Hey, hey… I got me my September Matty figures in the mails and it looks like I’ll be able to squeeze just one of them in before we roll over to October. I decided to go with Rio Blast over Entrapta because I’m a big fan of Westerns and so I always thought Rio Blast was neat. Plus, this gunslinger is probably the closest thing we’ll ever see to an updated Bravestarr figure. Needless to say I’ve been excited to get this guy in hand, but also a little worried. A number of collectors seemed none to happy with how Mattel treated his gimmicks, and while I’ve been avoiding details on the matter, I’m very curious to see how this guy turned out.
There’s the MOTUC packaging I know and love. Thanks to his large weapon rig, Rio fills out the bubble quite nicely, although right off the bat I think I’m going to have issues with the front flap protruding so far off of his chest. Hmm… Either way, my favorite thing about the MOTU Universe has always been it’s “anything goes” mentality. The mix of swords and sorcery and technology is cool enough, but why stop there? Let’s toss in ninjas and samurai and everything else. You can just pick and choose your level of zaniness. You want to have an Old West gunslinger team up with a dude with a robotic elephant head to defeat a giant skunk? You got it, friend! Let your freak flag fly!
On the back of the card we get the usual bio, which includes He-Man’s empty promises to help Rio Blast fight his own battles back home after Skeletor’s been dealt with. Good look cashing that check, Rio, Skeletor always escapes and your work on Eternia is never going to be finished. You also get photos of other figures in the line and teased with Matty’s “Collect Them All” tag line, even though that smug prick Matty knows they aren’t available anymore. Let’s see how I’m doing… I’m only missing Roboto and Mekaneck from that lot. Not too bad.
Rio is a figure that’s all about transformation, which in this case means he comes with a ton of stuff to attach to him, so let’s just start out with a look at the base figure. I’m actually surprised how well the cowboy design works on the buffed out MOTUC buck, but it does indeed work just fine for me. It should also be noted that Rio is just loaded with brand new sculpting and nowhere is that more evident than in that vest. The vest is designed so the front flap can drop down and we’ll get to that later, but the fact that it is hinged piece makes it stick out like an eyesore. It’s sculpted so that one corner is supposed to always be peeling down, but the other corner doesn’t close up properly either. Here is where Mattel should have gone with a separate snap on piece instead of a hinged one. I realize it would have required an extra piece, but I think it would have made all the difference in the world.
With that major bugaboo out of the picture, the rest of the figure looks great. I dig how his leg armor looks like Old West style chaps and, unlike the chest flap, the fact that these pieces fold down is pretty well concealed. I also love the details on his belt. He’s got bullets running around the front and sides and he even has a coiled whip and a coin purse sculpted onto the back. The addition of cables and sculpted circuitry behind his chest flap accentuate the point that he’s not just a gunslinger, he’s some kind of crazy future cybernetic gunslinger.
The portrait is awesome. Rio has a shaggy mop of hair that comes close to hiding his face and an epic handlebar mustache to match. He definitely looks like he stepped right out of the screen from an Old West classic. The only thing he’s missing is a wide brimmed hat to complete the ensemble.
Rio’s sizeable backpack attaches to his back via three pegs and the flexible hoses that come off the bottom attach into the sockets in his gauntlets. You can then plug his guns into the other sockets to give it the look of one complete weapon system. And if those two guns aren’t enough his backpack slides up and over his shoulders to give him a pair of massive shoulder cannons and a targeting visor. I love the way the backpack works, but some paint apps or a sticker for the visor would have been welcome.
The vintage Rio Blast’s gimmick was flip out guns, but Matty opted to have the Classics Rio’s guns clip on and that’s cool with me. You just flip down the chest flap and the knee guards and attach the three red guns. When fully loaded up, Rio Blast is a formidable arsenal with a total of eight guns ready to blast away at the bastards of Eternia.
There’s no doubt that Mattel made a poor design choice when it comes to Rio’s vest. It’s almost enough to ruin the figure for me, but not quite. In the end my love for his wacky design and the fact that I’ll probably display him with all his guns blazing allows me to overlook (mostly) this figure’s biggest cosmetic flaw. The truth is I’m still a little impressed that we’re getting figures with this much new sculpting what with the Autumn of this line approaching. The tail end of lines can often deteriorate into quick cash grab repaints as opposed to figures with so much brand new tooling. That probably goes double for a line like Masters Classics. Next week, I’ll try to get to Entrapta so I can have a clean slate for when the October figures arrive.