Cliffbee.com: Alternators Camshaft Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Camshaft
Series: Alternators
Allegiance: Autobot
Alternate Mode: Honda Integra

Thanks to Tiby for loaning me Camshaft for this review



INTEGRA MODE
Height: 6.5cm Length: 18cm Width: 8cm

   A very detailed grey Integra with a sheen to it - Camshaft is not quite what you'd call silver, it's a very similar shade to that seen on the original. He's a repaint of BT/Alt Prowl, without a stroberack. He's very realistic, which is typical of the BT/Alt toys. As we've come to expect from Binaltech, the windows are transparent plastic, along with the head and taillights - the later done in red and the former including orange indicators. The hubcaps are chromed while the tyres are of course rubberised. The tailpipe and muffler assembly is chromed, while the grille sports a "Type R" badge. There's a badge above the rear license plate, which reads "CAMSHFT" on a Rhode Island place. The grey plastic and grey paint over clear plastic line up perfectly, which I'm very happy about.

   Camshaft's colours are simple but realistic and appropriate for the character - he display the same elegant simplicity of Prowl. This elegance is unusual for the Alternators which aren't direct copies of Binaltech toys.

   The left hand drive cockpit inside has the excellent detail typical of the BT line. It's mostly black with a soft black plastic steering wheel. Unlike on Prowl, the speedo and other features are unpainted. Unusually for a Binaltech mould, the insides of the doors are not realistically sculpted. There's a dividing wall behind the seats, on the other side is robot kibble - specifically the feet - which are visible through the rear windows.

   All the standard Binaltech movements are here - the steering wheel turns, the doors open and the boot lifts up (so you can touch the kibble). The bonnet lifts to reveal Camshaft's engineblock, and the front wheels move using a magnetic rack and pinion system (which is configured differently to previous BT toys). The wheels spin and have the now standard brakediscs with moulded callipers inside. Of course, while these aspects are all "standard", the fact is they're well and truly above what most Transformers cars offer. I'm not too impressed with the brakediscs being done in royal blue - it ruins the effect - thankfully you can only really see them when you look for them.

   There's not really anything new in this vehicle mode compared to previous Binaltech moulds, although by this stage a lot of the new ground had been covered already. Everything works well with one exception - the very visible feet in the back window, although in black surrounded by grey they hide fairly well. While it's easy to become blasť about this quality of these toys, Camshaft a very well done Integra.

   The rear vision mirrors detach quite easily, as I discovered when taking photos of Camshaft for this review. They pop back in easily enough, but this is still a flaw - especially considering that you have to grip these to open his doors. Compared to some of the cheesy themes on Hasbro-initiated concepts, this car mode is fantastic. I just with there was a BT version!

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Using many of the previous tricks of Binaltech, Camshaft transform isn't really like G1 Prowl or Camshaft - there's a much stronger resemblance to Red Alert. The doors form wings rather than shoulderpads, a concept we first saw on Grimlock. There's an added twist in transforming the arms - rotate the arms out _before_ touching the shoulders. On the plastics used on Camshaft it's hard to do this without popping the arms off. It's nice to see the designers are still thinking about the engineering, even if the finer details of the car modes seem to have reached a plateau. The fact that Camshaft has no horribly awkward aspects here (in fact he's far less fidgety than most BTs) is probably the single best "new" aspect of the toy.

   The engineblock of course comes to form his gun, and there's a blue baton underneath the rear bumper that also detaches as a weapon.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 16.5cm Width: 6cm
exact height depends on pose, width is his wingspan

   A grey, black and royal blue robot with a colour scheme that somewhat loosely fits that of the original. The grey and black are a good match, although the blue is not - and the chrome seen on the original isn't really present here. Camshaft's head is grey with a gold face and painted blue eyes and a blue crest - nothing like that of the original, but not unappealing. The chest is the grey car bonnet, while the upper arms and wings are also grey. His boots and forearms are black and his hands blue. There's an Autobot logo stamped on his left shin. The colour scheme looks good, even if there's only a passing semblance to the G1 toy.

   The layout differs considerably from G1 Camshaft (and Prowl), and there's less car here than on many BT robot modes. The chest is the hood, as I've already mentioned. The back of the car sits on the back of his boots. The doors sit on top of the shoulders as wings - they actually sit flat rather than facing forward. The gun works quite nicely although it's a little flat. The blue baton is made from the same transparent plastic of the stroberack - it's a laser baton apparently, although in blue it sort of reminds me of a light sabre. The boots are the underside of the car, as I've already mentioned. This represents a different approach to previous BTs, which have tended to retain visible car parts where they featured on the original Diaclone car. I don't mind this - it does keep things interesting, although the shins might be considered somewhat uninteresting.

   Camshaft is quite poseable - almost by definition really for this line. The head is ball jointed and the waist rotates. The shoulders are ball jointed, the elbows have both ball joints and hinges, the wrists are ball jointed and his index fingers are jointed with the other three fingers jointed as one. His hips swing and lift out to the sides while the knees both bend and rotate. The feet are on ball joints with heelspurs that fold out, can can be partly folded in if your posing requires. The effective arm poseability is fantastic with those three ball joints, but the leg poseability is quite hampered by the giant car shells on the back of the boots, they especially get in the way of his knee hinges. The feet are a little hampered, but you won't really find this a problem because the knees will run out of room before the feet do.

   There is a fan modification which involves swapping the boots, which gives Camshaft car-back shins. It gives him functional knee joints but also makes for very chunky boots. While I really prefer it on the white Prowl, the shape is a downside - I don't like the look on my blue Prowl. I'm not going to try it on a borrowed Camshaft.

   Other than the restricted knees I have no real complaints about the design of this mode. The colours work fairly well. The limited knee movement _is_ an issue but there's still enough movement for some nifty poses. I'm slightly annoyed that the hilt of the laser baton is unpainted, in transparent blue. While I rate this as Camshaft's weaker mode, that's mainly because the tribute isn't handled that well here. The robot mode itself is good, with great colours - it's just not really Camshaft.

VARIATIONS

   None as such, but Camshaft is a repaint of Prowl, without the stroberack.

OVERALL

   Two detailed modes and an attractive colour scheme make this a nice toy. The tribute is weaker than most BT-originated characters, but it's stronger than most Alternators ones, and the colour scheme is much better than many of the other Alternator concept. His main flaws are the pop-off arms the restricted knees in robot mode, but there's a fairly easy fix, if you're willing to get stuck in with a screwdriver. The laser baton is a nice addition, despite being underpainted. The mirrors pop off too easily, and the weak homage in robot mode also works against Camshaft, however he's still the standout amongst the Hasbro initiated Alternators - 8/10

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