Eaglewall ship models remembered

By Rob Morgan

Anyone remember them? They were among the first ever plastic wargames ship models in 1/1200th scale, back in the early 1960s. Many, and I mean many, of the wargames and modelling magazines around since then have carried hearty reminiscences and queries about the couple of dozen, maybe a few more, models which this company produced before it vanished from the scene.

Eaglewall model of HMS Ajax

Airfix Magazine and Scale Models carried long strings of correspondence about Eaglewall in the ’70s and ’80s. The Naval Wargames Society carried some a while ago. A few of the veteran gamers reading this may have some recollection of this now legendary production, and hopefully will share them.

Here, by the way, is what is certainly my longest surviving wargame model. No apologies for the paint job, this, HMS Ajax, of River Plate fame was a Christmas present in 1961.

No idea how it survived, but it has.With more repaints than the Forth Bridge. I wargamed with it not long ago (she’s usually lucky). I looked up Eaglewall on the Internet incidentally, and on E-bay a few, a very, very few of their battleship models were selling at £300 (that’s about $380-$400, I suspect).

Any criticism of Eaglewall’s mouldings, which still stand most tests, have to be tempered with the reminder that without them, naval wargaming would have been a hobby for the rich, and only by using the Collector’s quality German models of Hai and Mercator.

Anyone remember this range?

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2 Responses to Eaglewall ship models remembered

  1. Mike Hall says:

    I remember them, though after all these years I don’t trust my memory. I owned some UK cruisers – including Ajax – and some KG5 class battleships (I think supposedly KG5 and Duke of York, though I don’t remember any differences in the models) and I’m pretty sure there was a Warspite and a British carrier whose name began with “I” (but which one has faded from memory). Then there were a few destroyers and some German ships (I’d like to say Graf Spee, Bismark and maybe Prince Eugen but honestly don’t recall). Finally there was one merchant ship, supposedly the Altmark, which always felt overscale. They were great for small scale wargames despite the limited range of vessels available (in fact the limited range was something of a help as it stopped one being overly ambitious and trying to do a Fletcher Pratt style game either solo or with just two people).

    What I don’t recall is what happened to my collection. I can’t believe I’d have given it away but over the years I’ve made several searches through old cardboard boxes in the loft and the back of cupboards without any success.

  2. Bill Gilpin says:

    EAglewall got this wee boy hooked many moons ago. As Rob states they let you build a fleet at pocket money prices.
    Somewhere I have a complete listing of the entire Eaglewall production in their battlegroup series – there were a lot that didn’t make it into production – I’ll try and search it out. Several models were also marketed as sister ships with only the box art being different – and the box artwork go better and better throughout the life of the range. Donald D. Hood of Florida published “Eaglewall’s Table Top Navy” a few years ago. It’s now out of print and copies are in the same price range as the Eaglewall battleships on ebay! Donald intended to produce an updated book with lots of further information, but, so far, it hasn’t happened.

    The models originated at Vulcan Foundry in Dorking, England, but became Eagle Models when they were backed by the Eagle comic. They then became Eaglewall when they were also subsidised by Wall’s ice cream! The advantage of this was that, apart from toy & model shops, the models were also sold in newsagents and confectionists! I’d be happy to post some pictures – if I knew how to do it!

    Bill

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