Zartan’s Chameleon

…And we’re back.  Sorry for the radio silence.  Thanks to visitors who keep clicking over here.

Today’s post features Zartan’s swamp skier, the Chameleon.  No one ever called it by name in the TV show, and offhand I don’t recall it appearing in the comic, though if it did, it would have been around issue #25, and I don’t think anyone called it by name.  Here’s Wayne Luther’s design art for it, dated September 13, 1983.

Zartan's Chameleon 3 drawing by Wayne Luther

Here also is a photocopy of a photocopy of an early sample of the Chameleon.  That figure looks like the HISS Driver, but I’m unsure.

Zartan Chameleon 4 photocopyWhy the HISS Driver, you ask?  This photo must predate any production samples of Zartan back from China, and likely any handmade samples, so for reference, any figure was placed on the vehicle.  HISS Driver debuted a year before Zartan, so one was on hand.  (Or whoever it is.)  These photos were sent to the TV producers, writers, and artists, and probably also the Marvel offices for comic book reference.

The water cannon was used in episode #6 of G.I. Joe, but I don’t recall ever “using” it when I played with my G.I. Joe action figures.  As the Chameleon was not a robust construction, and was always falling apart, I stopped including it in my G.I. Joe games soon after getting it.

There were two TV ads for Zartan and the Chameleon.  One for issue #25, all animation.  Here’s the toy one, which uses some of that animation:

About these ads

2 Comments

Filed under G.I. Joe Behind the Scenes, Toys and Toy Art

2 responses to “Zartan’s Chameleon

  1. This is great to see! Interesting that the design was a bit more angular, reflecting vehicle design of the time. The toy was more “organic” styled, and along with its fragility, it suffered for it. And it looks like the HISS driver to me, too.

  2. this is priceless knowledge, thank you for sharing

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