G.I. Joe Hall of Heroes Review
September 29, 2009
Hey Folks!!!!

Your pal Fresh Monkey here. It’s time for another installment of :

“A Discussion that looks Inside the Mind of the Insane Ramblings of Spy Magician & the Fresh Monkey!!!”

Spy Magician and I haven’t had the time to tag-team a review in a long while cause we’ve been busy.  He got married, I had a baby, etc.  However Julius called and said he got in a set of the Hall of Heroes (HOH) G.I. Joes and he asked us if we’d review them for the site. How could we say “no” to Mr. Marx? Well you can’t.

The plan was to tackle this review before the new “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra” movie but the timing just wasn’t right. However after watching “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra” I was very nostalgic for Classic Joe, so I’m glad we got a chance to do this now.

Both Spy Magician and I are VERY big G.I. Joe fans so we tackled this review with that mindset. As most of you know the Hall of Heroes (HOH) G.I. Joe line is a direct market only line that is supposed to have the definitive versions of classic Joe characters that were voted on by and for the fans. How did Hasbro do? Well let’s find out.

 


 ZARTAN

Fresh Monkey: Not much new here other than a more detailed paint job.

Spy Magician: Yeah, my first thought was "Did they change anything? The silver dry brush is pretty weak in my opinion.

Fresh Monkey: In fact you can’t tell by the photos but the shoulder joint is not painted black on the HOH version, so that’s pretty week sauce.

Spy Magician: If anything I would have done the armor molded in clear plastic then painted the black areas so they’d look like the classic figure with the window effect.

Fresh Monkey: I honestly don’t know why they even made this figure.

Spy Magician: If this is supposed to be THE definitive Zartan I’d say it was a miss.

Fresh Monkey: yeah me too.

Is it worth buying again? 

Fresh Monkey: That’s a BIG NO for me!!!

Spy Magician: I agree. No on HOH Zartan.

Which one is better?

Fresh Monkey I’d say the 25th Anniversary by far…so if you dont have a Zartan, pick up the 25th Anniversary one.

Spy Magician: I agree. The HOH is not worth the extra $$$, and you can collect the extra accessories it has from the various previously released 25th Anniversary ones if you really want them.

Fresh Monkey: yeah…moving on

 

 

COBRA VIPER

Spy Magician: Ah, THE army builder.

Fresh Monkey: A few subtle changes here, like the chrome faceplate and new left hand, plus a few added paint details. Overall a nice update but not a drastic change. The BIG fix was the left hand.

Spy Magician: The hand fix was good, but the problem with this figure is price.  It’s an army builder, and the HOH format makes it more expensive, and thus less attractive for buying in bulk, unless you are a real Cobra fanatic.

Fresh Monkey: Very good point.

Spy Magician: I like the chrome faceplate, but it sadly means it won’t match your cheaper 25th Anniversary Vipers…  Harder to effectively mix and match.

 Is it worth buying again?

Spy Magician: I’d say no.  If you don’t have a Viper and only need one this one

is superior.  But if you are interested in pile of cannon fodder I think the price on the older one wins.

Fresh Monkey: It’s a no for me also, but I’m not really into army building

Spy Magician: This is true.

Which one is better?

Fresh Monkey: For me the HOH is the better figure, and if you don’t have the original I’d say pick this one up.

Spy Magician: Yes. The HOH is much better, but sadly to me it feels like what the Viper should have been the first time around (particularly the hand issues) rather than a definitive one.  Not so much making a good thing better, but fixing something that was flawed to begin with.

Fresh Monkey: Truer words have never been spoken

Spy Magician: But then I’m a Joe through and through, not a Cobra guy… lol!!!

 

 

STORM SHADOW 

Fresh Monkey: Now your talking update here, new arms, new feet, better paint ops to match closer the original vintage figure.

Spy Magician: It’s smoother, sleeker.  A more refined Storm Shadow.

The paint on the HOH is not as detailed, but I don’t miss it. It feels like old school Storm Shadow to me. And the sleeveless tunic is very much a nod to the Sunbow design.  But you’re right. No bow?  REALLY? For higher retail you leave out a signature accessory that’s in the classic card art?

Fresh Monkey: This is the definitive version of Storm Shadow, it’s a shame I already have like 4 versions of the 25th Anniversary one….

Spy Magician: Agreed. He’s an overexposed character, and while great the odds are small that a Joe fan waited for this one to add Storm Shadow to their collection.

 Is it worth buying again?

Spy Magician: I’d say no.  It’s nice but I’m not a big enough fan of Storm Shadow.  The lack of a bow makes even keeping it carded sort of weak.

Fresh Monkey: It’s a yes for me, even though I already have a plenty of the 25thA ones….. mainly cause the arms are WAY better, and I’m a Storm Shadow Fan.

Which one is better?

Spy Magician: This one, I might not need to buy it, but the HOH is the better version.

Fresh Monkey: Yeah I agree.

 

 

SNAKE EYES NINJA VERSION

Spy Magician: Now I admit, Snake Eyes is probably one of the most overexposed characters in toys today.  He’s the Batman or Wolverine or Spiderman of G.I.Joe, but I have a soft spot for him. Especially this version, which until Resolute was my favorite version of Snake Eyes.

Fresh Monkey: Yeah, the closest version we have to the HOH is the DVD set version and that figure is purple.The only real change to DVD 25thA version is the head, the HOH has a much better head

Spy Magician: Indeed. And the other 25th Anniversary one was grey and had the same basic body as the old version 1 Snake Eyes.

Fresh Monkey: Plus you get an upgrade of Snake Eyes’s trusty wolf Timber in the HOH version.

Spy Magician: Yup. This, like Storm Shadow is a subtle but marked improvement on the version 2 style.

Fresh Monkey: The one downside the HOH version is there is still no backpack to hold his sword…. I’m shocked they did not include that here it would have made this figure complete.

Spy Magician: Yeah. Hasbro has had a very poor record on scabbards for Snake Eyes.  Even the Movie one only has a wimpy little half clip.  For shame!

 Is it worth buying again?

Spy Magician: I have to say yes since I actually DID buy one.

Fresh Monkey: If you love Snake Eyes it’s a must have.

Which one is better?

Spy Magician: The HOH. The DVD is nice, but like you said.  It’s purple.

Spy Magician: lol.

Spy Magician: I guess we know where we both stand in the battle of Ninjas!!!

Fresh Monkey: HAHAhaha, yeah The HOH version is the way to go here.

 

 

SNAKE EYES COMMANDO VERSION

Spy Magician: I love Snake Eyes, but this figure has no reason to exist.

Fresh Monkey: I know right…the HOH version seems like a waste of plastic, why would anyone buy this thing? It’s like the same version as the 25thA one.

Spy Magician: The differences are all paint and so small that could repaint the black 25th Anniversary one to match the HOH in no time.You’re just paying for packaging here. Plain and simple.

Fresh Monkey: Yeah…I mean let’s face it Snake Eyes is black, I don’t care how much more "detail" you add, the dude is still black

Is it worth buying again?

Fresh Monkey: Uh no…no way

Spy Magician: Not unless you hate money and love buying the same toy over and over.

 Which one is better?

Spy Magician: I say 25th.  It’s basically the same toy for less money.

Fresh Monkey: The 25A one is just fine. I guess if you don’t have a Snake Eyes and can’t get ahold of 25thA one cheap then I guess the HOH would be the way to go….

 

 

 FLINT

Spy Magician: Another of my favorite Joes!

Fresh Monkey: Flint Mr. Warrant Officer, the HOH version is much improved. New arms make all the difference on this guy plus you get a really nice paint job and a fancy new gun.

Spy Magician: Indeed. You could get almost the same effect combining the 25th Anniversary one with the 5 pack, but that’s a relatively expensive kit bash. And as you say, the paint and accessories really add value.

Fresh Monkey: Yeah nice upgrade here.

Spy Magician: Getting 2 shotguns and a painted backpack along with the added costume detail and the weathered boots make this a fine version of Flint. If the proper hands weren’t enough incentive!

 Is it worth buying again?

Spy Magician: Yes. Again, I actually bought it so I’d be lying if I said no!

Fresh Monkey: Oh yeah…if there is a reason to pick up any of the HOH figures he’s the one to get

 Which one is better?

Fresh Monkey: HOH Flint all the way here…..no question about it.

Spy Magician: HOH by far.

 

 

FIREFLY

Fresh Monkey: I don’t get this figure

Spy Magician: Me either, he’s got lots of gear, but that’s about it.

Fresh Monkey: Yeah, the 25thA figure is way better in everyway.

Spy Magician: If anything the HOH looks less definitive.  The grey is too dark.

Fresh Monkey: Sure the HOH has TONS of accessories, but he doesn’t really even look like Firefly, he looks like a generic Cobra solider. I mean why didn’t they just use the 25thA Firefly and repackage him with all these accessories? That would have been the way to go here

Spy Magician: I
could see how some serious Firefly fans might say it’s more accurate with collared shirt with no ribbing like on the 25th Anniversary one.  But even if it’s technically closer in detail, it FEELS less like Firefly.  Worst of all, the collared shirt makes the harness ride up, which makes him look like he has no neck!

Fresh Monkey: Plus he has no camo….Firefly has camo…I don’t know who this joker is, but if I were Firefly I’d be super pissed that this dude stole all the gear out of my foot locker and is pretending to be me.

Spy Magician: Agreed. It’s a bizarre figure as I thought the HOH figures were intended to be definitive versions of the classics designs.  This looks like a halfhearted attempt that is neither classic nor new, just some bizarre kitbash.

Fresh Monkey: The one thing that makes me sad is that neither Firefly has the same gun as the vintage version…..it was really a missed opportunity with the HOH version.

Spy Magician: Yes. You give him an olive green gun, but the WRONG gun?  Weak man!

Is it worth buying again?

Spy Magician: Hell no.

Fresh Monkey: Nope.

 Which one is better?

Fresh Monkey: 25A by far.

Spy Magician: Oh yeah!!!

 

CRIMSON GUARD aka COBRA ELITE TROOPER

Fresh Monkey: More Army builders here

Spy Magician: Somewhere the guy with 100 Hiss Tanks is smiling.

Fresh Monkey: It’s nice the HOH version has the removable helmet.

Spy Magician: Yes. And the face is molded in flesh tone rather than painted like the Comic Pack one.

Fresh Monkey: But the weird thing is that the HOH version has a shinny backpack and helmet …so that seems off model to me.

Spy Magician: Yes. Intentionally painting them brighter gloss red is inexplicable.

Fresh Monkey: The HOH does also include the correct gun…the 25thA comic back one does not.

Spy Magician: Yeah. I still have no idea why the Comic Pack one had that old fashioned carbine rifle.

 Is it worth buying again?

Fresh Monkey: I’d say no. Unless you’re really into army building.

Spy Magician: I have to say no.  Like the Viper, price is the sticking point.  And with the Toys R Us 5 pack you have better army building options for Crimson Guard.

Fresh Monkey: oh good point

Spy Magician: Plus the bright red helmet and backpack mean you can’t even stick the HOH guy in with your others!  And unlike the Viper’s chrome faceplate, the bright red parts aren’t’ even an improvement.

 Which one is better?

Fresh Monkey: I’d say the 25A one…sure he has the wrong gun, but his paint job is waaaaay better.

Spy Magician: I’d have to go with any of the 25th ones.  The bright red is just jarring and wrong.

 

 

BEACHHEAD

Spy Magician: Ah. I love Beachhead.  But remember what I said about not loving money and buying the same figure over and over…

Fresh Monkey: Same applies here?

Spy Magician: Yup.

Fresh Monkey: The paint-ops are a tad better, but it’s basically the same figure.

Spy Magician: I ordered it along with Snake Eyes v2 and Flint, and of the 3 this is the one I regret. I kept mine carded and that’s really the o

nly reason to have this figure. It’s basically the Comic Pack one on a single card.

Fresh Monkey: The 25thA I have pictured here is the comic pack, so if you buy that version you’re also getting Mainframe as well, for only a few bucks more than the HOH version.

Spy Magician: Yup. Plus you get the unmasked head and an awesome comic, lol. Plus best of all, the cardboard cut out floppy discs.

Fresh Monkey: Yeah, more bang for your buck

 Is it worth buying again?

Fresh Monkey: I’d say no, not if you have the comic pack version.

Spy Magician: Only if you want a single carded Beach Head to keep mint on card.  Otherwise no.  I bought one and I still don’t think it’s worth it!

 Which one is better?

Fresh Monkey: Well as figures go, the HOH is better, so if you don’t have a Beachhead you can pick him up, but remember that you can get the comic pack one with Mainframe for only a few bucks more.

Spy Magician: Yep. I’d go with the Comic Pack.

 

 

B.A.T. BATTLE ANDROID TROOPER

Fresh Monkey: More army builders here

Spy Magician: Indeed!

Fresh Monkey: You’re getting a lot of bang for your buck with the HOH version You get a nice clean paint job, a spores container and an extra battle damaged head.

Spy Magician: Yes. Plus it’s really close in paint ops to the 25th Anniversary one so you can mix and match to maximize your army building.

Fresh Monkey: Yeah, for army builder this is the way to go..sure the HOH version will cost you a bit more, but you get a lot of interchangeability.

Spy Magician: Yep. And the busted head even works as a stand-alone accessory.

Fresh Monkey: Very true.

 Is it worth buying again?

Spy Magician: I’d say yes.  The amount of gear plus the matching paint job makes it a decent value for army building.

Fresh Monkey: Well for me, I’m not a big B.A.T. fan, so I don’t need more than one, but if I did want more than one I’d pick up a few of these babies.

 Which one is better?

Fresh Monkey: The HOH version by far

Spy Magician: Yes. The added accessories put the HOH version over the top.

 

Fresh Monkey: Well that rounds us out, thanks for your help

Spy Magician: I realize the HOH line up was voted on by the fandom, but there is ironically one figure that I think should have been in the wave but wasn’t!

Fresh Monkey: Oh, who is that?

Spy Magician: Believe it or not: DUKE!

Fresh Monkey: Ha, yeah…we never really go a good version of him did we?

Spy Magician: Sure, he’s as redundant as Snake Eyes, but they never re-issued a classic colors version with the fixed forearms.  The "gimp Duke arms" were the single worst feature of the early days of the 25th line!

Fresh Monkey: We did get a new version, but he was Tiger Force .

Spy Magician: Yup. Not one classic style Duke has the good forearms.  Sigh…

Fresh Monkey: Missed opportunity on Hasbro’s part. Now the one thing about these HOH Joes, they made me miss the 25A line in general.

Spy Magician: You mean the Movie line doesn’t fill the void?  LOL!

Fresh Monkey: HA!!!!

Spy Magician: At least it’s not Bayformers….

Fresh Monkey: Hahahah, now don’t get me wrong the “Rise of Cobra” figures are good figures for a new generation, just not the ones I want.

Spy Magician: Yeah, and there are still a few key characters that need to be made. Like Lifeline for one.  Jinx, Iceberg….

Fresh Monkey: I still think that we are missing about 10 -15  25thA style Joes that they need to do before they migrated to the movie stuff, then I would have been happy.

Spy Magician: Or just do both lines.  Hasbro sees it as diluting the brand; I see it as offering your customers more options and making more money.

Fresh Monkey: They could really do 2 more box sets, even with kit bashes and complete the line.

Spy Magician: Yup.

Fresh Monkey: Even if it was online only.

Spy Magician: Yes, the library of parts they have now are so extensive you could really do most characters with new heads only.

Fresh Monkey: Yeah if that, maybe this is not the end for the 25A Joes, only time will tell.

 

TAGS:
Bill "Fresh Monkey" Murphy
Bill hails from the land of sunny Los Angeles, CA. When he's not blogging about his favorite things here at AFI he produces visual effects for movies and writes comic books. He also just started his own toy company called Spy Monkey Toys with fellow AFI blogger Jeremy Sung. His toy collection consists of everything from Superheroes to miniature monkeys. If you want to read more of his crazy rantings you can check out his blog at www.mindofthefreshmonkey.blogspot.com.
Read other articles by Bill "Fresh Monkey" Murphy.

 

 

 

4 Comments »

  • Danny CantinaDan says:

    AWESOME review, fellas! Loved the format. More, more!

    Based on your comments I think I’ll end up picking up Flint and Storm Shadow.

  • UncleMarsellus says:

    I have all of them and you pretty much nailed it. The one disappointment (besides the lack of a bow) with Storm Shadow is the lack of paint apps on his bandolier. Oh well. I like the Firefly more too but it is hard to see the camouflage.

    But, yes, Duke needed an upgrade.

  • Lt. Clutch says:

    Thanks for a great read, guys. I think Flint is the one to get for the new arms with his signature gloves. At least Hasbro fixed things up in time unlike Duke. Storm Shadow would have been another winner if they had only given him his bow.

  • A_Spidey_Fan says:

    In regaurds to Spy Magician asking for a classic style Duke with good forearms(In otherwords, not the dreaded Duke Arms):

    For the 25th Anniversity line, there is 1 that is pretty close actually. It’s from the Greatest Battles 4 pack(Which also contains a Cobra Commander similar to the Comic Pack with Tripwire, a Grey Verison 3 Snake Eyes, a red and white hooded Storm Shadow, and a DVD). This Duke has a vest, but it’s removable. Here’s a link from the YoJoe website on the Duke from this 4 pack:

    http://www.yojoe.com/action/09/duke31.shtml

    If you look at the body construction section and look at the pictures of the figure without the vest, it’s pretty close to the classic Duke in classic colours(Okay, maybe not 100% in terms of colours depending on how you feel about it), but has the Tiger Force Flint arms. The only thing that isn’t like the classic Duke is that this figure has Knee Pads.

    Seen this 4 pack a bunch of times in stores, but if I hadn’t look at the YoJoe website, I would of never knew you could take off Duke’s vest, and he’d look like his classic counter part. Before, I’ve only though the only thing good about the 4 pack was really the Storm Shadow figure(Because I like the way the red and white colours are used), but now that I know that pretty good Classic style Duke with good arms is in the pack, it sort of makes the value of it a little more better, for me at least. However, not enough for me to pick it up at the price it’s at the moment, but maybe if it’s on sale or clearence. Still think Snake Eyes and Cobra Commander from this pack could of been better, but that’s another topic.

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