The following is an interview with Mr. Lionel Tosan
ZU: Hello and Welcome, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
LT: I live in France. I'm a teacher, and my interess are toys and animes. I'm collecting toys from my childhood, like Zoids, Transformers, Gobots, Robotech... Now, I'm going on with the Zoids, and I still grab things that are interesting me in the other lines. For the naime, I used to whatch a lot, I was also writing in a fanzine. One that amazed me the most was Robotech.
ZU: When and why did you start collecting Zoids?
LT: In 1983, when they arrived in France. I started collecting right away, and by the end of the year, I have the 5 first released : the white heads seen in the TDP box set. And for I began collecting, I kept the boxes, the caps, the sticker sheets... which are still here now.
ZU: How long have you been collecting Zoids?
LT: Now, it's making 23 years. I never stopped. There was a little lack of interess between 1989 and 1994, when the OER line stopped, and before the come back with the Zoids2. But since 1994, it has never stopped.
ZU: How many Zoids are currently in your collection?
LT: Nearly 700.
ZU: Is your collection predominantly built, or Mint in box?
LT: 99 % built. I always build my Zoids, the sole that I'm keeping unbuilt are the TDP Helic Set, anfd the Core Box, because in that case, it is the whole object that is great.
ZU: When do you recall seeing your first Zoid?
LT: In 1983, in shop.
ZU: What was the first Zoid you purchased?
With so many releases, which line would you consider to be your favorite, (NJR, OJR, OER, etc.) and why?
LT: OER of course, the line I was nearly born with. The line that had the chance to keep the real colours of the OJR (even if there was some changes) and the same type of boxes.
ZU: Out of all the Zoids in your collection, which Zoid is your favorite or personal "Holy Grail", and why?
Obviously Ultrasaurus Red. I discovered it in 1987, in a catalog, with the sole photo knonw of it. I asked after it everytime I was going in a shop, and now, when I met someone from the UK, I'm still asking if he met him one day. It is only in 2003 that we learnt that it was actually released, and that it didn't stay as prototype.
ZU: Where do you see your collection ten years from now?
LT: I don't know, maybe with more rare items. Currently, it is the only interesting things I find in Zoids.
ZU: Are you a fan of the Zoid's Anime, and if so, which series do you prefer and why?
LT: There was no anime in France, I never saw them. The only story I'm knowing is the UK one. But from what I heard of the animes, I prefer the UK comics, where Zoids are real living being, whch is not the case in the japanese animes.
Have you played any of the Zoids video games, and if so which one is your favorite, and why?
LT: Only two : Cyberdrive (looking like Pokemon with Zoids) and the old Commodore 128 game. Maybe I'm old, but I prefer this old game.
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?
LT: I began darthing in 2000, when I wanted to create my own Ultrasaurus Red. It is only this year, in 2006, that I'm really darthing. But I'm always doing it to create a brand new Zoid, most of the time OER red one, oftenly coming from drawings I made long time ago. The best I did... maybe there are two, which are old ones : Kraken (big, enormous):
and Cheetah, which is a representation of a prototype drawn by Tomy:
ZU: Where and how are your Zoids currently displayed?
LT: In a cabinet, on shelves, all the ones on the others (needing space !)
ZU: What, if any, Zoid(s) are you currently seeking?
LT: Rare LTD ones : Ghost Zoids, MK2 LTD, white box... the rest can be found easily.
ZU: How much would you estimate you spent on Zoids this year?
. LT: Too much.
ZU: What are your views on TOMY reissuing older, harder to find, valuable Zoids?
LT: It depends. As I said before, it is good for collectors that can't afford the OJR, but some Zoid have lost their greaterness with those reissues : Deathsaurer, Madthunder... Those were really important characters in the Zoids world, and became simple reissues near the others. And I'm not speaking of Gildragon, which colours are horrible (for this one, that didn't decrease the interest in Gilvader).
ZU: Do you consider your collection an investment?
LT: No. My collection is here to be kept.
ZU: Do you purchase Zoids via Yahoo Japan? If so which company (3rd party bidding service) do you use, and why?
LT: I beagn this year. I'm using Celga, because it was the one I was already knowing.
ZU: What is your advice to anyone just starting to get into the hobby?
LT: Before, it was simple, you could follow the line and buy nearly everything. Now, with all the variations, limited, and old expensive models, begin now is hard to be completist. But you can always find pleasure in collecting. Buy what please you, and what you can. But if you find one day a cheap rare or LTD Zoid, take it. Even if you don't keep it, you will always find something to do with it.
ZU: Thank you for your time, I appreciate it.