Models in films and TV

I wondered if anyone else had any examples of models making an appearance in films or TV programmes?
I’ve recently been watching The Sweeney on Amazon Prime and in episode 1 of series 2 Paul Jones (at one time the singer in Manfred Mann) comes home from doing another armed robbery and chats to his dad who’s having a quiet evening in building the Airfix SR.N4 Hovercraft kit. In fact he seems to have two on the go as it looks like there is another on the table nearer the camera.

I also saw the 1960s Howard Hawks movie ‘Red Line 7000’ a few days ago, about Indy car racers and their girlfriends. Towards the end there is a scene in the bar they all go to where a group is racing slot cars; there’s a close up shot of the bridge over the track as the cars go through with ‘Revell’ on it. Sadly I couldn’t get a photo as it was on live TV, the closest I could find on the web is below. That’s James Caan in the centre.

Model soldiers appeared regularly in “Callan”, a 60s British spy series, as the character was a collector. One programme turned on his pad having been turned over professionally, but he knew immediately as one of his figures was missing! In one Morecombe and Wise show, Ernie had built a diorama of the Battle of Waterloo, which Eric proceeded to destroy machine gunning it with an Airfix Spitfire!

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Last Man Standing, Tim Allen is building models a few different episodes.

40 days and 40 nights, Josh Hart is model building as a distraction.

There is a few newer shows/movies but I cannot recall.


In CSI Las Vegas there are a couple of episodes where the modeler is the killer … my wife kept watching TV and then me, and slowly slowly moved to the other side of the sofa … :japanese_ogre:


Watching some Japanese drama called Boys on the run. Remember the main character working a small company job and trying to win over a nice girl in the company. Lots of stuff happens and he ends up depressed and tries picking up a hobby.

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Thanks for the replies… Callan is being shown again on TV at the moment. I think I remember the Morecambe & Wise sketch. Surprised that some of the other examples seem more recent, not just the sixties and seventies.
Thanks for the still from that Japanese programme, that’s what I’d like to get, stills featuring the models. I’ve then got half an idea to load them on to IMDB against the films/progs they’re from, as I already did with the SRN4 photo.
From ‘This Country’ episode 4, Kerry and Kurtan’s Yard sale includes an Italeri JS-2:

Morecambe & Wise, 24 May 1964:



CSI Las Vegas, Natalie Davis a.k.a. " The Miniature Killer " makes models of the crime scenes of those she murders. Gil Grissom investigating one of her creations:

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Close Encounters… A big diorama, a step up from using mashed potato.

Michael Lonsdale builds a diorama of the 47 ronin in the movie Ronin:


In “Star Trek:Next Generation”, there was an episode where Geordi built a model of a spaceship. And I think Picard mentioned building “Ships in a Bottle”. In “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”, the Chief and the Doctor built a model of the Alamo with figures to wargame. In “Joan of Arcadia”, the character of Joan’s brother was recently lost the functions of his leg and built models in his room to escape reality.

In Japanese dramas, most older characters who disdain human contact are shown building models. Younger characters are shown retreating reality with video/computer games.


Lost in Space (Netflix TV reboot) the kid Will builds a few models (Chariot and Robot) as I recall.

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There’s a James Bond film, I forget which one, in which the villain, a gun runner, lives in a museum of old weaponry and dioramas of famous battles. There’s a shootout and he ends up head down in the Battle of Waterloo.


Turns out it is The Living Daylights. Brad Whitaker (Joe Don Baker) lying dead on the Battle of Waterloo:

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There are several scenes in different episodes and seasons of Battlestar Galactica where Commander (Admiral) Bill Adama is working on model wooden ships.

In Star Trek: Enterprise, Cpt. Archer has several flash-back memories of his childhood building and flying model spacecraft.

President Underwood is always working on his US Civil War diorama in the series House of Cards.

There’s a scene in the movie Wild Geese where Cpt. Rafer Janders’ son, Emile, is building a model.

There are entire scenes in the movie Super 8 written around the character Joe Lamb’s models and model building skills. (He even describes “dry brushing” to the character Alice Dainard.)


Web searching anything to do with models in SF movies is hard as models are so intertwangled with both the making of the films and the massive amount of model making fandom that spins off from them. I found a reference on a ST fan site to Geordi La Forge having model making as a hobby, but couldn’t turn up any photos of him doing it.

The ‘Super 8’ page on IMDB has this photo already :slightly_smiling_face: Might have to check the film out, sounds like it might be pretty good.

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House of Cards

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Callan, the film; I assume this is a page from either Military Modelling or Battle (was it around then?) Peter Gilder of Hinchliffe Models is on the right in the photo, Philip Stearns gets a mention too.