Transformers Camshaft
Transformers Camshaft
Transformers Camshaft
Transformers Camshaft

Camshaft transforms into a Mazda RX-7 sportscar. The vehicle was one of many Mazda designs to use a Wankel rotary engine - a configuration that doesn't feature a camshaft. This apparently makes his name hilariously ironic because obviously a Transformer in disguise shares exactly the same components as an ordinary Earth vehicle and besides every other Transformers name since the year dot has been totally literal - Sludge is made of sludge, Slingshot is launched via a giant rubber band, Silverbolt is silver, Ironhide is made of iron and so on. Plus Camshaft obviously turned into an RX-7 on Cybertron before Mazda designed the thing.

This doesn't matter so much now as the name is in Hasbro's regular rotation like team-mate Downshift. It seems that the name is now used for Bluestreak toys when no-one remembers they have the Silverstreak trademark for that. Now that they can use Bluestreak again maybe the name will be used for something more fitting. Or maybe it'll be used for an orange version of a Fall of Cybertron figure or something.


Sadly Camshaft is not a terrific representation of the RX-7. The car is an overrated design anyway but this rendering is lacklustre to say the least - the front end is far enough from the real thing to be virtually generic while the rear is just a mess. I want to adore Camshaft so badly but the blunt truth is that his car mode is by far the least impressive of the realistic Diaclone designs and - excusing modern quality control blunders such as those on the Ironhide and Ratchet reissues - by some margin to boot.

It isn't just down to the choice and representation of model, it's the engineering. While the front end is solid (very solid) from the doors back everything just goes wrong. The rear sides of the car are made up of the robot arms and due to the design of the shoulders the only thing that keeps them in line is displaying the mode on something flat. It wouldn't be so bad if the sides ined up properly with the rest of the boot when aligned correctly, or if the rear window piece - cast in transparent blue with a base unconvincingly covered by a light silver sticker - wasn't at a slightly different elevation again. It's like a Legends figure back there. As an added bonus to having the least convincing car mode of the Omnibots Camshaft also has the worst flight move. Pull the arms out, flip up the missile launcher, shove the back in half an inch, flying car. Or car with arms hanging off the side, if you prefer. It's like the guy was already done and dusted before someone realised he needed one and it makes even the most deranged fanmode look like a smooth and slick product of official engineering.


It does get better, though. While Camshaft feels unusually brittle even compared to his stablemates - possibly due to the make-up of the shiny grey plastic, which does look quite good - he is blessed with a decent transformation quite unlike anything else. While the front of car/leg section is very similar to that seen on Wheeljack keeping the bulk of the car horizontal and compacting the rear into it is an interesting change - and one that looks better than it has any right to. It does result in a couple of weak spots however - Camshaft's head is attached to a thin plate on the car roof and while it looks good the part has very thin connections; it's no surprise that so many loose Camshafts have the head missing. The other is rather more avoidable - a sticker has been put on the front of the chest and gets rubbed quite often during transformation; recessing it a few millimetres would have avoided this without affecting any of the engineering or the aesthetics. Thank God for Reprolabels.

The oddest thing is that Camshaft somehow looks good in robot mode, even if his hands can't reach beyond his chest and that his missile launcher spends half its' time pointing at the back of his head. The legs are marvellously solid, the head cast is good and... I don't know. He's just somehow a lot more than the sum of his individually underwhelming parts.


A respectable robot mode and a shoddy car mode? He's an anti-Diaclone. My inexplicable love for him aside Camshaft is probably the weakest of the three Omnibot toys in numerous ways - the abortive third mode, the general feeling he's going to crumble into powder in your hands, the complete mess of the rear end of the RX-7, the weird secondary armament - and yet at the same time he's the most intriguing and unique of the trio.