Mortars had been known since the late 14th century, but their ability to fire a projectile over even the highest rampart was a very useful feature in any siege, and all armies of the period covered by this set (16th and 17th centuries) had them in their armouries. The Ottomans conducted many sieges, so it is surprising that the evidence suggests they had relatively few mortars compared to their western neighbours. Nonetheless their general excellence with artillery of all sorts during this time stood them in good stead, and the importance of the siege makes this kind of artillery set particularly welcome.
We will begin with the mortar itself. The design is fairly typical, and it sits on a wooden platform 22mm by 19mm (1.58 metres by 1.37 metres). The bed is about 10mm (72cm) tall and the top of the barrel, which is about 11mm (79cm) in length, reaches to about the waist of the gunners. Mortars were made in all sizes by the Ottomans, and this one is perfectly reasonable. The barrel, bed and platform are all separate pieces, but the barrel rests easily in the bed and the whole model looks reasonably good. However it does suffer a lot from flash, and there is minor damage around the muzzle which gives this simple model a rough feel.
There are four crew for this weapon, with the first being a man applying the match. Next to him is a man with a long but reasonable ramrod, followed by someone with some sort of long tool. This obviously cannot be a handspike, so it is probably a lever for raising the barrel while someone else sets wedges to adjust the elevation. Finally we have a commander, presumably about to give the signal to fire. Although there is no one handling ammunition, and four is a bit of a scanty crew, we quite liked all the poses, although the man with the ramrod is not well positioned to be actually working with the mortar. Also of course these four poses would not be seen doing what they are doing at the same moment, so mixing them up with the other Ottoman artillery sets from RedBox will greatly improve the possibilities.
There is no clear evidence of uniform for such men, but everyone here seems appropriately dressed, despite the two-century long period being covered. The rather strange hats three are wearing are hard to compare with the various indistinct sources available but there is no reason to think they are incorrect, so there are no problems with accuracy. The figures are quite nicely sculpted, but they do suffer with some areas of flash.
Four tends to be a minimum number of poses for a gun, and more would have been nice, particularly as the box is hardly crammed as it is. However accuracy is fine and the sculpting good even though you will find some cause to trim flash away. A reasonable set but not one to get excited about.