The following is an interview with Mr. Daniel E. AKA Darth Daniel
ZU: Hello and Welcome, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
DD: Im a toy collector from the Philippines, collecting previously Gen1 Transformers, Gen1 Gijoe figures and Saint Seiya before I got into zoids. Ever since I was a kid, I collected mecha related stuff, such as Macross and Bandai figures. Professionally I am a professor teaching 3D Animation, and i derive most of my inspiration from zoids...
ZU: When and why did you start collecting Zoids?
DD: Way back 1983, I asked my Mom to buy me some of those cute white head windups for Christmas. It stuck to me after I got a Mantis zoid and a Gator. I loved the silver and gold pilots, while the windup designs of the Zenebas line really impressed me. I saved lunch money and got more of these critters, such as cannontortoise, merda, zatton, molga and even the DZbases from 1985 to 1988. My brothers inherited my collection and it was lost. We eventually collected again around 1992 when back stock of OJR Madthunders and Deadborders invaded a nearby mall, along with the elusive King Gojulas. Of course i was a student then so lacked funds for the expensive hobby. When i was supposed to bring my Iron kong MKII to a flea market for sale, I suddenly felt its lost and kept it. Then I bumped to Jerry Dreiss Zoid site, where a trading post for zoids, meet new friends and traded online....the rest is History...
ZU: How long have you been collecting Zoids?
DD: Way back 1983...stopped awhile 1988 and when back 1992 stopped a bit and went full blast 1998 till now.
ZU: How many Zoids are currently in your collection?
DD: I dont want to brag, but I amassed around 300 plus zoids in my collection over the past 8 years. Majority are new releases, with duplicates for future displays and zoid customs. Even with that number I havent completed all, i still lack around 3 for the original release, some Robostrux versions and mostly limited NRs. Im taking my time...
ZU: Is your collection predominantly built, or Mint in Box?
DD: Its mostly built. I have been exhibiting my zoid collection for Bankee Trading, which carries Tomy toylines, and these built zoids are really handy for display. However I keep some stock MIB, since i am running out of space for my zoid display. If im can afford to, I rather have MIBs because its such a hassle to clean these built zoids, plus the nightmare of moving from one place to another.
ZU: When do you recall seeing your first Zoid?
DD: Way back 1983, in an SM department store, Garius and his team of windups lined up in a glass display. Its was a real sight for a kid seeing gold pilots in white cockpits, whose bodies are dinosaurs and animals.
ZU: What was the first Zoid you purchased?
DD: Well I had a Mantis zoid and Gator, while my brother had a Molga.
ZU: With so many releases, which line would you consider to be your favorite, (NJR, OJR, OER, etc.) and why?
DD: OJR definitely! I grew up looking at those fancy old catalogs wishing to collect all of these battery ops! I was so fustrated then because we couldnt afford to buy batt-ops which on that time, a student's allowance was pretty expensive..
ZU: Out of all the Zoids in your collection, which Zoid is your favorite or personal "Holy Grail", and why?
DD: Its my King Gojulas, which i obtained almost 8years ago before the reissue of zoids on 2000. I had this zoid craze in my blood and scoured through old hobby shops looking for the legendary King G, around Metro Manila in a day. I was able to find it in an old warehouse away from the commercial outskirts, where its box all battered up and survived a store flood. For only 35 USD, I got this gem, only to suffer a fever from the rain that day, but it was all worth it!
DD: Do you want to know the 2nd best?
ZU: For sure.
DD: Its Gilvader! I got it from Oldzoider..my old pal Francis Ng in Singapore, who i traded for some loose zoids and DZbases way back 2001.
ZU: Where do you see your collection ten years from now?
DD: Hmm..thats a tough thing to see. I see myself on a customization spree, making more and more zoids. I wish I can work for Tomy!
ZU: Are you a fan of the Zoid's Anime, and if so, which series do you prefer and why?
DD: Well I loved Chaotic Century, and the rest..well sucks. no offense. Genesis has some real potential, however I am a poor judge of it since I just saw a few episodes.
ZU: Have you played any of the Zoids video games, and if so which one is your favorite, and why?
DD: Nope. I banned from playing video games, a compromise for my hobby.
ZU: Are you an avid Zoids customizer, and if so, what is your favorite piece that you have created and how long did it take?
DD: Well, its not just actually me who made a wonderful 5 foot tall hunk of Zoid plastic named Giga Titanus. The combined efforts my friend Ped Faytaren, my lawyer pal and Manny Dacanay, industrial designer made it from almost 200 zoid carcasses. It took me 2 months to clean and sort out the parts suitable for the giant zoid custom, while the entire zoid was made in less than 3 weeks (yes we like to cram). Its commisioned work by the distributor, for marketing purposes, where the zoid had a caravan tour all over Manila.
ZU: Where and how are your Zoids currently displayed?
DD: I occupy 2 living room displays, one at my folks place and my home, and an entire garage for the excess parts.
ZU: What, if any, Zoid(s) are you currently seeking?
DD: Well my main wants are Salamander F2, OJR Iron Kong MKII and Gojulas MKII and those nasty limited edition coloured variants...
ZU: How much would you estimate you spent on Zoids this year?
DD: Close to 1,000 USD..inclusive of shipping.
ZU: What are your views on TOMY reissuing older, harder to find, valuable Zoids?
DD: Tomy doesnt earn from old stock, only hobby shops and middlemen oppertunists. I know everyone is just trying to make a decent buck but its aching most zoid collector's wallet, draining it dry. The reissues is the answer for a cheaper alternative, and makes the end consumer, zoid collectors like us and Tomy, benefit altogether.
ZU: Do you consider your collection an investment?
DD: Yes it is. I used to remember I used to stock around 3 King Gs and 2 Gilvaders for trade, and sale..even a dozen Gojulas the Ogres. They help me get by for my collection, so i go online buy, trade and sell. With the rise of the new reissues it wont help the investment much unless of course I make my own zoids museum some time in the future.
ZU: Do you purchase Zoids via Yahoo Japan? If so which company (3rd party bidding service) do you use, and why?
DD: Well no. Sometimes i rather deal with 1st party vendors and trade with collectors than go to auction sites.
ZU: What is your advice to anyone just starting to get into the hobby?
DD: Start now and make sure you have a lot of cash and patience!
ZU: Thank you for your time, I appreciate it.