When do you know that He-Man has gone away from its sword-and-sorcery roots? When it includes a cyborg space cowboy.
Rio Blast came late in the vintage line and, along with characters like Snout Spout, is one of the more “out there” designs. He’s a cowboy. From space. Whose body sprouts guns. Sure, He-Man has always had cyborg and laser weapons and whatnot, but Rio Blast just seems to take this theme a step further.
RIO BLAST: HEROIC TRANSFORMING GUNSLINGER
REAL NAME: RIOLUS BLAST
With the ability to transform from a normal warrior into an awesome arsenal of fire power, Rio Blast is in all ways the fastest draw in the universe, As the sole survivor of a group of heroic explorers from Loredos in a starband near Eternia, Rio allied himself with the renegade Masters of the Universe in their battle against evil. Rio Blast is nagged by the fact that he has left behind an untamed starband and he often chomps at the bit to get back. He-Man promised to aid Rio Blast back home as soon as the warriors of Skeletor have been defeated once and for all. Rio Blast transforms into a one-man arsenal to get the drop on enemies!
Riolus Blast? Seriously? Well, it’s better than random gibberish. I love how the bio implies that He-Man is just stringing him along with the whole, “Well, I’ll help you go home EVENTUALLY” thing. Also, renegade Masters of the Universe? Was this in the time period when Skeletor took over? Maybe! Well, let’s have a look at this space cowboy!
It’s the saaaaaame ooooold song! Seriously, I have nothing new to say about this.
Rio Blast contains a fair amount of new tooling, and his reused parts are pretty well-hidden. In and of itself, this should make him one of the awesome standout figures in the line, but Rio Blast honestly has a bunch of issues.
So this guy named Ruben did the logistical figure design for Masters of the Universe Classics, but recently moved on. Apparently, he has left on a high note, as this figure has the bulkiest, articulation-limitingest, belly-shirtest, hard-to-put-back-on-once-removedest, action-feature-does-not-workest torso armor ever. Seriously. While they did have the difficult task of working Rio Blast’s action feature, his armor is just filled with issues. It is roughly as bulky as New Adventures Skeletor, and yet manages to restrict his articulation and get in the way even more. It covers his neck, so his head can barely move. There are some cool little ropes over one tab, so it is difficult to put back on. And his central chest flap does not close.
I repeat. The flap that opens up to show off his guns does not close. It closes in his packagng photo, but the real figure is poorly-constructed. This is actually a little worse than NA Skeletor’s belly-shirt!
Aside from those complaints, Rio Blast has some great stuff going on. His face is the most rugged, manliest thing ever, his belt has all sorts of gear stowed on it, and his pants are detailed enough to look like real leather! Including a crotch flap.
Rio Blast’s paint is expected for a mass-market toy, but really sub-par for a special mail-order premium-priced collector release. As you can probably already tell from the photos, his moustache is really uneven, with the paint not covering the whole thing. His metal chest panel is also insufficiently painted, and blue pokes through a lot. He has a flesh elbow peg contrasting with brown elbow-length gloves. Mine also has a green smudge on his crotch for some reason. MOTUC is usually much less sloppy than this!
Rio Blast has ball-and-socket shoulders and hips, hinged knees, elbows, and ankles, swivel waist, wrists, and biceps, a hinged torso, ball-jointed head, and hinges in his chest flap and upper-knee pads for the action feature. This sounds like a lot (actually, typical MOTUC articulation), but don’t be fooled. Rio Blast’s armor ruins his articulation.
His arms have barely any movement, his head is stiff, and his ab crunch is nearly unworkable. His ankles are also pretty stiff because of his legs, which ultimately limits Rio Blast’s posing ability. Basically, he stands or he stands with guns. Have fun!
Rio Blast comes with lots of guns, guns, guns! Well, sort of. He doesn’t have a six-shooter or anything, but he’s got all his firearms from the classic figure. His three red guns fit well in his chest and knee slots, though they look unimpressive by themselves. This is true to the vintage figure, though they could have used more.
He also has two handle-taser-whatever thingies that I know were meant to be joysticks for controlling his gear, but they seem like they could be weapons themselves. They plug into the slots on his inner wrists, whih helps them connect with his biggest accessory.
Rio Blast’s backpack is an awesome thing. It’s huge, hinged, and gives him an action feature! The pack plugs into his back via a special three-pronged plug, and its wires plug into the outer holes on his gloves – thus providing continuity with those joysticks. The mobile part of the pack slides up and then hinges over, transforming it from a rocket pack to a mobile weapons platform. It looks awesome. EXCEPT… the visor does not line up over his eyes unless you pull a lot of shenanigans and look from only the right angle. This is another error with the figure, though at least it is fairly minor. Still, the whole rig is a pretty cool setup, and Rio Blast’s main focal point.
I have never liked the price of Masters of the Universe Classics figures, and I never will. And then, five years from now, I will look back at these prices and sigh wistfully, pining for cheaper days.
THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR:
Sometimes his wires and joysticks do not want to plug in correctly. Also, a few people reported NOT RECEIVING THE CORRECT FIGURE. But you’ll know if that happens.
WHERE TO BUY:
At the time of this writing, Rio Blast is still available on Matty Collector!
This figure has a lot going for it, but then it falls apart at almost every step. Poor articulation, weapons that don’t fit in their slots, a shirt that will not close, and poor paint mark what should have been a really awesome figure. Rio Blast certainly has his good points, but he is nowhere near a lot of the other figures this year.
See You, Space Cowboy…