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 glued in the right hand side of the cockpit, which was omitted from the G1 Transformers version. The single thin guide post 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 silver 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 hallmarks of the real-life car. Camshaft can be transformed into an additional “Armored Car” mode by extending the arms and contracting the wheelbase by sliding the rear half toward the middle, while flipping up a missile launcher concealed beneath the rear window. The missile launcher can hold one of 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 fist.
Date stamp location: Bottom right of car front, on the back of the right leg
Rubsign location (Japan only): Right half of hood
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 that do not fully pass through the head panel. The other common problem among vintage samples is the rear windshield breaking off along its thin attachment point to its hinge, but this is far less common, as it is better supported than the windshields of Prowl, Bluestreak, and Smokescreen.
Camshaft did not have any production variation during the short course of his manufacture except the addition of the Hasbro mark to his date stamp.
Type 1: "創作・著作物 ©Takara Co. Ltd. 1980-1984 Japan" stamp
Type 2: "©Hasbro 1980, 1984 "創作・著作物 ©Takara Co. Ltd. 1980-1984 Japan" (on raised block) stamp
Type 2JP: "©Hasbro 1980, 1984 創作・著作物 ©Takara Co. Ltd. 1980-1984 Japan" stamp, rubsign on hood
Camshaft was available in the USA and Japan (as Downshift, correcting his misnomer issue) in late 1984 and 1985 as a mail-away exclusive, through “Reinforcements from Cybertron!”, “The Battle is Far from Over!”, and “Look Inside for a Special Offer!”. He continued to be available in the US in 1986 through “Have the Decepticons defeated us once and for all?”. He has never been reissued.
MSRP: $5.00 and 4 Robot Points (1984-5), $5 and 2 Robot Points (1986)
Packaging: Taped-shut polybag in plain brown cardboard mailer box
Paperwork included: Instructions, sticker sheet
Redecos & Retools
Camshaft’s mold was originally used in 1984. 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.