Zartan (2001)

By Past Nastification

There are figures that aren’t good.  There are many figures I dislike.  Generally speaking, these two categories overlap.

But there are bad figures that I really like.  2001’s Zartan is one of them.

It’s a lazy figure.  Exceptionally lazy.  A Zartan head thrown on top of a SAW Viper body. Continuing the laziness, Hasbro just tossed in the SAW Viper machine gun w/ammo belt.

The SAW Viper body, in all fairness, is a workable replacement for the 1984 Zartan body.  The armbands and chaps on the trousers roughly (very roughly) call back the placement of the shoulder armor/color-shifting pads on the legs on the original figure.  This look is further enhanced by the arms being painted as partially uncovered.  Even without the signature plated shoulder armor of the original figure, the body still has a Zartan vibe about it.

The color scheme of the uniform is simple:  black and mauve.  It’s simpler than the original figure, which also had the variable-color areas.  It works well here.  The SAW Viper chest/back is an improvement over the bare midriff look of the original Zartan chest/back.  The Zartan head isn’t that good- it never was- but it brings this figure some legitimacy as Zartan.

The machine gun doesn’t work at all.  Ignore it.  Any smaller weapon would have been suitable.  And a smaller backpack would have been a nice touch (maybe the 1982 Grunt backpack in mauve).  There’s also the sculpted turtleneck simply painted as flesh.  That sticks out.

This would have been an interesting figure for Hasbro to have played around with the skin tone.  A metallic bluish grey would have been interesting.  Yellow eyes.  Instead, Hasbro went with a standard flesh tone.  Oh, well.

The simplicity of this figure might be why I like it.  Unlike the original Zartan, this one has no thigh or chest plating/color shift paper to pop off and lose.  It doesn’t feel like a special figure the way the classic one did.  The improved durability more than offsets its lack of uniqueness.


  • One of only two new heads for Cobras in A Real American Hero Collection. A ball jointed Zartan head was nice.

    Why didn’t they ever do with Cobra Commander’s battle helmet head, though?

  • This is a bad figure and really was a wasted slot at the time. Had the Funskool Zartan not been released around the same to sate collector demand, this figure would have faced a lot more heat.

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