Well, this is it: I've finally decided to start reposting my old "Alexx Shorts" G.I. Joe reviews. They're the reviews that lead to what eventually became this blog! I'll be posting them in straight copy-and-paste format, separating them with bold dotted lines so you know where they begin and end, and then I'll post some final thoughts on what I think of the figure currently.
For those unfamiliar: I used to take random pictures here and there, but by the time the Rise of Cobra toys came out, I was getting annoying with how much people had been bashing the figures which were clearly better than the previous 25th Anniversary offerings. I set out to show people how awesome they were, and things went from there, forming into "Alexx Shorts", named so because I thought I was going to keep to a short format with a few pictures. I did not do that.
Zartan's first real disguise!
Zartan's road to discovery has been an interesting one. His most recognizable form, of course, is his classic belly armor to show off the 'ol abs. The hood is also a standard, most of the time. The road to discovery can be rocky, however, and sometimes it leads to a rebellious 80's punk, or a dork in a beanie cap getting ready for a ski outing or...something (when it comes to that version I just don't know where to start with the jokes). Regardless of whether or not you consider those "bumps" in the road, it's obvious that Zartan - able to be whoever he wants - sometimes has problems with just being himself. (And the audience lets out a big 'ol "awwwww.")
That brings us to today, where Zartan has gone into the desert to do a little soul searching as a mystic (and maybe kill a joe and steal his identity; different strokes for different folks, ya know?)
As stated on the filecard: Zartan isn't even Zartan this time around, because both of his looks are disguises! The Desert Mystic look is very "Zartan" though, so it'll be hard to use that as a disguise for too long (plus, Raptor must be pissed...)
As a mystic, Zartan has painted some awesome Fist of the North Star dots on his chest, in case he needs to explode some heads. You can see that they sun tanned his head and shoulders, though, both of his clothing items expressly cover those areas, so it doesn't make much sense. Still, it's a really cool paint job and it goes further to place him in the desert than just the normal color of the clothes. On top of that, he's also decided to keep his trademark eye paint, so that doesn't help him much in trying to pass himself off as a mystic but...who cares?
Once you get that stuff on him he just looks great!
I would have liked some sort of small backpack to store the hood in, since it's just resting on his head and shoulders, but it's not too bad on it's own. What would have been even nicer is some smaller hands. You'll see that he's using the same hands and arms that they used on Spirit (or vice versa) and those hands must have been sculpted by the same guy who did Resolute Storm Shadow's hands (also used on Quick Kick). They're overly large, and they don't hold the smaller weapon very well. Case in point with the machetes - er..."wakizashi swords" - he can hold one in his left hand, but it just sorta floats in the right. At least he can hold his guns well...but I am always more excited about the melee weapons and am always a little disappointed when they make the handles too big (Spytroops Snake Eyes) or too small (TRU Quick Kick). On the plus side, he does have a place to put them on his person, so you're not stuck with more items for the bin if you decide not to display them in his hands.
Finally, there's the item that no mystic should be without:
A hawk! On a stick. It's a very cool item, though, it's good for just standing poses. Too bad there isn't a way to articulate 'em so you could have 'em with the wings outstretched. At any rate, it really brings the whole look home. And heck, if you want to, it you could always improvise ways to make the hawk useful:
Ha! Now he's a hawk with a schtick! Get it? 'Cause he's being used for a joke? Ha...oh man...
*Ahem* Moving on.
The most amazing part of his figure is that Zartan no longer has to wear the same clothes and a horrible mask over his face: he can literally become someone else! They give you all the part to make a whole new doomed character: Sandstorm (though I can't remember where the name comes from, 'cause it's not mentioned on the filecard). It goes without saying that this is a perfect figure to buy twice, because Sandstorm completely stands on his own as a figure. Granted, he doesn't have any unique weapons, but when there's two complete figures in one package, you can easily overlook that. Two interesting items for Sandstorm: the canteen can be ripped off if you like, and used. I took mine off on accident, but you can plug it right back in again afterward, and I didn't feel the need to glue it on again. Second: there's a cool head bag!
Yes, not only can Zartan fully become someone else, but they STILL gave him the old mask-in-a-backpack deal! And now it's even creepier! 'Cause there's a whole head in there!
Anyway, if for some reason you only buy one of these; changing back and forth is pretty simple!
I do wish he could keep his whole disguise on 'em, but I can't really ask for much more when we've been given so much! This is awesome, and I can only hope that this is Zartan's new standard for costume changes. It works perfectly and you get two figures in the process. It's almost kinda creepy that they made a whole new guy just to be Zartan's disguise...poor doomed Sandstorm. But BOY is that cool! Ya know, save for the death part.
Anyway, the only drawbacks for this guy are the big 'ol hands (and they aren't terrible, like Quick Kick's) and the fact that you kinda have to work the arms to get them to the full 90 degrees inward. He can hold his gun with two hands, well enough, but it's a minor chore. Absolutely nothing to keep you away from this figure, though. This is possibly the best Zartan yet, and neither of him is even Zartan.
This one is rad, and yet another in the PoC line that you should grab. He not only makes for a unique Zartan (even if he's technically not supposed to be) but he's also a totally different figure! Once again, I find myself unable to find more words that further describe how awesome he is, beyond the original review. I said it all back then, and I stand by it now: Another winner from Pursuit of Cobra.