The trend for retooling and/or recolouring moulds that marked the first couple of series' of Transformers was rooted in Takara's Diaclone line, notably the Car Robot sub-series. Only three of the fourteen designs in the series came out without some sort of modified version being released either alongside or after the initial release (for the trivia fans out there, they're the J-59 Jeep, the Porsche 935 and the Corvette Stingray, all of which would be recoloured or retooled at some point during their later careers as Transformers). These ranged from large changes, such as the Fire Engine figure being modified as a Crane Truck or Battle Convoy's reuse receiving a completely new combining trailer, to straight recolours. One of their little quirks that sat somewhere in-between was converting figures to police types - basically adding a lightbar and recolouring the thing in black and white. This was done with little regard for realism - the original Countach mould with an enormous rear-mounted engine (later reused for Sunstreaker) also received this treatment.

The later Lamborghini mould (the one reused as Sideswipe) also got the same treatment. When the Car Robot figures were exported to America for Transformers, Hasbro decided one police car was enough (the Datsun got the gig as Prowl, while the earlier Lambo police car was skipped altogether), and the figure was recoloured in fire department livery, becoming Red Alert. The police scheme remained exclusive to the Diaclone line (inspiring many fanboys to stump up several hundred pounds to buy one) until 2003. As a tie-in with the Transformers Collection release of Lambor (the Japanese name for Sideswipe), the mould's three original variants were also reissued. Figure King Magazine sold the yellow version as Tigertracks, while eHobby released the black version (as Deep Cover) and the police version (as Clamp Down).


Clamp Down's car mode is a bit of a weird one. Normally a police Lamborghini Countach would be weird enough to score big points, but the truth is Hasbro trumped it with the fire chief Lamborghini Countach. Next to his recolour, Clamp Down looks that little bit bland and underwhelming. That's probably a little unfair - on its' own merits, the car mode is rather pretty. The Countach is a lovely design (it pisses all over the flat-faced Diablo and the disappointing Gallardo), and it does look sharp in the two-tone police scheme.

One minor problem though - the black strip behind the doors is a sticker that has to be applied, and it's a pain, not fitting at all well. Thankfully, gloss model paint does the job just as well. Also, like Red Alert, several of the stickers are surrounded by gloss white areas, which stand out against the plastic.


Obviously, the transformation is unchanged from Sideswipe/Red Alert - it's simple and straightforward with no real faults, but lacks the inventive nature of most, if not all, of the other Autobot cars. However, simple isn't necessarily a bad thing, and in this case the result is one of the better-proportioned early Autobot moulds. The arms are maybe a little thin and the head a little small, but aside from that it's decent enough. Articulation is basically non-existent - the shoulder joints are hamstrung by the weight of the arms, while the elbow joints can't be moved far without gaping holes appearing in the arms. The toes can fold up a little as well, but only if you're prepared for the figure to fall forward and shatter due to Takara's lousy durability factor (actually, that's harsh, as the Countach mould is one of the few Car Robot moulds that isn't designed to explode when you touch it).

His chest stickers are a slight mess - the white area around the 'Cybertron' police badge is ugly and requires a little work with an art knife, while the idea of sticking the faction insignia on top of this is a bit silly. Personally, I just omitted the star further down, and placed the insignia just below the police badge. Also, my example suffered from Takara's abysmal excuse for quality control, and had extremely loose legs. Maybe if they'd spent less time manufacturing lolita Hentai they wouldn't be Tomy's bitch right now (if Kiss Players was under Tomy's auspices - I can't be bothered to look it up - let's just pretend I'm levelling general accusations of producing child porn at Takara). These are minor niggles though, and Clamp Down is a solid figure, and looks especially great displayed alongside the other Countaches.


Clamp Down is a tricky figure to evaluate. He's perfectly competent in terms of design and engineering - in fact, he's pretty good. The scheme even finds a middle ground between the dull original Sideswipe and the totally crazy Red Alert. However, this also means it's neither here nor there - it won't please reality bores (it turns into a bloody robot, stuff realism up your arse), and if you're after a quirky Countach everyone's favourite paranoid Security Director has that all stitched up. It's basically a lot of trouble to go to for a stripe of black paint and a sticker sheet...