It is great to see the Masters of the Universe Rio Blast vintage concept art of the illustrations before the figure makes it into plastic
Special thanks to yo_tengo_el_poder for posting images of the vintage Masters of the Universe concept Rio Blast! Collectors have been clamoring to have Mattel finally create a Rio Blast for the MOTU Origins line and we’ve seen Rio Blast teased on Sssqueze’s card art. Since the announcement at SDCC 2023 that the “Vintage” MOTU Origins line is moving to Mattel Creations to finish out the line, we’ve been patiently waiting to see who becomes the first figure to drop! The sketches are the production illustrations for Mattel’s Masters of Universe property and it’s like we are getting a behind the scenes look at the concept art process. According to yo_tengo_el_poder, the sketches show several different designs and 3 of them have a color marker that shows different potential color combinations. This group is a great representation of how subtle changes in the design contribute to the final product. These sketches are also great if Mattel decides to make a New Eternia version of Rio Blast, we can see the evolution of the illustrations to get an idea for what a figure could look like.
Rio Blast Concept Art
yo_tengo_el_poder goes on to say: “Early Rio Blast Preproduction Concept – Marker & Ink (Mattel, 1985). This Masters of the Universe artwork is an early version of Rio Blast drawn with ink on silk paper measuring 9.5 by 12 inches. The drawing shows some of the components that would be incorporated into the final version, such as the chest that opens with a badge and flap, the helmetless head with longer combed hair, and foldable wrist pullers. Remarkably missing its distinctive mustache and the color combination is dramatically different from the final result. Instead, she has red gloves and rear cannons with a torso and possibly metal leg armour. With this coloration, the character changes to a futuristic appearance compared to the classic cowboy motif they chose for the production piece.”
This Masters of the Universe pre-production artwork is an early version of Rio Blast drawn in pencil on square paper with blue lines that measures 8.5 by 11 inches. Since the character was being developed, it hadn’t been called Rio Blast yet, and instead, the document has the title ‘Bionic Space Cowboy’ at the top. The drawing shows some of the components that would be incorporated into the final version, such as the chest that opens with a badge, thigh-opening pistols, and foldable wrist shooters. Other features like the helmet, handkerchief and spurs did not make it to the final version. This drawing also did not show the legs with slippers and appeared to represent armor and cowboy boots.
This Masters of the Universe artwork is an early version of Rio Blast that is pencil-drawn on square paper with blue lines that measures 8.5 by 11 inches and is located on the right side of the paper. The drawing shows some of the components that would be incorporated into the final version, such as the chest that opens with a badge, thigh-opening pistols, and foldable wrist shooters. Other features like the Arrow-designed helmet and boots did not make it to the final version.
“Rio Blast Arm Blaster Preproduction Initial Concepts – 2 Piece (Mattel, 1985). This Masters of the Universe pre-production artwork is an early version of Rio Blast’s right arm that showcases the functionality of the pencil-drawn folding wrist gun on blue-lined square paper that measures 8.5 by 11 inches. Red colored pencil is also used and the sheet is accompanied by a pencil and pen cut drawing of its profile on silk paper which measures approximately 3 by 4 inches. The arm drawing shows an early version of the weapon that doesn’t look like the final form of the weapon, but it does show how it connects to the hand and rotates from the inside along the forearm. This also shows a flattened inner forearm and a peg where the gun barrel would rest, as opposed to the production forearm which has a dentured cavity for the retracted gun. It also demonstrates how the pin would be shaped to insert it into the figure’s hand. As an initial concept, the figure is called “Blast Masters figure” in the drawing named after John Hollis and is dated 03/21/85.”
“This Masters of the Universe artwork is an early version of Rio Blast drawn in pencil on silk paper measuring 14 by 17 inches with the drawing on the right half of the paper. The drawing shows some of the components that would be incorporated into the final version, such as the mustache, badge, double-back cannons and fold-down wrist pullers.”
“Other features like a helmet, armored thigh pads and spurs didn’t make it to the final version. The other 5 sheets are photocopies, 4 of them on 8.5×11″ paper and a 9.5×11″ torn left side edge. They show several different designs and 3 of them have a color marker that shows different potential color combinations. This group is a great representation of how subtle changes in the design contribute to the final product.”
About John Hollis: “John Hollis is an artist, designer, and inventor who has worked in the toy industry since 1978. He has worked for major toy manufacturers such as Mattel, Hasbro, Galoob and Spin Master and has been a consultant to many others through his own design. firm. One of his popular inventions was the Computer Warriors line of toys produced in the late 1980s. The items in this batch belong to his personal collection of preproduction artwork, photographs, and related items that originated when he worked on the Masters of the Universe original line. All of them have been in their exclusive possession for over 30 years and come with a notarized Certificate of Authenticity signed by John.”
Rio Blast Tease
This amazing scene has Sssqueeze tangling (pun intended) with some very cool MOTU characters that collector’s have been clamoring for: Rio Blast and Extendar!
As Roy states: “IT’S PACKAGING TIME!
@masters of the Universe Origins Wave 14: Sssqueeze, the evil long-armed viper!
Sssqueeze constricts his victims out of their last breath with his enormously elongated arms.”
The usual suspects for Origins:
Art Direction & Graphic Design @manuel_eduardo_caritas
Toy Design @katanarama333
This is the first time we are seeing Rio Blast teased and we are sure collector’s will be going gaga over this! Rio Blast is another character that has his trademark renewed not too long ago on 5/20/2021. Released by Mattel in 1986, Rio Blast is a futuristic cowboy who has hidden blasters all over his body. With pop out laser cannons from his chest and legs six shooters at his wrists and shoulder cannons, Rio Blast was yet another one Mattel’s gimmick heavy figures that was common in the later releases of MOTU figures. A cowboy seems a bit out of place in the planet of Eternia, but this techno-heavy Cowboy sure packs a lot of techno fire power and that technology part is what makes him make sense in the line.
In terms of his backstory, Rio Blast is described as a nomad from the Galactic Wild West who possesses incredible shooting skills and high-tech enhancements. He aids He-Man and the other heroes in their battles against Skeletor and his minions.
Rio Blast was introduced to the line in 1986 and is depicted as a cybernetic cowboy, wearing a western-style outfit. His chest and thighs are equipped with mechanical parts and weaponry.