Hello and welcome! This time we’re taking a look at the new Nero Claudius (Third Ascension) figure from Stronger.
Nero has long been one of my favourite characters in the Fate franchise, so I’ve been excited for this figure for a while! Although she debuted in Fate/Extra, this figure is based on Nero’s third ascension outfit from the mobile game Fate/Grand Order.
So, let’s go over the vital stats before taking a closer look. At an ¥18,333 RRP (tax excluded), Nero is on the pricier side. She’s 1/7 scale and stands about 23cm tall. Since Nero is a small statured woman, she actually seems pretty big for her scale. In reality, she’s a little bit shorter than Bell Fine’s 1/7 scale Minamoto no Raikou, but Nero is a bit more substantial. It’s an interesting example of how scale works!
If we’re talking about first impressions, then Nero is certainly an eye-catching figure. With an elegant pose and a classy marble styled stand, she looks as if she could be stood in her theatre, basking in the awe and ire of her audience.
At the same time, the bold see-through dress (complete with gold gradient) and oversized, gaudy pauldron both speak of Nero’s bombastic and occasionally vulgar sense of style. It’s supposed to be a lion, if you’re wondering. These details really make Nero a treat to look at.
The figure quite closely captures illustrator Wada Arco’s original illustration (seen above), down to her distinct way of drawing eyes. Wada Arco is among my favourite artists, so I was delighted to see how faithfully they recreated her style.
Nero does require some assembly out of the box, but she’s relatively easy to put together. It might seem like there’s more detachable parts than you’d really need, but this allows you to swap some of the parts with the alternate first ascension version of the figure. Combining the two figures’ parts should allow you to recreate the full range of Nero’s three ascension stages.
While I appreciate the customisation options that part swapping offers, I would have liked to see some of those parts included in this version – particularly her smiling expression. This figure is already fairly expensive on its own, so the idea of buying a second version to get the single part that you want is less than appealing.
That said, the overall differences are significant enough that I can understand why the parts are split between two figures, even if I don’t like it. While this shouldn’t bother casual collectors, hardcore collectors might consider taking the plunge just to have the ‘complete’ figure.
But let’s get back to the figure itself – and it is quite the figure! When it comes to her sculpting and paint work, Nero is up there among the best. The pauldron particularly highlights the figure’s strong points – the metallic bronze paintwork of the pauldron is gorgeous, while the fur lining features a slightly glittery paint and shiny gold-leaf style hearts.
Fine details are sculpted and painted with obvious care – the photos speak for themselves on how crisply defined the figure’s details are. Meanwhile, the paintwork features many subtle changes in shading that give the figure depth and form.
I didn’t notice any egregious errors on this figure, barring one small mark on the side of her dress. I’m willing to let that slide, since it’s most likely a one-off production flaw and it’s very subtle. These sort of small issues are hard to avoid, but easy to ignore.
Perhaps the only points of contention are Nero’s stoic expression and the see-through dress. Nero’s expression is really just a preference thing, as it is accurate to the source – I just feel that the smiling face should have been included at this price, rather than having to buy a whole extra figure for it.
The dress is, again, largely a matter of preference. I can see how some might not appreciate the more see-through, almost plasticky look. The prototype photos show a cloudier translucent dress, but I feel like that might have ended up looking dirty – though it is closer to the original illustration. For what it’s worth, I think the more transparent look works well enough.
If it isn’t obvious by now, I’m very pleased with this figure. Although it is a little on the pricy side, I think the obvious and impressive level of quality makes up for it. It’s one of the best figures I’ve seen in some time, without a doubt.
Aside from matters of preference, the only serious problem I have with this figure is that you need to buy a whole second version to customise it at all, which is a shame. Still, that’s an external issue, and it is understandable when you consider the differences between both versions. If you put that quibble aside, then the figure itself is fantastic.
For those of you looking for a Nero figure for your collection, I would thoroughly recommend taking a look at this one. It’s really something special.
Stronger presents an excellent rendition of Fate/Grand Order’s Nero Claudius. While it’s unfortunate that any customisation options require you to buy another version of the figure, it doesn’t take away from a thoroughly impressive piece of work. Fans of Nero should definitely check this one out.