SMS VULKAN on route to be scrapped April 06 1919 by Jim Baumann
 
SMS Vulkan was a submarine recovery ship built for the Imperial German Navy 1907 at Howaldts-werke in Kiel . The vessel was launched in 1907, completed and commissioned in 1908. She measured 280 ft loa ( 85.3 m) with an impressive 54 ft beam (16.5m) Her 1200 hp turbo-electric propulsion via 2 screws could drive her at 12 knots and she carried a crew of 105 officers and men. The ship was built to be a ship capable of recovering submarines from the sea bottom . To this end she had two large steel girder gantries amidships with a pilothouse that acted a navigators bridge as well as housing the winches ( up to 500 tonnes each lifting capacity) for the submarine recovery winding gear. The gantries straddled the twin hull configuration similar to a catamaran, to allow the sunken submarine to be recovered via chains passed under the submarines by divers and brought to the surface and nestled between the hulls for crew recovery or repair works. She was successfully deployed for this purpose on 17 January 1911 by partaking in the rescue of U-3 from the Seabed off Kiel , all but three crew were rescued. In 27 August 1915 she salvaged U-30 and two years later in 1917 U-45. During the latter part of WW1 , with the rapidly increasing size of U-boats she became obsolete and served as a submarine mother ship and torpedo training school for the last year of WW1. After the war her crew mutinied and deserted. She was assigned to Britain as war reparations for scrapping in Harwich UK ; On 6 April 1919 while being towed from Hamburg  by the Tugboats RETTER ( 1885) and SCHELDE ( 1906 ) she foundered in Force 5 (!) winds in the North Sea....==> see foot-note
The Tugboat RETTER 1885
 
Retter-01 Retter-02 Retter-026 Retter-03 Retter-04
Retter-05 Retter-07 Retter-08 Retter-09
The Tugboat Schelde 1906
schelde01 schelde02 schelde03 schelde04
schelde05 schelde06 schelde07
Vulkan picking up the tow
Title-image Vulkan-01 Vulkan-02 Vulkan-03 Vulkan-04
Vulkan-05 Vulkan-06 Vulkan-07 Vulkan-08 Vulkan-09
Vulkan-10 Vulkan-11 Vulkan-12 Vulkan-13 Vulkan-14
Vulkan-15 Vulkan-16 Vulkan-17 Vulkan-18 Vulkan-20
Vulkan-21 Vulkan-23 Vulkan-24 Vulkan-25 Vulkan-26
Vulkan-27 Vulkan-28 Vulkan-29
THE MODEL in 1/350 scale

The VULKAN model is based on a heavily re-worked resin kit from Admiralty Modelworks from 2012 , which was a valiant and bold release.

However some of the detailing was overdone and heavy ; the decking was plain wrong - and indeed some dimensional errors had crept in .With research I found that there was a huge amount of extra scratch-built detail to be added along with many small corrections that did add much to the overall appearance. The hull(s!) rendition of plating was far too coarse for scale... Therefore this was sanded down and new, far more subtle plating strakes were created using tape.

All the weather and upper decks were replaced with planking where appropriate which was orientated fore and aft and so very much more ! ==> for the full protracted 10 year analysis (!) of the build - see the step by step building thread here:on MW.com

I must stress there were some breaks in between for light relief, during which a number of 1/700 and 1/350 projects took precedence and were completed. The two Tugs in the diorama are portrayed picking up the tow lines in anticipation of the mooring line being cast off. These were scratch-built from plans and photos, consisting of wooden carved hulls, styrene bulwarks, brass, and even 'Butter wrapping paper !'  Both tugs were considerable research and building projects in themselves. The construction of the two distinctly different tug boats is described in detail here:

In conclusion....

I am happy with the diorama.  I feel it captures well end of a ships life, the desolate, sombre and sad atmosphere that surrounds the two tugs picking up the fore and aft tow-lines for the final journey across the North Sea to be broken up....In actual fact the SMS Vulkan never reached Harwich, the ship sinking on route in Force 5 in the North Sea ,....at position 54°54?N 06°18?E. which really quite some way off the usual course Hamburg to Harwich. In 2010 the wreck of SMS Vulkan was located by accident by the Salvage Vessel 'Friendship', in position 54° 52' 033" - 06° 18' 491" ..which is several miles off the position noted the year she went to the bottom. 

More of Jim Baumann's work.
Updated 1/29/2024

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