During the early months of the pandemic lockdown in 2020, I ventured to an army/navy store out in the suburbs. They were open by appointment only and everyone wore a mask, which was nice. I wish people were still wearing masks more often.
This wasn’t an army surplus store, really. They did have some surplus gear and clothing, but they were more specialized in memorabilia and other military ephemera. Among their offerings were some 12” GI Joe figures they were trying to get rid of. Their customers really weren’t interested in dolls, which came as a surprise to the owner, who was an avid collector of 60s and 70s GI Joe toys. The owner had an entire shelf full of 90s Hall of Fame GI Joe toys in the attic, along with some 90s Action Man toys. I bought all of them for a nice price and he was very happy to let them go.
I was interested in the lot both because I really liked the Hall of Fame line as a kid and because these toys aren’t very well documented on the internet. I wanted to be the person to document them. So here’s my first go at it.
This review won’t contain any “action photos” like my normal reviews do. I’m not Mark Hogancamp from Marwencol and I haven’t really figured out how to make convincing action photos of 12” army dolls just yet.
Hopefully this will be useful and entertaining anyway, though. And hopefully we’ll slowly make it through the rest of these unloved figures, as well.
1992 GI Joe Hall of Fame Snake Eyes– My First Snake Eyes
When I was a kid, Snake Eyes was pretty much a non-entity to me, even though I loved GI Joe. I didn’t own an ARAH-style Snake Eyes figure until I bought this one in 2001 or so.
I only knew Snake Eyes (vaguely) from a few sources:
- A few scattered issues of the Marvel Comics my friend across the street had
- His maybe 45 seconds of screen time in 1987’s GI Joe: The Movie
- His appearance in both NES GI Joe games, where he died after getting hit approximately twice until you upgraded him
- Some figures kids at daycare or camp had, which they would not let anyone else touch
- Seeing the 1991 Snake Eyes at KB Toys exactly once
So, Snake Eyes was not really a big deal to me. My adventures mostly centered on Flint, Heavy Duty, Tunnel Rat, Storm Shadow, and other figures from 1989 to 1992.
GI Joe’s marketing presence at the time did feature Snake Eyes somewhat heavily, though. He was featured in the arcade shooter game, on party supplies, in a roleplay gear set, and in GI Joe: The Atlantis Factor. Seeing the 1991 design for the figure plastered all over things made me more interested in the character.
Then, around Christmas time in 1992 or so, I saw a Hall of Fame Snake Eyes toy on a shelf at Walmart. This was the character in the look I knew. And I could tell the figure had a real cloth outfit. His mask also looked removable. I desperately wanted to see what Snake Eyes looked like under the mask. That was my driving interest in the toy– interest in the character was secondary. He had a cool look, of course, but I was much more interested in the mystery than in having a Snake Eyes figure. I had no other 12” figures for this one to interact with, and I was not at the age to be buying a “collectible figure”– I was only 8 years old in the winter of 1992.
I asked my mom to get me Hall of Fame Snake Eyes for Christmas, as I was intrigued. On Christmas Day of 1992, I received both Hall of Fame Snake Eyes and Hall of Fame Cobra Commander.
After opening both figures, I immediately removed Snake Eyes’ mask and Cobra Commander’s hood. They both wore masks underneath their masks. That was a smart move on Hasbro’s part, but it was soul crushing for an 8 year old kid.
I got over it pretty quickly, though, and took quite a shine to both figures.
1992 GI Joe Hall of Fame Snake Eyes was the only Snake Eyes toy I owned as a kid. For a while, I took the figure with me on all family vacations. He went to Yellowstone National Park with me once, I remember. I kept good track of his accessories and kept the toy in good shape. He felt special to me.
I acquired a few more HoF figures as a kid: Ace, Gung Ho, and Combat-Camo Roadblock. My friend across the street had Talking Duke (Math class is tough!), Basic Training Grunt, and Destro. We played with our Hall of Fame dolls once in a while, but it was kind of a hard thing to do.
For one, we just weren’t used to playing with such large figures. They were a bit awkward to us. And, more importantly, there was really no one for them to fight. Snake Eyes and Grunt can only fight Cobra Commander and Destro one-on-one so many times. Once in a while I’d take the hood off of Cobra Commander and use him as a generic Cobra soldier, but even that didn’t really seem “right” to me.
This left me to wonder how kids in the 60s and 70s played with GI Joe when there were no “enemy” figures. I still think about it sometimes to this day. I’ve concluded that kids back then had much better imaginations than we did in the 90s– their big, fancy GI Joe dolls could fight invisible enemies and it was just as fun as me ramming a Night Creeper and Psyche-Out figure together.
Still, I’m glad Cobra was a plentiful enemy for the small GI Joes I played with as a kid. I don’t know if I’d be as attached to a toy hero who had to fight invisible enemies all the time.
But, as I said, I loved Hall of Fame Snake Eyes as a kid. He was a constant companion for a while and he was my first Snake Eyes figure. So I thought it was fitting that he would be the subject of my first Hall of Fame review.
Let’s get to it.
1992 GI Joe Hall of Fame Snake Eyes Review
Hall of Fame Snake Eyes was released in 1992, and used the standard “Hall of Fame” GI Joe body with a unique head, unique clothing, and unique accessories.
The HoF line was targeted at adult collectors who fondly remembered the 12” dolls of their youth, but it was also targeted at kids who loved Hasbro’s current iteration of GI Joe. To appeal to both crowds, the packaging had to be something special. And it was!
The gorgeously designed box really stands out on the shelf, the packaging copy is great, and the toy is presented in a way where it speaks for itself.
Upon opening the toy, I really felt like the box made it feel like a premium product. It still feels special.
Once you open the box, 1992 GI Joe Hall of Fame Snake Eyes is attached to a red cardboard tray where he and his accessories are secured with blister bubbles and twist ties. Once you release this figure from its packaging, it’s not going back in again. This is not the “collector friendly” packaging we see in many adult-targeted toys of today.
Before we get to the toy and its accessories, let’s talk about the little manual it comes with. Each of the early, regular-priced Hall of Fame figures came with one of these booklets. They’re filled to the brim with cool details and information, and they elevate these figures even further. I read and re-read these booklets constantly as a kid.
I was really looking forward to sharing the contents of each manual with you, but they don’t photograph well and I don’t have a scanner. So, instead, I made a PDF of YoJoe’s booklet scan, which was originally provided by Phillip Donnelly.
Note the pledge of allegiance and the ‘code of conduct,’ which insists that Real American Heroes stay away from drugs and alcohol. You have to give Hasbro credit– they were ever-vigilant about their propaganda bullshit.
The figure itself stands 12” tall and has a wonderful, premium look right out of the packaging. The design is fantastic and the clothes are well made. The vest is made of both a black and grey material, and it includes a patch for both Snake Eyes’ name and the GI Joe logo.
Though HoF toys aren’t the most playable figures ever made (which we’ll get to shortly), they cut a dashing appearance and look excellent displayed on a shelf. These aren’t quite the quality of what Hot Toys or Sideshow premium figures, but I think their overall looks still hold up pretty well. This 12” Snake Eyes is a great representation of the 1991 figure design done in classic GI Joe scale.
I’m not taking off the outfit to show you the figure’s naked body, because I remember getting the outfit back on was a chore when I was a kid. But, if you really want to, you can see the figure in the buff over on its OnlyFans page.
1992 GI Joe Hall of Fame Snake Eyes includes the following clothing:
- Blue long-sleeved, turtleneck sweater
- Grey and black vest with both velcro and buckles
- Black pants with blue leg piping, complete with velcro and button fly
- Rubber boots
- Backpack with buckles, sword sheath, and opening storage area
The clothes look great and fit the toy in a very natural way. The backpack is especially impressive, as it allows you to store extra weapons and accessories from other figures and sets.
The figure also comes with various accessories that aren’t part of its basic outfit:
- A translucent red mask, painted with silver and blue details
- Two intricately-detailed arm guards
- A knife sheath with velcro strap
- A set of dog tags
- A black trench knife with knuckle guard
- A silver katana
- A gigantic uzi, complete with light and sound features
- A black doll stand
The mask, knife, sheath, and sword are all fantastic and fit the character perfectly. He holds both the knife and sword flawlessly. The knife sits in the sheath just how it should, as well. The mask looks brilliant, with the clear portion being the highlight. The arm guards are also nice, but they’re tough to get on and off the figure without bunching up the sweater sleeves.
The dog tags are pretty nice, too, I guess.
The uzi itself is hilarious. When you press the red button on the side, the barrel lights up and it makes a decent machine gun noise. But it’s waaay oversized. I know it had to be a little bit on the large side due to technical limitations of the day, but I think it probably could have been a little bit smaller and still retained its gimmicks. Still, despite its comical size, the figure holds it well in just about any position and the sculpt itself is very well done.
When you remove the figure’s mask, you see his blonde eyebrows and scarred face under a black balaclava. Tricky Hasbro! It’s actually a good representation of the Snake Eyes we know from the Marvel Comics, so Hasbro was paying attention to detail.
There’s also an Arashikage tattoo on the figure’s inner forearm, which is a nice touch. I know it should be on his outer arm, but it’s cool that Hasbro thought to include the detail in the first place.
So, that’s enough gushing about the figure. Let’s talk about its very real flaws.
As toys, Hall of Fame figures are not good. They technically have plenty of articulation, but a lot of it isn’t very useful. The shoulders and hips have the good range you’d expect from a GI Joe figure– they can move both up and down and side to side with ease. The head also swivels 360 degrees with no problems.
The knees and elbows are where we run into problems, though.
Both the elbows and knees are encased inside the figure’s rubber body, which I guess preserves the natural look when the figure is nude. But the joints themselves are ratcheted and only move a couple of small clicks either way. The figure maybe only gets 45 degrees of motion in its knees and elbows, and that is being generous. Despite having forearm swivels, the figure cannot get into any good two handed weapon-holding poses and cannot get into any real dynamic stances with its legs.
Even as a kid, the articulation frustrated me– and I regularly played with Toy Biz X-Men figures that had far less range of movement. I guess I just expected more from GI Joe.
1992 GI Joe Hall of Fame Snake Eyes also has bare hands, which ruins the look a little bit. But that’s true for every single HoF figure– they all had bare hands, whether it fit the character or not. God forbid Hasbro sculpted some gloves on them. You’ll also note that each HoF figure has the weird inverse thumbnail on one hand, which proved that it was a “real GI Joe.” Okay, whatever.
The figure does include a nice doll stand, which is helpful for display. The figure’s boots slide into the stand’s grooves quite well, and it makes for a solid display. I find the figure stands up just fine without the stand, but it’s nice to have a little extra reassurance.
Hall of Fame Snake Eyes is much more of a display piece than it is a toy, which is unfortunate. The vintage 60s and 70s GI Joe dolls were packed with useful articulation. They could realistically pose with all of their ancient weapons and take on any stance a kid could ever imagine. The Hall of Fame toys cannot do any of that. In that way, they’re a big step down from both their direct ancestors and their ARAH counterparts.
But, this toy does look beautiful on a shelf. It’s a striking design that’s well translated into 12” form. Because I had this figure as a kid (and because of all of the marketing materials of the time), this is Snake Eyes’ iconic look for me. When I picture Snake Eyes, this is the costume I immediately see. This Hall of Fame doll’s oversized presence in my youth has a lot to do with that.
I really like this toy, even if it’s more of something that sits on a shelf than something that plays out fantasy adventures.
Overall: 1992 GI Joe Hall of Fame Snake Eyes is a gorgeous sci-fi military doll that still looks impressive on a shelf, even 20 years later. The clothing is well made and the accessories are mostly cool. It’s also a great interpretation of the iconic 1991 Snake eyes figure. It is unfortunately a lousy toy, though. The articulation is bad by GI Joe standards and it can’t move around like you’d want it to. And because only three villains were ever properly made in the Hall of Fame line, there’s not a ton of play value to be had with it. It’s a cool piece, but it’s not a good action figure. So it’s Mildly Recommended at best.
Closing Thoughts on 1992 GI Joe Hall of Fame Snake Eyes
After I bought that big HoF lot in 2020, I got pretty ambitious. I got a real photo tent to take photos of the figures. I also bought one of the mail-away Cobra Trooper uniforms, a cheap late 90s GI Joe body, and an extra HoF Cobra Commander. Using a hair dryer and other tools, I swapped the CC head (which I burned a little, oops) onto the better-articulated body and slapped on the trooper outfit. It did not go as planned and I felt a little bit defeated.
Here are the results:
That whole experience soured me on my new doll collection a little bit. But, I’ve since recovered since I realized it was my first time ever trying to customize a 12” doll and that I shouldn’t be so hard on myself.
I think I’m going to review/profile these Hall of Fame and Action Man figures more regularly. After all, my goal was to provide good information on them where almost none exists elsewhere. I hope you’ll join me.
Did you own any Hall of Fame figures in the 90s? Did you play with them as a kid? Let me know in the comments!