Zartan (2008)

Zartan? I don’t know any Zartan.

I don’t either, at least not one that rides a Power Wheels version of the Chameleon. Sorry to start out with that observation, but it is the poorest excuse for a vintage homage in all the 25th anniversary line. Zartan can’t even sit on this truncated mess of a swamp skier without looking like he’s going to cramp up. Don’t even get me started about the lack of his box o’ junk, although I imagine if it were included, would probably have been a one inch square grey hunk of PVC.

The figure itself was a welcome change from the initial Zartan offering for those who wanted a more direct interpretation of the 1984 original. All of the Zartan hallmarks are here, from the uniform to the accessories, although this version gets two masks, neither of which looks like the bearded vintage version, which was included in the previous Devil’s Due-ish version. The new masks actually fit the head pretty well, after applying just a little extra force to line them up. It’s kind of a neat effect here, particularly the Duke mask.

Overall, other than the ridiculous vehicle, I suppose Zartan isn’t too bad. The Gung Ho torso has always looked more than a little weird to me, with its too cleanly cut abs, but other than that, it’s generally a creditable effort. My opinion however may be colored by memories of attachment to the original Zartan figure. I can still remember picking it up at the local K-Mart all those years ago. But that’s a story for another day.


  • Is the swamp skier missing parts? It looks a bit incomplete

    I think that the 25th stuff was designed with collectors in mind as opposed to kids thats why they dont seem to be as compatable with vehicles as their predessesors

    The picture of him on the swamp skier reminds me of my 4 year old neice, trying to ride a Barbie scooter like a bicycle

  • Mine is still MOC, I never knew the Chameleon was so pathetic. Oh well, he looks great on the card.

  • I still haven’t gotten any of the 25th Anniversary Zartan figures yet. Come to think of it, I don’t even have any original Zartan figures yet.

  • I snagged this guy at Planet Comicon in KC and was happy I did. I passed on him the first time around because I really did like the Devil’s Due inspired version, but this version really grew on me. The only version of Zartan I had growing up was the Mohawked Ninja Force version so I didn’t have a lot of attachment to the character, but this version was just such a great update of the original design I caved and bought him. The Chameleon is pretty sad and honestly, it would have been amazing had they done that in a vehicle set, but that’s a pretty specific vehicle with little repaint value so I can understand why they passed. However, I would have rather seen the Comic Pack 21.5 Storm Shadow bow come with this Zartan than the mini-Chameleon.

  • I was glad to see this guy even after getting the Devil’s Due homage since I never had the ’84 original as a kid. Zartan was among a select few characters that I missed out on that year and ’84 is still my favorite version.

    Mini-Chameleon aside, the figure is nicely done, and as YT pointed out, he looks just as great on the card.

  • I seem to remember reading (and I could be imagining this; it’s been awhile) that the Swamp Skier was originally tooled for the Combat Heroes line. When the set it was to be included with got bumped and the line got canceled, Hasbro stuck it here, figuring it would make CH collectors happy and would sort of work as a vintage homage. An odd decision, but it makes more sense than Hasbro tooling this stubby thing up thinking collectors would find it a suitable 3 3/4″ update to the Skier. Thanks for the blog, Rob; I read it every night!

  • The “mini Chameleon”‘d be good for Zanya!

  • This was a really solid Zartan figure, though I only saw him once on the pegs and bought it right away. I do wish that he’d just been loaded with cool gear instead of this stumpy Chameleon. Maybe if the Chameleon could be made into a backpack that could hold arrows, compound bow, sniper rifle, his cool laser pistol (always a favorite) and a few jagged knives…

    But I say again a nice Zartan, a good update for the 25th run.

  • So on the subject of Zanya. How old was Zartan when he er um [insert innuendo here] Even if he was something like 14 it still seems unrealistic as she was an adult [possibly 19] when she joined the Dreadknocks and Zartan didnt look a day older than 30 [or something like that]
    But then again this is a toy line that had a trio of aliens at one point so i guess not everything has to be realistic.

  • I got this figure just for the mini-swampskier. In my Joeverse it was buit by Thrasher for my custom Zanya figure so she could be just like her dear old dad!

    @Neopolitan Joe – looks like you are thinking the same way.

    @Skymate – If Zanya was 19 when she joind the Dreadnoks in 2001 when Devil’s Due kicked-off then she was born in 1982, just before the GI Joe team started – probably after Zartan returned from Japan when he killed the hard master and before he got involved back with Cobra a couple of years later.

    From what I remember, the only positive date reference is that Baroness was 15 during the Tet Offensive which means she would be 60 this year. Stalker, Destro, Storm Shadow and Snake-Eyes were all there too and were a few years older than her. Super-soldier formula anyone…?

  • I had this figure, and sold it during my great 25th purge of Dec, 2012.I kept the “Chameleon” because of it’s tremendous comedic value when compared side by side with the original vintage.

  • @Dekkard
    In the Transformers episode “The killing Jar” which is set in the year 2006. Marissa Fairborne is visited by her Dad who [according to the script] is 60.

    [In whiney Star trek nerd voice] I may also draw your attention to the epiosde from season 2 “Grey hairs and gropwing pains” , the Joes are left with an intact youth machine. They could stay young forever. Maybe they the Cobra guys use it too so they can all keep the war going?

  • @Skymate – cool, mate. We never got more than a few episodes over here on VHS so I’m stuck with comics, books and filecards.

    Be seeing you

  • @Dekkard
    For many years over here the only VHS episode any shop or video store had was f***ing Laser in the night.
    When the DVD’s finally came out, the compony here [MADMAN] missed out on the first three five parters and the ’87 movie. I know the first 3 parters were mostly padding and sillyness but it would be good to see them again. I think last time i saw Mass device was 20 years ago.

    There is also a DIC series available but its a boot leg with shocking quality. None of the other cartoons have ever been released over here except Spytroops and that was only because it came with a Snake eyes figure. I’m hoping with the Retaliation DVD release we’ll also get some other stuff too.
    I’m hoping to make a website one day about all the different Joe cartoons so it’ll help if can see them all.

  • @Skymate
    Similar problem over here – I only had maybe 6-8 odd episodes on VHS, all Sunbow no DIC. One day I will treat myself to some DVD boxsets but no time soon. Did find a good, unofficial, reference book on all the episodes but it’s not the same as watching them…

  • @Dekkard
    My largely negetive comments about DIC are mostly due to the shocking quality of the set i bought. Every episode finishes with a promo for Ninja turtles and on Kindergaten Commandos, the quality is so bad it’s like trying to watch a station the TV can hardly pick up.

    For the Gobots set i bought, the source material comes from old broadcasts in Ohio as on one episode [I think its Fitor to the finish] there is a commercial for a local ice cream store

    There are a couple of good websites out there. Joecartoon achive is the first one that comes to mind. If you google it you might find more. Plus i think a couple may be on Youtube

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