Paintball, for those unfamiliar, is a nonlethal combat simulation. Players launch gelatinous spheres filled with washable dye at each other across a field, most commonly while maneuvering around cover, attempting to be the first to reach a flag (a piece of colored cloth) and return it to a base. Because rapid fire is needed, a small tank of the colored balls is typically attached to the gun, which loads with a gravity assist as the balls fall through a chute into position. Most guns also have small tanks full of carbon dioxide which are used as propellant.
Those are the ones most people know about. And then there are the other kind of paintball tanks. The ones which are driven.
Some traditional tanks throughout the world have been converted to firing paint charges; they’re generally used for training exercises or tours for nonmilitary. They aren’t truly firing what would be considered traditional paintball ordinance. Hobbyists in the United States have answered that challenge by constructing small one-person tanks with functioning paintball cannons… true paintball tanks.
There aren’t many places where these things can be used, but they are regularly seen during Invasion of Normandy, a yearly three-day paintball event which includes a mock version of the famed invasion, including undersized versions of amphibious carriers and the mini-tanks, all with paintballs flying. They regularly field between three and four thousand attendees and hold the world record for largest single paintball competition.
There’s a part of me that says this is a perfect example of people with too much time on their hands… especially when one considers that the vehicles would be useless in a standard paintball game, easily run to the flag and with significant maneuverability issues. As interesting as they might be, they represent a lot of work with minimal usefulness. The other part of me says that driving around in a tank about the length of a midsized car while shooting paintballs sounds like a lot of fun.
Question of the night: What group activity are you looking forward to restarting (while retaining basic precautions) after being fully vaccinated and giving your antibodies a few weeks to develop?