Melbourne has been getting ready to receive the Russian fleet for a long time. Ever since the Victorian goldrush of the 1850's coincided with the Crimean War (1854-56), the good people of Melbourne have known it was only a matter of time before Russian ambitions in central Asia and Russian expansion in the North West Pacific would bring the Russian fleet sailing into Port Phillip Bay looking for Melbourne's gold. It's taken nearly 140 years, but the Russian fleet has finally arrived (all in 1:250 scale) First comes the Pietropavlovsk, flagship of the Russian Pacific fleet in 1904 Then there is the slab sided Oslyabya, fresh from the Black Sea, and flagship of the fleet sent by the tsar to reinforce his Pacific squadron. Foloowing along is the little coastal battleship Admiral Ushakov, sent all the way from the Baltic Sea as part of the same reinforcement. Ready to meet them is HMVS Cerberus, sent out from England in 1876 but refurbished in the 1890's. The original plan for the defence of Port Phillip Bay had been to anchor the Cerberus just inside the entrance, to cover that part of the main channel that lies in the gap between the forts at Point Nepean and at Queenscliff. But the extended range of the new guns in these forts can now cover the entire entrance, so the Cerberus will be kept in reserve to protect the forts by preventing any attempt to land a Russian force in small boats. Perhaps it is just as well that these Russian ships where overwhelmed by the Japanese at Tsu Shima so that the Melbourne defence plan never had to be tested in action. The Russians certainly dwarf the little Cerberus in my display case!