Note: This is not a full review. This simply a more in-depth look at the figures I profiled in my Russian Funskool GI Joe Jamboree post, and is intended as a resource for fans and collectors.
Updated 5/6/21: According to a source in a former Soviet country (who has also translated the card backs), the entire Russian run of Funskool GI Joe figures was released in 1998. The company who assisted in this release, Two Beetles (see their logo on the card back below), likely had a connection at Funskool. Aside from Chuckles, all Russian Funskool figures are nearly identical to their Indian counterparts– only the card backs were changed. Though these were reportedly only produced for a year, they can still be found in former USSR territories. As a fun side note, “beetle” is Russian slang for “swindler.”
Russian Funskool GI Joe Eel Figure And Accessories
The Russian Funskool GI Joe Eel was released sometime around 1998 (thanks to a Twitter friend for translating the packaging) in Russia. It is nearly identical to the Indian Funskool Eel, aside from its packaging.
This figure is based on Hasbro’s Eel version 2 from 1992, and uses all of its parts and accessories. Only the colors and plastic quality are different.
Here is the carded figure:
The front of the card:
Here’s the back of the card (note the Russian text for the filecard and for the character names on the cross sells):
Here’s the figure:
The Russian Funskool GI Joe Eel is cast in light blue plastic and features bright yellow paint applications, as well as red for the goggles/visor. The color layout is the same as the Hasbro version, but the colors themselves are much different. See the Hasbro comparison section below for more detail and information.
Here’s the figure from the side:
From the back:
The figure’s accessories:
The shark/missile launcher did come with a rear fin, I just didn’t dig it out for these photos. I didn’t have much more than an hour to spend digging through bins. It is functionally identical to the Hasbro shark fin, and the color differences are not major, either.
Russian Funskool GI Joe Eel comes with two grey/silver swim fins, a yellow harpoon gun, a grey/silver robot shark, a tail fin for the shark, and a yellow missile. The shark’s upper jaw is also removeable, in theory. The missile launcher fires when you load the missile and press on the dorsal fin. It has similar launching power to the Hasbro version.
The figure All Geared Up:
The figure retains the same articulation as the Hasbro version. The plastic quality is slightly lower than the Hasbro version, but it’s still a well-made toy. The paint applications are not quite as crisp as what you’d see on a Hasbro figure, but yellow is a notoriously difficult color to paint on top of differently colored plastic.
Russian Funskool GI Joe Eel Compared to Indian Funskool Eel
The Russian and Indian Funskool Eels are functionally identical. The colors, paint application layout, and accessories are the same. You will see some differences between these two figures, but they are likely due to different production batches than intentional design decisions.
The figures (L – Russian Funskool, R – Indian Funskool):
From the back:
You’ll notice the Russian Funskool Eel has much thicker paint, especially on the belt portion of the figure. In general, most Russian Funskool GI Joes seem to have thicker paint applications than their Indian counterparts.
My Russian Eel has two blue arm rivets, while my Indian Eel has one silver arm rivet and one blue arm rivet. This was likely just an error with either the factory batch or the individual figure.
The figures’ accessories are identical and there is no real way to distinguish them, other than finding a carded figure or asking the seller which one they are selling.
The figures’ date stamps are also identical, both reading “Made in China H-1.”
Russian Funskool GI Joe Eel Date Stamp:
Indian Funskool GI Joe Eel Date Stamp:
Russian Funskool GI Joe Eel Compared to 1992 Hasbro Eel
While the Funskool Eel is light blue and bright yellow, the Hasbro Eel is dark blue and highlighter yellow (some say neon).
The figures from the front (L – Russian Funskool, R – Hasbro):
You’ll notice the Hasbro version has an insignia painted on its left arm, which the Funskool version lacks.
The figures from the side:
The spikes on the Russian Funskool Eel’s upper arms are unpainted, where the Hasbro version’s upper arm spikes are painted to match those on the lower arms and legs.
The figures from the back:
The Hasbro version’s harpoon gun is cast in a highlighter/neon yellow to match its paint applications, as opposed to the Funskool version’s bright yellow.
The Hasbro version’s swim fins have a slightly more metallic sheen.
In addition, both the Russian Funskool and Indian Funskool figures’ swim fins have numbers printed on the inside near the footpeg. Since the accessories are nearly identical, I am not sure which fins go with which figures. The Hasbro versions lack these printed numbers, however.
The Funskool shark (left) and the Hasbro shark (right) are also nearly identical, although the Hasbro version has a slightly more metallic sheen. Mine is also slightly discolored from age.
Both figures All Geared Up:
Russian Funskool GI Joe Eel with All Other Versions
Left to Right: Funskool (Russia), Funskool (India), Hasbro (1992), Hasbro (1993):
If I missed anything or if you have insight into the numbers on the swim fins, you talk to me on social media or use this website’s contact form.