The following is an interview with Dr. Alex Liem
Creator of: www.Zoidspoison.com
ZU: Hello and Welcome, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
AL: I am known by the nick “liemzoids” on most internet forums. But the people I know often call me Doc or Alex. I reside on a sunny island named Singapore and it is on this island where I am practising as a medical doctor and pursue my hobby of collecting Zoids.
ZU: When and why did you start collecting Zoids?
AL: Although I have always like Zoids since I was in Primary School ( 10 years old), the hobby of collecting and chasing after Zoids started 6 years ago when I earned my own keeps . The lure of bidding on online auction sites also make collecting the hard-to-acquire zoids a lot more easier than the 80s. I did collect some toy-lines previously, such as Star-Com and Transformers, but all these started to make way for my ever-expanding Zoids collections over the years. It is an amazement to see how the little pieces of plastics and gears work on each other after one has built the zoid. It is also very satisfying to see your little nephews' eyes sparkled when you show them a moving zoid.
ZU: How many Zoids are currently in your collection?
AL: I stopped counting after it went beyond 500 boxes.
ZU: Is your collection predominantly built, or Mint in Box?
AL: My collections are predominantly in their boxes. I don't like the idea of my prized zoids collecting dust on the shelves after I built them. Until I am able to house the zoids in their nice glass display panels, I will not build them. Yes, many of my collections are very expensive and took me a long time and patience to collect, but I also belong to this category of collectors where everything has a price. Hence, if the chance comes in the near future where a young rich kid wants to pay me S$100K to acquire my entire MISB/MIB collections, I will sell. Better to keep them in boxes (for now.)
ZU: When do you recall seeing your first Zoid?
AL: 10 years old
ZU: What was the first Zoid you purchased?
AL: OJR Gorgodos
ZU: With so many releases, which line would you consider to be your favorite, (NJR, OJR, OER, etc.) and why?
AL: Without a doubt, it has to be OJR. The colour combinations are the best, with selected few zoids, such as Salamander F2 and Gunbluster having chrome parts.
ZU: Out of all the Zoids in your collection, which Zoid is your favorite or personal "Holy Grail", and why?
AL: This has to be King Gojulas. Although KG looks more anime than dinosaur-like, King Gojulas makes it up with its mechanisms.There are not many zoids that can scream and swing its tail like the KG does. But I must say Seismosaurus (the pulley system) and Energy Liger (air-pump system) also never fail to excite me.
ZU: Where do you see your collection ten years from now?
AL: Oh – the entire collections got sold for S$100K (kidding). I will probably build them after I retire at the age of 55 and boast to the young collectors who are just starting out in year 2030.
ZU: Are you a fan of the Zoid's Anime, and if so, which series do you prefer and why?
AL: I enjoyed watching both Fuzor and Genesis Anime.
ZU: Have you played any of the Zoids video games, and if so which one is your favorite, and why?
AL: I would love to, but alas i don't really have the time.
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?
AL: I am starting out to learn to customise zoids. So far, i do not have any favourite pieces yet. I think it is also time to take the passion on zoids to the next level, other than collecting them. Customizing is a way of bringing your passion to the next level. Having my own dedicated zoids website, organising zoids contests, bringing in new zoiders and making new friends are my other ways of enjoying my hobby.
ZU: Where and how are your Zoids currently displayed?
AL: I have a dedicated room to house my entire zoids collections. Almost all are in their boxes, but I took care not to stack them up too high as some of the boxes are extremely soft – good examples are the boxes of Yuji Kaida, WAVE Scale-20 and Hasbro Z-builders/Gravity Zoids. I wouldn't want them to be crushed.
ZU: What, if any, Zoid(s) are you currently seeking?
AL: A lot of myths and legends about certain Zoids, such as the Red Ultrasaurus, the Furolesios and Saccurtis SD Pullbacks, Blue King Gojulas, the Ghost Zoids etc – i would love to have them.
ZU: How much would you estimate you spent on Zoids this year?
AL: About S$10K. I used to spend a lot more when I started out. But I soon realised this obsession has to stop simply because it does not make sense to spend so much on a hobby.
ZU: What are your views on TOMY reissuing older, harder to find, valuable Zoids?
AL: Despite being a vintage collector, I don't really mind TOMY coming out with the re-issues. There are still some subtle differences between the vintage zoids and the limited re-issues. But this also means I will not risk my wallet for vintages such as spending S$800 on a Gilvader (ouch).
ZU: Do you consider your collection an investment?
AL: I would like my Mum to think so.
ZU: Do you purchase Zoids via Yahoo Japan? If so which company (3rd party bidding service) do you use, and why?
AL: Yes, I purchase zoids via YJA and other Japan online stores. I use Abidko's services. The reason is simple – Abidko is run by a local Singaporean student. His network of friends in Japan, Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan allows me to bid on these auction sites. Furthermore, I prefer to use actual cash on my purchases whenever I engage Abidko's services. Spending on credit cards is not a wise choice. Having a local 3rd bidding party also allows me to call-off a bid or up the bid easily by just a phonecall.
ZU: What is your advice to anyone just starting to get into the hobby?
AL: “Make a Zoid friend first. Buy a Zoid toy later” - it is so much easier and cheaper to expand your hobby that way.
ZU: Thank you for your time, I appreciate it.