Archive: Zartan - Master of Disguise (Desert Battle)

May 9, 2011

Zartan was released in the fall of 2010 as part of the second wave of figures in the Pursuit of Cobra line. The Pursuit of Cobra line features environment-themed missions in which the G.I. Joe team pursues Cobra operatives to the ends of the earth. As part of the Desert Battle mission theme, the G.I. Joe team battles Cobra's newest weapon, the H.I.S.S. Tank, through the heavy sandstorms and arid wastelands of the desert.

Zartan lived up to his moniker as a master of disguise undergoing several pre-production design changes. Early prototypes of the figure depict Zartan with a much darker cowl and face markings reminiscent of the original 1984 figure. The figure was also shown using the likeness of actor Arnold Vosloo, who portrayed Zartan in The Rise of Cobra movie. Hasbro finally opted on a generic head sculpt and a more realistic sand-worn color scheme, indicative of their direction for the Pursuit of Cobra line.

Release Date:
Figure Number: 1010
Retail Price: $5.99
Accessories: cowl, shoulder bag, short swords with in-belt sheaths (2), pistol, falcon, falcon hood, walking stick with falcon perch, alternate Sandstorm head, goggles, vest, assault rifle, display stand with Cobra logo (ZARTAN)

Did You Know? Zartan's disguise allows him to assume the identity of G.I. Joe team member Sandstorm. The Hasbro design team explained the Zartan/Sandstorm back-story at G.I. JoeCon 2009, in the early development stages of the Pursuit of Cobra line. However, when the Pursuit of Cobra line underwent drastic changes to distance itself from The Rise of Cobra, the story was lost. A Sandstorm figure was included as the driver of the desert battle RAM Cycle, which saw a limited release under The Rise of Cobra branded packaging and made no mention of Sandstorm's fateful encounter with Zartan.

Mission Equipment: Hand-Forged Steel Wakizashi Swords

Zartan is a master of disguise who works for Cobra as a mercenary and covert agent. This expert mimic can impersonate anyone. During the Desert Battle, he disguises himself as a desert native to slip behind enemy lines, then impersonates a G.I. Joe trooper to steal valuable battle information.


Rich Alot said...

Zartan was one of my favorite characters and figures growing up and this is one of my favorite figures from POC. What's ironic is that Zartan is weakened by the sun (turns blue) so his camouflage abilities aren't well suited for the desert. Guess his ops are in the evening?

John said...

Yes, I too loved Zartan. What I really missed is his ability to change color when put under the sun. I love the accessories though and the fact that you get 2 characters in one toy.

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