25th Anniversary Zap
Zap is another figure I have a weirdly complicated relationship with. I wasn’t old enough for the original Zap figure to have been on my radar. The first time I met Zap was in 1991 when he joined the Super Sonic Fighters. The filecard mentioned that he was one of the original Joes and while I didn’t know that until then, I thought it was a pretty neat piece of trivia. However, I think I’m very glad that the 1991 version was my first experience with Zap because that’s a far better figure, if for no other reason than he has his own unique head sculpt that looks like he did on the card art. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the original Zap figure. I think the figure I was looking forward to most from the Assault on Cobra Island set was Rafael “Zap” Melendez because of my ties to his later version and an appreciation for the famed original Joe team.
Despite being built with some rather old parts, Zap does stand up fairly well against the test of time. He’s another figure that could probably use a revisit, but if that never happens, the 25th Anniversary version looks good enough to serve most people’s needs. The legs are from 25th Anniversary Clutch, which does give him the really large ankle holster that does look a little off, but I’m not nearly as annoyed with it as other reviewers are. The torso comes from 25th Anniversary Snake Eyes, which does have a fairly prominent torso gap. The shoulder harness web gear and belt are new to Zap, and they help bring him in line with his vintage look, but they don’t really do much to minimize the visibility of the torso gap, which does hurt Zap’s aesthetics a little. The arms are also from 25th Anniversary Snake Eyes, but it looks like Hasbro may have molded new hands for him because they’re smooth, rather than wrinkled like he’s wearing gloves. I know these didn’t exist when 25th Anniversary Stalker was made, but I’m uncertain if they showed up in a release that used these parts between Stalker and Zap. Topping off the figure, Zap has a brand new head. The detail is a little soft, but at least Zap looks like his filecard image this time around. He’s got a relatively serious face with a small mustache sculpted on and a closely-cropped hair cut. It’s nice that Zap gets to look like his own man and Hasbro managed to sculpt a head that looks a bit Latino, which is also a nice touch since Zap’s always been a Latino from New York City, but he’s never really looked the part. Zap’s look may be a little dated, but let’s be fair, that’s part for the course with figures based on the Original 13, but even though it’s a tad dated, it still looks okay alongside other, later releases.
As befitting part of the Original 13, Zap’s paint work is fairly basic, but it serves the figure well. His jumpsuit is done in olive drab while his boots, belt, and shoulder harness are done in brown. There’s a little bit of gray detailing on the belt’s buckle and on the buckles on the shoulder harness. Zap’s skintone is noticeably tanner than most Joes, which is a good call to help further reflect his Latino heritage. His hair is done in black and the paint work on his face is very cleanly applied. There’s not a lot to Zap’s paint work, with those Original 13 figures, less is definitely more.
Back in the day, Zap didn’t have a lot of gear, but this time around, Zap is definitely carrying enough equipment for some heavy combat. This is mostly due to the fact that Hasbro made sure to fill both his holsters. He’s got two versions of the same early 25th Anniversary pistol, one for each holster. They’re not great pieces, but I do like the fact that Zap has something other than a bazooka to fight Cobra with. Zap’s primary weapon is a modern recreation of his vintage bazooka. It looks much more proportional when packaged with a larger figure. The bazooka also has an opening so you can load a removable rocket into it. The fit is rather tight, but better too tight than too loose so you don’t wind up losing a small black rocket. Zap also has a modern recreation of his vintage backpack. The shapes are the same, but unlike the vintage backpack, the rockets are removable. Thankfully, unlike 25th Anniversary Major Bludd’s removable rockets, these stay securely in the backpack. Topping off the figure, Zap gets the same ill-fitting helmet we’ve seen a few times in the 25th Anniversary line. The helmet doesn’t fit any better on his head, so it’s kind of a bummer, but it’s good that Hasbro included it for completeness’s sake.
Zap is by no means a flashy figure, but he’s still a solidly-executed recreation of the Joe team’s original bazooka soldier. Yes, he’s become a bit dated in the intervening years, but he’s still a successful figure. Personally, I’d love to see Zap get updated (though in a perfect world, I’d love to see the GIJCC take a crack at Super Sonic Fighters Zap in the last upcoming FSS series), but this version still works well enough for my needs. I still don’t know why I’m so oddly fascinated with the modern recreations of the Original 13 because I had absolutely no ties to those figures whatsoever, but I am and it was looking like that collection was going to be incomplete since Zap initially kind of got left on the cutting room floor. Thankfully, Hasbro was able to give us the two Cobra Island sets and got out a lot of great figures that got lost in the lurch as the Joe brand shifted gears into Rise of Cobra.