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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Bolt Action - Unofficial Unit: Canadian Skink

In March 1943, the Canadian Army Technical Development Board approved the development of the Skink anti-aircraft tank. Designed on the Grizzly chassis (the Canadian built version of the M4A1 Sherman) it mounted four 20mm Polsten cannons in an enclosed turret and was planned to be a mobile anti-aircraft platform to defend the Canadian ground forces against the dreaded Luftwaffe. Keeping with tradition of naming Canadian tanks after animals, it was named the Skink after Ontario's only native lizard.

After a few redesigns due to the changing of what weapons were mounted, the first prototypes were late and by July 1944, the project was cancelled due to the Luftwaffe being virtually eliminated in Western Europe by the superior Allied air power. When it was cancelled, only 3 complete vehicles and 8 turrets had been made. One of these completed vehicles was sent to Britain, before being sent on to France for field trials.

There is limited information available but while in Europe in February and March of 1945, it was toured through the Canadian units around the Nijmegen area in the Netherlands where it saw limited combat against ground targets. It was well-liked by the units who trialed it and it was reportedly good at shifting entrenched infantry with it's quad 20mm cannons. Regardless of the fact only one ever saw the field, this interesting tank would make a great unit for 'what-if' games of Bolt Action or possibly even for use in the upcoming Konflikt '47 system? So we have included rules for it so you can use it in your friendly games.

Skink Anti-Aircraft Tank
Cost: 196pts (Inexperienced), 245pts (Regular), 294pts (Veteran)
Weapons: 4 turret-mounted Light Autocannons with 360-degree arc of fire and 1 forward facing hull-mounted MMG
Damage Value: 9+ (medium tank)
Special Rules:
- Flak for the Light Autocannons

The model of the Skink you see here was made by conversion master Jakob Lotz. There are some existing 1:48 kits out there, but nothing in 1:56, so Jakob took it upon himself to smash one out. He started with a Blitzkrieg M4A1 Sherman. He then reshaped the bow gun ball mount, to make it look like the Canadian made Grizzly. Then he added the 'ribbings' that you can see between the front crewmen positions, made with thin strips of plasticard.

Then with a jeweler's saw and hobby knife, he reshaped the turret, before building up the center prow-like section with plasticard. The gun mounts were made from plasticard tubing cut into sections. Then some greenstuff was used to smooth out and shape the turret, before the guns, made out of plasticard rods, were added. Lastly he added some hatches and other minor details. All in all, it's a stunning conversion and I am honoured to be in possession of such a unique model.

If you try your hand at making this conversion or want to ask questions, check us out on the Bolt Action Alliance facebook page. Otherwise, try this guy out in your next fun game if you play Canadians!

"Anf" is a long-time gamer from Down Under, who currently focuses his hobby time on Bolt Action.
With an equal love of  rockets and Ice Hockey, he constantly explores weird and wonderful army lists in his never-ending quest to collect them all.

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