Zartan (2006 Sigma 6)
Every time I dig out a Sigma 6 figure to cover here at the site, I’m amazed at the wonderfully fun aspects of almost all of the figures in the series. Loads of articulation, great functional accessories and a fresh unique style made for the best and most fun toys GI Joe had to offer since the 2002 relaunch. Yeah, I said it. I still love these guys.
Zartan is one of the named Cobra characters that seems to benefit from a refreshed look from time to time. Although he’s been changed a few times since 1984, the most successful redesigns have kept the man grounded with some basic elements of his original outfit. If you’re going to do a Zartan (unless he’s in Ninja Force) you need to give him a hood of some sort, or even a knit cap. Face paint is a must as well. This version does quite a stylized take-off on the armored bits of his first look, extending the protection into some substantial looking gauntlets. The thigh pads are also around, although they’ve been rotated to the side. Like the arm bracers, they feature the Sigma attachment points, a logical design for an armored section of a uniform.
Like most of the Commando series Sigma 6 figures, Zartan is heavily accessorized. He’s equipped with three impressively brutal looking implements of destruction. The Dreadnocker crossbow looks to be his main weapon, and brings to mind his most famous appearance in the Marvel comic brandishing a traditional bow. This one doesn’t appear to have a listening device attached, however. I love the name too. The package’s file card has given some interesting names to his other weapons, a move that makes sense for the leader of the Dreadnoks. His crew is known for both their personalized weapons, and having specific names for the improvised equipment makes a lot of sense. The arm cannon is called the Bushranger, and was made by Zartan himself using parts from World War II weapons. Finally, there’s the Hideburner firecoil, which wraps around enemies and heats to 212 degrees Fahrenheit. Ouch. The action features of the crossbow and coil work just as advertised, thanks to the scale of the accessories. To me, this was the real strength of the Sigma line. Often times, the smaller scale of figures and weapons leads to a lot of fiddly-ness, from figures not being able to hold weapons, to not-quite-functioning action features. Such was not the case with the vast majority of this line.
Oh, and the lack of color change paint again is a bit disappointing. However, there was another version of the mold that worked in translucent green plastic in place of photochromic paint to give the master of disguise a little extra pizazz. I’d say that’s a pretty cool trade-off.
One final note of interest. I noticed as I was writing that the filecard picture appears to show Zartan with a cloth hood. I wonder if what I see is correct, and if this was part of a mock-up, and changed to the final plastic version.