1993 Punk Rock Zartan

The 1993 Zartan is an absolutely ridiculous figure. He’s grade A punxploitation and while he may look goofy as hell, is actually one of the more realistic figures in the line. Which might be a sadder commentary on the state of Punk Rock of the early 1990s than it is the G.I. Joe line.


Zartan’s sculpted to look like a cartoon punk from the 1970s, which happened to make an ugly reappearance in early 90s America. The sleeveless leather jacket with a chain is a classic punkerism, and the left side of the torso appears to be either chainmail or a bunch of small pins. Usually dudes in get ups like this have a lot of small pins, with all sorts of bands and phrases, 80% of the bands are likely ones they’ve never actually listened to. I assume Zartan’s pins include “Flux of Pink Indians” the phrase “BOMB THE BOATS” and the Crimson Ghost.

The figure is probably most known for his bright orange mohawk, which isn’t a full on Wattie mohawk, but it is still real goofy! There used to be a time when a mohawk lead you to being propositioned for fights, those were the days! (Also the reason I never had a mohawk!) The figure’s legs are bright, but I’ve actually seen punks who will wear obnoxiously bright clothes*, so I’m not gonna decry them that much, though leopard print would’ve been a far better choice, for this look! The shin pads are kind of weird, but they at least make sense from a ninja combat point of view, and do work as an homage to the 1984 Zartan’s weird shin armour. He’s also got some lower arm armour on his right arm, it’d make sense, but it kind of makes the figure asymmetrical


The construction on all Ninja Force figures, is pretty janky. They don’t have backscrews and are given some spring loaded gimmick. The figures with spinny torso moves tend to get shafted on the ribbon department, so instead Zartan gets two knife sheaths on his left leg. They work, but I don’t have the knives at the moment, and would rather use the purple ones that came with Dhalsim from Street Fighter II.

I don’t really have much use for this figure, other than the fact I’m really amused that there’s a G.I. Joe that looks like some really tedious dude that’s going to come up to you at a show and start talking about something released on the Mortarhate label in the mid 80s. He swears too much, uses the term “Yanks” and despite looking like a caricature of what Quincy and the news show as PUNK ROCKERS, has no sense of humour. While I don’t have much actual use for the figure, he is kind of fun to photograph, because there’s a bunch of stereotypical punk rock activities I think would be funny to do photos of (Begging, loitering in front of brick walls, public drinking).




*One of the last shows I went to, I wore bright orange pants, a 70s Silk Shirt and a black denim jacket with a Millions Of Dead Cops patch on the back.

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10 Responses to 1993 Punk Rock Zartan

  1. A-Man says:

    The Hasbro catalog shots show his mohawk higher up on his forehead.
    Yeah, Ninja Force had some goofy fun guys but their construction sucks.
    Funny both ARAH Zartan figures can’t be taken apart easily.

    Growing up in small towns, my knowledge of punk music was limited to media, like REPO MAN and that bus scene in Star Trek 4.

  2. I still love this figure. I never noticed the pins/buttons before really, though. And leopard print pants would have been great! I do still think that neon green, bright orange, and black are a great color combo. But I think I would swap the orange parts with the purple parts, and maybe just make more of him purple in general. It would make the eye makeup look much cooler.

    With all of his accessories, this is a really striking and even intimidating figure. I love the bow, machete, and knives especially. He looks awesome with 91 Road Pig, and is very at home with Zarana and Zandar. He is of course nothing compared to the original Zartan, but at least his o-ring won’t break and all of his limbs move normally.

    But your assessment is also 100% correct in that he is hilarious.

  3. Mike T says:

    This guy is fun. The orange, black and green are a striking combo. I can’t do anything with him. But, he can be fun. I need to replace the one I sold a few years ago.

  4. mwnekoman says:

    The wall in the first photo looks perfect!

    Hands down this is my favorite Ninja Force figure, which is strange since I’ve only ever used him in two photos I can remember. I agree purple accessories would’ve helped him a lot, and like TDF said, the excess orange detracts from his eye makeup, which on it’s own looks really cool.

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