The Eel is awesome. His colors are first rate. The mold is amazing and his accessories are among the best ever produced. I remember as a kid that Eels weren't too common. People snatched them up with alarming regularity. I managed to get one in late 1986 after my first one bit the dust. You will notice that this guy is also missing his head antenna. I've managed to get another one, and will replace this guy's head so I have a nice specimen. When this guy came out, there was a guy in my class who also collected Joes. He had 4 Eels. I couldn't believe anyone would have that many. Now, I realize how smart he was. I only wish I had had that type of foresight. These guys are cool to have in multiples. They are such awesome figures that they work in all sorts of environments.
My Eels manned the Hydrofoil or attacked my Tactical Battle Platform. After seeing them in G.I. Joe Special Missions #1, I often gave them extra AK-47's and used them as special Cobra commandos. Whether I was on land or in the water, I always found a use for these guys. Now, still like them. I was really into Hydro Vipers until I got my old Eel back. They Hydro Vipers are cool, and will one day make an appearance here, but they don't live up to this guy. I have one Eel displayed, but would like to have many more. One of the things I'm after later this year will be a complete Hydrofoil. The interior will be exclusively manned with Lampreys, but the back area would look great with three or four Eels ready to go into the drink.
Everything about this guy is great. The color scheme worked on every diver they tried it on, but the Eel remains the epitome. His pack, with the removable jets, is just too cool. The hose that attaches to both his face and the pack are also great. (I can't think how much fun I had playing that a Joe diver would sneak up behind an Eel and cut his hose. That was always one the main ways of defeating them.) His dual spear gun is also fun. It was far superior to both the Torpedo and the Hydro Viper spear guns. Plus, it had the stunner on the end that led to the demise of many a sailor who was treading water after his ship had been sunk by a Moray. The flippers just add to the overall effect. I just can't adequately explain how much I like this figure. He was awesome when he came out and is still awesome now.
Aside from this version, Hasbro also produced a Version 2 Eel. This figure has a decent mold, but terrible colors. That mold then made its way to India. The V1 Eel went from the US to South America. He was first produced in Argentina and then in Brazil. These figures feature a few slight differences from the American Eel. First and foremost, the South American Eels have slightly different Cobra logos. They are also missing the copyright information that is molded onto the figure's behind. As many Argentine Eels made their way to the US, some have ended up in loose collections. Some collectors have been fooled into thinking that there is a variant American Eel. In reality, these figures are just the South American Eels that made their way into American collections.
Eels get expensive fast. They aren't tough to find, but they are so cool that they command a premium. Complete specimens can get very pricey as the hose is a brittle accessory that tends to break. This is one of the few figures, though, that I consider worth his high price tag. If you have an unlimited budget, you can build a nice army of these guys. I only have a couple and have decided that unless I can get them cheap, I'm not going after any more. If I'm going to spend big money on a figure, I want it to be one that I don't have, have been looking for a long time, and really, really like. Still, Eels are nice figures that are well worth what you have to spend to get them. I figure on getting one or two a year. By the time I have a pool in my backyard, I should have a nice cadre of them.
Do you dig the Eel? How much you would be willing to spend on a figure? Email me.