam trays- a 3", a 2", and a 4" as well as some washes and flock and stuff I used to convert one of my kid's Thomas trains into this Tom Moss the Prank Engine from some homemade YouTube videos he loves. 

Anyway, when the trays turned up, I went to work. 

The 3" foam tray was just tall enough for my Shuttles to fit as well as my Rebel Transport. I stuck the Firespray in there because it's kinda tall for an X-Wing Miniatures ship and I wasn't entirely sure I could fit it in the 2" tray. 

For what it's worth, the Shuttles do entirely fit down in there too with none of their fins sticking up too high. I tried to take a picture to show this, I'm not entirely convinced it came out that well, but take a look or take my word for it. 

After that, I moved on to the 2" foam tray. 

The 2" tray holds a Falcon and my B-Wings. The only bad thing about pickfoam when compared to something actually like made for the ships is you end up having to make some concessions regarding fit and hold. In this case, I just kind of separated the foam so that the little dinky T. Rex arm wings that the B-Wings sport would just slide down in there rather than actually removing the foam. It works pretty well really! B-Wings are also just a bit too tall to try and fit into a 1" tray as their tiny and surprisingly brittle guns stick up high enough that I'm positive you'd break them off in no time. 

Instead of buying more 1" trays, I figured I'd just try to repurpose some of the trays I'd used for my Necrons. This became the basis for my Imperial TIEs tray. 

Unfortunately, the 1" trays aren't quite tall enough to actually accommodate TIE Fighters and the foam blocks don't quite work out so well for the Advanced. Next time I put in an order, I'll probably grab a 1.5" tray or two and give that a shot, but for now, this isn't so bad. As long as I don't like really pack the trays down hard into the case, it'll be fine. I mainly mention it in case you guys are trying to figure out what to buy. That said, the 1" tray works just fine for Interceptors and Bombers, so if you have enough of those models lying around to make it worthwhile, you can still make a 1" tray work here if you have one lying around. 

Of course, most of the Rebel ships are pretty flat, so a 1" tray of Rebels and Bombers and Interceptors could work just fine. 

It's not entirely without it's problems though- the doggone X-Wing dimensions just don't quite jive with lying down in a pickfoam tray. You can't really leave a block in between the guns and fuselage as there isn't quite enough room to not stress the guns, but removing it entirely doesn't hold the ship in the tray at all as the nose of the ship doesn't line up with a seam you can slot into like I did with the HWKs shown above or the little wings on the B-Wing. Or maybe I should have just turned them 90 degrees or something. In any case, I'm not that worried about it and you don't really have to be either- so long as you don't use your Rebel tray as the top tray (i.e. you have a tray on top to keep your X-Wings from flying around inside the bag), you should be fine. 

The Y-Wings and HWKs stick in there well- the Y-Wing is just long enough to kind of dig into the foam at the nose at the front of the ship if you leave some to press in on the rear of the main hull of the ship, and again, like the B-Wing, I just kind of separated the foam blocks along the seam so the nose could fit in-between rather than removing any material. The A-Wing is so small, I just pulled a couple of blocks and stuck it in there on it's side. Again, maybe the best idea would be a 1.5" or 2" tray for TIE Fighters, TIE Advanced, and some X-Wings. I don't know. I'll let you know once I get some more trays to play around with. 

I saved the best for last because I know what you're thinking, and yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus- 

Yeah, there's some bowing around the edges, but I promise- as the Armytransport is a soft sided case, you can place your Tantive IV into a 4" foam tray and have it fit down into the case no problem. The 4" tray is tall enough, you can even stick the flight stands in there too (the 3" tray I have the Transport in does not- it's just a little too short for them to fit down fairly flush with the foam). 

That said, the aft does stick up out of the tray a little bit- about as much as the TIE Fighters do- 

Much like the TIEs, I'm not too worried about this and mainly mention it just so none of y'all who might be worried about it are surprised when it happens to you. The parts that stick up are pretty blocky and sturdy, so I doubt you'll have anything to worry about. 

It's not a perfect solution, and as I mentioned before- this largely works for me because I already had the case and some trays, but I can fit my entire collection in it which is pretty cool. And yes, those four trays pictured above as well as the 4" Tantive tray all fit into the Armytransport at the same time- you have basically 11" of height to work with in whatever combination of tray heights you can come up with- check out the first pic in the article and you'll see what I mean. There's enough room in the pockets and stuff that I can fit in all my other X-Wing Miniatures whatnots too except for the Range 5 ruler, which frankly, I have no idea what to do with right now. I really hope that somebody makes an acrylic one that hinges or just kind of interlocks or something because hell, I bent mine a little bit right off the bat pinching those plastic buttons together. 

Oh! One last thing. 

As I said before, I feel like this is a good solution because I'm under the impression that the Armytransport and similar products are already fairly popular in the miniatures world, and hopefully your world. That said, the GW Figure case is pretty popular too and as I have a couple of those lying around, I thought I'd see what I could do there. 

In short? Not much. 

First, the Armytransport trays are 7.5" by 13". Obviously, the GW trays are not. And there's not really a good way to like take up all that gapped space. I mean, yeah, if you really had your heart set on it you could stuff some newspaper or something in there, but no matter which way you turn them, a couple of pickfoam trays are not going to play nicely with a GW case. 

Ok, so big deal, right? What about just using the GW trays in the GW case then? 

Unless you have a squadron comprised of only A-Wings or TIE Advanced, you're in for some bad news. The cutouts are just too small to fit anything else in there. You could try cutting out the dividers, but at that point, I think personally you're well into more trouble than it's worth territory. Maybe that's just me though. 

Last thing and I'll finally shut up here- when you start working with the pickfoam trays, keep a couple of things in mind- 

1) Lay your ship on top of where you want it in the tray and carefully start picking away the foam blocks. Start with the edge of your ship on a line between foam blocks and go from there frequently putting your ship on top of the foam so you know which blocks to pick out. It's really, really easy to pull out too much foam which pretty much totally screws you as there's not really any good way to reattach this stuff once it's been pulled out. Go slow or buy some extra trays.

2) Start in a couple of rows from the edge of the tray. Once you start pulling out the foam, you'll start to lose structural integrity around the edges really quickly. The rim of the tray can't be pulled, but I've found that going a couple of rows in goes a long way in keeping the form of the tray fairly square and providing some protection from side hits. The rim is just the same foam material as the rest of this stuff without perforations. Point being, it's not like they're stiffer or reinforced or anything, so when you start plucking out the foam interior, it gets pretty flimsy pretty fast. 

3) Unless you only plan on storing your models in the pickfoam on a shelf, you really do need the case. I know, I know, it's overpriced for what it is, I won't debate you on that, but if you're thinking you'll just throw your trays into a plastic handle bag or something to transport them, you'll be disappointed fairly quickly. I had one of these pickfoam trays I used to store and carry some vehicles for my old Space Marine army. It didn't take long for the glue that joins the foam rim to the foam base of the tray to start to curl up and come apart which just pretty much kills the whole thing rather quickly. If you're just looking for something to put them in on a shelf to keep dust off of them and keep them organized, then by all means- just get some trays. If you plan on carrying them to your FLGS, spring for the case bag. 

If you were curious, here's how our Tom Moss came out. The boy and I used Secret Weapon Soft Body Black wash after painting it Adeptus Whateverthehell Grey, SW Masterclass Scenics Dark Leaf Litter, and some Army Painter Summer Undergrowth lichen on him. Then I gloss coated the ever-loving piss out of it in an attempt to seal it from rough play, drool, and spilled juice.  

02 June 2014

Potpourri for $500- Evansville X-Wing, X-Wing Companion, International Competition, New Job

Evansville X-Wing League
For those of y'all who are local, I wanted to mention that our little Evansville, Indiana X-Wing league/ group/ club/ thing is meeting this Thursday evening at The Gaming Guild over on North First Ave around 6pm to play some X-Wing Miniatures and I plan on showing up this time. :)

X-Wing Companion
I got an email a few days ago from a guy named Guido Kessels and he wanted to let me know he's created an app called X-Wing Companion. Long story short, it's a super handy app for Android that puts a whole lotta reference material in your pocket. Well, assuming you keep your phone in your pocket I guess. 

Guido's app allows you to browse every pilot, upgrade, and ship card in X-Wing Miniatures. You can also choose to browse the cards in a given ship expansion so you can figure out what cards are included in a particular expansion, which is nice when you're trying to remember how you managed to get four X-Wings but only 1 copy of R2 Astromech. 

He already has the Wave 4 stuff in there and also mentioned he's working on an iOS version as well as incorporating a listbuilder, and a means of viewing your collection. 

Good stuff Guido! Thanks for sharing! Check out the X-Wing Companion app on Google Play

International Competition
Remember the French guy that made that Pilot Card Generator, Oopinou? He's been emailing a bunch of us who have sites and blogs and stuff around the world to create a little solidarity in the form of friendly competition. 

His first request- what country can get the most X-Wings in a single picture? 

So come on fellow 'Muricans! Let's show 'em what we got! 

Currently, France is in the lead with 52 X-Wings in a single photo. We can do better than that, right? 

You can send your entry to Oopinou via his site or me if you're down. 

New Job
In a rather rapid turn of events, I've gotten myself a new job. Why do you care? Well, I'll be back to working day shift during the week, which should equate to more regular updates to the site. I know, I've said that at least twice before, but this time I really mean it. I mean really mean it. For reals. Seriously. Maybe. Probably. I hope, anyway. 

How'd y'all do at your Imdaar events? I wouldn't know because I was too busy WORKING. Too bad this whole new job thing didn't develop a week earlier...