Russia has always maintained a separate fleet in the Black Sea. The Imperial Navy’s first "Dreadnought" battleship design was the four ship Petropavlovsk design for the Baltic Fleet. A slightly smaller design was used for the Black Sea dreadnoughts of the Imperatritsa Maria class, which followed two years later. There were nominally four in the class, Imperatritsa Maria, Imperatritsa Ekaterina II, Imperator Aleksandr III and Imperator Nikolai I but Imperator Nikolai I was 46 feet (14m) longer and 3,300 tons heavier than the first three.
Imperatritsa Mariawas launched in 1913 but was not completed until 1915. She was active in Black Sea naval operations, including bombarding Turkish gun positions. On October 20, 1916 Imperatritsa Maria was anchored in the north harbor at Sevastopol when her forward secondary magazine exploded, blamed on sabotage. The ship was scuttled to prevent the explosion of her forward main magazine. She went down bow first and turned over. The wreck was refloated in an upside down position and scraped in the 1920s.
One of the newest 1:700 scale kits in the Combrig lineup is the Imperatritsa Maria. This kit is the only model of this class available in any scale, outside of 1:1250. The kit comes with a stainless steel photo-etch fret, which contains the unique bow crane.