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.