Rio Blast Review

I know, I know. We just did a whole week on She-Ra: Princess of Powers figures. Yet here we are, kicking off the next week with yet another Masters of the Universe Classic. Normally, I’d opt for a little more variety, but two things. One, knocking out Rio Blast gets me caught up on MOTUC reviews (mostly, I know there are two older items still unreviewed) and because this figure annoys me. It’s been a long weekend, and I’m hoping that annoyance is fuel for me to get this done.

To clarify, I’m ecstatic that we finally got to Rio Blast. This is the month that the last “big to me” name gets crossed off my list. I’m still excited for other stuff – Dragstor, for example, and hopeful for other things like Red Beast to still sneak out. But in terms of nostalgia? Childhood loves? Awesome Favorites?

Well, Rio Blast is the last one for me. And maybe because of that, some might say that my expectations were supercharged. So much was riding on this figure being awesome. He’s not awesome. There are things I like about the figure – heck, even with the perceived flaws this review will laboriously point out, I’m still happy he’s here. But he has problems that have nothing to do with my expectations. And sadly, most that were preventable. As a result, this review is going to feature something different – a custom. On the left of most of the pictures is Mattel’s Rio Bloat and next to him is extra figure I ordered and put the armor under the knife. I’ll talk more about it towards the end, but Spy Magician from Spy Monkey Creations did an amazing job with his and I did my best to emulate it and slim my Rio Blast down.

Like many less-than-awesome MOTUC figures, it tends to be the shat the sculpting and engineering tell two different tales. This site is full of reviews where I praise the sculpt and heap the criticism on how the figure was produced. I’ll do the latter here in a bit, but I’m going to nitpick the sculpt on this one too. When the prototype debuted at Toy Fair, it looked awesome, but the seeds of problems that would face Mattel were evident. The prototype was already bulky. The prototype didn’t appear to offer a solution to what ultimately became a pretty stupid problem with the chest flap. The loose cables running from the backpack to the arms were there right away. And the prototype came standard with those two Stratos hands that prevent him from doing anything but appearing to be about to grab his ejecting pistols.

There is still a lot to love about the sculpt. Djordje does amazing work. The level of detail is top notch. The shotgun shells on the belt and the spurs look fantastic. The nuts, bolts, and circuitry all add to the figure. I do long for the nostalgic flare that Treadaway might have given Rio. It recalls Frosta a bit. Treadaway’s women look similar to one another and while I may talk about how I want more differentiation, I’ve always regretted Djordje got the nod for Frosta. Rio is that to a lesser degree. Unlike Frosta, I love this sculpt. I love the hair, the expression, and the general “wild-westness”. It’s like Kurt Russell Tombstone. It’s great, but I kinda wonder what Treadaway would’ve done here all the same.

Then Mattel’s in-house team took a crack at Rio Blast. The usual problem cropped up – the tabs for the armor ended up right under the armpits causing armor bloat. But the armor then presented new problems. The hose doesn’t connect to the flap. The high collars blocks the neck pg. But the real aggravation? The clip-on accessories needed pegs to hold the weapons. The chest flap got a peg for the gun, but there is nowhere for that peg to go when the flap is folded up, so the flap just sticks out. I repeat, it doesn’t even close! I know there are always differences of opinion on everything, but I can’t fathom folks out there who doesn’t think it looks terrible. I’m sure they exist. But it looks awful. It’s a dumb, rookie mistake and it hurts the figure. I can’t believe it got approval. I can’t believe that anyone at Mattel was happy with it. Continue to Page 2…

35 thoughts on “MOTUClassics.Com
Rio Blast Review

  1. It’s a real shame he has so many flaws. I remember when this line started I was very excited to see how this figure would turn out as I am a big fan of Bravestarr and Galaxy Rangers although I never had the vintage Rio Blast.
    Rio is a lot like NA Skeletor as they both had so much potential to be some of the greatest figures in the line but were spoiled by Mattels designs.

    Noisy your custom Rio looks so much better and I think the more it isn’t the ideal situation, gluing the flap on the custom and keeping the original with all the guns seems the best option.

  2. Flap solution: flat magnets!

    I still like looking at reviews of MOTUC but i’m glad i quit and got no single MotuC figure anymore to annoy me, lol. I think the leg portion is looking really like the weakest – it has a lot of details to awe at but the overall look doesn’t make sense. A PITY! A second head with the 80ies figure’s 70ies ‘Clone’ look would have been great. That’s my Rio Blast.

    1. I was thinking the same thing. They should have used magnets.
      When did you quit the line? I stopped when Teela was released but I did get Vikor but only had him a few months before selling him off as well.

    2. Magnets, or have a deeper peg on the gun with a recessed hole in the flap (and if that meant putting a hole right through the flap, it could be disguised with a bullet hole on the other side), or a Battle Armour-style swapout piece of ‘flap with gun’ and ‘flap without gun’ (still hinged at the base so it can be raised and lowered, but pops apart at the hinge)… so many options…

  3. I’ve been looking forward to this review. Not because I care about this character, but because I’ve seen so many people complain about how terrible the figure is, and nothing I’d seen in the few pics I have anylooked at stood out. So I was curious about what exactly was so bad about it other than “it’s Rio Blast.”

    But boy howdy, that really is a big ol’ ball of fail. And as we’ve seen many times now, this is what happens when you take a character that’s 100% dependent on its action feature and run it through the “we can’t have any action features because reasons” filter of the Classics line. This is why I can’t possibly imagine that Dragstor is going to turn out well.

    Though I do feel he need to call you out on a rookie mistake you made here. When you say “I can’t believe anyone at Mattel could possibly be happy about it,” you’re wrongfully assuming thst anyone at Mattel actually gives a damn. 😉

    1. I know quite a few folks at Mattel personally thanks to this blog and I can tell you that many do give a damn. There are some that don’t too, of course.

      I do think you’re mostly right about the “no action features” as the root cause, but I feel like Treadaway & Terry Higuchi would’ve done a better job on this figure than Djordje & Ruben did. There are surely solutions out there and I think the former are more experienced in solving those riddles than the latter.

  4. I normally absolutely refuse to modify my figures in any way I can’t completely change back if I don’t have a second one of them. But this time I really think about doing those modifications to Rio Blast. He’s really looking aweful with those construction flaws :/

    1. Pertaining to my rant below 🙂 do yo have any plans to produce a vintage kit for Eldor? New vest and hood? I figure the loin cloth can come from Adam or maybe the Talon Fighter pilot.

      1. Hey ero, I can so understand you! I felt that something is wrong with the Eldor figure, too! And I think it’s exactly what you are referring to. He is just not in the vintage/classics style he should be. Although I think I’m not the right guy for such a vintage kit. But I really hope someone skilled will take care of that!

    2. evilmike, can i call you evilmike? evilmike, we have, asa fanbase need of your services, because while everyone here is pointing out the flaws in mr blast (only his momma gets to call him riolus), and there are plenty ot mention, they’re missing the biggest travesty inherent in the figure…

      he has this totally fly belt with shotgun shells tucked into it…

      and nary a shotgun, nor the hands to hold it…

      that sounds precisely like the kind of thing we rely on evilmike for, solving extant problems that the other guys kind of miss.

      anyone can fix the flaps, or the chaps, and ibentmymanthing has a more vintagy head available on ebay, so for guys like ero, whom i’ll address personally in a moment, they’re taken care of. for those of us looking to do something more creative with our rio blast, we turn to you mr dr evilmike esq. help us evilmike kenobi, you’re our only hope!

      1. My dear dayraven, you can call me evilmike, of course. But a simple mike would be totally appropriate, too ;).

        I absolutely see Mr. Blast’s need for the right armory and I have some nice things in mind for him. The only thing I’m sad about is that he won’t be able to hold anything with his ready-to-draw-hands… So I think I will have to come up with some solutions for this, too 🙂

          1. it would make way more sense if he actually held the pistols, but they plug into his arms, so his hands could basically do whatever.

            maybe they should have done alternate hands with the butt of the pistols in his grip, so he could deliver a quality pistol whipping ala russell in tombstone.

            “Go, on, jerk that smoke wagon and see what happens!”

    3. I feel the same way! I compulsively had to buy two to do the cuts and had to wait for both to arrive so I could decide what to do.

      He would definitely benefit from your touch! 😉

  5. Any chance you can give better visuals for how you did the custom work? I’m considering it and it is the difference between keeping and selling the figure.

    1. I’m hesitant to show pics because I haven’t quite finished yet – I want to glue things down so they sit better. But essentially I cut the sides of armor off completely, leaving just the ropes. On the right side there is a line to follow for the cut and on the left I followed the hose. On the back I again followed the sculpted lines and cut straight down the back, leaving just an overlay that doesn’t connect on the sides. I’ll wrap it up here soon and post pics.

  6. I’ve been “looking forward” to this review for the past couple of weeks. I wanted to see if Rio was really as disappointing as people have said. unfortunately, it looks like he is a big disappointment. Too bad as Rio was my favorite toy back in the day. I would have loved a modern styling of the original (I love how the original has a head that is now “reminiscent” of Ron Swanson). Your custom is very impressive. It solves a lot of problems, but for me, this guy was all about the action gimmick. If he doesn’t have his weapons, he’s out for me.

    1. I agree about the action gimmick. I’m cheating by basically have two Rio’s one guns outs, and one not. But you’re still right.

      He’s not a total disappointment. There are things to enjoy, but just overall, he’s one of the worst MOTUC figs this year.

    2. I think you have your “Parks & Rec” Ron’s switched. This is definitely more Sam Elliot than Nick Offerman.

  7. Excellent review, pics, and all that.

    Gonna take a blade and a roto-tool to mine when they arrive. Not confident in my ability to de-bloat the armour, but I’ll get those flaps sorted out easily.

    In the words of the great Thew Adams, “It’s a nightmare of discoloured flaps and compromise . . . a bit like your mum.”

    The Thew video, for context:

      1. His reviews are great. I don’t collect Transformers anymore but I still enjoy watching his reviews. Much like the reviews on here of MOTUC etc.

  8. Anyone still reading? Ugh… I need a big bowl of popcorn and a few beers before I can actually read all the comments above. Perhaps later.

    Anyways, before I got Rio Bloat in hand, my biggest problem was his head. I’ve been happy to go along with 99.9999% of all the choices made on this line, but it is of my opinion that they absolutely positively got his head sculpt WRONG. Sorry if you disagree, but they really should have leaned more towards the vintage line.

    I was really looking forward to Rio. I still remember the Christmas that I got him along with Clamp Champ, Sorceress, King Randor and others. It was the best Christmas ever. As the last heroic warrior that “counted” in my book, there certainly was a lot of build-up, and I can’t help but feel let down. Hopefully Ninjor, the last evil warrior that “matters” won’t get farmed up between now and then.

    1. A lot of it’s not worth reading.

      I do love the desperado look, but like you I have that part of me that is disappointed too. That’s just how Matty rolls. A figure like Snout Spout who could benefit from a Djordje sculpt and some updated love gets nothing and a figure like Rio who didn’t really need it gets too much.

  9. This is one of those figures where I’m just not seeing the bloated armor as an issue. It totally is in quite a few, but his armor doesn’t look that huge to me. I mean, I see the difference between the modified figure and the original….but it’s just not that BIG a difference. To me, of course.

    The flap, though, GOOD GOD. I can just imagine Sling Blade going “Yep. Mm-hm.” and tossing it on the “finished” pile without much of a glance. They couldn’t have gotten the finished product in-hand and assumed it was okay, unless they just took a huge hit to the development budget (if that’s how things work). There’s just..ugh, SO many years of toy technology to look back upon! You – YOU – the person who worked on this – you couldn’t POSSIBLY figure out how to get that flap to close? Not a single thought crossed your mind? Nothin’?

    Ah well, once again, I can see the good in anything, and I’m still having a good enough time with him. I do want to fix the flap, though.

  10. As has been noted in multiple posts that are no longer here, IAT is “my site”. This particular post has needed me to remove profanity & personal attacks for two days, so I’m going to exercise that ownership & call it. I’m too busy to monitor it tonight, so it’s just going to have be lights out on this one.

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