Who makes them? They are current sold by a RPG miniatures company called Monday Knight Productions under the name ‘eel’ in their 25mm Aquatic animals line. Except, given the extended anal fin/no caudal-or-dorsal fin, and the overall shape, they’re more likely gymnotiform knifefish, not eels.
When did it come out? I honestly have no clue. They were originally produced by a different company (I think Mega Miniatures?) that sold their molds to MKP. I picked these up a few years ago, but I think MM first made them in the early 2000s
Still available? I just checked the MKP site, and yes they are. They don’t have the full MM line (I recall a number of prehistoric animals, for example, that don’t appear there, and seem to be lost to time) but they do have a few of the aquatic animals, including the eels.
Where can it be found in my displays? They are quite tiny, and are mixed into a shelf with a lot of other fish figures.
How does it fit in the collection? They are an uncommon type of fish figure. So of course I’d track them down. Took longer than usual, since they moved companies!
Any story behind it? It took me a while to decide to get them; it took more time to figure out where they had moved to–but when I realized that they weren’t ‘just’ eels, but more likely gymnotiforms I decided I needed them! Of course, they come as unpainted metal models, which meant I had to actually put some work into them… When I got them, I realized that I had lots of choices of knifefish; I have electric eels already, so that was out. I decided to go with the pattern for a Black Ghost knifefish and a Banded knifefish, (specifically Gymnotus carapo). The former because they’re a familiar fish that I wanted, and the other because they’re just so pretty!
Notable remarks about this figure (a review that isn’t really a review): Obviously, I can’t judge the paint work, since I did it and I’m not that practiced at it (less so then). As far as the sculpt goes, it’s very small, only 2.6cm long, but they did manage to include nice touches like small eyes, mouths and gills, as well as a wavy ventral fin and tiny pectoral fins. Calling them ‘eels’ is probably my biggest issue, since they are clearly not. No true anguilliform eel looks like that. More likely, they were originally modeled on electric eels. This would also explain the scaling–being part of a 25mm series, that would scale to 180cm–short for an electric eel, but reasonable! Instead, I went with smaller relatives; black ghost knifefish can reach 50cm, so the figure is roughly 1:20. Banded knifefish are normally about the same, but can be over 70cm, putting the figure closer to 1:26. The body proportions aren’t perfect for these knifefish species, but they aren’t too bad, especially for the size. I’m hoping I did the species’ patterns enough justice to at least be recognizable.
Would I recommend it? Unlike many of the figures I’ve discussed, these are probably going to appeal to a fairly limited number of people. I had to create my own bases, but MKP does actually sell a basic rod base as well. The need to paint them, and their tiny size, might also limit who would like them. But for someone that wants a knifefish figure, it would be worth it. They also are not expensive, so that can help too. But they honestly do need to be painted; the base metal version is pretty uninspiring. So…maybe for some people? Who need more fish figures? That’s how they got me!