Jian Lin, a 31-year-old farmer who once served in the Chinese navy, in his home-made tank. (Reuters)

Like most fathers, Jian Lin wanted to make his son happy. He wanted his 6-year-old son to have something “cool,” something memorable. Some fathers might give their kids amusement park tickets, or maybe a video game.

Not Jian. The former naval officer built this three-ton, high-powered, fully-operational tank for his son.

“I want to realize my dream and give my son a cool toy,” the 31-year-old man, who lives in China’s Sichuan province, told the Chengdu Economic Daily.

His son was apparently overjoyed at the gift, and quickly invited several friends over to play with the killing machine.

The boy’s delight was perhaps outshined by his father’s.

On Wednesday, Jian, wearing what appears to be a military uniform, took the beast out for a spin. Preening for cameras, he climbed inside the 10-foot-long tank and saluted. He then pointed the gun turret towards the sky and fired off a few rounds. (It was unclear, the South China Morning Post reports, whether the rounds were live.)

The idea for the gift arose during a time of idleness for Jian. He had retired from his position as a navy maintenance officer and taken up work as a truck driver.

But then, according to local media, he sold his truck and was left with time to kill. The task took two months and cost nearly $6,500. Jian used wheels from a tractor, a truck’s engine and a “refitted gearbox.”

Jian drives over a small bridge during a trial run. (Reuters)

It wasn’t clear as of Thursday morning whether the boy had indeed asked for a tank, or if Jian had gotten permission to build one. The unsanctioned manufacture of weapons is illegal in China, and could carry a jail sentence of 10 years.

But Wednesday was not the time for fretting. It was a time for tanking.

“If possible, I would like to build an amphibious tank that could also dive through water,” Jian told the Chengdu Economic Daily.