Perhaps one of the most famous international figures, from the on set, is Cobra De Aço; The Steel Cobra. The figure was notorious, because he was shown on one of the 30th Anniversary trading cards, giving him far more exposure than a lot of other international figures.
In addition to being well known, he has an easily identifiable appearance, the combo of the chromed Snake Eyes head and the Flash body, is striking, memorable, and a very unique pairing. Thrown on a strong colour scheme of black and yellow, turn him into a bad guy, and you’ve got yourself a popular figure! Brazilian De Aços are common, they’re expensive, but you can get them if you are willing to look. The quality of the Brazilian figures aren’t too much lower than US figures, and even though he’s a straight arm, he was given the Flash accessories, which are probably the safest weapon for an 82’s thumbs, so there’s a lot of De Aço figures that still have their thumbs, for that very reason.
The colours on the figure are actually really well done. The yellow pads over the black suit, with touches in silver are unique but not over the top. It’s a design that’s strong enough, it probably had some Hasbro direction, and is something I could see having been put into the G.I. Joe line in the early 80s. The original scheme for the De Aço is still my favourite.
In the early 2010s the Cobra De Aço was a figure who found himself being made into a Factory Custom. The first wave of De Aços is still in my opinion, the highest quality run of any of the custom figures, where the only QC issues I ever noticed were with the laser rifles. Since most pictures are the front of figures, you can’t see the missing Estrela logo, here’s there’s three easy tells to determine if it’s a Brazilian or a Black Major, the yellow on the Black Major version is a different shade, the chest logo is a lot bigger and centred, and there’s a nub protruding from the figure’s left thigh. I don’t know if these have ever been written down anywhere, but there they are! The TBM version is cool, and there’s a bunch of other styles and colours, my favourites are the Crimson bodied and grey bodied.
Cobra De Aço has a memorable character. He’s an arrogant prick, whom other COBRAs dislike and have attempted to take out. He also has a quote that rules, “The Joe who will stop me hasn’t been born yet” (Paraphrased). This is nice, because it gives him an actual personality, and one that isn’t too far off from the American portrayals of COBRA agents, without being a carbon copy of one of the existing characters. It’s also easy to remember, because back in the day, there was a dude who called himself “De-Aco” and he ran an internet gang that were the Baddest Men On eBay. So to me, Cobra De Aço is the baddest man in COBRA.
I like this figure, I don’t use him too often, as there’s other options that are practically the same, but 25 years younger. My Estrela De Aço just sits in a box with the rest of my Joes, but such is life. There’s still a charm to this figure, for me, as I remember thinking how cool it looked, and that I’d probably never own one, back in the early 2000s, even though it’s nowhere near as impressive a figure, since a lot of them became available.