A couple of years ago, a purchase like Human Alliance Shadow Blade Sideswipe - basically a black repaint of the screen accurate silver version - was unthinkable. This was a road I went down for on-screen characters only and the mass of HA repaints didn't appeal, even the HA moulds I didn't yet have weren't interesting. Fast forward to 2014/15 and my love for the ROTF/DOTM Human Alliance figures has blossomed once again and I'm within finishing distance of completing what is turning out for me to be the most successful Transformers sub-line of big hits.
There was never any doubt about the vehicle mode on the original HA Sideswipe mould, it's probably the nicest of all and finished to an exceptionally high standard. If only Soundwave had enjoyed that level of paint. Shadow Blade Sideswipe looks incredibly good with the purple tinted windows, silver stripes and the matte black. No doubt a few have seen this as an excuse to make him a Decepticon, something that's always bugged me. Why can't Masterpiece G2 Lambor just be an Autobot? Anyway...
Sideswipe has a terrible reputation among the Human Alliance toys for a painful robot to car transformation and the enormous amount of back kibble. Regarding the transformation, I've done it a few times recently and when done in the right order it's no more complex than an MMC Feralcon or a Masterpiece car, I actually surprised myself how fast I put him back in Concept Chevy Corvette mode for this photo shoot. He does, however, have an ungodly amount of car on his back, there's no doubt, but I won't be making the modifications other collectors have because I simply don't enjoy modding toys, and I don't much enjoy painting them to look how I think they should either, I have no problem with others doing it, but for me my stuff tends to stay as factory. "Improvement" is a matter of opinion, and you are welcome to it.
To me, there's not a damn sight wrong with what you see above, I find this toy beautiful. His entire concept is one of the strongest from all the movie figures to my eye, and the extra paint application like the electric blue detailing on the shoulders, arms and knees, as well as the black paint on his head mean that Shadow Blade Sideswipe is currently making my heart race.
Beefy Mikaela Banes human figurine, not so much.
Top off all that lovely paint and glamorous modes off with a tremendous head sculpt and you've got a winner. No tattoo like the regular HA Sideswipe, but apart from the slightly awkward face flap, he's gorgeous. Human Alliance, man, it just never stops giving or impressing. Flash Freeze Assault Sideswipe and Soundwave really need to not drop the ball because I still haven't seen a sub-line of Transformers all be so epicly brilliant as HA have been over the two mainstream umbrella toy ranges they were released in.
One enormous problem with collecting this line remains the existence and constant release of counterfeits designed to fool customers. Chinese market HA KOs make items like Bumblebee, Barricade, Jazz, Japanese Jazz, Leadfoot, Sideswipe, Soundwave and Shadow Blade Sideswipe disturbingly difficult to authenticate and purchase. That's why I made sure to buy from someone I trusted who could guarantee me a store-bought specimen.
Allen "SuperQuad7" Greenwood of the TFW boards did me a great deal on this MISB Shadow Blade Sideswipe, $46 shipped to the UK basically. Despite the number of £24.99 sealed ones in the UK, without a guarantee of authenticity and any sort of comprehensive Shadow Blade KO vs authentic guide on the web, it was always going to lead me to buy from a collector. You can see all of SuperQuad7's sale items here and his blog here. The fact that Allen includes free quality sketches of bots with each sale he makes just adds some personality and warmth to deals which is sorely lacking in the online eBay community today.
Speaking of "So hot"...
All the best