Destro’s diver troops have had a convoluted history throughout the Real American Hero mythology. Emerging in 1990, somewhat separate from the majority of Destro’s troops, Undertow sort of became amalgamated with Cobra right off the bat, especially in the DiC animated series. Their colors never really matched typical Iron Grenadier colors (though to be fair, neither did Nullifier, TARGAT, or several others) and in fact, during G.I. Joe’s 2000 release, they became official Cobra underwater troopers.
When the Collectors Club reintroduced the Iron Grenadiers for the 2005 Convention Set, the Undertow was conspicuously absent…a fact that the Club rectified several years later, releasing him as their annual incentive figure in a great Iron Grenadier deco. When Undertow was announced as part of this year’s Convention set, many folks wondered which one it would be… the Iron Grenadier deco, or the 1990 deco?
With Iron Anvils and General Mayhem in the set, the IG deco is the one that made the most sense, and honestly, it looks pretty nice, too. It’s fair to mention, however, that the 50th Anniversary Eel, released this summer, bears a pretty striking resemblance to this Undertow, but still, it’s nice to have another squad of Destro troopers in hand.
Undertow uses Torpedo’s torso, Retaliation Snake Eyes upper arms, Torpedo lower arms, and Retailation Snake Eyes’ legs, all of which combine together to portray a decent wet suit look and feel. Mixing the more modern parts in there, though, offers better range of motion and sculpting than we saw originally. As I already mentioned, Undertow uses the Iron Grenadier paint scheme, a mixture of black, gray, and red with just a hint of gold, and it looks really nice, complimenting the rest of the Iron Grenadier corps quite well.
Undertow comes with the typical weapons allotment. The Cobra Eel Speargun along with Torpedo’s backpack, and the familiar facemask, trident, and underwater sled that they are so well known for. It’s a pretty great selection of weapons, and I love that the sled is included as well. Those miniature vehicles that came with certain figures are among my favorites in the line.
Undertow is a pretty basic upgrade, but one that works well within the confines of the Convention Set. I have no doubt that we’ll eventually see a classically deco’d version either in the FSS or elsewhere, but this version will be a great placeholder until that happens.
Using a variation of the formula for the 50th Anniversary Eel, the end result is the same – a figure that represents an underwater operative well, but also can work as a land based trooper, too. The Retaliation Snake Eyes legs can maintain the wet suit aesthetic, but also allow for walking, not just swimming. The formula works, the more modern parts add some nice range of motion, and the paint apps matching the o-ring GIJCC exclusive from a few years back make for some great integration into the IG core.