1/700 Royal Navy 16"/45 (40.6cm) MKII/III (HMS Lion)

  • $24.50

1/700 Scale Royal Navy 16"/45 (40.6cm) MKII/III (HMS Lion) x3. Modelled using the KGV Class Turrets as reference and using known dimensions to create highly detailed versions for the proposed HMS Lion.

  • 3x Turrets (A, B & Y)
  • Details include: Rivets, Hex nuts, open Sighting Ports, Sighting Periscopes, Venting, Crew Access Hatches, Ladders, AA Positions, Ready Use Lockers, Stanchions and Handrails
  • Barrels are printed separately and can be elevated as desired.

These were the last large-caliber gun designs of the Royal Navy and were intended for the never-built Lion class battleships. They would have fired a new, heavier APC shell than did the 16”/45 (40.6 cm) Mark I guns carried by Nelson and Rodney.

The Mark II and Mark III were almost identical, differing only in structural details of the forward shoulders where the jacket was located on the A tube. A total of five guns were actually built - one source says three Mark II and two Mark III, another source reverses these numbers. In most respects, these guns resembled a scaled-up version of the 14”/45 (35.6 cm) Mark VII guns used on the King George V class. These new guns were designed primarily for accuracy and regularity of the muzzle velocity, not for ballistic performance. Both designs consisted of tapered inner A tube, A tube, jacket, breech ring of rectangular external shape, breech bush located in the A tube and a shrunk-on collar located on the A tube. The A tube forging was the heaviest ever made in Britain, weighing 64 tons (65 mt), while the finished A tube weighed 45 tons (46 mt). An Asbury roller cam breech mechanism was used and it was planned to use a balance weight to bring the center of gravity closer to the breech end. The design was modified in 1939 to use a loose liner type of inner A tube.

The redesign of the Lion class battleships during 1942 and 1943 prompted the development of the last British large-caliber naval gun, the 16”/45 (40.6 cm) Mark IV. This design was to use flashless powder and heavier projectiles than the Mark II and III. However, work never progressed much beyond the design stage and none were actually built. A prototype was constructed using one of the Mark III guns, but this conversion could not have been used at anywhere near the intended pressure. This prototype was relined to allow heavier and longer shells and on 13 November 1947 some 47 rounds were fired from this gun using flashless cordite propellant. These firing trials showed good wear results but the ignition of the propellant was unsatisfactory. No further trials were conducted and in “1948 approval was sought to stop development of the 16in and its ammunition and this was approved in the following year” - John Roberts in “Penultimate Battleships.”  Here ended the Royal Navy’s long history of big gun development.

In April 1945, the Admiralty set up a “Committee on the Size of Battleships” to evaluate designs for new battleships. This committee issued a report on 1 May 1945 which recommended that new battleships of about 45,000 tons (46,000 mt) should be built. In regards to main armament, the committee evaluated main battery designs of 9 x 14” (35.6 cm), 9 x 15” (38.1 cm) and 9 x 16” (40.6 cm). The committee noted that the 15” (38.1 cm) design would save not more than 3,000 tons (3,050 mt) over the 16” (40.6 cm) design and that the 14” (35.6 cm) design would save an additional 2,000 tons (2,030 mt). In its evaluation of the effectiveness of each caliber in terms of inflicting damage, the committee determined that the 16” (40.6 cm) gun was 27% more effective while the 14” (35.6 cm) gun was 25% less effective than the 15” (38.1 cm) gun. As a result of these evaluations, the committee concluded that the 16” (40.6 cm) caliber should be used for arming any future battleship.

It is notable that the Admiralty put serious effort into designing new battleships so late in the war. It has been suggested by John Roberts that this was the result of having almost all of the “air minded” senior officers located in the Far East during the final year of the war and thus unable to bring their considerable experience to the late-war design conferences. However, considering that work on designing new battleships and new heavy guns went on well past the end of the war and into 1949, it must be concluded that these obsolete warships still ranked highly in the thinking of the post-war Royal Navy.