Mutant Soldiers In Battle For The Planet Of The Apes And Wargaming Ape Scenarios.


I am going to discuss the wargaming potential of the ape movies. I'm disregarding the newer Ape movies that have a slightly different premise and storyline but that is another avenue which can also be explored.

In the first film, Planet of the Apes humans are little better than animals to be hunted. There is really only potential for a skirmish game where Taylor tries to outwit the apes. He is a crack shot, so once he has a rifle it evens things up a little. He also has his chimp friends to hide him. You could also have a hunt the human game, using cavemen or various human figures in brief outfits with weapons removed. American Indians or ancients might offer potential too,but I think it would be a boring scenario.

  In the second film beneath the Planet of the Apes we have the tantalizing glimpse of an ape army, complete with infantry, cavalry and artillery. However, the 'battles' are primarily the exercise of the mutants' mind control which has initial success before the apes cotton on, courtesy of Doctor Zaius' bravery in riding into the fake fire, and the visions of bleeding prophet and tortured apes vanish. Then there is the skirmish between the two astronauts and the gorillas in a futile effort to stop the nuke exploding as gorillas are ordered to pull the mutants' 'god' down.

  Escape from Planet of the Apes also has no battles unless you count the attempt of the two chimps to escape with their baby and a brief fire fight.

  Conquest of the Planet of the Apes is a little more promising as the apes rebel and overcome, through Caesar's guile and strategy, the human police. Really, the apes should not have had much of a chance against the armed humans but ape leadership enabled the apes to surround and swamp them. The later implied nuclear exchange is the nail in the coffin for humans as they regress and apes progress.

  Battle For the Planet of the Apes is the best bet. it is set in a period after the nuclear caraclysm. After a scouting party of apes and tame humans enter the radioactive city this provokes the mutants to launch an attack on the ape village. The 'mutants' are just radioactive humans, at this stage, with no special powers. They are weak from radiation and their eyes are unaccustomed to light. They thus wear red tinted goggles. Their getups are a sort of paramilitary style, olive greens and blacks, mostly with cloth skullcaps. Their weapons are a mix of WW2 and later vintage, including assault rifles.

  There are some cheapo modern infantry that have goggles but, I suppose they could be made with putty and just paint them red. The figures could be converted from WW2, modern infantry and civilians. The main issue would be that not a lot of equipment was worn so most of it would need to be trimmed off, or not, depending on how faithful to the movie you want to be.

  The other interesting thing is the use of two army jeeps, motorbikes, clapped-out cars and a school bus. I am especially looking for the last one, but it must be 1/32 and cheap! They also had heavy machine gun, mortars and field gun.

  The apes opened up their armory and their forces had various small arms similar to the mutants. they lacked heavy weapons. Their aces were they were fighting on home ground and used cover to ambush and there was the cavalry under Aldo. Although the mutants had initial success they got overwhelmed the Ape cavalry ambushed the fleeing enemy.

 For ape figures there were the hard plastic MPC figures, fairly rare now. ElastoWit produces limited production of POTA figures and is already sold out of their first series. Another option is to collect cheap gorilla and chimp plastic figures and lop off their heads for transplant on appropriate human figures. You could also cut the faces off human figures and built-up new faces with putty. of course, the more bow legged and apish the human figures the better!

  You don't have to stick to the movie details. ElastoWit is making laser-cut wooden ape cannons with limbers. Like the ones in the second film they have solid wheels and a wooden shield like the metal ones in many 20th century cannons. You could introduce them to the 'Battle' scenario. It would not be too hard to make your own or to convert other cannons by making solid wheels and gun shield.

  You can also introduce these armies into any non-movie scenario you like. My apes that don't have obviously modern firearms will be forming a new land and culture in my fantasy campaign which is presently ancient and medieval plus horse and musket. Will they be conquered by human forces?

   Below: ElastoWit ape cannon.


Not everyone games in 1/32 so I note that Eureka Miniatures does a very nice range of metal 28mm ape army figures with its own take on unit types. It might be called 'Apes in Boiler Suits'.


  1. I was going to suggest that 'whittled' gun carriages would look rather authentic for the Ape army, but I see ElastoWit have made some for sale.


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