Reviewed by Timothy Dike
March 2013

The SMS Vulkan was a submarine repair ship commissioned 1908. Also referred to as a salvage tug, the ship was somewhat of a catamaran type with two separate lower hulls that blended together above the waterline. The ship could straddle a sub and raise it out of the water with it's gantry style superstructure. It was a unique looking ship that was responsible for rescuing 30 crew members from the sunken U-3 in Kiel harbor. The ship also salvaged subs U30 and UC-45 between 1915 and 1917. 

Alliance Modelworks has taken a bold step into 1/350 scale with the impressive resin and photo etch ship kit. 

The hull on this kit is cast waterline style with the two lower hulls separate. The upper hull is well cast with portholes and panel lines along the outside and doors and a work platform on the inside. The deck is plain, but designed to accept photo etched deck inserts for more detail. There is only a bit of flash alongside the hull waterline. The lower hull pieces are cast with a small casting gate on one end. A propeller shaft and rudder hinge are cast on the other end.  Click images
to enlarge
Upper Hull
Lower Hull
The is very little to the superstructure, but those parts are nicely cast. The funnels feature nicely hollowed out ends and the vent pipes are cast with very realistic open ends. Ships boats are well done with the open ones designed to accept the photo etched decks. The winches, and pulleys came out very well. 
While the casting is really nice, what makes this kit really stand out is the photo etch. Five frets provided the details and a sixth the nameplate. The frets are relief etched and include the deck and superstructure. But what really makes this kit is the gantry that the bridge rides on. That assembly is relief etched to simulate the angle iron used in it's construction. Rigging, railing, doors, and hatches as well as an abundance of small details all add to the potential of this kit. Brass rod and turned masts are also included to finish out your kit.
The kit looks pretty impressive in the box, but the build-up images from the manufacturer are really cool!
The instructions look good but should really be expanded to show the assembly in more detail. A nice kit like this deserves better instructions. 
This is a well engineered kit with sharp casting and impressive photo etching. The end result should be equally impressive. Not a kit for the beginner, but anyone conformable with working with photo etch, will have a great time with this kit. It will look great in a diorama or even as a stand alone full hull display. 
My sample is curtsey of Battlefleet Models. Harry carries an extensive line of Alliance Modelworks kits as well as his own kits. This one is #NW35059 Hebaschiff SMS Vulkan for $110.00. A fair price for a ship of this caliber.