I’m easily half a dozen figures behind on my GI JOE Classified reviews, so today I’m dipping back into that line to finally check out one that I’m pretty damn excited for! I never had Zarana as a kid, having to make do with just Zartan and the three Drednoks. I don’t ever even recall seeing her in the toy aisles then, because I’m sure I would have wound up getting her if I did. Then again, by 1986, I was starting to move away from toys a bit and more into video games, so maybe I was spending a little less time in the toy aisles. Either way, I’m happy to have her in Classified, so let’s see what we got!
Oh, dear… that character art! Not only is it totally out of style with the rest of the Classified packages, but it’s just awful. My guess is they were going for some kind of misguided Harley Quinn vibe, but it sure as shit doesn’t work for me. That’s OK, though, because I’m going to toss the package, and what I’m seeing through the window looks pretty damn nice!
Thankfully, this is another case of Hasbro sticking close to the vintage figure for the Classified design, and I love what they did here. The pink half-jacket and shoulder armor are superb modernizations of the original costume. The jacket has some fine detail for the silver studs and zipper, and it’s sculpted separately from the figure, so it looks like something she’s actually wearing. It extends down just far enough to cover the ball joint under her chest, and to show off the killer abs she’s sporting. The black sleeves are textured, and she has brown fingerless gloves. Her blue trousers have ribbed reinforcements on her inner thighs, and pink areas on the front where her leggings are exposed through tears in the thighs. This is a great little touch, as when I first saw the figure, I assumed those were just pink patches. Her boots have extended knee pads, and I really dig the silver spurs, they look fantastic! Final touches to the outfit include a sculpted brown belt, a brown sheath belted around her right thigh, and a lovely little sculpted silver chain hanging from her belt. This is an absolutely beautiful update, and I love the colors!
Zarana comes with one head and two swappable hairstyles. The one that comes on the figure in the package is the modern look, with a mix of orange, pink, and purple. I actually think it works pretty well for the character, but this is the only time you’ll see it in this review, because…
Yeah, that’s the stuff! The alternate coif is patterned after the original figure, and it’s the one that I’ll be using all the time. As for the face, I really do love it. Zarana offers up a mean snarl, which works well as a battle expression. The printing on this one really breaks down as you get in close, especially the eyebrows which can look a bit crusty, but it all looks fine with the figure in hand. And take note, she’s got her earrings, so this is based on the earlier of the two heads produced for the vintage figure. Not a bad choice, because I seem to remember the second head being a big step down from the first. I think this portrait turned out great, giving Zarana that level of bad girl hawtness she deserves.
Zarana comes with a few weapons, the first of which is a simple dagger. This one is a nod to the sheathed dagger that was sculpted on the vintage figure. The dagger itself has a black hilt and a nice silver painted blade. It kind of reminds me of a Fairbairn–Sykes style fighting knife from WWII. Very nice!
Next up, she has this beefier piece of cutlery that’s stored in her backpack. I think this design is original to the this Classified figure, because I don’t remember seeing reference to it in any past media or previous versions of the figure. It looks like someone looked at an electronic kitchen knife and said, let’s make that for the battlefield! And that’s a little bit genius. The grip looks like it’s off a sawed off shotgun, while the middle part looks like it houses the electronics. The blade is red, which I’m pretty sure isn’t meant to signify blood, but… it’s blood. Yup, blood! I didn’t think I was going to dig this accessory that much, but it’s totally won me over.
And lastly, Zarana has her rifle with a circular saw attachment, clearly evolving from the vintage figure’s pinwheel-ripper-rifle. I think this is a wonderful update, as I always assumed the original wasn’t an actual gun, but just a spinning-spur-cutter, and now she has the best of both worlds! The rifle looks like an original design, but very grounded in reality. There’s a rail running across the top, and the buzzsaw is an under-the-barrel attachment with a foregrip. I would have put some kind of finger guard behind that blade, because… YIKES! But, I’m pretty sure Zarana scoffs at safety regulations.
The magazine can be removed from the rifle, and this makes me happy every time I see it!
I was a little worried that whatever Classified figure I spotlighted after Stalker was going to have to be a let down, but that’s not the case here. Yes, Zarana is a simpler figure for sure, but she hits all the right points right on target! Like Stalker, I did not expect the final release to look as good as the solicitation photos, but I’m happy to be proven wrong. Zarana is another five outta five for me, and she looks great on display beside her brother in arms. If she’s any indication of how the Classified Drednoks are going to turn out, I can’t wait!
This figure is amazing. Once again Classified is hitting homeruns!
I actually like box art! I see what you mean, tho. A retro style would’ve worked better, like a painted Norem cover or something. Or maybe Phil Noto style! But I dont mind the modern Harley-esque (or maybe Blinx)
look. She looks bat$#!+ crazy here!