Review: Max Factory's Figma Saber Nero Claudius



Long time no see readers, it’s been almost a year since I last reviewed, life has been busy
but fear not, I am still writing on Round Table Reviews if you’re looking for more content to
devour. Today, my review is focusing on Max Factory’s Nero Claudius Figma. Let’s get this
show on the road!



CHARACTER HISTORY:


As usual some character background first, Red Saber (AKA: Nero Claudius, the Emperor of
Roses) is one of the playable characters in Fate Extella, C.C.C., and Fate Extra. As I have never
played or watched any of the three Fate spinoffs, I can only speak from my experience from Fate
Grand Order (which I happen to live on, their game servers I mean haha). Red Saber is the
historical Emperor Nero Claudius (genderbent, surprise, surprise!), in Grand Order you (as
the player) meet her in the 3rd Singularity, during her reign in Rome. In general, she is very
different from Blue Saber (Altria Pendragon) who shared many visual similarities to Nero; the
Emperor’s boisterous air as well as infectious smile is what she is best remembered for
throughout the Fate series. Perhaps one of the most well developed sabers in the series,
Nero is also spoiled and needs lot of attention. However under the needy, cloying personality
is an equally insecure and wavering nature. Nero questions her every move as she carries the
weight of a nation on her shoulders and she is terrified of tarnishing the reputation of her
ancestors who built the glorious city-state she governs.


BOX DESIGN:






The box for Nero is actually quite populated with English text. Almost all components have
English aside from the short blurb about her character which is hidden by an english label
about choking hazards. Like most figures, there is a clear front panel that displays the figure
and all its pieces in plain view. Each side of the box features different poses you can pose the
figure in. So far, a very enticing design.



Max Factory seems to know their product goes far as there are several different warning labels
in a slew of romance languages on the back of the packaging. While not as cute as the Cu-poche
box from last time, the Figma line is a bit more serious in nature and the poses the figure is
photographed in definitely reflects that. Instead of the trademark chibi frame like the
Cu-poche or nendoroid lines, Max Factory has made a dynamic mobile figure with plenty of
dramatic poses with her sword and disc-like prop. I’m definitely looking forward to posing her 😁



UNBOXING & FIGURE:




Opening the box, we can see that the figure is in a clear plastic carton with a fitting “lid” to
hold all the components in place. The figure’s main body has a layer of plastic under and over
it while the other components are simply sitting in the plastic carton. A bit less obsessive
compulsive than the Nendoroid series but nevertheless, Japan’s preoccupation with packaging
is bar none.


This figure comes with:

  • 1 Body
  • 3 Faceplates
  • 1 Sword
  • 1 Disc Weapon
  • 1 Arm Guard (to mount disc weapon) & Replacement Left Forearm
  • 1 Shoulder Decoration
  • 1 Bicep Accessory
  • 1 Stand Extra Accessory Joint
  • 1 Extra Neck Joint
  • 1 Figure Stand Assistant (Arm)
  • 1 Stand
  • 8 Alternative Hand Options (4 Sets Of Matching L & R Hands)






The body of the main figure is a reasonable size of roughly 6 inches. Sculpted details on her
are clearly detailed, from the fastenings on her bodice to the golden shoes she wears, careful
attention has been paid to her overall design. The painting on her sleeves and skirt are done in
a delicate hand, perhaps even stenciled on as every scallop is seemingly perfect. I found less
paint errors on this figma that compared to the Cu-Poche figure which is a great sign of quality
control. A little bit of fanservice is that signature peekaboo butt window has been faithfully
retained in this figure’s design. Even her perfect bun has been given attention which is always
welcome as that is one of -almost- every saber-clone’s signature hairstyle.


EXTRA PARTS:



Next is a careful analysis of Nero’s extra parts. Her weapons and accessories are faithfully
reproduced to this 1/10 (6 in / 5.5ft) scale to match her body. The painting on this figure
really cannot be overstated, they tiniest ridges have been reproduced and completely filled
in with a pristine paint job.




Nero’s favourite sword has been produced to be a tiny glossy, paper-knife length weapon.
Not very sharp just in case a younger user is playing with it, the hilt comes apart to slide
into one of Nero’s half closed fists.





Nero’s mount arm guard is meant to hold her disc accessory; it is attached to a replacement
part for her left forward. The reproduction of her arm and sleeve are meant to melt seamlessly
into the figure’s main body once it is applied. While there are few paint errors on this figure,
I did find some mold release lines that were not sanded off and this arm guard is the best piece
to point that out. Seams form around this piece showing exactly where the mold’s pieces
touched together. While not the biggest turn off, it does mean production costs are cut for this
piece in particular as the rest of the figure’s body and sword do not have these unsightly seams.






The centerpiece of Nero’s arm accessory is this disc-like weapon that fits squarely into the arm
guard via a negative receptor (the positive nub is marked by blue paint in the arm guard’s
center) This is the most noticeable paint job issue with the entire figure; random flecks of
black paint have made their way onto the disc’s front. Considering how clean the rest of the
paint job on this figure is, this careless mistake is just that, careless. This is probably a 1/1000
issue and one that I’m not able to call Max Factory to complain about. The smallest accessories
are Nero’s bicep and shoulder accessories. Both pieces are tiny and well molded for her size as
these pieces are both meant to fit snugly onto the figure’s shoulder and arm respectively.







These two faceplates are the extra faceplates not including her default face. There is a
laughter face and an action/shouting face plate done in sculpting for the features and decals
for the eyes. Unlike the Nendoroid figures who have full chins, these faceplates are oddly 2
dimensional in that if turned to the side they’re entirely flat. Luckily, Nero’s side bangs do a
good job hiding that fact. On the back-side of the faceplates is a negative setting meant to fit
into the rest of the head. Nero’s bangs comes off in order to facilitate this change. Unlike the
Nendoroid line’s older models, the neck joint is not connected to the face plates. This seems
to be the trend for most mobile figures nowadays; I imagine faceplates with one singular neck
joint cost less to produce than full faces with an individual neck joint each.







Next up is the helper parts of the figure. The stand and the assistant parts are self explanatory
as they do not have any gimmicks such as the Cu-poche magnetic stand or Nendoroid’s multiple
fitting holes for the stand assistants. There is exactly one way to use it.


The figure instructions sheet comes in japanese and english; there is a parts checklist, visual
instructions on how the disc weapon fits into the arm guard, as well as a visual guide for
reconnecting the replacement forearm, shoulder and bicep accessories to the figure.
Additionally there are more warning instructions on the far left side of the instructions
manual. A fun fact they added in was in case an user had issues fitting parts together, to
put pieces of the figure in warm water to help them fit better together. Instructions to
contact Good Smile can be found in this section nearing the bottom as well. Overall an
entertaining and informative read. I definitely giggled over the line regarding ‘do not wave
or point the product at others as the product is for amusement purposes only’.






The last parts in the package are a plastic figma bag for storing parts after they are open.
Most of the plastic bags had to be cut open so this thoughtful little addition is most welcome
in order to keep the figure parts together. The tiny interchangeable hands are mounted on
nubs to a board that displays the matching set of hands side by side for ease of use. I have to
‘hand’ it to Max Factory, they’ve really thought the organization of this figure through. ;)


Alrighty, now that the parts explanation is over, time to do some posing photography!






First is a full thrust pose with Nero’s sword. From certain angles, I noticed that Nero’s sculpted
bangs get in her eyes which is unfortunate since they spent so much time making her green
eyes stand out against the red of her dress. I changed the camera angle and it fixed some
of the issue. A back shot of the same post for aesthetic reasons shows her cute fluttering
hairbow and a little bit of butt-crack, personally I prefer this pose since it’s a bit more visually
interesting and her left arm looks like it’s directing the sword.



Nero’s laughter is a refreshing change to the serious tone of Fate in general. I paired her
laughing faceplate to a relaxed hand in front of her face and suddenly the emperor looks as
carefree as a child. True to the game, her smile is contagious.




This next pose is a pose I remembered from references of fight scenes. The ‘next challenger’
pose as I like to call it; this is the pose I think of after Nero fires off her Noble Phantasm
‘Aestus Domus Aurea’. There is something cocky in her smile here as if she’s awaiting the
next challenger to her ring.






Possibly my favourite pose is Nero raising her hands in the air. I referenced this pose from
the game where she is in her Colosseum and she raises her hands to conduct the thunderous
applause of the audience. Other fanart has featured her doing this pose when rose petals rain
down on her vocal performances too, I was ill prepared this time, but my next Nero figure
review will definitely have flowers :) For now, just imagine a shower of petals falling in the
background, or if you’re so inclined, I can shop the words “no f*cks given” above her head
too LOL. Sorry, off topic, the third shot of this set has a different camera angle that makes
Nero look more alive as if she is looking over her shoulder.





Unfortunately I started losing light during these last shots so I wasn’t able to take many
dynamic poses with her arm brace and disc, but since the box design features the main battle
stance on the back, I didn’t feel the need to recreate it. I will point out however that this
figure loses a bit of height when she is standing, even changing the camera angle doesn’t fix
it much. Overall not a big issue as the real Nero in game is only about 4 ft 9 in so this too is
accurate. Her battle cry face is by far the least photogenic of her face plates; perhaps it is
once again due to her bangs placement, but I feel that this is a setback for the figure
altogether. Her main body’s left forearm was also difficult to remove and replace with the
arm guard piece. I cannot say that this is unusual for pieces such as these since they need to
fit together tightly in order to not have a gap between the elbow, but it made the replacing
time a bit longer than expected.


THOUGHTS FOR IMPROVEMENT:
The majority of problems with this figure is in aesthetics and mobility. Some parts did not
want to fit or come apart making the figure difficult to pose, see left forearm. The face-plate’s
lack of chin is particularly strange, luckily it doesn’t show up in photographs. Another less
noticeable point is that her shoulder joints are very strange due to the character design’s puff
sleeves; this problem is impossible to fix but I have painstakingly hidden most of the
awkwardness of the sleeves with careful camera angles and just a bit of rotating of the figure’s
arms. Lastly of course the obstructive bangs on the figure could do with a rework.


What to take away from this review:

  • Packaging and Box: 5/5
  • Paint work: 5/5 stars
  • Pose-ability: 2/5 stars (below standard)
  • Stand design: 3/5 stars (standard)
  • Extra parts: 5/5 stars
  • Versatility: 4/5 stars
  • Ingenuity: 3/5 stars (standard)
  • Thoughtfulness (of the producer): 5/5 stars
  • Affordability: 4/5 stars


Final Notes:
As far as figures are concerned, I’m not hugely impressed with this figure. It is still a great addition
to anyone’s collection, but not a must have. I’ve always been a bit critical of the Figma line due to its
poseability but they really do try their best with a figure of this size. A factor that I’d like to see
expanded on is adding more props or face plates for Nero. This character is hugely associated with
roses, and several figures and art feature her holding roses or the roses are an integral part of her
clothing. A contemplative/sad faceplate would also not go amiss as she is actually an incredibly deep
character, and in Grand Order, she is often looking away, withdrawing into herself and thinking about
her decisions she made as a ruler. If you’re in the market for a Nero figure, I’d recommend this Figma,
but I personally think there are better Nero figures out there.







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