A French model-enthusiast who wanted to beat the world record for a matchstick Eiffel Tower has had his hopes dashed.
Richard Plaud, 47, from Montpellier-de-Médillan in western France, was told by the Guinness Book of Records that his 7.19m (23ft) tower did not qualify because he had used the wrong kind of matches.
“It’s part of my dream that’s vanished,” he told reporters.
His model took eight years, 706,900 matches and 23kg of glue to build.
The final piece of wood was carefully glued into place on 27 December, 100 years to the day since the death of the engineer Gustav Eiffel.
After that, he put the 1/45th scale model on display and contacted the Guinness World Records team so they could authenticate his work.
But that was where it all went pear-shaped, because Mr Plaud had made a fundamental error.
Realising that the most annoying part of the job was going to be shaving off hundreds of thousands of bits of sulphur from individual matchsticks, he contacted the match manufacturer.
They supplied him with kilos of sulphur-less matches – in other words sticks without the red part at the end. Perfect for building, but technically not real matches.
Unfortunately for him, the Guinness World Records rules stipulate that only “commercially available” matches qualify for a record-breaker.
“They reckoned that my matches weren’t available for sale. So they didn’t qualify,” said Mr Plaud.
“It’s pretty astonishing, and actually rather annoying. Not exactly fair play. What hurts most is that they don’t acknowledge the work that I put in, the time I spent, the mental energy – because I can tell you it was not easy.”
He hopes to put his tower on display in Paris for the Olympics in July.
Meanwhile the Guinness record stays in Lebanon – where Toufic Daher built a 6.53m Eiffel Tower in 2009.
Using the right matches.