Greetings fellow He-Fans and She-Ravers,
well first, in case you haven't herd yet, we made it and MOTUC will be going ahead for its conclusion year in 2015. With that taken care of we can relax and focus on the remainder of this year's lineup, starting with the heroic gunslinger Rio Blast.
Rio Blast was a latecomer to the vintage line and as such technically did not appear in cartoon form. I say technically because the She-Ra cartoon did see an appearance by a character called Colonel Blast. This guy however was a villainous member of the Evil Horde. The fact that he has the same essential power and his name was still Blast left little doubt that it was based on the same guy. I believe this was later confirmed by Filmation staff that the character was based on early concept sketches for what would become Rio Blast who was still in development at the time. Thus the final figure went from villain to hero and fans were left to come up with an in universe explanation for the two different guys on their own.
Rio Blast comes in the standard MOTUC blister card bubble package. You can see he is packed without any of his guns or his backpack on, so some assembly is required you could say. The back of the box shows off other figures in the line and gives us a bio for the character.
Some have speculated that by making his real last name Blast this is meant to imply Colonel Blast is a relative. Aside from the real name pretty much everything is taken straight from the vintage back story. Though it's worth noting how the bio says it was a meteorb that flung him to Eternia instead of a normal meteor. I doubt we'll be seeing any actual meteorbs in the Classics line, but this acknowledges their existence at least.
Rio Blast uses a mixture of new and old sculpting. He has the standard buck shoulders and biceps as well as upper legs. He also has the standard buck torso with his special feature built into the armor as opposed to a unique torso like the vintage. His head sculpt is mostly inspired by the vintage figure, but his mustache is thicker and more old west handlebar style plus his hair is fuller and has a slight wind swept look.
Rio's forearms are new and feature holes where the tubes from his backpack plug in. The pack itself plugs into the back of the armor, but is lightweight enough that it doesn't throw off his balance too much. Rio features new hands that are sculpted in an open pose that creates a ready for quick draw look when he doesn't have his guns in, but curve in a gripping look when he does.
The paint job on Rio is very well done and brings out a lot of the little details. His belt has bullet casings sculpted in around to the back where he has a small green pouch and a black bullwhip. These are not removable, but still add great detail to the sculpt. His lower legs are new and sculpted to resemble chaps plus he has spurs on the back. Due to the chaps though he does not feature boot cut articulation. His ankles are nice and tight though
One part where it goes downhill though is in the chest flap. The vintage figure had a hollow torso to house the chest guns. For the Classics version the fold down flap is built into his armor instead and the guns plug into the flap. The problem is the plug in part is slightly raised and as a result the flap cannot lay flat against the torso when closed. From the front he looks fine, but from the side it's a blatantly obvious flaw and seen as a parting middle finger to the fans from Ruben. (making us glad he's no longer going to be working on Classics -we got a new guy for future figures so hopefully stuff like this is at an end)
Now we come to his special feature. Like pretty much all the Classics figures, Rio Blast's action feature is achieved by pieces that plug into the figure rather than being inside the sculpt. He has holes in the underside of his forearms where his hand guns plug in. For his leg guns the upper part of the chaps can bend down. These are actually separate pieces from the legs and attach into the knee joints similar to how Rokkon and Stonedar's leg armor worked. One down there are pegs to plug the red leg guns into. Then his chest flap folds down and has a similar plug. Finally his backpack actually does work like the vintage where the guns slide up and over his shoulders completing the look. Though it's worth noting that from some angles, and depending on the position of his head, it can sometimes appear that the visor is not in front of his eyes like it should be. Again though, this is largely an angle detail I find.
Rio clearly draws most of his looks from the vintage toy although there are some differences. Mostly in the head sculpt which has a more unique and more wild west style appearance to it. The vintage toy's head had been described as looking like everyone from Chuck Norris to Sonny Bono.
The 200X version was one of the more radical redesigns, particularly in the head and the huge right hand blaster. Since it was a staction we did not get to truly see the full detail of all his guns. While the Classics is mostly vintage there are some 200x details such as the spurs and ammo belt. Many fans were hoping to somehow get his huge blaster, but it's not surprising he didn't what with all the other unique tooling.
Rio Blast is one of those characters that tends to draw a bit of flak from some fans since he's so different. It's been argued the western cowboy style is out of place among the fantasy/sci-fi world of Eternia. While I'm a supporter of an all encompassing MOTU, I will concede the point that Rio Blast looks more like something out of Bravestarr instead. (But then Bravestarr and He-Man are supposedly part of the same continuity -Filmation had been working on a crossover special idea that never came to be.)
At any rate the Classics Rio Blast turned out very well aside from the little details like the chest flap not fully closing. Rio Blast has now sold out so check the secondary market and until next time, Good Journey.
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