G.I. Joe: Resolute - Zartan
Zartan is one of those immortal characters in the G.I. Joe mythos who had such a distinct and striking look when he first appeared, Hasbro has struggled to maintain a good sense of that in many of the figures going forward. Whether dipping into his potential punk rock roots, or saddling him with some aweful SAW-Viper parts, Zartan had some issues getting a decent follow up to his 1984 blockbuster figure. I would argue quite strongly that the only real suitable upgrade to the original Zartan actually never appeared in 3 3/4" form...it was quite clearly the Sigma 6 version. For whatever reason, Sigma 6 designers were able to translate the vintage style into a more modern aesthetic (in many cases) but with figures coming in at an 8" scale, Joe fans couldn't be bothered to worry about it.
Well, when the 25th Anniversary line kicked off and we got that strange hybrid Zartan in the third wave of single packs, I felt pretty good saying that it was the first great follow up to the original...but this version blows it out of the water.
Most of that, I'd suppose, is due to the animators for Resolute, since they actually conceived of the look, but the Hasbro designers did a pretty damn good job emulating that style in plastic form, and finally, we have an awesome Zartan that manages to retain all the flair that he did back then, but is translated to near perfecting in a more modern way.
I must admit, when the Resolute 7-packs were announced, I was pretty fearful that Zartan would probably not make the cut. After all, he would probably need significant new tooling in order to look how he should, right? Well, apparently not. Using a hybrid of the original Snake Eyes torso meshed together with the Rise of Cobra Sgt. Flash, the 25th Anniversary Zartan's head. and a healthy helping of new accessories, we ended up with a pretty darn accurate plastic rendition of the Resolute Zartan without any new body parts needing tooling. Not too shabby.
I'm happy to see that even with these different components all shoe-horned together, this figure still has great range of motion and a very cohesive look. If I have any complaints it's simply that he does look a bit on the short side, though I'm not entirely sure why. It's especially evident when standing next to other figures, and I will admit it bothers me just a bit...but not enough to seriously detract from the overall greatness of the figure.
Now, Hasbro invested some serious time and money into the hood sculpt and the body armor, and those two secondaries really make this figure. Neither one of them comes off real easily, so I couldn't feature them in their own images, but the fit of the hood (as well as the armor) not to mention that great layered armor design are fantastic and blend perfectly with the Resolute spirit.
The designers even went through the trouble of sculpting those recesses on the back of Zartan's armor, and painted some green hue around them to approximate the green light showing on the back of Zartan's armor throughout the Siberian battle scene.
But as I was saying, the hood and armor are only one part of the equation here... throughout G.I. Joe: Resolute Zartan used a pair of weapons. His hand-held rocket launcher in Siberia, and his sniper rifle that he used to gun down Snake Eyes and the Hard Master. Hasbro totally went the extra mile, and tooled up both weapons here. This was pretty shocking to me. Considering how visible the rocket launcher is in the cartoon, I half expected them to somehow get that in the budget, but seeing the sniper rifle? Awesome. It also helps that it's an amazingly cool looking sniper rifle to boot.
Using multiple paint apps and incredibly accurate sculpting, both of these weapons are fantastic additions to the Resolute arsenal, and will do well to equip your mainstream troops as well.
Not only was I not expecting Zartan to be in these sets at all, I certainly wasn't expecting a Zartan of this caliber. With minimal new accessory tooling, the designers went all out and got very creative, bringing us one hell of an upgrade to the Cobra Master of Disguise. Using some great base parts, awesome variety with the secondaries and the accessories, and building upon the fantastic source material, this Zartan is quite simply the highlight of the Cobra 7-Pack. He is awesome.
As I went through these sets figure-by-figure, I continued to grow more surprised and more impressed with just how much flexibility the designers were able to achieve with the existing tooling at their disposal, and even though most fans are now firmly moved on to the Pursuit of Cobra, I think they would do well to give the Resolute sets a shot. They perfectly capture the spirit of the cartoon, and the figures could potentially merge into the PoC universe to boot. A fantastic pair of 7-packs, and I'm thrilled that we were able to get our hands on them.
Kudos, Hasbro. And thanks.