Eel (2009)

Toylines based on movie properties often end up with figures that either don’t resemble their on-screen counterpart, or that flat out don’t exist in the movie. The resemblance issue is often caused by the lead time needed to produce toys. For example, the first wave of GI Joe Retaliation toys were all a best guess on the part of the toy makers as to what might appear on the big screen.

The other issue, those figures who might exist just off-camera, often produces interesting results. In the case of the Rise of Cobra, there were several troop types that exist only as toys. These figures provided a little variety, and a play pattern to match up to the Joes. After all, if the good guys have arctic or underwater operatives, the bad guys need to be there to match up against them.

The movie Eels bear no resemblance to their classic counterpart. Instead, the toned down color palette and functional real world designs of the movie are prominent. Yes, it’s another black uniformed movie figure. I wonder why the line wasn’t a huge hit at retail? Well, at least the packaging was more colorful. Despite the plainness of the color scheme, I find something to like with this particular version of the Eel. Specifically, the vest. It’s a wonderfully detailed addition that adds interest to a figure mold that had already been used several times in the 25th anniversary series. That’s right, Torpedo provided his body mold again. Thankfully, the new vest and head add just enough newness make me like the figure.

There’s a kind of real world military diver aspect to this figure that interests me, and also reminds me of the early small scale Palitoy Action Man figures, like the SAS Frogman.


  • His head is a slight retool of the Elite-Viper, as well.

  • The cool thing about the toy industry is that you’ve now got designers who used to be collectors doing their thing and they still love this stuff. So you have guys working on Joe who know about Action Force or Super Joe or something like that and you start to see these little touches, these sort of homages that subtly sneak in, kinda like Easter eggs for the seasoned collector. It can even extend to other lines like Hasbro did with Kenner’s Matt Trakker figure from M.A.S.K.

    There’s a comparison to be made with the generational transitions we see in the comics industry: From time to time, certain toy lines undergo product improvements which involve reinventing certain aspects of a brand or franchise. Given its various incarnations, G.I. Joe might be the best and longest running example out there.

  • Did he come with a vehicle?

  • In a way–his included ‘missile launcher’ is a sea sled.

  • The thing that really got on my nerves about the R.O.C toyline was the same thing about the old Street fighter movie line and in more recent years, Transformers. Instead of a variety of different characters all we got was Duke and Bumblebee in a variety of colours.

    At the moment in my area, collecting Joes and Transformers is so abysmal its made me nostalgic for the time when Optimus Prime and Bumblebee were no longer available and there were plenty of different Joes on the shelf. God i miss 1992.

    I managed to find 1 of this guy on the shelf at a discount/closeout store along with Helix and reactive armour Heavy Duty. I turned Helix into Lady Jaye, Heavy Duty into a SAW Viper and this guy into Torpeedo

  • This guy is a custom I’ve been working on for like forever.

  • He’s a cool figure, and you’re right, Rob, the vest really makes him unique. I think with a brighter color on the vest and tank, a few paint apps for the hoses and grenades (the straps and buckles already look nice) and maybe a red visor, and he’d be that much better. I’m surprised the vest hasn’t been re-used since this first appearance.

  • I love the ROC Eel… I use it as my main aquatic force. That torpedo pod he came in was one of the few ROC rocket launcher weapons that I found to be actually usable with figures. Part of me just wishes they’d replaced that clunky silenced pistol with a pulse pistol.
    However, you’re wrong about the Eels. They WERE in the Rise of Cobra movie. Watch the sub chase scene in the climax, they’re shown driving the Mantis subs chasing Duke and Anna. Helmets, dive vest, red pauldrons and all. They’re not shown much so you have to keep an eye out for them.

  • the head sculpt makes this figure

  • There were definitely some cool Rise of Cobra figures, but past the first initial wave, it was rare for me to spot these locally.

    Helix is an example, only found one because of a random stop out of town one day.

    I think I may have seen this Eel once. Maybe.

  • Pingback: » Ice Viper (2009)

  • Pingback: » Ice Viper (2009)

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