1961, the Civil War Centennial: and I wanted to go out to some of those lovely huge mud puddles on the playground and re-fight the Monitor vs. the Merrimac.
First I had to make the ships; and the operating principal was the same as displayed in this video, only instead of styrofoam I used left-over wood paneling, and instead of a sharp knife, a jigsaw. Add the rubber band-powered paddles, tack on a rotating turret for the Monitor, and you’re in business. In fact, these little ships were so successful, that I made a whole fleet of them.
I had to provide sound effects with cap guns, and line the shores of the puddle with little plastic soldiers, blue and grey, and the result was hours of fun. My father bought the jigsaw in the first place so we could make our own jigsaw puzzles, but the rubber band boats were even better.
And all it cost was the few hours it took to make the ships.