Thursday, November 16, 2017

1984 Zartan - Around the Web

Zartan is one of the most popular and enduring Joe characters.  His original figure is revered and the character is considered among the titans of the line.  Through the years, I've often neglected Zartan in my photos.  His original figure rarely appears, even though I quite like it.  I'm not sure why.  I've just never felt that I've been able to capture the essence of the character in a photo.  But, I still consider him among the best figures Hasbro ever produced and he is a perfect example of how Joe could veer away from harsh military realism and still be enjoyed.  There's lots of content on Zartan out there.  But, here's some of my favorites from around the web.

Zartan Profile

New York Times Article from December 6, 1984 regarding Zartan's filecard change

Zartan at

Zartan @

Zartan by Backyard Battles

Zartan at WikiPedia

Zartan Video Review

Zartan at the Cobra Temple

1984 Zartan, 1985 Cobra Tele Viper

1984 Zartan,  Firefly, 1983 Destro, Stinger

1984 Zartan,  Firefly, 1983 Destro, Stinger, Stinger Driver


  1. Zartan is a legendary figure,maybe the best of the vintage line.I hold this mold in extreme high regard, also owning the Tiger Force version, a carded Funskool,Saw Viper version, etc.I even bought the 25th carded version with that midget swamp skier (has gone up in price over the years).Zartan's look seems to be the inspiration for Abbath,singer/guitarist of the famous Norwegian Black Metal band,Immortal.The mask gimmick is meh,but the color change feature was terrific.I also have always been confused by those strange upper arm cuffs that just sits there.
    Ironically, as much as I love the figure itself, Zartan was the turning point for the franchise. His morphing ability is extremely unrealistic, even today.This started the trend for weird, non-military characters,including Ninjas,Zombies,S&M mad scientists,falconer tax accountants,etc.His character resolution of his killing of the Hard Master was very ambiguous,even suggesting Firefly was the culprit.Didn't he also murder the Blind Master in the comic?
    Zartan is the most fragile of all the 84 figures.The brown plastic at this point is extremely brittle, broken crotches and busted heels from putting the figure on a stand is common.The knee pads are valuable by themselves, due to them popping off at inopportune times.Often the sticker on the chest pad is missing. or melted int the plastic.
    The best way to crack open a Zartan, is to put him in a cup of very hot water to soften him up, (don't melt him), and it should weaken the sonic glue,enough to unscrew it.The chest mold is very malleable, if you're patient, you should be able to open him.

  2. I have problems with this version but I still think he's the best Zartan ever produced. IMHO the character loses something if the toy can't turn blue.

  3. Best part was him turning blue. Sun allergy? What was he a vampire? Or did sunlight mess with his hologram projectors?

  4. Fun figure. The brand was more invested with promoting the characters then, which started to decline in 1987. And yes, this was probably the best Zartan figure made. New sculpts were laughably bad. Modern era ones were flawed or less iconic movie versions.

    As a character, I grew to dislike comic book Zartan, he became an overpowered know-it-all and then went from "heel" to "anti-hero" (then brainwashed back to villain). I don't know how Hama justifies him in the villain camp currently, because I'm not up on the current comics.

    The cartoon Zartan was more fun, but his reaction to sunlight was inconsistent. He could be out in broad daylight just fine, then later someone opens a window and he's having a fit. The rivalry with Destro was amusing, but entirely dropped in season 2. I guess there was no need to compete for Serpentor's attention like there was with Cobra Commander. He gets mad when at Cobra Commander's trial when CC calls his troops cowards, even though Zartan was prone to cowardice even under Serpentor! Truth hurts, Zartan!