Seeing as I got the eel rig finished without any problems and finally overcoming the problems I was having with weights I decided it was time to go back to the Joe rig and sort him out. As documented before, there was horrible tearing in the mesh whenever I moved any handles because of horrible weights, thats not the case anymore however.
I was on skype last night, talking to Clym about all the things I did for the eel and that I was going to go back and fix Joe, and he told me because the joe rig is basically a collection of individual pieces I should just 'paint weights' using the component editor as that would be much more straightforward. To my shock it is incredibly fast and well suited to that kind of model, so I ended up using the method for the whole rig. It took minutes instead of hours..Truly awesome. I thank Clym for that recommendation.
Next up is to create some set driven keys n get those fingers moving, add some foot bend controls and sort out those eyes. Then I will be more or less done aside from that torso problem.