The following is an Interview with Mr. Lionel Tosan, long time Zoider and creator of Ultrasaurus Red. Lionel is also a fellow Artist, take a look at his work here.

Zoid.US: Greetings and welcome to this yearís Zoids Chronicles. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Lionel: Hello,

Nothing has changed since last year, Iím still collecting, still inside toys collections. My Zoiding passion is still the same. It began in 1983, with the very first White-Heads released in France, and right away, I was taken by the virus, and each year, I was buying everything that was released. It was the same thing with the Zoids2 line, that was a pleasure to live in Europe, and the NJR. Until now, even if there were periods when I was less buying, because Tomy was proposing less material, or interesting things, I never stopped Zoiding.

Zoid.US: Can you tell us a little about your current collection? (What lines does it encompass? Is it mainly current or vintage?)

Lionel: Iím still a crazy completist. My collection is made with everything that can be found. About the models kits, I manage to complete all the regular OER, OJR, NJR lines, plus several limited and special versions. Near that, I have the OER comics, even an original page from the comics, towels, bed sheet, figures, posters, bag, baby bookÖ all from the Zoids line. When there is a thing written Zoids on it, Iím after it.

Zoid.US: Are Zoids available where you currently live?

Lionel: If you can imagine how many fast food there is in the Antartic, then you will have an idea of how many Zoids weíve seen on shelves since 1995. In France, there is NOTHING. The NJR, NER and co are not known here, apart three ridiculous Hasbro Zoids that were seen in 2003. On the other hand, finding OER here is not so difficult, and not to expensive. We can still find here, with little search, and chance, Zoids like Shield Tiger, ScavengerÖ even boxed. Because the French auctions sites are not watched outside, and we have toys dealers that can find good things for cheap.

Zoid.US: How has your collection grown or changed over the last year? Does it have the same focus?

Lionel: This year, my main purpose was to find rare models, contest prize Zoids, prototypes, things like that. Mostly because Tomy wasnít proposing new material, and I was only having fun by chasing rare and strange things. But the new line coming is reviving me the envy. Iím feeling like it was in 1999-2000, with the beginning of the NJR line, when we could see brand new models after several years of a semi-death. Before the NJR line, all the Zoids lines were finished, nothing was new, and the NJR brought novelty, hope and brand new designs. We are living the same thing now, a revival. And then, Iím happy to collect, and to buy new things, and impatient to receive them.

  Zoid.US: Do you participate in any Zoids online RPGís, if so could you tell us a little bit about them and the role you play?

Lionel: No, never? One day, I tried to look what it was, but with all the time it was going to take me to play, I gave up. And most of those RPG are built on the OJR or NJR or Fuzor story. Nothing was made for the OER story, the most original to my eyes, with Zoids that were not only animal-machines, but living beings like Transformers.

Zoid.US: Let talk re-releases, as we all know TOMY has released some of the classics including but not limited to King G, Gil Vader, Lidier, etc. How do you feel about this choice?

Lionel: We already forgot how difficult it was even last year to find a Lidier, King Gojulas or Sea Panther, we donít remember. But it was hundreds spent for one of them. The reissues were a great idea. Because most of the Zoids seen this year were really holy grails for a lot of people, that are now lucky to own a model expected for years. And most of all, the reissues are not recolour, like the NJR, but really like the OJR (even if we spotted some little differences). There are now not many OJR that wasnít reissued, and TT is to my mind going to reissue everything, if the sales are following. Now, for me, the reissues I would like to see are not the OJR, but OER, Robo Strux, TechnozoidsÖ Imagine if ehobby or TT reissues a Thunder Tritops, or and Ultrasaurus Red, the sales they could doÖ Iím making the comparison with Transformers. Ehobby is doing even the most unknown Diaclone from Europe, and they are selling it. Even if Zoids are not selling as are the Transformers, reissuing a Scavenger, an Evil Pegasus, a Brutox, with their original packaging, it will be a big shot. And Iím not speaking of the legendary models like Ultrasaurus Red or Deathsaurus.

Zoid.US: Do you plan on purchasing any re-releases to add to your collection? If you did get any re-releases how do they compare the OJR version (of the same piece) you own?

Lionel: Honestly, for I have all the OJR, Iím not after the reissues. If they had different colours, like the NJR, why not, but those that are identical, with boxes that are not terribleÖ Maybe if the boxes were the same, why not, to complete my missing boxes. But currently, it is now. And Iím too much lacking of space for them. I would prefer save money and space for a Blue KG than a reissue of a regular one.

Zoid.US: Have you acquired any of your ďHoly GrailsĒ this past year, and what are your new one(s)?

Lionel: I managed in 2008 to get my hands on the White Reddler and Holotech Murasame, that are two really sought after models, but not so difficult to get if you have the money for them. No, the good thing, was that I managed to get three Ghost Zoids. Those are not Ghost from the UK campaign, but test shots from Japan, but they made me understand what were the Ghost Zoids, and make a theory about their origin. Now for my new goals, there are some that are not difficult to have, for example the Shikkoku Gairyuki Shin, with 300 euros, I can have one. But after, there are still the unknown models, like the unreleased OER, TZ, the test shots that can be seen, and so, that are still on my list.

Zoid.US: Do you collect Prototypes?

Lionel: It is to me that you are asking thatÖ We already fought on prototypes together, and we are going to do it again this year I think. I promise that I will one day put the money to win this year, like I did for the Seismosaurus. Iím lacking some prototypesÖ

Zoid.US:  If so, how do you feel about the bad relationship between Chinese factories and both Japanese and American toy companies? I.E. Prototypes and Test Shots being sold on auction?

Lionel: It is making me laugh a little. There have always been test shot released out of the factories, and in fact, test shots are not the most important things for the firms, because they are bounded to be thrown away. I donít count how many TF we saw like that, I even have a WST Ramjet test shot (paid nothing for it). I think that Hasbro and TT should be more worried about the quality control that should be made in those factories, because the number of defected toys released those past two month is unbelievable.

Zoid.US:  Any new Zoids custom projects this year? If so, tell us about Ďem!

Lionel: Two things are coming for ZP contest, and one is an old drawing. Iím also planig for soon Stegomya, another old drawing, and another octopus like Zoid, like Octozoid. Now, I still have old drawings waiting, and I donít know which one I will do and when. I have plenty and plenty of models in minds, it took me several years to have the skills and opportunity to do a Zoid like NeoZilla, and I still have in mind a model that could make Ultrasaurus looks like a little ZoidÖ So you will see what will come.

Zoid.US:  After a year of building and acquiring, has your favorite Zoid changed?

Lionel:  After 25 years of Zoiding, it was Red Scavenger, and after 26 years, it is still Red Scavenger. This Zoid is so particular, and charged with emotions for me that it wonít change.

Zoid.US:  Where and how are your Zoids currently displayed?

Lionel: They are more and more the ones on the others, in a little room that will one day explode with all that is inside. There are more and more packets full of toys condemning the step of the doorÖ

Zoid.US: How much would you estimate you spent on Zoids this year?

Lionel: I donít knowÖ with Yahoo Japan, it is terrible ! You spend without really knowing how much. Maybe 1500 euros, I suppose.

Zoid.US:  With the major strain on the economy, has your buying pattern been affected?

Lionel: For now, not really, but it will begin. I must say that the new releases are really high ! In 2002-2003, when I was buying NJR, I was taking big haul for 100-150. Now, for this price, you have four little Zoids, and thatís all. The thing that make me less buy is the lack of space, but the price is a factor too.

Zoid.US:  We all spend lots of time on our hobby, how do your friends and family

feel about your collection?

Lionel: Friends, they donít care, apart when Iím sending them tons of photos of my new acquisitions that they donít care about at all. My wifeÖ she donít like. I wonít say much.

Zoid.US:  Where do you see your collection 10 years from now?

During the past 10 years, my collection was magnified by 4 ! So I donít know. If the line goes on, I donít know how I will do to stock everything, but I will go on.

Zoid.US:  What challenges or obstacles have you faced in collecting Zoids?

Lionel: There were many : completing the OER line, the OJR, the Zoids2, finding some white box contest prize Zoids, finding chrome contest prize Zoids, finding the two Mk2 limited from the OJR line, finding a GhostÖ All of this were goals I wanted to reach, and until now, I managed to get what I was after, with time, patience, and unfortunately money. Thatís why Iím thinking that everything is still possible, and that I still have a chance to get one day an Ultrasaurus Red.

Zoid.US:  What advice do you have for aspiring Zoid collectors?

Lionel: I am not a model to follow, Iím too addicted. Collect what you want, have fun, thatís all.

Zoid.US:  Thanks for your time bro, your collection will always be part of my inspiration. I appreciate you taking the time this year and wish you nothing but the best!

Thanks for your time Lionel, I'll be seeing you on YJ again this year ;)

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