These figures first saw the light of day in Strelets’ Thin Red Line, a set concerned with the Crimean War. After that conflict the Ottoman Empire went through many changes as efforts were made to modernise along western European lines, although this was severely hampered both by traditionalists and by a chronic shortage of money. One area of change was in the army, which by 1877 had largely discarded the European-style uniform of a quarter century before and reverted to one that reflected North Africa tastes, which had inspired the uniform of the French Zouaves. However the figures in this set are all wearing greatcoats, and so the uniform is largely hidden. Sources agree that the coat had a hood, but otherwise details are very scarce. One Russian magazine recently depicted it as double-breasted and with the corners turned up, in the style of the French. However we found far too little evidence to be sure of style, and given the circumstances many styles could well have been worn. These figures wear a single-breasted coat reaching just below the knees, which in the absence of any solid evidence to the contrary seems quite plausible.
All the figures wear the fez, which was traditional, and a variety of footwear, which again is fine. However they all have a cartridge pouch on a crossbelt and a bayonet supported by another. It seems clear these are inappropriate for 1877, when ammunition was carried in a belly-box on the waist belt. The bayonet was presumably also supported by the waist belt, and the only item worn across the chest was a haversack. Packs and other luggage were likely to have varied widely, but the thick crossbelts on these men, along with the cap pouch, are not correct here, and are far too obvious to be easily removed. The firearms look more like the muskets of the 1850s, and certainly not the Martini-Peabody rifle that was so widely used by the late 1870s, so again a real problem with accuracy here.
The style of sculpting is as reported the last time we reviewed these figures, which is the usual Strelets chunky and unsubtle style. Bayonet scabbards in particular are much too thick and much too short, while the muskets defy any form of identification. However there is no flash.
The poses are quite flat, as so often, and although there are 12 in the set there is little difference between some, so the available range is not good. Having no officers or other specialists will disappoint some, although the Strelets Mini series rarely has these, but while the very basics are covered there is not much here of interest.
We are all in favour of taking figures for one campaign and using them for another, if that will work, and it might seem that taking men in overcoats would get around the changes in uniform between 1853 and 1877, but it doesn’t really work here if you are looking for complete accuracy. It does allow for the relatively inexpensive boosting of numbers of Crimean War Ottomans without having to buy the large set, but in our opinion the Russo-Turkish war of 1877 still lacks any figures for Turkish infantry.