Cliffbee.com: Movie Camshaft Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Camshaft
Series: Movie Tie-Ins
Allegiance: Decepticon
Alternate Mode: Chevrolet Colbalts Sports Car (thanks for Fit For Natalie for the model)

Thanks to Tiby for loaning me Camshaft for this review



CAR MODE
Height: 4.5cm Length: 13.5cm Width: 6cm

   A rather realistic looking sports car with a rounded rood and two doors, Camshaft is mainly grey with a matte black paint on his roof and hood - making me wonder why he takes his name from Camshaft and not Bluestreak. At any rate, he's a repaint of Swindle with added detailing. The windows and headlights are transparent blue and there's a nicely done "Z" logo on the doors. I appreciate that the custom door details aren't some cheesy "Camshaft" motif - it makes him feel more realistic even if it's something quite unusual. His wheels and grille are black while the taillights and Autobot badge on the hood are red, rounding out a pretty good colour scheme. The doors themselves are silver painted on transparent blue plastic, and while this doesn't line up too well to the grey plastic, there's enough painted stuff (black, Zs) that it doesn't stand out much. I do think Swindle has a better colour scheme, but as adventurous repaints go, Camshaft is pretty good.

   There are some cool moulded details here, such as the grille, doorhandles, rear vision mirrors and detailed hubcaps (which are unpainted this time). The back end is kind of choppy, however. The taillights and license plate are moulded with almost no detail and there are quite a few seams. Tiby's doesn't hold together that well at the back - and the Hasbro picture is also out of shape - this may be a sign of mould degradation (or bad luck and a photographer who mistransformed the toy). There's a button on the back of his chopped up rear window, which activates the gimmick (I'll come back to that later). The end result is a good front half and a compromised tail end. The window transparency is a mixed blessing - the idea is nice but there's a lot of folded up robot visible and nothing in the way of seats.

   The gimmick is... underwhelming. Having said that, it's not really meant for car mode anyway. Pressing the button causes a transparent pipe-thing to stick out the back. Okay, it's a cannon, but in that position it's more like an exhaust on steroids. It does give Camshaft some play value here, although it's hardly inspiring. The plastic wheels roll, although not particularly well.

   A decent car visually, although the mismatched silver & grey aren't quite what you'd hope for. The back end is even messier than Swindle, so this vehicle is a level below most movie toys. The realism just isn't there once you factor in the mess at the back and the doors. I'm not sure if the alignment problem is across the board, but I'm very unimpressed by it.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   "Open" the doors, unclip the rear fenders, flip out the feet and fold out his heelspurs. Pull the doors out the side sides, lift the central rear section up and rotate the waist. Push the rear section in to form his midriff - the groinplate will flop down and reveal the torso cannon. Fold down the bonnet to form his chest, the centre flips (silly automorph, but at least it works), to reveal the head. Rotate the arms down from inside his doors, rotate the doors up to form shoulderpylons. Fold the rear window pieces on his legs in to form kneecaps.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 15cm Width: 11cm

   A grey robot with burgundy arms and thighs, Camshaft has the front of the car on his chest and a mashed up rear as legs. There's _another_ hood ornament logo on his chest, and above that is a large camera eye for a head - which looks plain weird. There are some hints of light ("allspark") blue here and there while the transparent blue and silver doors become shoulderpads, although they stick up from his elbows. I'm not a fan of the colour mix here. The burgundy is more a port wine colour - a little too dark to be burgundy, really. While the unusual shade is a nice idea, it doesn't gel with the grey and allspark blue.

   Camshaft is every bit the drone, as Swindle was, again the camera face works in that context. Still, it's an ugly head. The arms are long and he has bow legs, which isn't as bad as it sounds - more distinctive than anything else. These two aspect also work for a drone, giving him a sub-par intelligence feel, which is what you want from a drone, I guess. The doors on his shoulder look great - even if they do this robot something of a shellformer.

   The gimmick is... disturbing. The cannon pops out of his waist, and is quite phallic. Typically it'll activate during transformation, which is probably a good thing. The trigger is located on his backside, underneath the roof. So to press the button, you're essentially sticking your finger somewhere you don't want to be. And when you do, the cannon pops up. As I said, disturbing. The gimmick itself _is_ a nice idea, even if the activation is traumatic.

   The poseability is fairly good in his limbs, not so good on the torso. The head is actually on a ball joint, but there's hardly any movement available. The waist turns during transformation but is fixed now. His shoulders are _very_ free ball joints - you can pretty much do anything with them. The elbows are hinged and his wrists are ball jointed, and can fold in but not out. The hips are ball joints, and while they don't move very far forward the overall movement is good. His knees are hinged with rotators while the feet swing back. The heelspurs and feet anchor the available action poses well. Camshaft's hands are open, but when you have a gun in your torso, I guess open hands works.

   A weird robot mode with a poor mix of colours and a camera for a head. Which tells you all you need to know, really. Swindle just managed to pull things off, this time around it's just ugly. The action poses are somewhat limited his hips but the shoulder joints are great although the gimmick isn't far short of obscene. While the engineering of this toy is still quite solid, this robot mode doesn't work as well as Swindle's.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of. As mentioned, he is a repaint of Swindle.

OVERALL

   A fairly creative repaint - especially the car mode, but mould issues and mismatched colours prevent the car mode from really shining while the colours introduced in robot mode really drag him down. The mould is innovative, but Swindle kept things much more focused. The robot mode has some good poseability but is dominated by an unusual head, and carries a gimmick that's really not suitable for children. We've had phallic gimmicks before, but in this case the method of activation really takes things too far. If you're interested in the mould, grab Swindle - 3/10

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