1993 Balrog

1993 Balrog

In hindsight, the 90‘s Street Fighter II crossover was somewhat surreal. I say this, because GI Joe has very rarely done this sort crossover, and really hasn’t done anything like it ever since. Now, that doesn’t count the multitude of times GI Joes have been recycled into other toy lines, which you saw back in the 90‘s for Mortal Kombat, and even in recent years for The Hulk, and Jurassic Park most recently. Heck, even the comic-inspired Transformers Crossover sets were something that only existed as SDCC exclusives, and somewhat phoned-in ones at that.

One could look at the series as a desperate attempt to keep GI Joe relevant on Hasbro’s end, but I personally think it was well played. While none of these toys are spectacular, Hasbro pretty much picked the best 90‘s gaming franchise to tie into GI Joe. Of course, that’s not to say I wouldn’t have welcomed a Megaman X crossover, but I already had a Sigma via Armor Tech Destro, so I didn’t need that anyway.

Balrog is a real highlight among the Street Fighter figures. He’s entirely a repaint of Big Boa, with a new head. Frankly, I like this figure a lot better than Big Boa, and I feel he actually integrates into the Cobra design aesthetic better. The blue on his pants is more in line with Cobra blue, and the new head looks more reasonable than Big Boa’s. The Club used this head for Lt. Claymore, and that was a surprisingly good repaint on their part, though sometimes I still just prefer this Balrog to him.

In my mythos, Balrog is a Cobra strongly affiliated with the Dreadnoks, so while he’s not an official member of that group, he’s best-buddies with Torch and Ripper. In ways, I kind of imagine him being a hybrid of Burnout and Lt. Claymore, and using him this way gives him a little more versatility. Primarily, he functions as a Cobra drill sergeant, but he also doubles as a field commander and a liaison to the Dreadnoks, who are often difficult to negotiate with.

The parts were pretty cool with Balrog, though I’ve never personally acquired a complete example. He included virtually identical boxing gloves to the ones Big Boa had, just sans the Cobra symbols. Other than that, he included most of the same parts found with the Headhunter Storm Trooper and a few other figures, which were: ‘92 Destro’s pistol, the Rock Viper rifle, ‘88 Shockwave’s knife, and the launcher from the Headhunter Storm Trooper, with an extra hook-missile only shared with Blanka.

There’s a second Balrog that came out in the Street Fighter movie line, which is an even cooler repaint of Salvo, with this toy’s head. I’ve tried getting one on and off for years, but at this point I’ve settled on this version as that figure is much harder to find at a fair price. It also does not have the benefit of improving an older sculpt in the way that this ‘93 repaint salvages the Big Boa mold.

Street Fighter figures like Balrog used to fall into the category me and some others knew as “dolla-hollas”. Like with everything else now though, they tend to cost a bit more, and are a bit harder to find. Complete Balrog’s are pretty hard to come by, and seem to fetch about $45, though you can get an incomplete one around $15, which is a reasonable option since most of his parts are generic.

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2 Responses to 1993 Balrog

  1. Mike T. says:

    No one cared about Balrog until the club used his head. Before that, he was just like all the Street Fighter figures. After that, people recognized him more and more. Now, I think he’s the most expensive Street Fighter figure. And, yeah, the Movie figure is nuts. Last carded one I saw was over $200. Which, again, nuts.

    Not being a fan of Big Boa, it helps me not have much interest in this figure. I did have a Movie figure for a while. But, he was off condition, so I got rid of him thinking I’d find a mint one later. D’oh!

    But, I’ve been getting into Street Fighter figures, lately, just because I ignored them for so long. Dealers gouge on them. If you can find them left to open auction, though, they sell for fair amounts, sometimes even below $10. But, it’s getting harder and harder to find open auctions for figures these days. Everyone thinks they’re a dealer, now.

  2. Great review, and you’ve made me regret not having Balrog. The concept of a Cobra-Dreadnok liaison is especially interesting, and I like seeing him escaping from the 92 HQ.

    I never played the Street Fighter video game and I completely rejected them when they first came out, since they weren’t part of the GI Joe universe. To me they were flotsam and jetsam at flea markets, something I wouldn’t buy except as part of a lot. When I first started systematically selling duplicates last year to fund completing my collection, the SF and MK figures were the first to go–except Shang Tsung and Sonya Blade, because of the Ninja Commando connection and the head, respectively. (I sold them the dumb way, by auction, and just like Mike T. said, they went cheap.) I still don’t see the SF characters as having any place in my GI Joe world, but reading your intriguing ideas about Balrog makes me wonder: if I can find space for factory customs with no established characters, like Bonecrusher, why couldn’t I do the same for Street Fighter? So maybe I shouldn’t’ve been so rigid in deciding I didn’t want them. But I don’t think it’s worth going out and buying them (or re-buying them, in some cases).

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