Yes, we’ve come back around to LJN’s AD&D line again. Today we’re checking out another one of the standard figures. He’s Zarak, the Evil Half-Orc Assassin! It’s been a long week for me, so I’m just going to get right to it.
Zarak came on a standard AD&D card, with some subtle differences depending on whether you got him as part of Series 1 or Series 2. The character art is pretty cool. It’s a lot darker and more sinister than the somewhat goofy figure. As always, you get a rather lengthy bio blurb on the front of the card, which is more about the Race and Class than it is the specific character of Zarak. I always found it odd that LJN decided to do a Half-Orc figure and never a full-blooded one. Maybe they had one planned before the line was cancelled.
Out of the package and Zarak is an odd little fellow indeed. Yes, "little" isn’t what one tends to think of when one thinks of Orcs, but Zarak probably got his altitude-challenged nature from his human side. Still, he’s got a stout, stocky build and crooked shoulders, which helps give him an undeniably twisted look. I like his outfit, it’s black with some red trim, red gloves, and he even has a whip and a red pouch sculpted onto the back of his belt. I’m a little divided on the head sculpt. First off, he has a blue hood with a black outfit? Girlfriend, you need to learn how to accessorize! <double snap> It just looks weird and wrong. I’m tempted to pick up a spare and paint it red or black to see how it looks. And then there’s his face itself, which kind of looks like Shrek with chickenpox. He’s certainly an ugly bastard!
Zarak has five points of articulation. You get ball jointed shoulders, ball jointed legs at the hips, and a head that turns side to side. His short, stubby legs and arms don’t give you a lot of poseability, but the articulation is pretty standard for the line.
Our little assassin friend comes up pretty light in the accessories department, which is disappointing. LJN obviously didn’t use a lot of plastic on him, so one would think they could have thrown a few more goodies into the mix. All he comes with is a little yellow dagger. How about the whip? Why not include a whip instead of just sculpting it to his back?
Even all the nostalgia in the world can’t help some figures, and Zarak is almost one of those. There’s not a lot of redeeming qualities here, but I still have too many fond memories of him as a kid to hate on him now. Granted, as a kid I just used him as toady, rather than a fierce assassin, but there was still always a place for him crawling around my Fortress of Fangs playset. Still, you can pick him up for pretty cheap nowadays and if you get him without his dagger, you aren’t missing out on much.