Li Guojun is a farmer by profession, but his passion for military toys has pushed him to build a couple of life-size, fully functional tanks. Although he doesn’t know much about military engineering and he doesn’t even have access to the internet, he managed to build his own tanks by observing models that he purchased at a local toy shop. The two vehicles are 6 meters long, capable of a top speed of 12 miles per hour, and can tackle almost any kind of terrain.
“To be honest, it wasn’t that difficult to do,” said the humble farmer. “I simply needed to make the same parts that the model had, but much larger.” Li did have a little help from a friend and fellow military tank enthusiast – they built the tanks together and they now spend their spare time driving the massive vehicles outside their village in Kangping County, in northeast China’s Liaoning Province.
Li said that the first time he saw a tank was in a movie when he was a kid, and he was instantly smitten. “I remember going to the cinema with my grandmother and seeing a tank on the big screen in a war movie, it was spectacular and I was really impressed,” he recalled. “I couldn’t afford a model then so I made myself one out of wood and I guess that’s where it all started. While others gave up childhood passions like that, I just got more into it.”
But constructing a functional tank is not as easy as making a wooden model, and Li admitted that there were several failed attempts that ended up being scrapped or recycled. He finally succeeded with his latest models – ‘008’ and ‘009’, which have fulfilled his life-long dream of owning fully working tanks.