Welcome to madtronix.com

 

The site is still being worked on, so just basic information here and stylesheets are not done yet.

 

I decided to write down a madtronix related bloggish kind of thing. It gives some insight to whats happening behind the scenes and unanswered mails. And helps me keeping track of why again another week in this life has passed:-)

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2016 imagers

So what's new?

I just finished a new batch of imagers and am slowly answering all open order requests. I finally had to raise the 3d imager price to 89 EUR, i simply cannot manufacture them for 79 EUR and even 89 EUR is a close call...

Player2 is developing really well, if I could now answer your order request it's simply because this player2 project is new to me and I don't want to sit on a pile of money for undelivered orders. As a general rule of thumb I won't answer order requests if I'm not sure I can deliver withing 2 weeks.

If you already sent me an email but want to bump it to the top of the list, just drop me a short note. If it is very urgent call me (number visible when sending the contact form)

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2015

Thanks for 2014 everyone, it was a lot of fun!

The player2 project certainly took it's toll, but I have 4 full weeks for answering the email backlog now.

Thanks for your support everyone, it has been overwhelming:-)

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STERNENKRIEGER - new game by Luchs-soft

MENSCHENJAGD is still waiting for proper boxes and Overlay, but STERNENKRIEGER out now waiting to be shipped:



STERNENKRIEGER  is a 1-player LCD-style game collection consisting of 3 games and a TOURNAMENT mode ....

Click "Read more" for more information

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... and then it was August 3rd ...

So what happened in the last month?

Player2 just turned 3 month and will soon be able to press buttons (this project is a pure time killer..)

IRRELEVANT got shipped (blurry pictures upcoming...):

The stickers for the upcoming LUCHS SOFT releases arrived (now it's just the overlays missing andpropably a new box system):

Check out VectrexRoli's preview of MENSCHENJAD and FRESSAKK. (And while your're at it check out his channel, lots of good Vectrex reviews there)

Contact me if you want to get on the preorder list, but please don't send me any money before the games are packed and waiting to be shipped. We still need to figure out the overlays and stuff you know:-)

New stickers for my multicarts (should you decide to put them in empty cartdridge shells):

Finally the whole madtronix crew will be travelling to Linz, Austria for the:

eurocon 2014

which means no shipping costs for anyone picking up their stuff in person on the 13th of September in Linz.

And for everyone else:

10 EUR (maximum) flat rate shipping worldwide

for any orders that I will ship from Holland/Germany on my way to Austria next month. Just let me know when placing an order.

I'll do my best to reply to all the open order requests asap now. Everything is in stock and I finally have some "free" time.

Thank you everyone for being so patient:-)

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Vacation till. July 3rd

Just  a short not that I won't be able to answer any emails till July 3rd.

tl_files/madtronix/vacation.jpg

So back in a week fueled with a lot of energy:-)

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Madtronix welcomes a new team member!

This side project originally started as non-Vectrex related but turned out to be one of the driving forces behind madtronix taking up the Vectrex work again:

The release was nearly 2 weeks late but it turned out pretty good I think. Really easy going like the rest of the team. I'm not sure about the gaming and coding skills yet, but we'll give our new team member some time for that.

This also means that all current paid orders will be shipped with a 2-3 day delay since I was in hospital the whole weekend.

We're really happy:-)

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Now that took some time... (107 games)

So back in 2007 I made a menu driven multicart. Then I disappeared from the scene and only ~20 were ever sold at game markets.

I just polished them up a bit so this is how the slimcarts look like:

M1 is the classic games cart and contains:

-all original games (even Animaction)
-all unreleased games
-all original game hacks

M2 is the modern games cart and contains:

-all John Dondzila games and demos (classicgamecreations.com)
-VecSports Boxing by Manu (gooddealgames.com)
-Thrust by Ville Krumlinde (emix8.org)
-Nebula Commander + Revector by Craig Aker

Both carts contain following minigames:

-Minigame Bombenhagel (luchs-soft.de)
-Minigame City Bomber (anonymous)

There is a detailed game list here.

The carts work on ALL Vectrexes, even the European debuzzed ones.

And thanks to the graphic design skills of a friendyou can buy a bundle of both carts in one of these nice looking boxes:

This is how the box looks from the inside:

So, to celebrate an upcoming release, the first 50 (the carts are numbered) orders will get the bundle for 79 EUR shipped anywhere in the world (no VAT on top, not even for Europeans) in these handmade envelopes with stamps instead of printed barcodes:

When using EU bank transfer (no Paypal fees) use the order form.

For Paypal (+5% Paypal fees) click here:

tl_files/madtronix/paypal_BIN.png
For Bitcoin click here:
tl_files/madtronix/coinbase_BIN.png

Then of course for everyone just in for the games there's a budget version of both the classic games and the modern games multicart available through the order page:

These come without fancy handpainting, a simple b/w game list and a sticker so you can put it into the original Vectrex cart shells (I don't want to destroy old games for it and while the reproduction cases currently on the market work perfectly with my slimcarts, we're not allowed to use them for multicarts)
The menu system was programmed in 2007 and I would like to update it a bit in the future.
Should I ever do that, you can always send in the carts for a free update.Oh yes and the Mail Plane carts are in stock aswell, 15 EUR, available through the order page.
That's it for today, more news in the next couple days:-)

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Pizza, Hackers and a Review.

Now thats cool:


An Imager unboxing, assembly, gaming, review video pizza party with Russia based hacker Viacheslav Slavinsky (svofski).


1:20 hours!

 

Apart from that repairing excavator electronics kept me quite busy under the weekend. The visors for the new batch of imagers are supposed to arrive today after my supplier forgot to ship them. DHL only delivers 2 days a week here, so if the DHL girl doesn't call soon it will be Thursday then.

I nearly answered all emails (just 5 missing now) and the current waiting time between payment and shipment is 7 days.

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Post strikes again

I was to busy sending out the shipping notes from yesterday. Sending out packages without stamps doesn't work again [...] And I don't want the supermarket girl to be searching computer keys for an hour, so I will send todays packages on Monday.

Otherwise it looks quite good, The next batch of Imager visors arrives hopefully tuesday which means all the remaining imagers will ship on Wednesday.

I'm very confident to finally have all emails answered by then. Sorry to all of you who had to wait long. If you ask questions I want to answer them in all detail, but it also takes some time.

Currently the time from payment to shipment is 7 days which I'm quite happy with. In the future it should be 3-7 days max.

As long as I haven't answered all emails, I won't raise the prices. At the current 79 EUR ends don't meet, but I want everyone of you to get the imager for that price till the website is fully running again. Of course everyone who inquired within the last 7 years willl get one for that price aswell. Then I'll go up to 89 EUR, and if it turns out ok, will leave it at that price. Current goal is having all emails answered, orders shipped and the website running in 8 days.

It has been a wonderful January full of Vectrtex stuff.

Thanks to you!

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Concrete arrows ...

... is the first association I get when thinking of Mail Plane.

Seems like in 1924 they made hundrets of these 18 meter long arrows from east to west coast in the US so that the mail plane pilots would find their way. How they found back though with the arrows pointing wrong direction, I don't know... ;-)

Anyways even though I should spraypaint some new imager wheels I just had to finish my Mail Plane cart (and the ones for the folks who helped Chris Romero from vectrex.com obtaining the cart+ROM in the first place) I think I'll go for the silver font.

Animaction is still my favourite LightPen "game" but now with 5 LightPen games already out maybe some skilled programmer could add Lightpen features to their game...

Here's a picture of my developers 512k carts with RAM. I had to find the program from 7 years ago to change some games on the multicart, now that Mail Plane is included:

I whish I had some free time now, I really really want to get started programming Vectrex games. There's stuff you can only do with vector screens...

The order backlog is 7 days now and I prefer not to have people waiting longer than 7 days between payment and shipment. All currently open and paid orders will ship latest Thursday. All new orders will be notified that the order ships 7 days after payment.

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New StarSling slimcart design

So somehow I figured out If I slam the harddisk the opposite direction and use it upside down I may be able to rescue the data and actually succedded. phew:-)

Now back to Vectrex related stuff I upgraded the Starsling slimcart design this week. I tried several options but decided this suits the theme best so far:

If you bought starsling from me before and want to swap it for the new design for free, just contact me for a free switch. Or keep the old design which may have higher collective value as I recently learned from two ebay auctions of my old imagers whcih went for an average of 215 EUR

http://www.ebay.com/itm/151193517439

http://www.ebay.com/itm//131073965714

Guess I should've saved some old imagers and auctioned them off for $$$ ;-)

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why?

Today I finally wanted to backup my harddisk.

I use to completely mirror them so I always have one backup harddisk. Really practical when you're travelling.

Anyways: why on earth do this things break when they fall down 10 centimeters (!) when switched off?!?? And 15 Minutes earluier I explained Mrs. madtronix what a SSD is...

All work data from the last half years is lost, your emails are not lost though, I just have a bigger focus on sorting out this problem now.

The big question is should I open the harddisk or will just the dust totally destroy it? And: will a data recovery center be able to restore the (encrypted) data.

This is the moment when I whish I could just restart this day/level or maybe use an extra live. Like a dear friend recently wrote me: "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".

Either way I guess I know more in 24h. Till then no emails, shipments, etc. Sorry.

No Harddisk, no games.

Welcome reeality!

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bankswitching

Since the Vectrex itself can only address up to 32kB ROM on the cartdridge port you need to do some trickery called bankswitching if you want to have more. You can use several dedicated logic chips for that or just develop your ouwn logic circuit and program it on a PLD (programmable logic device). And that luckily still works fine on my old dusty windows machine:

Now I can finally produce my 512k carts (or bigger) again. Good for really big games or game collections like multicarts. If everything goes well, Friday is the day they are done:-)

Then I converted 5 cheap mega drive gamepads for Vectrex usage and made 20 colour wheels for the Imager. I have to see if the wheels are dried before the post arrives, otherwise the next imagers will leave on Tuesday.

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bakfull ...

... is a Swedish word which literally translated would be "back-drunk" - still drunk from yesterday, hungover.

So when I finally got up the Arnold Schwarzenegger of retro game reviews a.k.a. "VectrexRoli" striked again:

 

Then I got the CPLD developement environment running again. That was an important step towards making a new batch of my never officially released menu-driven multicarts. The programmable logic device handles the RAM/ROM combination that will be presented to the Vectrex. This allows Vectrex cartdridges with up to 512kB ROM and 32kBb RAM like this one here:

I have wrap-around stickers but after some feedback I got, I will propably go for a similar design as I used for the vectorzoa carts.

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We got a delivery!

This morning I got a mail saying one 3D Imager arrived in The Netherlands - after just 48 hours o_O

Then I just got an unboxing video link from this crazy Austrian youtuber VectrexRoli

I was surprised he was not in his basement, maybe Mrs.VectrexRoli was asleep and he was allowed to do his video game business upstairs?

Or it has something to do with the girl in his basement...

 

 

I didn't include any manuals to challenge the tinkerer in you.

No thats actually because I need to make new photos, but the model is currently in India. Anyways, the "assembly" is quite self explainatory: Put the visor on the head mount and put the color wheel on the hub with the white sticker facing towards the Vectrex. Then you may need to apply the small  metal distance wheel on top of the colour wheel with the side labeled "TOP" still visible:

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Yaay snow

Snowy season came late, but it came.

Vectrex is happyhappy.

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cinnamon buns

They're crazy about cinnamon buns here. That's why Sweden had it classified as traditional food to avoid the EU banning them because the amounts of cinnamon used in the buns here are considered toxic by the EU and thus are banned in the other countries. Denmark forgot to classify it as traditional food and is now facing problems.

They love the buns so much they put them on stamps,

And the stamps are being put on your parcels by me because the posts online label service is still out of function (since 13 days):

They used to have some other cute stamps, but these here are the nicest currently available. And most of them are self adhesive.

Then i made a new batch of 3d Imager multicarts, basically just a cheap multicart with all 3 classic 3D Imager games on it. And all lightpen games except animaction which needs extra ram and is available on the other multicarts.

Animaction is actually a really cool "game" which lets you draw vector animations.

The Vectrex in general has great peripherals.

You'll like the new one to come:-)

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More stamps

Did I mention I don't like office work?

Well I bet i did;-)

Making the Imagers is actually kind of fun. Even if it took much longer than expected. Getting nice emails from you is fun aswell. Packing them in boxes, quadruplechecking if no mistake was made, putting stamps all over is not that much fun. Good thing now there are 7 more packages on their way to you and I'm eagerly anticipating their arrival. I hope you like them, I'm really happy with the results:-)

(Some stamps are really silly:-))

Tomorrow new stamps arrive and I can pack all the remaining boxes. The online shipping system oficcialy is working again... If there was not that silly bug that prevents me from finalizing the order.

Well one or two days more and everythign is fine again I guess. Things usually solve themselves out here:-)

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first packages out

Final test for the Imagers before packaging them:

The first Imagers on their way to the post office:

And finally some new vectorzoa slimcarts:

Then my new reflow oven arrived today. I gave it a first spin and realized it's not plug and play, so some more experiments on that soon.

The next day will be used 100% for answering emails, sending out shipping notes and managing orders. Hope to have all emails from the last 30 days answered by tomorrow night.

Feels quite good to have the first packages leaving the house:-)

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Pigs, the queen, fishes and flowers

Stamps cost ~4 EUR more than printing the address labels, but that shipping option works again since today in contrast to the online version. And I don't want to wait any longer. It's been nearly a week since the first payments arrived.

The local supermarket had ~400EUR in stamps left, so I bought stamps for 300 EUR (so the others can still buy stamps aswell)

I ordered more stamps online (they just had the ~1 EUR stamps left online) so the packages will be covered in stamps. All packages shipping on monday/tuesday will have cinnamon buns, heart shaped flowers and animal babys on them...

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spraypaint everywhere.

So the status with the post is that the online services I need are still not up yet but the more expensive option to ship from supermarkets is open again.They officially still have 2-3 days delays on those kinds of packages and random false reroutes happen (have to drive 30km now to pick up a parcel for example instead of just 10).

Shipping from the supermarket means that the girl working there will have to type in all your addresses manually in the system. And while she's certainly cute, fast typing is not her strength. Neither her colleagues. Think of one finger on the address label and one searching the right button on the keyboard. I don't want to stand around in the supermarket for 3 hours waiting but I don't feel comfortable with so many paid packages sitting around at my home either. Will have to make up my mind on that later today.

Ok then an update on the vectorzoa games:

Assembly of the pcbs with RAM and bankswitching logic. In that configuration the pcbs have 24k ROM + 8k RAM. Both logo and spikes circus need that much RAM.

One thing I realised is that I could significantly cut down assembly time by using solder paste stencils and a reflow oven. Reflow oven is already ordered (chinese version of course, homebrew style) and should arrive any day now. With the stencils I gonna wait till I have some spare money. Now I'm using a glue dispenseer hacked for use with solder paste, a hot iron and a SMD hot air rework station. It works. Results look much better than with a soldering iron.

cleaning the pcbs with ultrasonic in isopropyl alcohol. Gonna buy a better cleaner now, ultrasonic cleaners for 100EUR and below are just toys when you want it clean fast without manual brushing needed:

The first paint layer for logolite:

The green layer on top. The challenge here was to fing a paint that sticks on the chrome paint without dissolving it and yet is not opaque. Of course I forgot which of the 40 Spraycans I have I used back then and had to experiment a little. But I think I got it figured out, the green gets a bit darker when drying:

Note to myself: only buy paint from 1-2brands from now on. I already bought 3 new paints for Spikes Circus, since the one I bought back than is about to be empty soon. Since Spikes Circus was orange themed I chose neon orange on black background which makes it appear not neon colored at all but gives it a surface with really nice haptic properties. Since juggling while riding a unicycle is a lot about fine feeling, the special haptic slimcart design was a must:-)

Well the paint is wet in the pictures, so will see later today how it looks dried. later today I will apply the decals with the resin.

The question of the day is: how do I remove the orange Spikes Circusesque coating from my only pair of fine shoes o_O.

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things are moving forward...

No the swedish post computer system still is not working.

And the printer I used to print the golden/silver decals for the vectorzoa slimcart games was broken aswell, when I decided to print more for the new batch. Since these printers don't get made anymore since the year 2000 and they cost 500+ EUR on ebay buying a new one definitely is no option for me so I decided to fix it. Just took ~4 hours and epoxy-glue and it seems to work again (I won't put it back in the plastic casing again though, this allows faster fixing in the future.

Since Epoxy systems are quite toxic, I store them outside, so it took some time till I found the resin again to perform some tests. Just in case I ordered new anyways.

The ICs for the bankswitching logic arrive on Tuesday (if UPS doesn't screw up again, they're notorious for being unreliable in what parcel services call "remote areas" (=where I live). So it looks like vectorzoas games will be back in Stock from Wednesday on - yaaay

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What are the odds ?!?

Ok so the last 3 days I've been answering mails nonstop. I nearly managed to answer all mails and had some really good and motivating conversations with some of you. That was good because If there's one job I really don't like then it's bookkeeping. So having done that for three days it was time for something else so I decided to pack all orders that have been paid for in the last 2 days and print out the shipping labels so I could ship today (Friday).

Going on the swedish post website (posten.se) I see a note that there was a fire in their datacenter and the whole postal website and tracking system is temporarily down. So no way for me to post your imagers today.

Machine translated news articles:
article 1
article 2

This will delay shipping your item(s) till the post services (posten.se) are up and running again. I work the whole weekend, so if the services are up again by Sunday, your item(s) will ship on Monday.

Here two short pictures, the first showing the wheels being printed with the old technique:

And the second one showing the wheels before being spraypainted. The printers cannot the black colour opaque, so I have to cover them in three layers of black spraypaint:

The rest is going really well, the vectorzoa games should be in stock within 2 weeks, the postwoman brought me new ink and shipping boxes today and more motors for imagers are ariving any day from now.

I hope to find some time next week to finally work a bit on the website:-)

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Any day now...

Finally

The first 44 imagers are sitting here waiting to be shipped. I'm now answering all order emails I got which may take a day or two. It turned out making them takes far longer time than I thought so I definitely cannot keep the price at 79 EUR which basically is the old price from 7 years ago.

As a thank you all of you who preordered and everyone ordering till end of January will get the imager for the old price of 79 EUR. from February 2014 on the price will be 99 EUR. This is mostly due to the time it takes to make them, but also due to 55% income tax rate here.

With having enough imagers on hand to satisfy all preorders I expect to have enough lightpens in 7 days and vectorzoa slimcart games in latest 14 days.

Thanks for your interest!

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Happy holidays!

tl_files/madtronix/news pictures/girl_madtronix_imager_640x.jpg

Happy holidays everyone!

For many of us this is the time of the year we got our first Vectrex, had unlimited time playing video games. I've had two wonderfully creative and extremely (!) chaotic Vectrex & games related weeks and will pack and invoice the first 30 imagers before this weekend. YAY:-)

Stay tuned.

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Busy as a bee.

I've been focusing on the most important stuff: getting the stuff produced. So no CSS, no description updates for today. Tomorrow though:-)

It's been a long week, the first Imagers will be ready to be shipped around Tuesday and 50 Imagers will be done by next Friday.

Not much more text now, just two pictures of soon-to-be-3d-imagers and my workbench:

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What a day!

Today is one of these days that I would prefer to just skip. It was a first world drama at its best.

I got up early with the intention to get my old 3D-Imager wheel printer up and running again. I found a new sealed pack of transparent films to print on, did a test print and was disappointed by the bleeding.

Of course some nozzles were also clogged so I decided to disassemble the whole thing, mix some IPA with water in the ultrasonic cleaner, thoroughly cleaned the print head and made filled the whole house with IPA smell.

Consumer printers are not made for being serviced, but I once had 15 of these printers (they costed like 5 EUR/piece) so I figured out how to replace/clean the printheads in moderate time.

Exept this time some nozzles were damaged beyond repair and I have little to no clue of where I put the replacement heads years ago.

As long as not more than 1 nozzle in a row is out of function it's usually not visible in the printout when choosing the photo quality option. But after I reassembled the printer it stopped working in the middle of a print. Propably the water has to completely dry off first or I managed to break it.
And the bleeding spots were still there, so I checked with my other printer (similar model, but slower) and had same results.

This is how it looks through the wheel with little bleeding. Note that you can see all RGB colours of the printouts to the right:

This is how it looks without bleeding. Note that green and blue appear black:

 

Since the last colour wheel prints I bought new ink, so I figured I'll get my neighbours printer from a different manufacturer that is supposed to work for the colour wheels aswell. Not all inks work fine, you want the wheels to have rich transparent color, not rich colored ink pigments that you cannot see through. Laser printers all use pigments for example. Same problem.

I used these transparent films 7 years ago and they were stored dry, so it couldn't be them.
Luckily some ink for a printer arrived by post in the afternoon. I like ordering stuff from China, even though there's usually a catch. This was todays catch for the 6 color ink set:

TWO light cyan and no yellow!!! NOOOOOOOOOO! It takes 3-4 weeks till replacements arrive and I wanted to ship the first imagers this week. Well I don't even know If that specific printer works for the wheels, so that would've just been a bonus.

So I ordered replacement ink locally and just to be safe another printer + expensive original ink to arrive on Thursday/Friday. From that printer I know it works fine because we used a canon printer before when printing overlays for the Vectrex.

I remembered I had another similar Canon printer here with just cyan left, so I tested with that printer and got much less bleeding. But still my old wheels were much better.

Desperation.

Panic order 100 new top-notch-films from a store from Germany, maybe the films really degraded in quality over the last 7 years?

When desperate, you can try the stupidest things again, so I just took another transparent film from an opened box that i used back then - and the results were just fine. Looks like the box I opened in the morning just had a batch of bad glue on it. DUH!

At least a package with 30 3D-Imager-visors-to-be arrived today, and they look exactly as the old ones. YAY! (the store had a photo with a slightly changed look when I ordered, so I was a little bit nervous.

Another replacement printer and films is never wrong and I didn't burn more than 100 EUR today.

The whole journey took me 12 hours. Finally time to eat some breakfast:-)

Since I cannot do any overlays before thursday/friday I want to either assemble some 3D imagers tomorrow or see if I have paint for the Vectorzoa games left.

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madtronix is back:-)

Wow a lot happened in the scene in the last 6 years since I disappeared!

Yes I'm serving the scene again. Fixing the website actually is the most complicated step for me at the moment. So please bear with me, there's 6 years of scene developement I have to keep up with and a lot of emails at the moment.

For the beginning I won't set up a fancy looking store, you'll just have to fill out the form on the order page and I'll send you a quote. Once the first round of orders is done and I find some time, I'll set up a proper store.

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