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Hasbro G.I. Joe Classified Series #23 Zartan Action Figure Review

Hey there, welcome to another Dan's ToyBox review. This is kind of a Retro Review in that the figure has been out for a hot minute. I just picked one up recently though, on a trip to Syracuse and am excited to bring my thoughts on it to you.

Zartan is a master of make-up and disguise. Little is known of his background, but rumors suggest that he had received European military academy training at St. Cyr. Zartan can alter his skin color at will, allowing him to blend in with his environment and is a formidable martial artist. He is also a ventriloquist, is capable of speaking over 20 languages and dialects, a deadly master with a compound bow and an acrobatic contortionist. Zartan and the Dreadnoks have also been known to use holographic technology (hidden on his motorcycle and in his costume) and other methods to disguise themselves. He has a younger brother and sister, twins named Zandar and Zarana, as well as a daughter named Zanya. Zartan first appeared in G.I. Joe; A Real American Hero #25. It is later revealed, in issue #45 that Zartan shot the arrow that killed the Hard Master, Storm Shadow's uncle. Though he did so under orders from Cobra Commander, when confronted by Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes, Cobra Commander lies and says Zartan did it..."just to prove he could."

Let's get ready to jump into our four categories: Accessories, Appearance, Articulation, and Affordability. After discussing each, the figure will receive an overall grade of zero to 10 ToyBoxes, with 10 being the "must add" rating. As always, these reviews are based on my opinion alone and are meant to be as objective as possible, in order to help you make the best-informed choice as to whether or not to purchase a specific figure or toy.


What comes with Zartan seems at first minimal. However, in keeping with the nature of the character is very fitting. Zartan comes with a plain featured "mask", his backpack, a gun, combat knife, mummified monkey paw, and snake head trinket. The latter two can plug into holes on his belt as gruesome decoration. There is no holster for the gun, though the knife does have a sheath affixed to his belt. His cowl is also removable as is the bandana around his neck. The backpack separates into two pieces, in which the mask can be placed. I found it interesting that the mask had pupil-less eyes, which make it appear even more menacing. The detail in each of the accessories is excellent, but with the exception of some red paint on the backpack, some paint for the snake head's mouth, and the detail on the "mask", the allure of the accessories is in their sculpting and functionality. The concept of the backpack and mask is a carry-over from the original figure, which also came with those items. I will admit that it would have been very cool for this Zartan to also come with a Swamp Skier as the original did. Perhaps we'll see one in the future. As far as the accessories score is concerned, I'm actually pleased with what I'm seeing and give them an 8 out of 10.


For a modernized take on the character, this is a sweet figure. While the essence of the original design is definitely evident in the figure, the updated look and details are really outstanding. First off, the cowl has some amazing sculpt work, which gives it a gator or snakeskin appearance in different areas. The detail and paintwork on his face is really, very nice. The black around his eyes is cleanly applied and I was happy to see the lines were sharp. What really impressed me are his actual eyes. They appear to be a silvery white with just a small hint of pupils painted in. My own eyes could be playing tricks on me, but if this is, indeed, how they were painted, my hat is off to the artist! His chestplate and shoulder pads have a nice, flat black/gunmetal look to them as do his gloves and gauntlets. I was even pleased with the detail on the bandana around his neck. it's a soft brown plastic that doesn't hinder movement and is easily removable if so desired. His belts, pants, and leg armor are also done very well with a tremendous level of sculpted detail and clean paint apps. There is a small dark spot on the back of his right arm, which you can see in the pictures above, aside from which, I found no other concerns. I've mentioned previously how amazing the sculpted detail has been with the Joe figures I've collected so far. Zartan continues that amazing trend with the textures sculpted into his pants, on his knife sheath and even on the accessories. The colors are dark enough though, that you really need to look close to see everything, but close examination of this figure is so worth it to find all the great detailing. Even the soles of his boots have tread sculpt around the perimeter and he does have peg holes. I think this is one of the better-looking Joe figures and that says a lot! So much that I'm easily giving this a 9.5 out of 10 for appearance!


Zartan has the same engineering that we are already familiar with on the Joe Classified line. There were some QC issues on mine, which were disappointing and will bring the overall score down though. Starting up top, removing the cowl allows Zartan to look both up and down very far and that range is further increased by a joint in the neck. His head can also tilt side to side, thanks to the neck joint. The shoulder pads are soft and are attached to the chest plate, allowing free range of motion for the actual shoulder joints. His arm can rotate a full 360 degrees and can raise to beyond a T pose. The butterfly joints also allow for greater forward/backward range of motion, which is very nice. There is an upper bicep swivel which works fine and though the elbows are double jointed, the upper joint on both of my arms was stuck badly. When I did get it working, the elbows would bend in very deeply, allowing his hands to touch his face. Both of his wrists are on vertical hinges, which caught me by surprise. I expected one hand to at least have a horizontal hinge to it. Rotation is standard and works just fine though. The upper torso bends quite well, even with the chestplate and the waist joint needed some work at first, but then I got it to swivel, tilt, and even crunch a small amount. Coupled with the upper torso and his ability to look down very far, the joints work nicely to give him a good forward crunch. The legs are on standard drop down hips, but mine stuck really bad. When I finally got them loosened, I felt some gummy-ness in the right leg, which makes me a bit leery to move it around too much. That said, the legs can do very nice splits and kick forward very well. The thigh cuts work fine and the knees are also double jointed. I've heated mine and am still having issues with the lower joint on the right leg. Zartan also has a very nicely hidden and functional boot cut along with terrific ankle range for hinging and pivot. I really want to score this figure higher because I can see the potential in the engineering, but all of the problems I had bring the score down, along with my concerns over that right leg. Sorry Zartan, but you only get a 6 out of 10 for articulation.


I found Zartan at a really neat store in Destiny USA, in Syracuse. The store is called Larger Than Life Toys and the staff there are excellent. I was very pleased with the polite staff and great customer service. I was also rather happy with the prices. I did pay $34.99 for Zartan but given that he's all over the place in terms of pricing on the internet... this price was a great intermediate/average price for the figure. I have seen it listed for upwards of $68 on eBay, so I think I got a fair deal. With that in mind, I'm very comfortable giving him an 8 out of 10 for pricing.

Overall, with the exception of the articulation concerns, I'm very pleased to have this figure in my collection. His comic ties to Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes will make for some fun posing alongside those figures. I remain impressed with what I'm seeing from Hasbro's G.I. Joe Classified line and feel that Zartan earns a solid:

8 out of 10 ToyBoxes

As always, I thank you for your continued support of Dan's ToyBox and I hope you are enjoying reading these reviews as much as I enjoy bringing them to you. Until next time... GEEK OUT!!!


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