I've given up on expecting the characters who are packaged together in these two packs to have any logical reason for being together. Take this pack, for example. Tunnel Rat is someone who is very land-based while the Electric Eel would literally be a "fish out of water". So, despite the disparity in their theatre of operations, how do these two mesh up? Let's just say it's an interesting pairing at best.
Tunnel Rat is back in his second relaunch incarnation and is sporting an almost entirely new sculpt. This version of the Larry Hama-inspired Joe uses a scaled-down version of the head found on TR V4. The rest of his body is new and is covered with all sorts of straps and gear. It’s interesting to note that the GIJoe insignia on his shoulder is not the “stars and stripes” logo being used in Valor vs. Venom but rather the ‘unified’ logo that was part of Spy Troops last year. This detail makes me wonder if this design wasn’t originally intended for release last year
It would seem that Hasbro is making a concerted effort to vary the heights of the figures off of a standard 3.75” buck. Tunnel Rat, like his character in the movie and in the comics, is shorter than practically every figure in this wave. This is a marked departure from the Spy Troops figure who actually towered over the rest of the Joes. The shorter stature works for someone who can slip into tight places and disarm explosives. In fact, the more I look at this figure the more I really like him. Okay, his colors are almost as wacky as the Wave 3 Stalker’s, but here they blend a bit more. When combined with the open-lens removable goggles and backpack with mounted lights, you have a figure that really looks ready for action. Tunnel Rat is definitely one of the sharpest figures in this whole wave.
When I first saw pics of this figure online I kept thinking to myself ‘I hope he lights up.’ Of all of the V-troops released thus far, EE has to be my absolute favorite trooper. First off, he’s heavily based on the Moray design from G v C wave 1 which is one of my favorite new troop designs. Secondly, the sculpting on this figure is terrific! One look into the eyes of the Electric Eel says it all. There is such a malevolent glare that it’s hard not to love this figure. The rest of the detailing is just as nice—the Cobra sigil on the head, the bits of armor detailing on the back of the helmet and even the fins on the ankles just add to the appeal of this figure. I must admit the re-breather tubes that extend around the back of the helmet are a bit odd as they connect to nothing, but its easy to explain that away as part of a water filtration system. His proportions are a bit off, once again suffering from a shortened torso and elongated legs. As with the Night Creeper before him, the design is so sharp that it’s easy to overlook this point.
Like the Swamp Rats from the previous wave, Electric Eel has removable “venom parts”—in this case, the figure comes with oversized removable claws. It’s a nice feature that allows for people to use the V-troops how they see fit, instead of being monstrous humanoids by default. The coolest aspect of this figure, however, is the fact that he’s translucent. The entire figure is molded in green translucent plastic and, when combined with his backpack, will glow as if using his “electrical powers”. (Essentially the backpack illuminates the figure from behind. It’s not a great effect—actually it’s closer to E.T. than an electric eel, but the kids will LOVE IT!)
In the end, I can forgive Tunnel Rat's ridiculous color scheme and the sheer brightness of the Electric Eel because both are very solid figures. Okay, I know that I've said that I'm a huge fan of realism in this line but there is something oddly appealing about the Electric Eel that just makes me want to troop build them. Now, while I wouldn't turn down this mold in a much more subdued (read: classic) color scheme, I can still appreciate it for what it is-- a fantastic update to the old school Cobra diver. Tunnel Rat is also a character that would be even better with a darker color scheme but it's such an improvement over "Too Tall Nicky" that I'm happy with it as stands. The end result? Get this set when you see it-- as I have the feeling that after watching the movie a great many fans are going to be building up massess of Electric Eels and no Joe team should be without Tunnel Rat!