Doting Chinese dad builds three-tonne working tank... for his six-year-old son

Ex-navy serviceman says he wanted to gift his son with a 'cool toy'

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 10 April, 2014, 2:46pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 10 April, 2014, 3:02pm

A former navy officer built a makeshift three-tonne tank, complete with a gun turret, as a gift for his toddler, media reports said.

“I want to realise my dream and give my son a cool toy,” Jian Lin, from Mianzhu village in Sichuan province, told the Chengdu Economic Daily.

Jian, clad in what appeared to be his military uniform, took the camouflage-painted tank for a spin around a field on Wednesday afternoon and even fired the tank gun at the air after onlookers asked for a demonstration. It was unclear if he used a live round.

Jian said he built the vehicle over the past two months using wheels from a tractor, the engine from a truck along with a refitted gearbox. The project cost him 40,000 yuan (HK$50,300). It measures 4.5 metres long and 2.1 metres high.

State news agency Xinhua said the tank was modelled after the People's Liberation Army's Type 63A light tanks, which are around 85 per cent heavier and nearly three times bigger than Jian's model.

The 31-year-old Jian worked as a navy maintenance officer of an unmanned aircraft in Qingdao, two hours’ flight from Sichuan’s capital of Chengdu. He retired from the service and worked as a truck driver.

But Jian said he sold his truck after the Lunar New Year in January and was left at home with nothing to do. That was when the idea came to him to build a tank for his child.

Proudly showing off his new “toy”, Jian’s son invited some friends to play with it. The tank has a special side door so his son can climb onto it easily, Xinhua said.

The report did not say if Jian sought the authorities’ approval, as the unsanctioned manufacture of weapons is illegal under Chinese law. Violators could face up to 10 years in jail.

But Jian already has his sights set on a new project. “If possible, I would like to build an amphibious tank that could also drive through water,” Jian told the newspaper.