Zandar has made a career out of his ability to go unseen. Since a child, he has gone unnoticed... and over the years he honed that talent into incredible skill. He was already working independently when COBRA took notice of him. He was made an offer; COBRA would fund medical treatment to cure his worsening skin condition, a rare form of exaggerated erythropoietic porphyria, an almost fatal "allergy" to sunlight. His condition worsening with age, Zandar had little choice to accept (along with his sister Zarana, who also suffered from the same condition).
The treatment was extreme, revolutionary, and ultimately successful. A side effect left both brother and sister both with artificial albinism, leaving their eyes, skin, and hair without pigment. The operation had a tremendous effect on their mentality as well.
The siblings regarded the life-saving procedure as nothing less than a rebirth, a second chance. Determined to repay the organization that provided them with that opportunity, Zandar and Zarana were recruited by their brother Zartan for rigorous training. When Zartan was finished with them, they had both been molded into masters of stealth and espionage. Their original identities were erased, there is no record the two even exist.
Zandar emerged from his treatment and training a changed man. His talent for infiltration is almost unsurpassed, and there a few places he can't get into (and back out of) unnoticed. He prefers subtlety to direct conflict, but is almost as capable in a firefight as he is in shadows. Zandar prefers to work alone, but is sometimes paired with his sister Zarana, and subsequently some of the Dreadnok mercenaries.
Zandar sat undeveloped until I remember his early appearance in the DD comic, in a suit that looked similar to what Solid Snake wears in the Metal Gear series. Once I started piecing together his black stealth suit, Zarana went up for grabs so I decided to make a matched set. That's when the two really started to come together. I knew their background would involve the color change gimmick from their original figures, and I was stumped on a way to convey their "cured" condition. In the meantime, I was resculpting both heads (removing Zandar's 80's headband, and Zarana's earrings and over sized hairdo). After giving Zarana the short "pixie-cut", I thought it would look neat very light blond or white... and then I settled on making them both albino's as a result of the treatment for their skin condition. I was originally going to have them be hardcore "wetworks" types, but realized it's pretty cliche to have albino characters portrayed as psychopaths and madmen... so I went the other direction and decided that the cure, despite severely changing their outward appearance, really did effect them both as a rebirth. After conferring with BadAsh about his Mirror Universe Zartan, it was decided the three trained together. This filled in the blank space of their backgrounds between the operation and their service to COBRA as covert operatives.
The figures were mostly RIT dye jobs, with silver accents. Most of the work went into the heads, which I'm actually really proud of. The skin tone came out great, the hair is the exact shade I want it to be, and the changes to the sculpt blend in nicely. Eyes were the frustrating part, on both figures, the right eye (from the viewer's perspective) was done first, and I felt like I'd NAILED it on the first attempt. But try as I might, I couldn't duplicate the effect on the left side of the face. Still, in the photos, they look mostly even. Zarana would not take white for her undershirt despite numerous coats, but again, in the photograph it's hardly noticeable. I put all my effort into these two, and ended up not completing either Joe for the project... but I still feel like it was a successful return to the group projects (having not completed a figure for one since the Nightmares).