2020 TBM Eels (Copperhead Colors)

2020 TBM Eels (Copperhead Colors)

So after a good amount of hype, The Black Major’s latest project has finally arrived, and this time it’s the 1985 Eel mold. There’s quite a few interesting color schemes floating around, though a popular one and the one I liked best was this color scheme based on ‘84 Copperhead.

GI Joe TBM The Black Major eels copperhead vintage arah

In general, I’m not someone who was overly excited for Eel repaints, and that’s for a handful of reasons. The Eel was a good figure that serves it’s purpose, and similar to the Snow Serpent, there’s not much need for a repaint of a character so specialized. Because of this, I think a lot of the repaints went in a more novel direction, which doesn’t work for me with this mold. I also just don’t like this mold as much as other people though, so there’s that too.

This color scheme is very good however, and very useful to my collection. As a personal choice, I don’t like imagining that they have much relation to Copperhead (he’s a rogue agent), but rather are just an Eel division in swamp-centric colors. This to me, makes them a little more unique and gives them a more distinct role in my collection. This way it provides some new opportunities, like giving them the Dreadnok Swampfire, or having someone for Muskrat to fight.

The quality of these figures is very good, maybe the best I’ve encountered from factory customs. In general I don’t judge these figures too harshly for quality, as with their third-party origins and small production runs, it’s usually going to be the case that a figure won’t be perfect. With that said, these are simply excellent. The paint, joints, and even the numerous parts have a solid feel to them, which surprised me, as I was expecting the flippers or mouthpiece at least to have some problems. Instead, everything’s very snug and almost on par with vintage quality.

You get the original Eel’s full assortment of gear, including the two-piece backpack, speargun, mouthpiece and flippers. All of the parts are cast in a winter green color, which looks pretty good. Personally I think black parts might’ve contrasted better with the figure itself, but I really like these oddly colored 80‘s accessories, so I’d rather have them like this than be perfectly attuned to my esthetic sense.

It seems like with factory customs, you get about a year or so of seeing the figures float around plentifully before things start to dry up. These particular Eels are the cream of the crop from this set, so I didn’t chose to wait around on them. However, I’m pretty sure a handful of these will be available into next year, at which point I’ll probably dip my hands into a few more color schemes. I expect you’ll see these particular Eels for at least the rest of the year at their normal $15 to $18, which they’re well worth.

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4 Responses to 2020 TBM Eels (Copperhead Colors)

  1. A-Man says:

    It’s pretty neat, the logo is a little off to me, but not terribly so.
    The colors work, but I’m not sure I’m crazy about throwing Copperhead’s colors to anything. It’s like how some folks decided Dreadnok stuff had to have Ground Assault or Swampfire colors. Never mind the other vehicles made.

  2. R.T.G. says:

    I like this colour scheme on the EEL. I’m not particularly crazy about the EEL sculpt, myself, so I feel you on that. I found the quality of the EELS to be quite surprising, they were much higher quality than I expected, and are up there with the first Ninjas and the first wave of De Aços

    A-Man raises a valid point about the use of the Copperhead colour scheme. On an aquatic figure like the EEL I think it’s fine. A B.A.T. or Viper or Trooper in this scheme is a little iffy.

  3. Mike T. says:

    I love Eels. But, the factory customs didn’t do much for me. I guess and arctic Eel makes a lot of sense. But, it’s not a figure I must own. The blue ones were too light. A real Cobra blue Eel would be a cool variant.

    But, these Copperhead figures were, far and away, my favorite. They look great, are plausible and are perfect for a Water Moccasin crew. I haven’t been able to find any, though, that weren’t sold with three other figures that I simply didn’t want. When these were $8, I didn’t mind figures that weren’t great. But, I’m not dropping an extra $54 on crap to get one guy I really like for $18 more. And, it seems prices on the single have gone into the $20+ range now. Which counts me out. But, damn, do they look good.

  4. DJV says:

    I really like your idea of using them as swamp Eels. And I honestly do like the colors but, as others have said, I’m not wild about putting Cobra troops in “Dreadnok” or Copperhead colors, either. Like the colors themselves are fine, but I just don’t get their intended use.

    I wish he would have done some of these up in 92 Eel colors. I would have bought at least a couple. You could almost get close by mixing parts from the Python Patrol ones and the blue ones, but it wouldn’t quite be there.

    I bought a couple of the blue ones. One of mine has some problems with joints and accessories, but the other one is mostly okay. I really like the way they look, though, and kind of want to take some photos with them and the ARAHC Undertows and Lampreys.

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