The ships are 1/144 scale (range from 3 to 6+ feet in length), WWI - WWII era (1900-1946) warships, transport ships, and occasionally submarines. The wood or fiberglass hulls are covered with balsa wood skin. They have bilge pumps to simulate damage control, are electric powered, and are armed with low-pressure CO2 cannons, that can rotate and depress. The models are equipped with a float attached to a recovery line. This allows easy recovery of the ship when it sinks. The ships are quickly recovered, repaired, and put back in the game. The only damage is to the balsa wood on the hull, since the internal components are protected by shielding, and the electronic equipment is usually waterproofed.
This instructable walks you through the process of building a model warship from just a set of overhead and side views.
More about me....I've built 5 ships from scratch and used to run a small business selling supplies and building cannons for the ships. I made several design improvements to the cannon, but cost of having parts cnc'd drove the prices up to high. I sold my business to strike models http://www.strikemodels.com/.
More about the hobby. You can learn about the hobby from www.strikemodels.com they support both versions of this hobby small gun and big gun. Small gun limits the number of cannon and they are all bb size. Big Gun uses various ammo sizes upto 1/4" linked to the ships actual cannon size and allows you to arm all the guns. Big Gun is what is pictured in this instructable. The currently are selling everything you need to battle. They have a very good website which includes a list of currently active clubs.
The guns way anywhere from a 1 to 1.5 pounds. The ships themselves can get fairly heavy. A Yamato weighs around 40 pounds and is around 6 foot in length and 10 inches in beam.
Also new is our club's promotional video. Unfortunately the club has disbanded do to shrinking membership, but many clubs are still active across the US and Australia.