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"Did Seeing Model Ships In Movies Nudge You To Wargaming?" Topic

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Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP23 Sep 2017 12:46 a.m. PST

I loved all those old movies where ship battles were fought with Model ships, with gorgeous matte paintings in the background.

I have to say that, in my personal case, all those movies (like the old pirate films and even Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea) were what made me wonder if gaming with miniature vessels and figures, using some type of rule system, was an actual hobby somewhere.

Did that happen to you too?

PS. Check these out:



Personal logo David Manley Supporting Member of TMP23 Sep 2017 1:22 a.m. PST

No, I was way down that path already from listening to Dad's stories about his wartime experiences in the Far East, plus a number of visits to Portsmouth Navy Days and an early introduction to Hornblower!

Pauls Bods Supporting Member of TMP23 Sep 2017 1:40 a.m. PST

One film in particular although I cannot remember the Name of the film.

The Scene in the film involved two Boys who take an (or possibly two) 18th Cent warship(s) to a Pond and the ship(s) have functioning cannons. One of the Boys, whose wading in the water so he can fire the cannons, gets shot in the leg by one of the ships cannon.
I was already into wargaming when I saw it but it inspired me to build, although not a very good looking Version of an 18th Cent ship. The cannons I put on it, although crude..basically bits of copper pipe nailed to blocks of Wood, worked. No overly restrictive H&S parenting back in those days :-)

Ive got an idea the film was a Version of Beau Geste but Im not sure.

Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP23 Sep 2017 1:46 a.m. PST


It was one of the Beau Geste films! Their Viking funeral scene.

The 1939 one with Gary Cooper.




TheBeast Supporting Member of TMP23 Sep 2017 2:28 a.m. PST

Damn, was hoping I'd seen Pauls's post first. ;->=

I can't say particular models, but movies with models did help fire me up from an early age. Not quite the same, I guess.


MajorB23 Sep 2017 2:59 a.m. PST

"Did Seeing Model Ships In Movies Nudge You To Wargaming?"


Dynaman878923 Sep 2017 3:08 a.m. PST

No – But seeing a copy of "Midway" by Avalon Hill did. The final kick was seeing the back of the Squad Leader box at the store.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP23 Sep 2017 3:15 a.m. PST

Movies--really A movie--but not model ships.
Toy soldiers as a child, of course--but always land-based.
A discussion of the attempted relief of Stalingrad--Paul Carrel, I think--which led me to board games.
The movie Zulu, which I think was the first time anywhere I got taken through troop formations and associated tactics.
Then there were articles on miniature soldiers, and a shop in the pre-gambling Atlantic City boardwalk. And my boadgame opponents took me to a miniatures game.

After that, it was all over for board games.

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP23 Sep 2017 4:36 a.m. PST

Into modeling for sure

One movie that I still remember was In Harm's Way with John Wayne

I remember as a kid seeing the picture of Otto Preminger standing on one of the ship models


Ottoathome23 Sep 2017 5:10 a.m. PST

Not really but it laid the groundwork.

Anyone who can watch the scenes of the tank models in "Sink the Bismark" and not be moved is dead. This includes the "stringbags" dropping their torpedoes.

For those not in the know "tank model" is not a tank, but the tank in which the models float.

Of course, earlier there are the sailing ship tank models as well.

CGI has NOTHING on those movies.

rustymusket Supporting Member of TMP23 Sep 2017 7:02 a.m. PST

Nope, I never really connected in that way with the movies although I did build some ship models long ago in a lifetime far, far away.

TMPWargamerabbit23 Sep 2017 7:08 a.m. PST

The old pirate movies. Later on I figured out the same ship appeared in several movies with a changed look.

Captain Gideon23 Sep 2017 7:38 a.m. PST

For myself I would say partly.

Movies like Sink the Bismarck,In Harms Way and Battle of the Japan Sea made me think about doing those battles on a table.

I can recall other movies like That Hamilton Woman(where Trafalgar was included)and then in recent years(eventhough I've been into Naval gaming for many years)like Midway,Tora-Tora-Tora and several other Japanese War movies.

And more recently a Japanese tv show had a wonderful depiction of the Battle of Tsushima.

And I might add that without watching movies like Waterloo,Zulu,Spartacus and the 300 Spartans(1960's movie)I might not have gotten into Wargaming all together.

So lastly I'll say that these movies did inspire me to wargame,but it's a shame that no one did a movie about the Battle of Jutland.

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP23 Sep 2017 7:42 a.m. PST

Hornblower definitely inspired me enough to buy a bunch of Wooden Dhips.
I quickly learned that I have absolutely no talent for painting ships.

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP23 Sep 2017 7:44 a.m. PST

28mm Pirates, on the other hand. ….
The wargaming ship models out there are very easy to psint, and with none of that nonsense like rigging to get in the way.

Shagnasty Supporting Member of TMP23 Sep 2017 8:24 a.m. PST

There were several WW II era movies with great models, the pirate, "Hornblower" and "Sink the Bismarck" that were inspirational. When I learned of WW II ship recognition models they engendered a fascination that continues to this day.

Joes Shop Supporting Member of TMP23 Sep 2017 8:43 a.m. PST

Yes, absolutely!

Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP23 Sep 2017 9:05 a.m. PST

I can't believe how I left out the miniature model ships in Ben Hur (1959). Also the ones for battle of Actium scenes in Cleopatra (1963).

PS. Check out this amazing link:




Pauls Bods Supporting Member of TMP23 Sep 2017 9:11 a.m. PST

Thanks Dan thumbs up

attilathepun4723 Sep 2017 9:20 a.m. PST

A definite yes from me. Pirate movies were my absolute favorite entertainment as a kid, but any type of sea battle was a thrill, and most of them involved model ships to some degree.

Oberlindes Sol LIC23 Sep 2017 10:42 a.m. PST

The same film with the two boys and their ships on the pond was an influence on me, too.

Striker23 Sep 2017 11:24 a.m. PST

The ships from movies, along with the tanks from Godzilla, got me into modelling. My first official wargame pieces were ghq 88s after seeing them in some Squad Leader material. Had plenty of RPG figures though.

ccmatty Supporting Member of TMP23 Sep 2017 11:45 a.m. PST

Actually, no. Not for me. Dungeons and Dragons is what got me into it…

SaltyDog23 Sep 2017 1:01 p.m. PST

Not wargaming as such, but watching McHales Navy as a kid, I wanted to be Virgil on the fwd .50 Cal! I thought to myself that would be the life and in the end it was for me. However, my cousin and her husband went on their honeymoon and one of the places they visited was the studio where McHales was made. It was just a big lake! I was gutted when I saw the photos. I had always imagined it to be filmed at sea as a kid. And the PT 73 was only a little boat, about half the size of an Elco or Higgins!

dwight shrute23 Sep 2017 2:20 p.m. PST

So many wonderful pirate films , I then bought Aifix ships and all that cutting out of the rigging and trying to ''string'' the ships just killed it for me :-)

Ottoathome24 Sep 2017 8:46 a.m. PST

Dear Dan

Oh dear!!! How could I have forgotten Ben Hur!

"Row well 52."

And don't forget the naval battle scenes from Captain Blood.

Volleyfire25 Sep 2017 6:43 a.m. PST

Beau geste inspired me too, but not to go wargaming.After seeing that sequence with the ships on the pond every Airfix model ship I had, apart from HMS Victory and Royal Sovereign, eventually met with a 'viking funeral'. I nearly had an accident with the Graf Spee when performing this ritual during the drought of 76 though. The grass cought light and flames stated heading towards my father's garage and his precious Rover 3500 V8S. After lotsd of frantic stamping I managing to put the fire out, and no one saw me either.(bonus!!) After that I was a lot more careful, and the funerals tended to take place on water of some kind instead.

Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP25 Sep 2017 3:15 p.m. PST

Lol. I think my brother and I went through the same phase that you did!


Volleyfire26 Sep 2017 2:19 a.m. PST

My 'Viking Funeral' phase came to a sort of end when one Sunday afternoon I managed to set light to my grandfather's coal shed, and the coke shed next door with a 45 gallon drum of paraffin inside. It took my gran's outhouse next door with it containing her chest freezers and virtually every copy of the Daily Express and Sunday Express newspapers going back several decades, so it went up like a volcano.Moral of the story is don't let kids play with matches. Fortunately they were insured and the fire brigade were prompt.

TheBeast Supporting Member of TMP26 Sep 2017 10:39 a.m. PST

Oh, my, wasn't part of my transition to wargaming, but I suppose I should now mention, in adolescence, that crude model 1/700th(?) Missouri, lighter fluid, and a few Black Cats. My 'pond' was a tire rut in the alley, well away from flammables.

'Explosion' simply lifted the loose upper part, leaving the hull a cauldron of barely visible flames.

If I'd any smarts, I'd have scored the deck/superstructure to separate, glued the edges back down. However, the thought of burning PS shrapnel suggests I was smart enough. ;->=


Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP28 Sep 2017 4:29 a.m. PST

I can't believe how I left out the miniature model ships in Ben Hur (1959). Also the ones for battle of Actium scenes in Cleopatra (1963).

Wow – the sailors on those galleys sure are stoic. Oars smashed to pieces, decks on fire, and they just stand there calmly not moving a muscle…

evil grin

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