Just prior to the conclusion of WWI, the Japanese Navy was considering to modernize their aging fleet with a very strong and powerful line of new warships, called the "Eight-Eight" squadron. This concept was to include 8 new battleships and 8 new battle cruisers. In addition to these 16 capital ships, 4 huge leviathans armed with 46cm guns and a displacement of 47,500 tons were to be built. In 1921, most of the major nations, including Japan, signed the Treaty of Washington, which limited the total number and tonnage of capital ships for a ten year period. During this time, Japan constructed four of the eight planned ships; Nagato, Mutsu and the Akagi and Kaga which were converted to aircraft carriers, so that the grand plan of 8-8 was not carried out. In 1929-30 just when the restrictions were coming to an end, the Treaty of London was signed, which imposed similar restrictions on the nations of the world as far as ship building was concerned. In October 1934, under great security, the Japanese Navy started plans for a super battleship, and 22 months later a proposal called A140-F5 was adopted. After several modifications were made final plans were adopted for a 68,200 ton dreadnaught in March 1937, and construction was begun on the famous Yamato in the Kure Naval yard in November 1937.
In violation of the London and Washington Treaties, and in the greatest secrecy, the Japanese Navy begun construction of a 2nd Super Battleship, named "Musashi" on 29 March 1938, at the Nagasaki Naval Shipyards. A curtain of sisal mats 2.7 kilometer long was constructed around the slipway on which the Musashi was built to keep it secret from the public. The launching of the Musashi was camouflaged with equal care, and the police units hermetically sealed off the opposite side of Nagasaki city, and the ship was launched in secrecy and without any ceremony early in the morning on 1 November 1940, with a launch weight of 35,737 tons, and commissioned ready for service on August 5th 1942. Being a sistership of the Yamato, the most distinguishing features were the 9 huge 46cm guns, largest ever carried aboard ships. Housed in three turrets of 3 guns each, they had a range of 41,000 meters and could penetrate 43cm of armour plating at a distance of 30,000 meters. One armour piercing projectile for these type 94 guns, weighed 1.4 tons, and the turret that housed the guns weighed 2,265 tons each. In addition to the 46cm guns, the Musashi carried 12 5" anti-aircraft guns; and 130 25mm AA guns. Displacement at full load was 71,659 tons and she was powered by 4 steam turbine engines with a shaft horsepower of 150,000, which provided a top speed of 27.3kts. During combat operations North-West of the island of Palau on 29 March 1944, the Musashi was torpedoed by the U.S Tubmarine "Tunny" and suffered some major damage. During Operations South of Luzon, Philippines on 24 October 1944, the Musashi was attacked by several U.S. aircraft from four aircraft carriers, and sustained 20 aerial torpedo and 17 bomb hits, plus 16 damaging near misses. Four and a half hours after this last attack, the proud Musashi sank, almost to be forgotten in later years, while her sistership Yamato went on to be known as the largest battleship ever floated. The Musashi differed greatly from the Yamato in her armament, and this model of the Musashi shows her in the latest configuration, just prior to her sinking in 1944.