I just use them for the Free XP and "skin pack" as well, I don't really think they have more purpose beyond that. They're quite handicapped by their fixed module setup, as those have quite a good chance of not fitting your playstyle.
The T4 hero ships I didn't really look at, they're just too d.mn expensive. Maybe they have more useful gear, I wouldn't know.
I own all the Morningstar variants the game offers (as far as I can tell), but the 'Old Morningstar' (T2) and the 'Morningstar - Vintage' (T4) have quite bad equipment, with Scattergun, Flechette, Tractor and Warp. It's just too melee for my taste.
The 'PCF Morningstar' (T2) is nice however, with Plasma, Heavy Torp, Anti-Missile and Warp, it's a bit more of an all-arounder and can be used in a fight. This one I like.
Then there's the PCF Silesia (T2) that I don't even remember how I got it, but it is also fun to play. In recruit this class of arty cruiser generally works well, and this model also has an useful setup. (Rapid Fire, Disruptor, Drain, Armor amp.)
It's really not a pain to farm for some free XP with the PCF ships in Recruit, I'd say it's well worth acquiring them.
The only other hero ship I own is the 'Hanuman'. When I bought it I was just looking to get a cheap ship that I can drop into my Veteran fleet to passively accumulate some Free XP while I'm playing my regular ships. I only later realized that I can have the 'Morningstar - Vintage' for this same purpose, as I wasn't yet aware of the Founder's Packs. They should really be visible in the ingame store...
Regardless, since I already have the Hanuman I thought I give it a spin or two, and I have to say it's quite a nice ship, actually surprised me there. It has a good module setup with Plasma, Heavy torp, Stasis and Armor amp, and it also happens to have the Engine Rigger OB. It's quite a nice brawler ship, it even made me cosider switching to the Gravis line from the Chernobog line a couple of times.
One downside is that for some reason the Hanuman ship coating can only ever be used on the Gravis variants, whereas the Morningstar paintjob works on all ships. I don't really see the logic here.
All-in-all, though I think Hero ships are mostly for cosmetics and Free XP, some of them are surprisingly useful.
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