Let's go, Canada!!
I received an order to make the master for the Skink turret type "high bustle", for Panzer Resin Models. But, first of all, let´s talk about this rare tank: Skink AA tank.
Tank AA, 20 mm Quad, Skink was a Canadian self-propelled anti-aircraft weapon, developed in 1943-44, in response to a requirement from the Canadian Army Overseas. Due to a lack of threat from the German air force, the Skink was cancelled in 1944 after only a few had been built.
|Skink AA tank awaiting shipment from Waterloo to Montreal|
in a flat rail car. July,1944.
Notice the CDP tracks and sprocket wheel.
The development of a fully enclosed quadruple 20mm mounting on the chassis of the Grizzly tank (Canadian-built M4A1 Sherman tank) was approved by the Canadian Army Technical Development Board as Project 47 in March, 1943.
|Early concept drawing of the Skink, as presented to|
the Army Technical Development Board in May, 1943.
In keeping with the tradition of giving Canadian armoured fighting vehicles animal names, the proposed tank was named Skink, Ontario’s only native specie of lizard.
|Five-lined Skink - Plestiodon fasciatus|
The Canadian Ministry of Munitions and Supply had the turret designed in-house by its Army Engineering Design Branch (AEDB) with help from the Inspection Board. The Waterloo Manufacturing Co. in Waterloo, Ontario, was given the task of building a preliminary wooden mock-up. This was completed on 15 September 1943.
|Wooden mock up turret and turret basket. Front view.|
Waterloo Manufacturing Company - 15 September, 1943.
Two dummy Hispano-Suiza guns have been fitted.
|Wooden mock up turret and turret basket. Right side view.|
|Wooden mock up turret and turret basket. Front top view.|
The construction of two welded rolled armour pilot turrets was then authorized. The first pilot turret was demonstrated in mid-December. In January 1944 a pilot turret was successfully tested on a Grizzly chassis.
|Welded rolled armour turret, with Hispano Suiza guns at full elevation.|
All hatches are open and the deflector sight deployed.
Waterloo Manufacturing Company - 20 December, 1943.
Due to the challenges of welding a turret of such a complex shape from rolled homogeneous armour plate, Dominion Foundries of Hamilton was contracted to produce a fully enclosed cast turret (the largest armour casting ever made in Canada).
| Cast turret (first pilot), with 20mm Hispano-Suiza guns.|
Originaly it was planned to arm the Skink with four 20 mm Hispano-Suiza cannons and the first prototypes were so-armed. In January 1944, the 21st Army Group in Europe decided that only British 20mm Polsten guns would be used (the Polsten was a simplified derivative of the Oerlikon cannon) by its units.
|Skink AA 20mm tank at Lulworth Army Camp - Fall,1944.|
Notice the 20mm Polsten guns and
T54E1 VVSS Sherman tracks and sprocket
This required a redesign of the turret, which was completed in April. This change delayed the project by 3 to 4 months, while 21 Army Group's reduction in the number of AA guns to be issued to its units led to a reduction in the number of Skink turrets which were required. This dwindled to zero in late July 1944, when 21 Army Group decided that as the German air force - the Luftwaffe - had been virtually eliminated over North West Europe, there was no longer a requirement for anti-aircraft tanks. The Skink contract was cancelled in mid-August and only three complete vehicles and eight turret kits were completed.
|Skink, as sent to England for trials, with all its markings and stowage.|
Notice the CDP tracks and "high bustle" turret
Skink number 62-728 (WD Number CT163962) on display at
Dennison Armouries - Toronto, Canada - 1946.
VVSS Sherman tracks and sprocket.
|Skink firepower: 4x20mm Polsten guns|
and .30 Browning MG
|Skink "low bustle" - 3/4 rear view|
|Skink "low bustle" - left side view|
|Skink "low bustle" - rear view|
The Skink’s four 20mm Polsten guns could fire 650 rounds per minute per gun. A modified oilgear hydraulic traverse with two pumps could rotate the turret at up to 65 degress per second and - crucially for a quick response - accelerate from rest to 60 degrees in 2 seconds.
The guns elevation was also hydraulically assisted so the guns could move at up to 45 degress per second in an arc from -5 to +80. The gunner controlled both elevation and rotation with a joystick, and used a Mk.IX reflector sight. Initially it had been planned to build 300 Skink turrets for the Canadian and British armies.
|Skink high bustle turret schematic drawing|
Two Skinks was sent to Britain for evaluation and one was then sent to Europe for field trials with the First Canadian Army.
From 6 February to 11 March 1945, the Skink visited all but one of the Canadian armoured regiments - from Nijmegen to the Cleve area - frequently engaging in actual combat. All units found it to be a valuable asset. However no enemy aircraft presented itself to the Skink's guns and its main function was to flush out stubborn pockets of enemy infantry and force their surrender.
|1st Canadian Army AoS|
The remaining Skink pilots and the completed turrets went into long-term storage in Canada where, at some point, they were scrapped. Only some unfinished turret castings salvaged from the firing range survive.
|Damaged Skink "low bustle" after|
artillery fire trials.
A true sad vision...
|This Skink "high bustle" turret survivor is in much better condition...|
|Casting markings in the rear bustle of turret|
|Skink "high bustle" turret|
|Tank AA, 20mm Quad, Skink|
|Type||self propelled anti-aircraft gun|
|Place of origin||Canada|
|Number built||3 (?)|
|Weight||25.9 tonnes combat load|
|Armour||50 mm (glacis)|
|4 x 20 mm Polsten automatic guns|
|Engine||Continental R975C1 radial engine, gasoline|
350 hp (253 kW) at 2,400 rpm
|Suspension||Vertical Volute Spring|
|Ground clearance||43 cm|
|Fuel capacity||660 litres|
|Operational range||193 km|
|Speed||38.5 km/h brief level|
In the market there a conversion resin kit for the long nape Skink, by Panzer Resin Models. And I received an order to make the master for the "high bustle" turret for PRM...
|PRM conversion kit - Skink "low bustle"|
|PRM turret and parts|
|And I received a commission to make the master for the turret "high bustle" for PRM...|
|Adding casting markings with modified Archer decals|
|The 3 piece front transmission cover|
is a spare part from Dragon
|Driver and co-driver hatches are Dragon, too...|
Put claws in the turret...Using cooper wire to estabilize the guns...
Using surgical needles for gun tubes:
And the turret armed and dangerous...
The turret in the hull. The metal machine gun .30 is from RB Models.
|tracks and aerials (acupunture needles)|
|Skink with fenders|
Now, it´s primer time:
Reportedly one Skink sent to Britain for evaluation actually saw action. Based on photos, it looks like the low bustle version is the one that was tested on the front.
|Skink low bustle with Sherman VVSS tracks and sprocket|
After being transshipped to Antwerp on 24 January 1945, it reached the Canadian forces a few miles south of Nijmegen, Holland, on 4 February, and entered combat in support of the 6th Canadian Armoured Regiment (CAR) north of Nijmegen bridge. In this action, the Skink saw combat, in the ground support role, during the Allied push into Germany, working with two Shermans and an Infantry platoon, in the second wave infantry mopping up role with devestating effect. In this action, the Skink firing several bursts into a building occupied by about 50 German's, 10 of whom were wounded by 20mm HEI-T fragments and the remainder quickly surrendered.
The "high bustle" version shows the CDP (Canadian Dry Pin) tracks.
|Notice the high bustle turret and the CDP tracks.|
When I built this version, the CDP (Canadian Dry Pin) tracks did not exist in the market.... Today, there are CDP tracks from Panda Plastics and Friulmodels ....I chose the metal ones to correct my kit. But first, I had to disassemble my tank, yanking the tracks and drive wheels...
|The correct tracks: Canadian Dry pin tracks, from Friulmodels.|
|Tracks in place...Wow...Notice the space for spare tracks in the turret|
|Building the racks for spare tracks (turret)|
The markings and the decals ready for application.
Notice the white rectangles (below) for better contrast...
|The Skink with fenders repainted (left) together my other Skink|
|Decal time: First, white rectangles for better contrast of colors.|
|After the white rectangles dry, applied the transparent decals printed in full colors...|
|Skink of 1st Canadian Army, Elgin Regiment reporting for duty, Sir !!!!|
And the Skink high bustle was repaired and ready:
|Skink AA tank from 1st Canadian Army, Elgin Regiment - Holland, 1945.|
|Skink AA tank from 1st Canadian Army, Elgin Regiment - rear view|
|Skink AA tank from 1st Canadian Army, Elgin Regiment - bird view|
And the Skink low bustle:
|Skink AA tank from 1st Canadian Army, Elgin Regiment|
|Skink AA tank from 1st Canadian Army, Elgin Regiment|
The two versions of Skinks:
|Two canadian Girls who hate German planes ....|
|Skinks with Canadian and American tracks...|
|Skink AA tank with Kojak, for size comparison|
Bye for now, Tankers !!!!
See you, soon!!!