Thursday, July 30, 2015

Real Guns: 1937 Remote Controlled Battleship

Ahh, the good old days.  Back when syphilis was incurable and warmth was a luxury for the rich, ordinary folks didn't have an easy way to live out their long held fantasies.  Today, if you are obsessed with battleships, you can download some app to your phone (World of Warships is supposed to be fantastic) and sink enemy ships at your hearts content.  Back in the day, you'd have to weld together 360 lbs of scrap metal, wire up some vacuum tube based remote control, and mount actual .38 caliber guns to the deck.  Death was a bit more permanent, even in a game back then, but kids were tougher and if you had cancer you were told to walk it off.  Find this 1937 Remote Controlled Battleship offered for $3,750 in Escondido, CA via craiglist.
 

According to the seller, this USS CALIFORNIA replica was built in the early days of civilian RC modeling.  She tips the scales at 0.18 tons and was built by a Howard E. Bixby of Glendale, CA.  You can find a PDF scan of a Radio-Craft magazine from the 1940s with Mr Bixby and his fleet here.



If you ever wonder what keeps an ATF agent up at night -- this is it.  Totally unregistered and awesome collection of .38 and .22 caliber functioning firearms attached to a remote control boat.  Forget about drones taking pictures of you in your underpants, this is a boat that can float around the local duck pond and kill your entire family.


There is probably enough mercury, lead, and arsenic in this  remote control module to qualify as a Superfund site.  But you should be a man, and walk off that lead poisoning. 


See another sea worthy feature worthy of feature? tips@dailyturismo.com

20 comments:

  1. This is awesome - I'd take it down the road a little ways to Coronado and launch it by the navy ships and see how close I could get before they sank it...

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  2. This seems like an incredible price for what it took to build this and how long it lasted.

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  3. Wonder what the story is on this one? Says very compelling, and tragic ending...hmmm, wonder if the thing got a mind of it's own and starting shooting at its Master...

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  4. Looks like the Most Interesting Man in the world after rapid onset hair loss.

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    Replies
    1. He once built a functioning 1/64th scale model battleship using only his hair.

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    2. When he doesn't wear a belt buckle, his pants hold up his belt.

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    3. Sorry I have turrets syndrome.....( I'll be here all week dont forget to tip your waitress...)

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  5. What a wonderful piece, and a much better idea than an R/C submarine.

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  6. I would like to see a sea version of Battlebots with two scale model battle ships like this squaring off.

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  7. Perfect for the Central Park Pond.

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  8. Now we need to find the Russian equivalent of this and stage an epic cold war battle!

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    Replies
    1. With Cuba entertaining open borders with the US, this ship no longer serves its purpose of controlling that region of the nations safety and is thus up for sale.

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  9. Clearly this builder was possessed by a beautiful obsession. This is an incredible project.

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  10. found this on line:
    Inventor Killed by Shot from His Own Contraption GLENDALE, CAL., May 19 -(UP)--Howard Bixby, wealthy eccentric inventor, apparently was shot to death by one of his own devices among the tiny ships that comprised his miniature' radio- controlled "navy," authorities said today. The 68-year-old retired engineer, member of" a pioneer California family, was found dead yesterday in the elaborate workship where he built what was considered one of tho world's most extensive scale-model navies. He was shot in the head by a .38 caliber pistol' with the handle removed as if for an experiment. The inventor's wife had left the house when their son, Howard. Jr., heard a shot. He went to the laboratory and found Bixby's body.

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  11. Nice pull, Paulmar! Howard certainly sounds like an interesting guy....here's the rest of the story.

    https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=2206&dat=19490519&id=O14zAAAAIBAJ&sjid=eukFAAAAIBAJ&pg=3698,1629988&hl=en

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  12. Nice work, Paulmar & FTB! The picture of him working on one of the ships is amazing...and the fact that he was only four feet eight inches tall. Very tragic end, indeed.

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  13. Holy crap! That newspaper is dated May 19, 1949. That's the day I was born in Cincinnati. Wow.

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  14. This should be in a museum somewhere....

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  15. She is sailing again. Not the original radio gear but she is underway and undergoing a refitting. She shows her age but will make a full recovery.

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