The following is an interview with R. Miske AKA "Hi Docker"

Creator of: SMEAT.NET with his Zoid's site located here: http://zoido.smeat.net/

ZU: Hello and Welcome, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

RCM: Hi, I live in Champaign IL with two cats, a rabbit and a lady. My other main hobby is writing and recording music , but lately work has been really hectic, and all my free time has been going into retaking pictures of my collection for the zoids site (all the old pics were taken with a really crappy camera).

ZU: When and why did you start collecting Zoids?

RCM: I had a few whiteheads and robostrux when I was a kid and one of my favorite activities back then was to take all of them apart, put them in a big pile, and then reassemble them. I'd do this with my transformers, too, but that required a screwdriver.

Fast forward to college (1994), when I find a bunch of garius parts in a drawer in my girlfriend's older brother's old bedroom. I put it together in a couple minutes, and the obsession began. It was missing a hand and the cockpit, and I went so nutty that I'd actually have dreams where I was walking down the street, and I'd see the missing pieces laying there in the grass or something. This would happen a couple times a week! Later that year, the Techno Zoids came out, which helped a bit...

The next year I started messing around online and actually found ONE zoids site (on teleport.com, long long gone), and a guy on AOL who sold me a mess of old zoids. My garius was complete, and I also got a ton of other things to boot. I also found a shop in CA, Kimono My House, that had a few MIB kits from Japan. From them I got a Godos, Wardick, and Brachios Newtype.

After that I mellowed out for a few years, until the NJR started up in 1999. Also around this time Zoids started showing up on ebay, so I was able to get a few more whiteheads, including Hydrazoid, which was the first of many holy grails...

ZU: How long have you been collecting Zoids?

RCM: Since 1999. I did get a few in 95 (to jump-start the collection), but I've been steadily collecting since 99.

ZU: How many Zoids are currently in your collection?

RCM: I actually have no idea. Last time I knew (three years ago) I had around 160-175. I've sold a few since then, but have also gotten more new ones. Maybe I have hit 200 by now? Eep!

ZU: Is your collection predominantly built, or Mint in Box?

RCM: It's probably half and half.

ZU: Why is that?

RCM: Almost all of the zoids I have that are MIB are only in that state because I don't have anywhere to put the finished kit. A couple I'm saving for potential future trades, or customs, but most of them want to be built.

ZU: When do you recall seeing your first Zoid?

RCM: Early 80s, in this little sporting goods/toy store in my corner of town.

ZU: What was the first Zoid you purchased?

RCM: Probably the OAR garius-type, when I was a wee fella.

ZU: With so many releases, which line would you consider to be your favorite, (NJR, OJR, OER, etc.) and why?

RCM: It's hard to pick just one, but I think all-around, the NJR might win. Tons of kits, the first new designs, and--with those elaborate diorama scenes--definitely the best packaging.

For a runner up, I really like the weird colors of the Robostrux line and mega props to Genesis for mostly using orange canopy glass in the reissues.

ZU: Out of all the Zoids in your collection, which Zoid is your favorite or personal "Holy Grail", and why?

RCM: The latest one would be the holotech Bio Megaraptor that you got from buying all three genesis box sets (or hitting yahoo japan auctions). 

Previous holy grails include Hydrazoid/Furolesios:

and the crystal Redhorn.

ZU: Where do you see your collection ten years from now?

RCM: Hopefully on some shelves! I don't know if it'll be much bigger, since I already have most of the kits I want. It's up to Tomy to start making some more now...

ZU: Are you a fan of the Zoid's Anime, and if so, which series do you prefer and why?

RCM: I've only seen bits of Chaotic Century and Zero, back when they were on cartoon network. At the time I preferred CC, since it had more of a story line, but sometimes I like the goofiness of Zero (except for Bit's constant shouting). I actually have both series on dvd, but haven't had a chance to watch them all the way through.

I'd love there to be a dub of Genesis, because from the clips and summaries, it seemed like a pretty interesting one.

ZU: Have you played any of the Zoids video games, and if so which one is your favorite, and why?

RCM: I haven't played any of them. Sometimes I wonder, but I'm under strict orders to never play video games. I have so little free time that I can't spend any of it on something that isn't productive (like my damn CD which I keep procrastinating on).

Also, my video game skills stopped developing somewhere around SNES level.

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?

RCM: I started customizing in earnest last year, and I love it. I wish I had more time, though. Since I have so few completed pieces, my favorite is probably the Gojulas Giga I did for Pheno's 2006 forum contest. It took about a month of working 2 hours every night.

I haven't been able to do much since then, since the crushing midwest humidity makes summer painting pretty much impossible without an air-conditioned workspace. I've got a ton of stuff in the works, and it's finally started cooling off, so I should be quite busy this fall! After I finish the Sword Wolf repaint, I'm going to try that arctic paint you sent me on my Dark Spiner.

ZU: Where and how are your Zoids currently displayed?

Right now, things are a mess. We've been rearranging the apartment (very slowly, because we are tired/lazy), so they're mostly just sitting on any available surface. Over at my dad's, there's a china cabinet that he said I could use to display things, because he loves looking at them, and they weren't using it for anything. So over there I have my showcase kits--the giga custom, a madthunder, my genobreaker, some other goodies I don't want to get all dusty...

For the stuff in boxes, I recently got a bunch of those stackable rubbermaid tubs, which looks a lot better than the decaying uhaul boxes I used to have.

ZU: What, if any, Zoid(s) are you currently seeking?

RCM: I really want that genesis Redler that got canceled and then showed up as a convention exclusive. Since it averages about $350 whenever it shows up on YJ (and it rarely even shows up), I don't hold out much hope.

I'm also hoping to get a genosaurer blox for cheaps or trades. Not much hope there either, and I really don't want to pay like $40 for such a little thing (my museum geno full size kit was only $35!).

In the more reasonable goals department, I'm after a Hebby Rhimos, Molga Canory, and fuzors Arosaurer. Also a spare Deathpion, since I want to paint mine, after seeing this custom in an auction: 

I'd like one of the neoblox dino kits, but I haven't seen one of those cheap enough for me to bother. Maybe I'll have to get the G2 Rex, which actually doesn't look all that bad...

ZU: How much would you estimate you spent on Zoids this year?

RCM: I'm afraid to venture a guess. I haven't spent as much this year, since there wasn't as much to get, but there were a couple of heavy hitting months-- in the spring I got three genos and a gairyuki shin, and then in august I got the holotech megaraptor (ouch). The rest of the year's been pretty dry.

ZU: What are your views on TOMY reissuing older, harder to find, valuable Zoids?

RCM: Four little words: HELL TO THE YES!

I was overjoyed when Gildragon came out last year. I may be the only person on earth who actually likes the new colors better. (Although that black/blue/gold swap on zoidscorner was pretty sweet too)

Other great reissues: Deadborder, Madthunder, most of the 1/24 line.

ZU: Do you consider your collection an investment?

RCM: It's not a very good one, since all my "good stuff" is built. Besides, I plan on keeping everything until the earth is absorbed by the sun. Except Transhawk, which I will trade for a genosaurer blox.

ZU: Do you purchase Zoids via Yahoo Japan? If so which company (3rd party bidding service) do you use, and why?

RCM: I use celga, because their markups are infinitely lower than rinkya's, and the staff is very friendly and reliable. I've been placing bids through them for about three and a half years now.

ZU: What is your advice to anyone just starting to get into the hobby?

RCM: Have lots of money! Also, use the "newly listed" search page on ebay, to catch buy it now auctions of rarities. Some get snatched up minutes after they're listed! Check the search page on HLJ for preorders--you have to get in on those early, because sometimes there isn't enough to go around.

The main thing, though, is have fun.

ZU: Thank you for your time, I appreciate it.

RCM: Thanks for the chance to go on and on about my favorite subject: me! I mean, zoids!