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Set 72069

Turkish Siege Artillery Gun

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 2015
Contents 16 figures and 4 guns
Poses 4 poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Grey
Average Height 23 mm (= 1.66 m)

Review

The Ottoman Empire was the first in Europe to have a professional, full-time artillery arm, and as a result they were the best in Europe during the 16th century. This was an age dominated by the siege, where artillery was generally at its most effective, and the Ottomans had become famous for their enormous siege guns after such events as the capture of Constantinople in 1453. By the 16th century however, when the trend was towards smaller, more mobile artillery, even the Ottomans were using smaller guns than before, although siege artillery was still much larger than field artillery. The enormous monsters may not have been in use any more, but any stronghold seeing Ottoman siege guns being moved into position would have had good reason to fear.

Although there was little standardisation of guns in the 16th century, it seems that the Ottoman’s ordnance was particularly varied even by the standards of the day. As a result there is a lot of leeway for anyone making a model of such a gun, but even so we were not entirely comfortable with the offering in this set. The carriage is pretty good, with the kind of presence you would expect of a big gun. The wheels stand 19mm (1.37 metres) tall, and the carriage without the wheels is 46mm (3.31 metres) in length, so quite an imposing piece of kit. The design is fairly standard for moveable carriages of the day, although here it has been simplified to a degree. However it is the barrel which gave us some concern, because to us it just looks too stubby. In fact the barrel is 24mm in length, which equates to about 1.73 metres, and there are records of Ottoman heavy guns of exactly this length, although this does represent the minimum and typically the barrel would be considerably longer than this. With a width at the muzzle of 5 mm, expanding to 6 mm further along, the barrel is certainly wide enough to look fearsome, but we would have preferred something perhaps 50% longer to give more typical proportions.

The gun was a little tricky to put together as we found the holes for the axles in the wheels needed to be enlarged a little, and there is a fair amount of flash in places too. The barrel fitted easily enough, but there is something of a rough look to the model, and removing the flash from the barrel will be particularly difficult thanks to the recessed loops round it – a feature that we could not find any evidence for but which would surely greatly weaken the barrel, so must be considered suspect.

Moving from the gun to the crew, of which there are only four, our top row shows a man with a ramrod, another with a match and a third holding a ball. The ramrod seems a little slim for such a large calibre gun, but the pose is good. The man with the match, not surprisingly held on the end of a particularly long pole, is curious in that he holds this behind his back, and he also holds it well below the level of the touch-hole. Add to that the fact that he is clearly not looking at what he is doing with this long thing, and we thought this was quite an odd pose which we found far from convincing. The third man in the row has no such problems, and is holding the ball exactly at the level of the mouth of the gun, so is fine.

Beside the gun we have pictured the last of the crew, clearly the man in charge. He has a large turban and carries a quadrant, and watches as the gun is being served by the rest of the men. Like the rest of the figures he is a nice piece of sculpting, with good proportions and a lifelike posture. However like some of the others he also suffers from some noticeable flash, which is disappointing. The costume on all the figures is typical of the period, so no problem there.

The unusual proportions of the gun barrel as well as its design are the weakest elements of this set, although the paucity of poses per gun and the amount of flash are also less than ideal. The man with the match has some questions to answer about his pose, but the others are good and the sculpting is attractive too. Nevertheless we thought this set, while good in parts, has too many unusual or suspect features, and could have been improved in several ways.

Ratings

Historical Accuracy 9
Pose Quality 8
Pose Number 4
Sculpting 9
Mould 7

Further Reading
Books
"Allies and Opponents: The Army of Ukraine's Neighbours in the 17th Century" - - Svyatoslav Kuzmich - 9789668174995
"Guns for the Sultan" - Cambridge University Press - Gabor Agoston - 9780521603911
"La Guerra di Candia 1645-69 Vol.1" - Soldiershop (Battlefield Series No.2) - Bruno Mugnai - 9788896519431
"Malta 1565" - Osprey (Campaign Series No.50) - Tim Pickles - 9781855326033
"Renaissance Armies 1480-1650" - Patrick Stephens - George Gush - 9780850596045
"The Siege of Malta 1565" - Literary Services & Production - Ian Lochhead - 9780853210092
"Warriors of the Hungarian Frontier 1526-1686" - HM Zrínyi Nonprofit Kft (A Millennium in the Military) - Gyozo Somogyi - 9789633275573

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