Welcome to the Solaris Blog! ヾ( ʚ̴̶̷ .̫ ʚ̴̶̷ )ﾉ”
It’s spring here in Japan! Other than pollen, yellow sand from China and cherry blossoms, it is also the time to retire the thick winter coats and enjoy the warm breeze… if you’re not allergic, that is.
We’re just emerging from another state of emergency that had us cooped up for weeks. If cabin fever wasn’t a thing in these parts, now it is! And the coming of the most beautiful season of the year only makes it worse. For those who have never felt it before, it is an urge to run out of the house into open fields, to enjoy the weather or simply to get out of our rooms. There are many different ways to cope with it, as we’re coming to discover in the age of lockdowns.
Personally, I like going out for a walk or jog whenever it is safe and allowed. Today, however, we’re looking at something a little more thrilling!
For those of us who can’t fork out the money, time and bravery required to ride two-wheeled beasts like these, here is an opportunity to live vicariously through our favoritest character ever, Saber!
The Motored Cuirassier is a work of art, and its rankings on MyFigureCollection reflect that: it is ranked among the top 25 figures in the “Most Owned” category! There is an incredible amount of detail in this figure and its quality rivals newer models despite having been released almost a decade ago! That’s Good Smile Company for you… ( ･｀ω･) b
This figure was originally released in 2012 and then had a re-release in 2017, with no changes thanks to how awesome this figure came out!
In order to write a review, we had to nitpick hard. Very hard. And we still concluded that there were no true drawbacks! Blemishes so tiny they could have been floaters in our eyes, and imperfections in places where you wouldn’t typically see were the only things we could find.
As always, a disclaimer first:
We took all photos shown here and made minimal edits to them. We slightly adjusted the color/lighting, dust was Photoshopped out, and we cropped each photo. However, we did not remove any blemishes or imperfections.
Put your helmets on and rev up your engines! Can you keep up?
Saber, the rider
First, the rider, Saber.
Knights are the full package of war expertise, and the King of Knights is no exception; she can command an army and a beast (living or motored) and maneuver on the road as on a bloody battlefield.
Close-up of her “I’m about to --honorably-- kick some ass” face, just to make sure it is her. As we’ve seen in the review of the Konosuba figures, sometimes the figure ends up with a face we can’t recognize as our beloved characters. It is one of the things that can go wrong when bringing them from the 2D world into the 3D one. ʅ(́ ◡◝ )ʃ
But thankfully, it is our Saber! Even with winds blowing at incredible speeds on her face, her bangs hold their ground and protect the royal forehead. One can only wish for such stalwart hair! My bangs are traitors and leave the Great Wall of China exposed at the slightest breeze. (ლ `Д ́ )ლ
We found most of the flaws were on her hair. That could be due to two factors:
1. It is the most delicate part of the model; and
2. It is the brightest part of the model, hence much easier to spot imperfections.
Even so, the naked eye would easily miss some of the issues we mentioned. We were able to pick them up because we had a lens right on her. (╭ರ_⊙ )
The plastic is a little jagged in some places, though it is difficult to see in person.
The seam where her bangs and the rest of her hair connects is also visible from certain angles. From the posed angle, you wouldn’t notice it, but if you wanted a drone shot from above, it will be seen.
The color choice is a little off. Saber does have pale blond hair, but in this figure it somehow feels dull, almost dirty. There is a hint of a gray undertone, as if maybe it needed another layer of paint. The lack of shading makes it feel somewhat flat. Some paint bubbles could be spotted as well.
One could argue that the choice was also intentional; the figure as a whole has cool and dark tones, which may have clashed with a warmer hair color.
The sculpt does a great job of capturing the chaotic, windswept-but-still-fabulous look of her hair. Keep in mind this is considered an older figure! This level of detail is comparable to some figures we’ve seen released in the past year!
From one very specific angle the bangs break continuity with the rest of the hair, and it looks a little like bedhead. But hey, she was just sent flying by none other than King of Conquerors Alexander the Great. Considering what it has to stand, I personally think it’s doing great…
The thinner parts don’t feel super spindly, but we don’t recommend testing their resistance too much. Maybe leave that for the wind to do.
Speaking of wind, let’s take a look at her jacket: in this scene, the one wearing the cuirass is the bike. Saber wears a tailored suit complete with a vest and silk shirt, looking like a badass bodyguard!
Other than two minor scuffs, we can only praise the sculpt of this piece. Whoever was in charge of it must have really studied how the material would behave in an intense situation! The wrinkles and folds look extremely realistic, draping and pulling in all the right ways. (⋆▽⋆)
A good paint job puts the right colors in the right places; an exceptional one brings out the texture! Take a look at her shirt: there is an almost iridescent glow to it, as if to imitate the luxurious sheen of real silk.
It would be so easy to paint it with the same glossy paint used on the rest of her suit and let imagination do the rest, but it’s simply now how it works in real life. We don’t wear worsted shirts under worsted suits… and neither should the King of Knights.
Details like such are what elevate the figure. The same treatment was given to her socks; you can see the difference between her hosiery and her shoes! Which, in turn, are very distinct from the suit. In one picture you can see three different materials: worsted, nylon and leather, all brought to life from paint and plastic by way of a skillful paint job!
The only seams visible on her legs are the ones that exist naturally on her suit pants, which also come complete with back pockets and belt hoops under the jacket. And just to mention, thanks to this bike-less squat, she also has a very well-sculpted behind ( ͡° ͜ ͡° )
On the left hand, holding Excalibur, you can see a little bit of her shirt cuff showing, still with that silky sheen and a gentle pop of color to break the blackness of the outfit. From under the cuff a metal bracelet dangles down over her glove. There is a blemish on the hand, but it is very hard to spot.
The right hand hangs onto the throttle; you can see another bracelet peeking out here too. Lady Irisviel thought about everything when she went clothes shopping for Saber, and the sculptor didn’t miss a single detail! In this picture you can see the rider in her full glory!
This is where the figure deviates from the original scene a little bit: Excalibur’s true form is exposed. I would one day like to see how they reproduce the masking effect of when the sword is hidden! Until then, we’ll keep appreciating the many renditions of the legendary weapon.
This one is well-executed: the sword is reproduced just like in the series, with a lovely gradient on the blade and on the hilt for enhanced depth. We couldn’t find any issues in it! The royal blue detail is applied flawlessly, with sharp lines on both sides.
This is how she looks from the side of the road, if you are the unhappy passerby caught in the middle of this duel between kings! Stay there, because things are about to heat up!
The Motored Cuirassier
Now is the time for the star of the show, the Motored Cuirassier!
At first look, it is quite an impressive model (⊙︿⊙)
When you handle it, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find it still has some heft, despite being made of plastic! Of course, it’s not the same as an actual motorcycle model, neither does it have the same level of detail. It is from an animation and it shows, but it still does a great job of looking like a vehicle that could exist in a world between this one and the 2D dimension of anime.
With how much detail is put into the cuirassier, it could almost be said that it is a figure on its own. In fact, in the figma series (also by Good Smile Company), it is sold separately in its normal and Noir versions!
And we should also mention the Saber Alter figure released last year as well, as it pairs beautifully with this figure too.
But back to this Cuirassier: just like a figma of sorts, the motorcycle has some articulation on the front. This is a much appreciated feature, since it makes it much easier to set everything up!
The final pose is a split second before Saber comes to a full stop after drifting on the asphalt. The front wheel serves as a pegless support to keep the bike standing. She is mid-drift, caught at that point where you’re fighting against inertia to come to a full stop. The Cuirassier leans quite heavily to the left.
The one hand that is connected to the motorbike is also articulated, to move fluidly with the machine. This bit comes in handy (｀∀´) during the setup, when we need to steer the Cuirassier as if parking it in order to position it on the base.
A closer look at the front of the motorcycle reveals the shafts connecting the two parts. The clutch wire on the left handle and the throttle and brake wires on the right are visible under the armored fairings.
The engine casing glows blue, infused with Saber’s magical energy! Under the cuirass there is a very spunky Yamaha Vmax, a powerful bike on its own.
The sculpt decided to change the casing slightly and leave the circle open instead of reproducing the grid look it has in the anime. It is not an unwelcome choice, however! Once Saber is mounted in the motorbike, that part is covered by her foot. It may have been done like that to increase how much of the casing we see, for a little color in an otherwise dark area.
The footrests were packaged separately. Instructions show how to assemble them, but finding the holes can be a little challenging still, since they blend in with the body of the bike. Make sure to do the assembly in a well-lit place!
Once properly connected, they disappear into the Cuirassier, becoming just another detail in this incredibly realistic figure!
Whomever the footrest fit shall be the mighty rider of the modern warhorse. And it’s a perfect fit for Saber! Notice how much of the engine casing is covered? If it were true to the original, we would see more chrome than teal.
The skid plate, which goes all the way around the core of the bike, is surprisingly dull compared to the rest of the fairings. Granted, you can only put so much detail before it becomes impractical and less plausible, but a little more blending here, maybe some rivets and some shading would have been nice...
Still, the bottom is not always on display, so this is just another nitpick. The parts that are always visible have received much more attention!
The tires have a very rubbery look and feel to them, even though they are still just plastic!
The seat was another pleasant surprise: if you push down on it, you will notice there is a little give. There is a hollow part underneath that gives this effect of a cushioned seat. Her Royal Behind rides in comfort!
In addition to the engine, the teal reflectors are a nice pop of color, and the shade of blue is similar to the original scene.
Close-up of the exhaust pipes and the suspension! With great horsepower comes great emission. (￣。￣) Though I am sure magical energy is pretty clean, especially hers!
There are some blemishes on the exhaust pipes, but these don’t take away from the good looks of the metal effect on them. If anything, it adds to the appearance of wear and tear. The Yamaha was being pushed to its limit just a while before!
Saber’s crest decorate the front fairings on both sides. Just a small stamp so the beast knows who it belongs to!
And that concludes the review of the rider and the mount! It is not done yet, however. The base also contains a lot of detail, and is an essential part in recreating the original scene!
All about that base
A good base is the difference between having a figure on your display and having an actual scene on your display. At the very least, it shouldn’t interrupt the aesthetic of the figure with clashing colors; at its best, it integrates harmoniously with the figure, immersing the viewer in the memory of that important moment in the anime or manga series.
The base on the Motored Cuirassier does just that. Just from looking at it you know what happened here; the skid marks and the ruined asphalt bring you back to the race against Iskandar’s chariot!
The pavement feels rough to the touch, with the texture having been integrated in the sculpt. While it may not look like real asphalt, it reaches a good balance between simulating the material enough and also being to scale with Saber and the Cuirassier.
The series logo has a metallic finish, which contrasts nicely against the matte asphalt.
The smaller divet is where the front wheel sits. Other pegs in the back wheel and Saber’s foot keep the unit attached to the base and standing upright; this one stands freely. When setting the figure up, you will have to swivel the front of the bike into place.
The back wheel slides smoothly onto the peg. For the picture we’ve kept it shallow, but already at that depth it feels very secure. There is room to push it deeper, if you find the need to.
Here’s the peg by itself with the skid mark in the background.
The tires on the Cuirassier must have inner armor as well to be able to dig up the asphalt like that! It shows what type of a beast it is, and pays homage to the Yamaha Vmax with its edgy power and design.
The other peg supporting the figure is on the inside of Saber’s heel.
This was the trickiest part about setting up the figure, and it took way longer than expected! ｡ﾟ(ﾟ∩´﹏`∩ﾟ)ﾟ｡ Fitting the peg into the hole is easy enough, but since the hole is on a slant, lining things up can pose a little challenge. As you can see in the picture, there are scuffs on the road lines around her foot. The fear of scuffing it up even more added to the frustration as you slide her back and forth as gently as possible to get everything positioned just right.
A different approach may work for you, but for us, this is what worked best:
1. Slot the back wheel on the peg inside the ruined asphalt.
2. Tentatively angle the front wheel into the smaller divet.
3. Attach Saber’s hand to the throttle.
4. Slot Saber’s shoe into the peg while also adjusting her right hand and the front wheel as needed.
Essentially, it is the same as parking a real motorcycle!
Once everything is set up properly, it becomes very stable and the scene unfolds before your eyes! We were actually surprised to see how far the Cuirassier leans. This is one moment in time, just before the face-off against Iskandar!
It is a huge contrast compared to other figures that require some setup, such as Nendoroids and prize figures. With those, you often have to jam parts together. Even high-quality scales sometimes require the application of a degree of force to get everything to stay. This figure, however, despite the tricky foot peg, is incredibly easy to set up.
The Motored Cuirassier is a highly detailed model that is very easy to set up. The pose is dynamic, the scene recalls a very climatic moment in the anime, and many details help bring Saber to life. It is the closest thing we have to a Holy Grail in this universe! Motorbike enthusiasts may also appreciate the homage to a Yamaha classic.
The skill of the sculpt and the paint job is so good that the images of the 3D figure are making their way into my mind, blending in with the episode of the highway chase, and making me believe that I have seen shots of the motorcycle that never existed in that version of the series. (⊙_☉)
The Motored Cuirassier lives up to the hype, and remains a great purchase despite being an older figure! Just like Saber herself, it has earned its rank in the top. It is a mount worthy of a King, even in this age!
We hope you enjoyed this one!
Until next time! ヾ(＾∇＾)