WWE Elite (Series 5)
Vladimir Kozlov
6.5 Inch Scale
By: Mattel

Look who it is, it’s America’s favorite Russian! No, not Yakov Smirnoff, it’s Vladimir Kozlov. Okay, maybe he’s not America’s favorite Russian, but how many action figures does Smirnoff have on the shelves? Exactly! Vladimir, has an impressive three figures from Mattel currently available, including today’s review, a Mattel WWE Elite.

I’ll confess that I actually have no idea why Kozlov has so many figures. Sure he’s one half of the WWE Tag Champions right now, but that could literally be said of any WWE wrestler at any point on any day. I mean seriously, Kozlov’s partner is Santino Marella… The days of tag team wrestling meaning anything in WWE is long gone. Nuff said. Kozlov’s most famous claim to fame was probably the fact that he was brought to WWE by former TNA co-owner Jerry Jarrett. Why? Who knows.

So what else is Kozlov famous for? Well, he had a ton of vignettes that preceded him where he called WWE, Double-Double E and that’s about it. Actually to be fair, he did briefly get pushed as a “monster” before being buried by Triple H (shocker!) and then drifting around in the midcard doing nothing. This is how WWE operates now and if Kozlov is even around in three or four years it’ll be a miracle. WWE used to make stars, but these days their pattern is bring a guy in, push him to the moon, watch him fail, do nothing with him, release him. Wash, Rinse, Repeat, CENA!

There are two differences between WWE Legends by Mattel and WWE Elites by Mattel. Elites aren’t legendary (hence Kozlov) and the packaging. Elites get a spiffy window box with windows on the front and back. I’m not sure why, but I guess it’s to appear as though you’re getting more for your money with these figures. Given that they cost $5 more, that’s reasonable.

Of course that illusion is revealed when you open it up and see that there’s mostly air in this package, not accessories. He’s not doing some sort of an odd pose in the package but yet the packaging managed to damage his leg (more on that in a minute) and he’s rubber banded in pretty tight. I don’t really see the point of the rubber bands when the figure itself is wedged in a tight plastic container and then has a full box on the outside.

I have no proof of this, but I’d like to offer you my theory on Mattel’s WWE Elites. Since the Elites are what most “collectors” want and they are the real reason that Mattel is in many ways superior to Jakks, Mattel has chosen to give the Elites terrible head sculpts. This way you are forced to also buy the regular figure as well, to get a decent head sculpt.

I suppose it could just be coincidence, but Kozlov’s basic head sculpt is perfect and his Elite is a snarling goofus that looks like he just stepped out of Japanese Anime or something. It looks nothing at all like Kozlov and barely looks human. Of course, even Mattel’s basic head sculpt is inferior to Jakks’ take on the Moscow Mauler.

The bigger issue for me is that my Kozlov came out with a gimp foot. It may be hard to see here, but the peg was not only not fully in, but twisted sideways in the heel of the foot. This meant that it could not be brought down and Kozlov was uneven.

This is really annoying and it goes to a larger issue of packages. Mattel wraps their figures up so tight that warpage seems to come in all lines. This is especially frustrating on a figure that ran me $16 after taxes.

Thankfully, after a few minutes in the boil, Kozlov’s ankle peg could be reshaped and properly fitted into the slot. This is a great thing, but I shouldn’t have to fix figures when I get them out of the package. Especially when this isn’t the only QC issue with this figure.

Kozlov’s second issue? His coat that he comes with has stained his arms. This isn’t as noticeable as it is on some figures, because Kozlov’s coat is lined in white and thus, the stains aren’t red but rather just a lightening of his skin. However it’s really becoming a trend and I desperately want Mattel to stop putting the clothes on the figures in the package because it’s damaging everyone’s skin tone.

Once you get past the horrible head sculpt, the damaged ankle and the deformed skin, Kozlov isn’t a terrible figure. His character isn’t very interesting and his outfit is pretty boring, but Mattel has done a good job of replicating it. He has his boots and tights logos, boring as they may be.

He’s also a giant. While the real Kozlov as billed at 6’8″, this figure is one of the tallest in Mattel’s collection. It’s nice to have some varying sized figures and even his legs are massive. I definitely can appreciate that. It’s one of Mattel’s strong suits.

Articulation is what sets the Elites apart from the RA/Basic style of figure. It’s the main reason guys like me are jumping aboard the Mattel train. We like to pose our wrestling figures.

Kozlov can bend and twist in a variety of ways. He has double knees, but the gigantic knee pads do tend to impede that some. For once though, it’s actually accurate as Kozlov does wear these monstrosities on his legs.

Perhaps most impressive is the fact that Kozlov can perform a bearhug and actually have his hands clasp together. That shows some serious range on the joints and it’s something that prior to Mattel’s wrasslin’ men, wasn’t possible.

For an Elite figure, Kozlov comes with next to nothing. Typically Elites are supposed to come with entrance gear and some sort of weapon or accessory… But Kozlov only gets the gear.

His jacket/gi is pretty nice and has logo and insignia on it. Of course, having him wear it for long periods of time causes his skin to change colors and it’s irreversible… So this is basically garbage.

He also came with a basic Mattel Stand but I forgot to take pictures of it. It looks the exact same as the stand included with Drew McIntyre, but with a different paper nameplate. Don’t get too excited though, future assortments of Elites won’t include stands.

At $14.99 (and up in some places) this figure is not very good. Sure he has Elite articulation, but he has next to no accessories, a bad head sculpt and what few things he does come with are bound to give you QC issues in the long run. This figure is only for hardcore Kozlov fans… So basically nobody.

Score Recap:
Packaging – 7
Sculpting – 5
Articulation – 8
Accessories – Entrance Gi
Value – 6
Overall – 6 out of 10

“In Soviet Russia, Anime face make you!”

Kozlov is a pretty big letdown. If this figure had a decent head sculpt (like his basic) and didn’t have the QC issues he might have fared better. The Elite articulation is good (identical to the WWE Legends) but there needs to be more to many of these characters to make them appealing. Kozlov desperately needed some accessories or something to help boost up his value. Unless you’re just dying to have a super articulated Kozlov in your collection (or you need him for custom parts) I’d pass on him and pick up a Legend figure.

5 Responses to Figure Review: WWE Elite Vladimir Kozlov

  • Mark says:

    Great review. I have also had a problem with my Ricky Steamboat and some other having their arms etc dyed by the fabric. Also the issue of limbs warping is really annoying. My Steve Austin and some others have this issue and it pretty much ruins them. No one shuld have to fix a brand new figure thay just spent their money on. In the UK shops will not refund you for these items, when yo've opened it its yours. Even if it was actually broke its tough to get a refund as they suspect you are swapping out another already broken one. I guess my main omplaint is most shopshere do not carry Legends so I have to buy them online so I can't inspect them for warped limbs etc. Mattel really needs to up the Quality Contol.

  • I'm going to see if Mattel will address this issue in my next Q&A with them. Hopefully the feedback might actually lead to a change in their production. We'll just have to see.

    Thanks for the feedback.

  • 3B_ says:

    Wow… I just bought this guy today. I skipped him when he was first released, but Target has Elites on sale for $10, so I figured he'd be an okay buy for the price. I haven't opened him, yet, but your review is making me consider returning him. I have the same staining issue with Ricky Steamboat.

    Warped limbs seem to happening everywhere. Playmates is using the same clear rubberbands and molded plastic trays on their Lucha Libre USA figures. I purchased one today and his leg was warped at the knee.

  • matt says:

    hi witch line out of mattel’s elite or jakks deluxe classic line is more durable to play because my little bro lays a bit roug

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