As the popularity of Transformers G1 grew in 1985, Hasbro and Takara decided to engage in a popular sales strategy of offering mail-away exclusive toys. “Robot Points” could be clipped from the packages of purchased toys to send in for these exclusives. Four Robot Points and $5 could be submitted to get the Omnibot Camshaft, a 1983 Mazda Savanna RX-7 Turbo “FB”. Interestingly, Camshaft’s real-life alternate mode uses a rotary engine, which does not use a camshaft, unlike traditional piston engines.
Camshaft’s mold was designed for Takara’s Diaclone toyline as the Double Changer No. 1 Savanna RX-7. This version featured a single-piece chrome upper-body of a driver in the right hand side of the cockpit, which was omitted from the G1 version. The single thin guide dowel can still be seen on the black cockpit panel. Excepting the inclusion of Autobot stickers, there were no other differences from the Transformers release. Like many Diaclone cars, Camshaft was invented by Koujin Ohno. The US Patent, titled Reconfigurable toy vehicle (aka Transformers G1 Camshaft) was filed on December 30, 1983 (U.S. Patent No. USD286169 S).
Camshaft’s Mazda RX-7 alternate mode is relatively detailed, despite the smaller scale than the Autobot Cars. He features accurate chrome four-spoke wheels shod in rubber tires, and translucent front and rear windows. The die-cast and plastic body is detailed with many trademarks of the real-life car. Camshaft can be transformed into an additional “Armored Car” mode by extending the arms and contracting the wheelbase, while flipping up a missile launcher concealed beneath the rear window. The missile launcher can hold the pair of tiny chrome missiles, but the spring for firing the projectiles has been removed. His transformation to robot mode uses the same steps, as well as extending the hood to produce his heavy die-cast feet, as well as two strange L-shaped pieces used to lift his heels to balance him vertically, despite the angle of the front end of the car. His detailed head flips up from a panel in the car’s roof, and the missile launcher angles up from behind his head. He also includes a small chrome pistol that clips over his narrow fists.
Like nearly all former Diaclone toys, Camshaft is prone to various damages and breakage. The most unfortunate design flaw is the ability for his head panel to become easily dislodged from its hinge, where it is held in only by two very short pegs. The other common problem among vintage samples is the rear windshield breaking off along its thin attachment point to its hinge.
Camshaft did not have any production variation during the short course of his manufacture.
Camshaft was available in the USA and Japan in 1985 as a mail-away exclusive. He continued to be available in the US in 1986 through a different order form. He has never been reissued.
Redecos & Retools
Camshaft’s mold was originally used in . This version featured the chrome upper body of a driver permanently attached inside the cockpit. The mold has not been re-used since the G1 release.