Farnworth man creates flat pack World War One tank
FIRST there was flat pack furniture, then came the flat pack house, and now, thanks to a prop designer from Farnworth, there is a flat pack World War One tank.
Paul Flanagan was tasked with the challenge of designing the replica Male tank — which is the size of a static caravan — in just two weeks for a Help for Heroes event.
But unpredictable weather and lack of space meant that he had to work through the night to make sure it was ready in time.
The 26 foot long tank, which cost about £2,000 to make, is built of plywood and timber, is 12 foot wide and eight-and-a-half foot tall.
Mr Flanagan, who is also a stunt actor and producer, was so limited for space that he had to make it in sections and build it on his mum’s driveway.
The 60-year-old, of Plodder Lane, said: “I have made my fair share of props and scenery, but this is by far the biggest challenge I’ve ever faced.
“When you say it out loud, ‘flat pack tank’ — it sounds ridiculous. But we did it. I think Ikea would be proud.
“An events company called about four weeks ago and asked me if I could make this tank to celebrate 100 years of the army service and tie in with an event that Help for Heroes were doing.
"They tried to get a real tank initially, but it was logistically impossible, so they asked me if I could build one.
“I knew I could, but straight away I realised that it would have to be flat pack so it could be easily transported.”
The flat-pack tank was the centrepiece of Armed Forces Day celebrations in Blackpool town centre.
The tank was commissioned by Blackpool BID (Business Improvement District).
Event manager John Mayoh said: “It is very expensive to get a real tank at the event because they are mainly based in the south of England and cost a lot of money to transport.
"So we hit upon the idea of a replica, and Paul agreed to make this one for us.”
The tank took Mr Flanagan 10 days to build at the house he shares with his mum Joan Flanagan, aged 86.
She said: “I’m used to the way he is now.
“He’s built all sorts of things on my driveway but I must say this tank is a lot bigger than the normal garden gnomes.”
Mr Flanagan added: “It is the size of a static caravan so the only place I could put it together was on my mum’s driveway.
“I’ve made it as close to a Male Tank as I could — complete with machine guns. I am pleased that it was done in time, although it was touch and go.
“Thankfully I had a few helpers who I am grateful to.
“The weather was so up and down — it was like something out of Challenge Anneka.”
The Male tank was widely used during World War One.