Review: Colonel Mustafa Elite
Just when you think he’s gone, Iron Sheik always finds a way to come back when you least expect him…
Hey! Wait a minute, that isn’t the Iron Sheik! This is Colonel Mustafa, a member of The Triangle of Terror!
Back in 1991 when Sgt Slaughter turned his back on America and became an Iraqi sympathizer, the WWF decided he needed to be paired with Sheiky Baby, now reborn as the evil Colonel Mustafa. One problem…Sheik was from Iran. So it was a little weird to for many people to see Sheik, even in storyline, trade up for another country that was usually at odds with his homeland. But that’s another story for perhaps a more knowledgeable blogger.
This gimmick and storyline went over my head as a kid but in a bit of childlike naivety, I didn’t care because Sgt Slaughter was the champion and he was one of my heroes. Now? Yeah I can see it being bad taste. That said, Sheik got a nice little run alongside the Sarge and their manager General Adnan including a main event spot at Summerslam 1991!
Aside from a single Classic Superstar release, WWE wouldn’t go out of their way to merchandise this era of Sarge or Sheik too much and it’s easy to understand. Oddly enough, I’m very grateful that they decided to give us this figure. 1991 is one of my favorite years for the pro wrestling history and Summerslam 91 is my favorite Summerslam of all time so it’s nice to be able to have a somewhat complete collection of all the talent who appeared at that show. Now all that’s missing is General Adnan which I won’t hold my breath for him.
I’ve said it before but the best part of the Elite line are the head sculpts. While this is just a simple reuse of an earlier Sheik hesdpsculpt, I have to say it’s a good choice to pick. Sadly, that’s where the praise ends.
Now the part I don’t like: the bad. I hate doing reviews that are mainly negative and even considered not writing this review because of that. But here we are, sadly.
There’s a lot of potential here but it doesn’t deliver. For starters, Mustafa’s singlet usually had camoflauge print all over it in order to match Sgt Slaughter’s gear but for some reason, that pattern wasn’t included. Sure it’s nothing paint can’t fix but given the level of detail Mattel puts into gear and paint jobs, this is a bit surprising.
Second, I don’t know if it’s just my figure or it’s a common issue but it seems the torso and arm colors don’t match. This could be from the fact that Mustafa had his jacket on in the packaging(a very big pet peeve of mine) which could sometimes lead to leaving stains on the body. I also had a very difficult time keeping his beret on the top his head. Now because the beret is so oddly shaped I’ll let it go but what really disappoints me is the jacket.
As I stated before the jacket was packaged on Mustafa, not separately. The jacket does look nice and as accurate as it possibly could barring any potential legal issues but it’s not even big enough to stay of the figure’ itself. In fact it seems about one size too small. Now if you bought this to play with or don’t need the jacket at all, that should be no issue but for those trying to display, it’s a little flimsy, rides up and doesn’t even cover his stomach all the way. After trying to affix the Velcro and wrestling around with it as I posed him more, I just gave up and accepted it wasn’t meant to happen. Not a fan. And on top of that I got frustrated with trying to pick out the right background for these photos, so my irritation was at an all time high.
While there’s a lot of bad here, I do applaud Mattel and the Elite Squad for going in a different direction and giving us a character we don’t normally see. It’s pretty refreshing to see this version of Sheik. I’m not exactly sure how he himself felt about this time in his career but it was at a period I look back often with fondness and nostalgia.
I honestly can’t give this my recommendation unless you’re a completist and even then, you can prolly customize a better figure with some other accessories. However, if you’re after a figure that isn’t readily available and prolly won’t be done again in the future, this could be up your alley.