Model Eel for Discovery Channel's "River Monsters"

A full scale model, used as a prop for publicity shots for series 3 of the Discovery Channel's "River Monsters". Anatomically correct model of a New Zealand long finned eel.

I worked on this project at Cod Steaks in Bristol, with just 8 days to sculpt, mould, cast and artwork the prop eel. The initial sculpt was done in clay and the cast version was produced with Dragon Skin silicone. The brief required the finished model to have the same sort of heft as a live eel of this size, and the low-tech solution was to fill a pair of thick tights with sand and knot them into a giant string of sand sausages.

These eels have been recorded in catches of up to 6.5 feet long, which is the size of our model. Although the apparent size of these fish has decreased in recent years as a result of heavy fishing, among other factors, there are persistent rumours that there are still giant eel specimens lurking in New Zealand’s waters. Rather than cause distress to a genuine eel, the Discovery Channel commissioned our less camera-shy version for the River Monsters’ publicity photographs.