The mid 1930s was an interesting time for warship construction. With Europe taking the first tentative steps to war, rearmament was the order of the day. Warship construction had been restrained under the 1922 Washington Treaty and 1930 London Treaty. Great Britain was promoting the 1936 London Treaty, which would limit battleship displacement to 35,000-tons and maximum gun size to 14-inches. However, Japan and Italy balked at signing the new treaty. An escalator clause was inserted, which provided that if both Japan and Italy had not signed the treaty by April 1, 1937 the allowed displacement would jump to 45,000-tons with a maximum armament of 16-inch guns. It is interesting to see how the various naval powers responded. Italy and France were already building ships armed with 15-inch guns and Italy's Vittorio Veneto Class would be heavier than existing treaty limits. Japan had no intention of signing and had already started on the stupendous Yamato design. Germany guessed that neither Italy nor Japan would sign and started work on the Bismarck class battleships, which fell outside the proposed treaty limits but was within the escalator clause. The US postponed the decision. President Roosevelt did not care to order new warships in the 1936 presidential election year, so in fall 1937 when the North Carolina class was ordered, it was clear that Japan would not sign. Of all the powers Great Britain was the only one that designed a new battleship under the assumption that the treaty would be signed. The King George V class was designed for 35,000-tons and 14-inch gun and so was the lightest armed design among the powers. It was felt that the Royal Navy couldn't wait to see if Italy and Japan would sign, so the lighter arament was chosen. Originally to be fitted with three quadruple 14-inch turrets, the superfiring B turret was latter designed for a twin mount because of excessive weight of the quadruple design.
Both King George V and Prince of Wales were laid down on January 1, 1937, with the third ship Duke of York following on May 5, 1937. The Duke of York was launched on February 28, 1940 after the war had started and was completed on November 1941. Most of her early career was spend as a heavy support unit for the various Russian convoys. It was in this capacity, while serving as flagship of the Home Fleet that she engaged the Scharnhorst on December 26, 1943. Duke of York fired 446 rounds of 14-inch shells and 686 5.25-inch rounds in the three hour Battle of the North Cape, which ended in the sinking of the German battleship. She was refitted for Pacific duty between August 1944 and May 1945. In July 1945 she steamed into Sydney, Australia and became the RN Pacific Fleet flagship. However, she never did see action in the Pacific but was present in Tokyo Bay for the Japanese surrender. She went into reserve in April 1949 and was laid up in November 1951 until scrapped in February 1958.
Neptun N-1101C is the Duke of York variant of the King George V class RN battleship. The model reflects her appearance in December 1943 when she sank Scharnhorst. As always Neptun provides an incredible amount of detail in their product with all of the fine detail expected of this world leading producer.