COUNTDOWN: X-Transbots Omnibots! 14 things to know

We’ve known for a little while now that third party outfit, X-Transbots are releasing a set of unofficial Masterpiece-styled Omnibots, but just this week we finally had our first look at the last of the bunch! MX-24 Yaguchi will round off the trio, following on from MX-23 Fioravanti and MX-25 Maedas to bring this team of classic Autobot cars to life.

For those of us in the know, this is very exciting, as it’s something a lot of fans have been hoping for in MP-style for quite a long time! Yet as desirable as the Omnibots may be to many people, they’re still not exactly household names, even amongst Transformers fans.

So, just what’s their deal anyway, and why should we be looking forward to the new X-Tranbots versions? Let’s have a look!

 

#14: The Omnibots came from the Takara Diaclone line

Picture credit: Transformerland

Though they’re now more recognisable to most as Transformers toys, the Omnibots did indeed begin life as part of Takara’s Diaclone line-up, alongside the majority of early 1984 and 1985 designs. However, unlike the other Autobot cars, which all hailed from the Car Robots subline, the Omnibots were originally known as the ‘Double Changers’, so-called because of their unique ability to convert twice. Well, unique apart from the triple changers, of course… although when you think about it, Double Changers does sort of make more sense as a name really, doesn’t it?

 

#13: They were released as mail-away toys under Transformers

OK, so one of the most memorable things about the Omibots is also one of the reasons they’re not so well-known to begin with – they weren’t released through the traditional means of most Transformers toys. Instead, you could only purchase them as special mail-away promotional items after you’d collected enough ‘robot points’. These were little coupons that could be cut out of the boxes of regular retail releases and then saved up for just this sort of special occasion! Each Omnibot cost 4 robot points and $5 under Hasbro, or just 2 robot points and 980 yen under Takara.

 

#12: They didn’t feature packaging or tech specs

Their mail-away status also meant they didn’t come in the typical Transformers packaging, which in turn means that box artwork and tech spec bios were never created for them. There is artwork that exists for the characters from the Diaclone era, mind, but no doubt this lack of character material has been another reason they’ve flown a bit under the radar ever since. The Japanese releases did come in boxes at least, although they were plain white with just black printed text on the front.

 

#11: They did receive at least some retail presence

Believe it or not, the Omnibots did receive a retail release in the USA… kind of. There’s plenty of evidence to show that leftover Omnibot stock made its way to a lot of grocery store bargain bins in a hope of shifting it! Not exactly an auspicious fate considering how lovely the vintage toys themselves actually are. These days they’re a lot more sought after and finding a minty set is a treat indeed (particularly in the Japanese mail-away packaging).

 

#10: They each have a third attack mode

As mentioned, the main gimmick of these toys is that they change twice, with the third mode being a kind of ‘attack’ car mode in each case. Downshift and Camshaft both keeps things fairly simple in this regard, as they essentially featured slightly modified versions of their regular car modes with guns on top. However, it’s Overdrive that kicks things into… well, you know, as he also pops out a set of wings to become a flying car! Someone had clearly overdosed on a James Bond marathon when they designed that!

 

#9: Camshaft is a Mazda RX-7 Series 2

All of the Omnibots feature classic vehicle modes which remain fairly unique in terms of Transformers and are no doubt a large part of the appeal! Camshaft is a Mazda RX-7 Series 2, produced between 1981 to 1983, and features a stunning silver paint job.

 

#7: Downshift is a Toyota Celica Supra

Downshift turns into the somewhat iconic Toyota Celica Supra, which was better known as the Celica XX in Japan from 1982-3. Being bone white plastic, the vintage toy is a prime candidate for discolouration these days, although a minty white copy is a delight indeed! On a personal note, this might be one of my favourite real-world alternate mode choices on a Generation 1 toy and I absolutely cannot wait to see what XTB do with it on their updated version.

 

#6: Overdrive is a Ferrari 512 Berlinetta Boxer

And finally, Overdrive is sporting an alternate form of a Ferrari 512 Berlinetta Boxer, which was produced from 1976 as an updated form of the BB car model. The name 512 referred to the car’s 5 litre and 12 cylinder engine. Oh, and it looks about as hot as a hug from the Human Torch.

 

#5: Camshaft is rather unfortunately named

One little nugget of info that’s often cranked out in relation to this troupe is that Camshaft’s Mazda car mode… doesn’t actually have a camshaft in its engine! We mentioned in a recent Binaltech article that the character had originally been conceived as the robot-of-choice for that line’s new Mazda mould, except this rather unfortunate oversight surrounding the name scuppered that coming to pass, as Takara feared it wouldn’t wash in a real-world car toyline.

 

#4: Camshaft & Downshift swapped names in Japan

In fact, the naming debacle was enough for Takara to switch the identities of two of the trio for the Japanese Omnibot mail-away release, meaning that the Mazda was now known as Downshift and the more appropriate Celica became Camshaft. For some reason, it all remains way more confusing than it has any right to be, especially as you seemingly cannot refer to either one by name without some TFWiki-reading bugger pulling a “well, actually” on you.

 

#3: There have only been a few new toys of them since G1

Perhaps because they’re not exactly stars of the show, the Omnibots have only ever had few and far-between new toys since the 1980s. The most obvious example here is Binaltech Overdrive from 2004, which saw the character brought back to life as a Honda S2000 (although he was renamed as Windcharger for the western Alternators release). Similarly, Camshaft did eventually find life in Hasbro’s version of the line, now as a repaint of the Honda Acura mould. Downshift remains a one-and-done character under Transformers though, perhaps suggesting that you just can’t improve upon perfection.

 

#2: There are no current Generations versions

Of course, that means that these three have never had any kind of love or attention as far as the Generations line goes – none whatsoever. That’s kind of strange in a world where things like corpse Optimus Prime, the Rainmakers and a Quintesson Bailiff now exist as toys in the line. Consider this little lot as one major oversight that deserves correcting before too long.

 

#2: The XTB toys are the first time we’ve seen the characters done in MP form

Similarly, it’s taken until now, but X-Transbots are fulfilling the wishes of a lot of collectors by being the first to realise the Omnibots in Masterpiece-style. There are a few such characters still waiting for the treatment (*cough* Throttlebots) although these guys finally being available seems like a big tick and should keep a lot of people happy. The fact that they also look pretty swish is a definite bonus!

 

#1: The XTB toys look to be loaded with features!

The X-Transbots toys also look to be a lot of fun, as they’re seemingly chock full of details and gimmicks that need to be seen. Of course, they all feature their respective attack modes but they’re also boasting opening doors and pop-up headlights for a spot of real-world charm, and then there are accessories such as blast effect gimmicks and extra faces thrown in on particular toys, too. Can’t wait!

 

So that’s our list! Are you excited to finally see the Omnibots done in Masterpiece form?

TTFN

About Sixo

Transformers collector from the UK, collecting vintage G1/G2, CR/RID, UT & Masterpiece/3P. Find me at twitter.com/SixoTF or on YouTube at youtube.com/SixoTF

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