Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Cardboard Tank

Assemble and paint cardboard around electronics to look and sound like a tank.
  [vote for,

Riding in real tanks is expensive. Consisting of painted cardboard around an electronic sound and possibly locomotive system, the cardboard tank would be lightweight and mostly hollow. Inside, propulsion could be one or two bicycles, or a decent-sized electric motor running on laptop batteries. But most importantly, a laptop or programmable integrated circuit would be set to respond to changes in velocity and firing with prerecorded audio representation, such that gear grinding and pavement-scraping would accompany acceleration, blasts would follow firing, and rumbling and squeaking would ensue for all other operations.

For more recreation, the main barrel of the tank extends past a water balloon launcher barrel. Talcum powder bellows connect to the main barrel to simulate explosive chemical reaction during firing, during which the balloons accelerate by a large elastic band similar to those found in physical therapy clinics.

If the tank looked and sounded real, could you fool a would-be mob of outlaws or an unskilled invading army? If you had two of the tanks, they could fire at one another and deal significant damage if the cardboard were thin enough. That could be lots of fun.

Ketchupybread, Dec 03 2008

I can haz tanx? http://nerdapproved...ank-playhouse-1.jpg
[2 fries shy of a happy meal, Dec 03 2008]

Operation Bodyguard http://en.wikipedia...Operation_Bodyguard
"In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies." - Operations included pretend armies, pretend negotiations, pretend plans, and of course, fake rubber tanks. [zen_tom, Dec 03 2008]

Dummy Tanks http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dummy_tank
Used extensively in warfare since 1945. [zen_tom, Dec 03 2008]

Jasper Maskelyne http://en.wikipedia...ki/Jasper_Maskelyne
Master of fake tankery and the man who made Cairo & the Suez Canal disappear. [DrBob, Dec 05 2008]


       Baked. In 1947 what would later become the Israeli army scared off Palestinians by rolling barrels down a hill to simulate the sound of approaching tanks.
Spacecoyote, Dec 03 2008

       I love it. One could simulate a tank formation by towing empty cardboard tanks behind the main one in formation. For Tiananmen Square type events, where some brave guy stands in front of the tank, one could roll the cardboard tank over him with impunity and play a tape of crunching sounds. Once inside the tank with the operator on a moped the brave guy might get wise, but the operator could offer him salted snacks then push him out under the back side of the tank where he would emerge, mouth full of pork rinds, miraculously unscathed.   

       Probably the balloons fired by this tank should be full of blood and guts. People who are hit by something fired out of tank expect to be seriously messed up, and one would not want to disappoint.
bungston, Dec 03 2008

       Britain did exactly this to lead the Germans into thinking that there were a lot more tanks, planes etc than there actually were (and that they were going to be used in a massive invasion on Europe at Calais) - in addition to the cardboard planes, inflatable tanks and paper soldiers, they recorded the sounds of real tanks rumbling along and blowing things up way over in some secluded Scottish isle, later shipping the recordings over to the continent where they were replayed by daring commando and resistance DJs to perplex and confuse. By all accounts all of these strategies worked brilliantly, and in the final push, Hitler remained convinced that the D-Day landings were an auxiliary force, holding back his forces in defence against the anticipated 'main' attack on Calais - which never came.
zen_tom, Dec 03 2008

       In the Western Desert campaigns of Global Disagreement II, both sides did the opposite of this, by putting canvas and wood fake trucks around real tanks, to try to hide movements.
coprocephalous, Dec 03 2008

       // Britain did exactly this //   

       C.F. "Deceivers Ever" and "Bodyguard of Lies" (Anthony Cave Brown) concerning WW2 camouflge and deception.   

       The ultimate progression of this would be to cover a real tank with a badly-made and completely unconvincing cardboard casing. Imagine their surprise ......
8th of 7, Dec 04 2008

       That's Scotsmen, [Ian]. Youre watching the news; try the Sci-Fi channel.
8th of 7, Dec 05 2008

       //alien species from other planets//


As noted by others, fake tankery is not exactly new but I like the cardboard tank battles idea although it's really just a scaled up version of Robot Wars isn't it?.

The idea also brings to mind the rather interesting story of Jasper Maskelyne (linky).
DrBob, Dec 05 2008

       Well, it's the sort of "double bluff" deception that could be used if one had a reliable source (e.g. Ultra) about the Enemy's thinking ....   

       The Enemy expects you to attack at either Point A or Point B. The tactics are to actually move your forces to Point A, but conceal them under badly-made dummies, making them look like a deception. At the same time, convincing and well-made dummies are massed opposite Point B. The enemy reconnaisance locates both forces and reports that the forces at A are a crude deception, but those at B are real. The enemy will then mass their own forces at B, and will be wrong footed when the actual attack goes in at A.   

       This is an extra level of deception over that involved in Operation Bodyguard, and would be best employed agains a wily, evil, suspicious and paranoid opponent with no moral pronciples, i.e. the French.
8th of 7, Dec 05 2008

       Wouldn't the enemy have to come across the tank and then wheel it back into the camp, proclaiming it to be a gift from the gods...
Jinbish, Dec 05 2008

       This might fool one whom has not felt the ground shake as a real tank passes by.
MikeD, Dec 05 2008

       //What if it rains?//   

       We'll have to make it out of laminated cardboard.
ye_river_xiv, Dec 05 2008

       // pointillist camouflage. //   

       That's a load of Pollocks, [IanT].
8th of 7, Dec 06 2008

       // either the walls move or the Horse moves... //   

       If both are moving, you've drunk too much of that cheap vodka again.
8th of 7, Dec 07 2008

       I fear the Geeks, especially when they are bearing tanks.
gnomethang, Dec 07 2008

       [gnomethang], remember, "Blessed are the Geeks, for They shall inherit the Earth" (Matthew V:5)
8th of 7, Dec 07 2008

       Aaaah!, That's nice!. They have such a hard time!
gnomethang, Dec 08 2008

       I like this idea, only I think it should be run by the government.
quantum_flux, Dec 11 2008


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