The same is true for the chaps. The peg for the guns are inside the flaps. And while the ingeniously fit over the existing knee pegs, they stick out like oversized thigh-high boots at the top. Combined, it just creates a really disappointing visual.
And, of course, the armor creates articulation problems as well. The “which way to the gym” look is in full effect for the arms, the belly button pops up if you need to make use of the ab crunch, and the neck loses movement thanks to the high collar. He’s frustrating to pose too – and you’ll see that. I think I ended up just having him stand in all the pictures. Speaking of standing though, the ankles connect at an odd angle. The joint is thankfully tight, but due to that odd angle, both my Rios can be frustrating to stand at times.
The paint was one area where I was happy with the figure. I love the colors and all the little details Djordje added are painted well on both of my Rio’s. The face does need a paint that’s a little too thick, but I think the face still comes out looking great despite that. The only complaint I have on the paint is actually with the accessories – Mattel couldn’t budget in any paint for the backpack arsenal, so it’s a cheap grey plastic standing in for silver that appears elsewhere on the figure.
Rio included all of his arsenal as clip-on accessories. The aforementioned backpack that also has the big guns and targeting gear that slips over his head, the chest weapon, two pistols for his hands, and two more weapons for his knees. They’re all fine. I know some nitpicks were made about the visor/targeting array not being flush to his head, but I think it works the way it is. Technically, it looks like he can use it while still being aware of his surroundings. I like that fine. The accessories themselves are fine, it’s just how they connect that hurts the figure.
Overall, Rio Blast just isn’t up to par. I hope there are folks out that love him, or are surprised by how “good” they find him. I think there is a lot to love here, a start. The initial sculpt could’ve used a little more forethought into how Mattel might mess it up (that’s not to excuse Mattel from messing it up, however), but it’s a solid sculpt with a ton of great detail. The basic articulation is there, it’s just blocked by poor engineering. And that idea – that there’s a good figure under these mistakes is why I bought a second figure and carved him up. I cut off the armor connectors and will eventually just glue down the remaining overlay. He looked a ton better already. I did try cutting a hole in the armor to make the flip better, but it’s still just not a good fit. I think I’m just going to go all-in on my slimmed down Rio and glue the flap down. I may cut the pegs off the chaps as well, basically creating a Rio Blast that has no action feature. It kills me to do that, but I’ll keep my fat Rio Blast unaltered and guns out too. It’s not a great solution, but Mattel has left me with little choice. I just have to hope there’s not another figure this flawed in 2015.
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