All three battleships of the Imperatritsa Mariya Class were built at Nikolaev on the Black Sea. Although all three were laid down in 1911, with the start of Word War One the completion of the first two, Imperatritsa Mariya and Imperatritsa Ekaterina Velikaya was accelerated. The first two were finished in 1915 but the third, Imperator Aleksandr III was not completed until 1917.
She did not serve long under this name because after the February 1917 Revolution, the battleship was renamed Volya. The Volya was taken over by the Soviets after the October 1917 Revolution. In spite of a peace treaty signed in March 1918, the German Army resumed an advance against Sevastopol in April 1918. Volya with sistership Svobodnaya Rossiya, ex-Imperatritsa Ekaterina Velikaya, were forced to evacuate to the small port of Novorossisk, which was in turn blockaded by the Germans. Rather than fall to the Germans, both ships were directed to scuttle them selves. Volya disregarded the order, returned to Sevastopol. For a time she was under the flag of the Independent Ukraine but was subsequently was interned by the Germans. In November 1918 she passed to British control and was sent to Turkey in April 1919 to avoid capture by the Bolsheviks.
With the start of the Russian Civil War Volya was turned over to White Russian Army, loyal to the Imperial family. She was now renamed to General Alekseev on October 17, 1919 and went back to the Crimea to support White Army operations. With the defeat of the Whites in Russia, the Black Sea naval forces still under White control became a fleet without a country. Everything that could steam or be towed left the Crimea bound for Turkey. The battleship General Alekseev was the largest and most powerful, as the only White Russian dreadnought. After passing through the Bosporus and Dardanelles, the fleet slowly steamed West through the Mediterranean, looking for a new home. They finally pulled into the French Tunisian port of Bizerte. She rusted away at that port until 1936, when she was scraped by the French. (Warships of the Imperial Russian Navy: Volume I Battleships, by V.M. Tomitch)
Combrig has released all three ships in the class in 1:700 scale. Imperatritsa Mariya (click for preview), Imperatritsa Ekaterina Velikaya (click for preview) and now the Imperator Aleksandr III. All three models have some differences. The Imperatritsa Ekaterina Velikaya is very different from the other two with a distinctive bow and significantly different deck fitting arrangement. Imperatritsa Mariya and Imperator Aleksandr III are much more similar, with a few differences at the focísle. The superstructure parts do vary in all three ships some degree as well, as can be seen in the photographs. QF gun placement differs as well.