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Friday, February 3, 2012

#112 G.I. JOE – ZANDAR and ZARANA (1986)

The Dreadnocks are a sub-group in the G.I. Joe universe. We know the heroes and enemies (Cobra): the dreadnocks are evil mercenaries, mostly hired by Cobra.

They look bad and ugly, wear torn clothes, or are half naked. These looks are a mixture of 80’s punks and rockers, and characters from the motion picture “Mad Max”.
There were 11 different figures released belonging to this group between 1984 and 1989 (Zartan, Buzzer, Ripper, Torch, Monkeywrench, Zandar, Zarana, Trasher, Zanzibar, Road Pig and Gnawgahyde). Roadpig and Zartan even had a second version of their characters made in the early nineties.

Notable is that years later, in 2004, a special collectors box was launched in the annual G.I. Joe convention in a very limited released, including the classic characters plus a few new characters: 6 “dreadheads”, Crushor and Demolishor. Since 2001 these are the only characters released with the ARAH type of figure body.

The first figure released in this group is Zartan, their leader and master of disguise. It came in a box with the Swamp Skier. This was not their only vehicle, they had a complete set of them, including one car (Thunder Machine) and one motorbike (Dreadnock Cycle), one helicopter (Swampfire), and a flying skiff. Exclusively made for Sears, two sets of vehicles were made: the air-assault and the ground assault, featuring repainted vehicles from G.I.Joe and Cobra, but they’re very rare and expensive.

A defining characteristic of this group are their weapons, that only exceptionally are firearms. Most figures came with modified rifles (the one from Zartan shoots arrows, the one from Zarana has some kind of saw at the tip) or with blunt or sharp weapons. Apart from that, the Dreadnocks are experts in camouflage and disguise, so some figures had colour-changing features when exposed to the sun. These two figures were in between the colour-changing, but after all these years, the feature doesn’t work anymore.

As a part of the G.I. Joe universe, the Dreadnocks are present in the comic books and the cartoons. In the cartoons they are depicted as clumsy, silly Cobra helpers, always having crazy ideas about weapons and tactics. In the comic books is not that exaggerated. Specially Zartan is a very clever guy and appears as a key-character in many stories and plots. Zandar and Zarana are his siblings.

The figure of Zarana has a very famous variant (rarer to find than the version shown here), in which she wears earrings.
Part of the arms of the figures are shared, and also shared with Zartan.

  • Toy Line: G.I.Joe (Wave 5)
  • Year: 1986
  • Company: Hasbro (U.S.A.)
  • Size of the figures: 3¾’’ or 9,5 cm

As a bonus, I include the french card of Zarana. Original english cards can be found at

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