Produced by Hasbro | Released 2008
COBRA EEL troopers are the underwater demolition specialists of the COBRA legions. They man and operate COBRA marine outposts disguised as off-shore drilling rigs and augment the crews of larger COBRA naval vessels. COBRA EEL troopers undergo a rigorous two-part training program in the warm shark - and pirate-infested waters of the Cayman Islands in the Caribbean and in the frigid, dark depths of the North Atlantic. Their training regimen includes marine structural engineering, explosive ordinance, underwater fighting techniques and marine geology.
The Cobra Eel is possibly the coolest-looking of all the 25th Anniversary GI Joes I've Reviewed so far. Let's take a closer look and see why I'm so impressed with this figure.
The sculpt is relatively simple but is also a great example of how sometimes less can be more. The figure is clad in a skin-tight diving costume, augmented with a collar, tank and helmet. The basic suit has some great detailing on it, such as the ''utility''-style belt, with its various pouches and pockets and the two thigh-strapped dagger sheaths. One particularly nice touch is the fact that the pieces are asymmetrical, which adds an extra level of engagement to the visual design of the figure. There are also some particularly cool-looking seams around the feet and chest, which give the appearance of the figure wearing clothing, rather than simply being a painted-on look.
The wrists feature sculpted bracers/cuffs and the neck piece, backpack and helmet are all very cool-looking pieces that fit together well for the most part (see below) and really set-off the figure's look. Under the helmet - which is removable - is a fairly standard Cobra masked head, which we've seen many times, but I do like that the helmet has a ''glass'' visor.
Articulation, on the whole, is good. The basic body has no weird sculpting or stick-out parts to inhibit movement and the joints themselves are pretty good. The helmet can be a little restrictive, given that the breathing tube connects from it to the tank. Try to pose him with anything but a face-forward head pose and the breathing tube will usually pop out of place (keen-eyed readers may spot this in some of the images.) On minor drawback is that the figure lacks waist articulation. It's not a major problem though and can be worked around.
The figure's paintwork is brilliantly designed but - in my figure's case - a little lacking in execution. The mixture of grey, black and red give him a superbly muted, toned-down look, something I really like. I've mentioned in the past how some of the 25th Anniversary figures are a little too cartoonish for my liking, predominantly due to their neon-bright colouring. There's no such complaint here and the dark, lifelike tones used on the Cobra Eel are superb. He could as easily be a Rise of Cobra or even Pursuit of Cobra toy.
It's a little disappointing then to see that there are a couple of splodges and messy lines around his wrist cuffs, where the grey paint has been applied a little too liberally. Similarly, the red ''light'' on the helmet's crown is a little splodgy. The other details, such as his buckles and other helmet details, are cleanly applied though. My advice would be to check the figure before you buy, as there may be cleaner apps out there.
As mentioned, the Cobra Eel comes with a helmet, tank (with breathing tube) and shoulder plate pre-dressed. He also includes two daggers (which are slightly too long for the sheaths), a stand, a harpoon gun (which can be awkward to get him to hold in both hands) and a pair of flippers.
Although the flippers fit the figure perfectly (and look great when you bend his foot back) they're not such a great fit on the stand. It's not really the fault of the flipper per se, but the base's peg tends to poke too far through the flipper and dislodges the figure's foot. The trick is to not press the flipper fully into the base, but this can result in the Cobra Eel being a little unstable when he's standing on the base. It takes a little experimenting and patience, but it is possible to use the flippers and the base together.
Aside from a couple of minor accessory-related issues, this is a great figure and is probably my favourite 25th Anniversary Joe. The Cobra Eel looks great, he's got a definite functionality about his dress and the helmet/tank/shoulder pieces really set-off the look. He's a fun figure I could imagine kids would enjoy ''swimming'' everywhere and he also looks great as a display piece, thanks to some great design and superb colour-work.
However, there are - as mentioned - a couple of problems. Firstly, getting him to hold the harpoon gun in both hands is a nightmare. The forehand grip and butt aren't spaced properly and the weapon has a tendency to pop out of his hand whenever you try to reposition it. Secondly, the knives are too long for their sheaths and will sometimes come loose as you pose/play with him. The breathing tube can also inhibit posing a little and getting him to stand on the base wearing his flippers is doable but more awkward than it should be. It's also a shame to see the great paintwork spoilt by a sloppy application.
These are really just minor points though and if you can look past them - which is pretty easy to do, to be honest - you'll find this to be a great addition not just to a 25th Anniversary collection but to the entire GI Joe range.