They are usually seen rolling through small independent nations in the Caucasus, but this Russian T72 tank was spotted yesterday on the lawn of Kim Dotcom's Coatesville mansion.

But the New Zealand Defence Force needn't declare Defcon 1 - it's a life-size inflatable model, and the gun doesn't work.

The German multimillionaire already had a fleet of fast cars at his sprawling estate with model rhinos in the garden - but it looks as if there was just one more thing he needed for his collection.

The tank appeared yesterday on the front lawn of the $30 million mansion he leases with his pregnant wife and three children in Coatesville.


The Herald was alerted to the tank by a source close to Friday's FBI-led raid on the property, who said it was a new "delivery" for Dotcom.

The source said it "definitely" was not at the house when police went to execute their search warrant last week.

The tank had neighbours shaking their heads in disbelief yesterday. One could not believe it was a fake.

"It looks pretty real," she said, before adding: "Too much money."

The inflatable is positioned near several giraffe sculptures on the mansion's immaculately manicured lawns.

There is also a rhino sculpture at the property.

The source said the "massive" tank was "typical" of Dotcom's flamboyant sense of humour.

Inflatable military "decoy" vehicles can cost about $3800 each, and have real-war uses such as fooling enemies into overestimating army strength.

The dummy resembles a T72, a Soviet-designed main battle tank first produced in 1970. A real T72 can weigh more than 42 tonnes, is built to cross rivers up to a depth of 5m and has a maximum firing range of 9100m.