Modelling the Battle of Borodino 1812

setting the scene.
Poles & Portuguese.
German Allies.
The french.
The Russians.
The Model.
where did this start?.
The Exhibition.

Where did it all start?


I remember reading a book when young entitled ‘The Dog that marched to Moscow’ by Ernest A Gray (my daughter bought me a copy for Xmas 2012).  Next came a UK Sunday newspaper colour supplement which featured the new Russian film of War & Peace, which then led me to see the film.  I was becoming hooked on the Battle!  I saw the film in a Leeds cinema but then University followed.


In 1973 graduated and recently married, I bought Chris Duffy’s book on the battle & campaign of 1812.  My concept was soon resolved: I would build a diorama based on the Fletches combat using 25mm plastic figures.  I would anchor the figures by inserting a shirt pin into a leg that would be embedded into a polystyrene type base.  I would try to produce individuals so where possible I would avoid producing x number of identical figures (in particular the dead, dying & wounded).  This would be achieved by conversions from as many as necessary sources. I would generally cheat (a bit) by having as a default most troops having foul weather shako covers, this making converting easier. Exact historical detail was not sought, rather the feel and look.  Thus, horses were given canvas oat bags, soldiers water bottles: these would all be in evidence at the actual event.


There were there then long stretches of time –children, working abroad, busy work schedules – when no production has occurred. But the collection steadily increased!


The principles have remained as set in 1973.   The main change has been the unexpected upsurge in plastic soldiers available.  When I started I had only a very limited Airfix source: now there are hundreds of sets available.

In the early days there was a shortage of information but an early resource were small  ‘cards’ produced by Rene North: these were my source for Wurtemburg light cavalry



I now have about thirty books as against three at the end of 1970’s. The most detailed book of the battle, published a couple of years ago, actually contradicted my earlier source information regarding the Westphalian Corps – they went more south.


Also, through Militarily Modelling Magazine, Stephen Heap – one of their contributors – kindly sent me originals he had produced of Russians. These are dated 1974