In the film, "Go Tell the Spartans" (1978), U.S. Major Asa Barker asks young Corporal Courcey why he has volunteered to spend the last six-months of his military service, fighting in Viet Nam. After some hesitation the Corporal mumbles: "Well, Sir...I wanted to see what a war was like.".
This is direct speech which includes an indirect question, requiring an interrogative and a verb in the subjunctive (in the same tense as the English). The nearest-fit verb to the English, "like", as in "resembling something" would appear to be the intransitive, "similis sum" (Oxford).
"Cupiebam scire quid bellum similis esset."
"I wanted to know what a war was resembling / was (like)."
If Corporal Courcey had chosen to complete his service in more sedate circumstances, he may well have always wondered what a war would have been like. This is more difficult, requiring, in the indirect question, a periphrastic pluperfect subjunctive:
"Se saepe rogabat quid bellum similis futurus fuisset."
"He often asked himself what a war would have been resembling / would have been (like)."
Are these translations correct?