Model warship combat is an area of boat modelling which involves building model boats that can actually sink each other ! The model ships are generally built to 1:144 scale and are powered by electric motors and are radio controlled. The “firepower” in these models is provided by compressed C02 gas same as is used in paintball guns. The actual guns are made from short lengths of copper or brass tubing. Some manufacturers now produce cannons for this purpose. These fire .177″ BB’s similar to the type used in airguns.
Each vessel is skinned in thin balsa, when that balsa in penetrated they start to take on water. The ships are allowed to carry a small pump but when the inflow of water is greater than the pump can handle, the ship will eventually sink if not returned to port promptly.
Every ship carries a float which is attached to the vessel’s hull by a long line. If the vessel sinks, the float will (normally) rise to the surface, bringing one end of the line with it. As the other end is securely attached to the hull, pulling in the line will retrieve the vessel from the depths.
Obviously with the real possibility that the vessels can sink, the electronics have to be protected from the water. Some builders dont bother protecting electronic items such as servos and if the boat is sunk they just let them dry out.
Safety is an important aspect of model warship combat. The BB cannons are relatively low-powered and whilst can fire hard enough to give a good sting, very rarely will they break the skin. The main concern is for eye-safety and generally eye protection for all combatants and spectators is mandatory.