While there haven’t been many new characters or trooper types in the Pursuit of Cobra line, what new ones we have gotten have been quite welcome. This guy here is Sandstorm, the new desert specialist! Sandstorm was originally the name of Dusty’s pet coyote from the 1991, which was… never seen again after that toy. Sandstorm also got a figure in one of the Target vehicle sets, which didn’t get released. Sorta. Unlike that figure, this one takes a much different approach and gives him a bit more character instead of being a generic soldier in Reactive Impact armor.
While he’s not as decked-out for desert combat as Dusty is, Sandstorm does come with a nice pair of removable goggles and a sculpted beanie hat. His face doesn’t have as good of a sculpt as Dusty does, unfortunately. It seems kind of doofy and lacking character. Almost like… a mask. Hmmm.
Sandstorm also has a very nicely sculpted removable vest. My favorite part about it is probably the canteen. While it’s not removable, it’s a very nice touch, and something you don’t see properly scaled to Joes often.
His weapon of choice is this very awesome machine gun, which looks like-hey, what are you doing?
NOOO DUSTY! Sandstorm, why-
…oh. You’re really Zartan. Well, that changes this review.
Zartan is, as you all should know, Cobra’s schizophrenic Master of Disguise and head of the world-wide biker gang known as the Dreadnoks. Unlike the one (seriously?) Zartan mold released during Rise of Cobra, this returns him to his more traditional appearance, but taking some liberties that make him even more awesome. Like most of the other pursuit of Cobra figures, he was originally designed with the movie face likeness, but he actually went through an additional change before the final release: Earliest pictures gave him painted pupils with the movie likeness, albeit a new sculpt. Second one kept the likeness, but removed the pupils. The final one is a new sculpt resembling the Zartan we all know and love, and I think it’s the best.
Zartan has a great bare-chest sculpt, and one of the best I’ve seen so far (the best is still Arctic Assault Storm Shadow, in my opinion). He has these weird painted-on details of circles with dots inside them. I’m not sure what they’re supposed to be, really, but they’re rather subtle and don’t get in the way of anything.
The detail on his arms is great, too, with a separate “glove” piece for the hands. It’s a great touch that makes the hands easier to work with and more functional.
On his belt are a pair of two machetes, probably my favorite of his accessories. They’re totally nasty, and something I can definitely see him using to take out some Joes to disguise himself as. His legs are rather lanky, and I like it that way. While he doesn’t have any awesome sand or mud splashing, he has a gray gradient on the top of his legs.
His trademark cowl, possibly Zartan’s most famous accessory, is very well-done here, being a single piece that covers his head and part of his chest and back. It looks great but has a bit of a functionality problem: it needs to be removed in order for his head to be turned. A minor quibble in of itself, but he can’t quite turn the whole assembly as a result.
Zartan’s main weapon is the awesome standard COBRA pistol, and he comes with a satchel for carrying around faces! Creepy.
Possibly the most “controversial” of his accessories is the bird standing on a pole. For some reason people seemed to think this mold was originally intended to be a 25th Anniversary Raptor figure and I… can’t see why. Yeah, he has a bird and there are some superficial similarities, but I can’t see Hasbro making a new Raptor figure at ALL.
That aside, it’s an awesome accessory. Animal partners for Joes are always awesome, but I wish his bird got a name. It’d help keep it from falling into obscurity, in my opinion. The bird has an amazing sculpt, and perches on his pole perfectly. Also, his little birdy helmet is removable!
Hasbro’s seemed to have a pretty hard time at making a Zartan figure that is immediately recognizable as him while looking new and awesome at the same time. I think with this figure we finally got the perfect blend of the two, and finally a default Zartan. I know I’ve been saying this a lot, but that’s just a testament to this line’s quality-come in and get yours!