CLASS OF 1984 Code Name: ZARTAN & CHAMELEON SWAMP SKIER
ZARTAN, for me, is one of the coolest G. I. Joe villains ever! The original ARAH toy, in and of itself, was just amazing. To my knowledge, it was the first toy to have the thermal changing plastics. This little feature was well played in both the comic book and cartoon.
The fact that Hasbro packaged ARAH Zartan with a small vehicle made this figure even better. However, Hasbro sure short-changed the 25th version of this figure with that dinky excuse of a Swamp Skier.
My custom is based from "The Odinson's" (from Hiss Tank Forums) great custom 50th Zartan. For my custom, I stuck with the original design for Zartan's legs. I had to Dremel away the neck post from the ROC Beach Head torso. Then Dremeled off 50th Gen Hawk's neck post and glued it to the Beach Head torso (at the right angle). The figure includes minimal painting on the pelvis, arms, and torso. I painted the pelvis a brick, maroon color to match the legs, which are combo of 50th Zartan thighs & knees with 25th Zartan (v.14) calves/boots (also painted the center of the thigh pads black). Painted Hawk's arms to match the skin tone of 50th Zartan. Also dry brushed the armor with silver and painted the ribbed shirt black.
Zartan includes a mix of weapons and accessories that encompasses all his comic book characteristics and background: Master of Disguise, Sniper, Ninja, and expert with a Compound Bow (aw ma, it's not a weapon; it's ma bow!)
I gave the goatee mask a wash, and added a black line to the top of the eyes to try to get rid of that "bug eyed" look. I may even swap the mask out for the vintage one. ROC Zartan (v.17) supplied the hinged back pack/case. The other backpack is a custom made from a Snake Eyes back pack/sword sheath and Spirit's quiver. I painted the feather ends of the arrows brick/maroon to match Zartan's color scheme.
The Swamp Skier (Chameleon) is an original ARAH Chameleon with a customized handlebar. This is based off of Solomon Witt's (Far Side Customs) cool transparent plastic Chameleon. To extend the handlebars I customized some bars from a Star Wars Clone Wars speeder bike. Very carefully, I (hand) drilled out holes in the ends to fit the Chameleon bars. I think these bars look really cool in that they have the shifter cables and such molded on to them. The plastic is very flexible. The system control/display panel comes from some king of communication accessory that snaps on a figure's arm. Repro stickers from Cobra Stickers. Some of the smaller stickers don't adhere to the plastic very well. It's not the stickers. It's the plastic. I was able to rub the old sticker adhesive off with my fingers, when usually it takes some WD-40 to break that glue up.
Custom Zartan file card combining bits and pieces of info from his various file cards. I like to keep all my custom file cards consistent with File Name, Primary & Secondary MOS, etc. Below is a blue print/schematic of my custom Chameleon. The rear ink sprayer isn't bent, that's just an effect from my weird camera angle.