Monday, January 16, 2012

REVIEW: GI Joe Dreadnoks Battle Set - Zanya

Produced by Hasbro | Released January 2012 [Big Bad Toy Store Exclusive]

The daughter of ZARTAN is tough, tenacious and never gives an inch. That's how she can more than hold her own in the dangerous DREADNOKS gang. She stole and panhandled to get by as a child, and learned how to take down opponents twice her size in hand-to-hand combat. She never knew her father until she found her way into the swamps and revealed her identity to him.

Dreadnoks Battle Set Zanya
Zanya is available exclusively as part of the Big Bad Toy Store-distributed Dreadnok Battle Set 7-pack. Over the course of the next couple of weeks we'll be looking at the other figures from that pack and the  Slaughter's Marauders 7-figure set, but for now let's concentrate our attention on Zartan's daughter, Zanya.


The figures featured in the Dreadnok Battle Set come in a rather nice ''presentation''-style case, featuring a clear plastic window, displaying the characters within. The box opens at either end (it's sealed with tape that peels off relatively easily) to allow the inner packaging to simply slide free.

It's a solid-feeling pack that does a good job protecting the figures within, who are suspended in a very firm restraining tray. Although I had no problems getting Zanya out of the tray (even if her feet were passed through it, as Hasbro does with many of the Marvel Universe figures) I've read that some buyers have damaged their figures when trying to remove them. So my advice is to take care when opening.

The rear of the pack features the clip and collect cards for each figure. Sadly these cards don't feature the usual mugshot, which is a little disappointing. Presumably this is either a cost-cutting or a space-saving exercise...

Sculpt And Design
Zanya features a pretty cool sculpt, on the whole. There are some minor issues but overall it's a solid design that's executed very well.

Zanya is a kitbash from the previously-released SDCC-exclusive Zarana, an earlier Lady Jaye and the Rise of Cobra Cover Girl but it's a credit to Hasbro's designers that they've managed to infuse a lot of character and individuality into the figure.

The body sculpt is very good, featuring a nice off-the-shoulder-shirt-and-shoulder-pads combo paired with low-slung combat fatigues, fishnet gloves and biker boots. It's pretty much what you'd expect from a biker chick-cum-criminal and it's very much in-keeping with the slightly 80s look the Dreadnoks sport.

There's some cool detail when you get closer, such as the ''eyes'' on her shirt strap, beveled gloves and multi-layered shoulder-pads. The upper half of the figure is definitely the more detailed and although her pants are pretty standard-issue, the boots also feature some intricate detailing and strap work. And like most GI Joe female figures, there's a good sense of the feminine to her silhouette, which gives her a unique look among the other Dreadnoks in the pack.

The head sculpt is particularly good. Not only do her dreads/cornrows have a superb ''ribbed'' texture to them but she also sports a number of facial piercings, including lower-lip, nostril eyebrows and ears. They may just be tiny studs but they look great and are nicely rendered. The actual face is also very good. Not only is she clearly a female but there's also a great sneering look to her expression.

Unfortunately, there's a bit of a problem when it comes to the hand sculpts, both of which feature some rather oddly-shaped digits. Add to this the fact that the two weapons she's issued with both feature trigger-guards and it becomes very difficult to get her to hold either weapon in a convincing manner. They either fall-out immediately or tend to sit in her hand, rather than appear to be gripped. With some jiggling you can just about get her to hold her gear but be warned that her posing options will be pretty limited.

Hand problems aside though, this is a great sculpt.

Zanya's articulation set-up isn't the best but it's not bad. The torso joint just about compensates for the lack of a waist joint and although her arms are a little stiff at first, there's nothing really to complain about here. I'm not a fan of the way her wrists are jointed (the actual joint is half-way down her forearm) but she's flexible enough and presents no real problems when it comes to posing.

As mentioned above, though, her hands can be problematic when it comes to holding weapons and - as a result- you may need to rethink some of your poses to accommodate this issue.

The design of Zanya's paintwork is pretty cool. She's eye-catching enough without resorting to neon-bright colours and her black-green combo works well.

There's some very cool detailing here, such as the fishnet tampo and washes applied to the boots and shoulder armour, the latter of which is especially well-done. I also like her Dreadnoks t-shirt (complete with back print) and although her hairline app isn't totally clean, her piercings, make-up and eyebrows are very sharp.

Extras And Accessories
Each figure in the Dreadnoks Battle Set comes with his (or her) own stand and equipment. Zanya is armed with a revolver and an AK-47-style assault rifle.

In isolation both weapons are very good. I particularly like that they're not only cast from sensible-coloured plastics but that both are also painted for extra effect, with the butt and stock of the assault rifle and the butt of the pistol both featuring paint detail. Put simply, they look great.

It's a shame then that Zanya has such problems holding them. It's difficult to know where to proportion blame on this, as the assault rifle seems to have a very bulky/square grip and both weapons feature trigger guards, which look great but really make it difficult to use. But at the same time, Zanya has very oddly shaped digits. Add both those factors together and the result is that the accessories just don't sit properly in her hands.

That's a little disappointing.

Final Thoughts
Zanya is a great figure, just let down a little by her accessories - or more specifically, how she handles them.

The head sculpt is superb. Unlike the Renegades Scarlett, this head looks like a real person. And not just a real person, but a real woman (in fact, Zanya is the double of somebody I used to know). The detailing on the head - such as the hair and the piercings - is great and, perhaps best of all, she has a wonderfully evil expression on her face. Kudos to whoever sculpted that one.

The rest of the sculpt is very good, too, with a great sense of Zanya being female and a nice overall look to her design. I like that she's not a uniform-clad Joe or sharply-dressed Cobra supervillain. There's a great subversion of the military theme with her combat pants and the overall look isn't really too far from what you'd see in your average biker/goth/punk bar.

I just really wish Hasbro had done a better job with her hands, as they're a real let-down. But if you can get past this - and as I've been posing her I've found I just about can - then you'll love this figure. I'm looking forward to seeing what else the Dreadnok Battle Set contains, because if Zanya is anything to go by, this is a superb pack of figures.

Sculpt and DesignA-
Extras and Accessories B+
Final ScoreA-

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