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Set 72066

Turkish Artillery

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Date Released 2014
Contents 16 figures and 2 guns
Poses 8 poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Grey
Average Height 23.5 mm (= 1.7 m)


The 16th century was part of the Classical Age in Ottoman history, when the Empire was still growing and seemed almost invincible in war. Its army was still predominantly a cavalry force, but its reputation in the field of artillery was without equal throughout Europe. Its use of enormous cannon in previous campaigns such as the siege of Constantinople in 1453 was justly famous, but these dramatic weapons somewhat overshadowed, then and now, the excellence of their lighter field artillery. This mastery was partly thanks to the Ottomans having the only professional, standing army in Europe, which included a large prestigious artillery corps, in a century when other European states hired guns and gunners when required. The design and manufacture of the guns benefited from many foreigners, including Jews expelled from Spain after the Reconquista, and there was a steady stream of western experts working for the Sultan despite attempts to stop them, mainly by the Papacy. As a result the Ottomans were very successful in capturing towns and forts, and they had plenty of opportunity to master their trade on battlefields such as Hungary. In the West their best known 16th century actions are two famous defeats – the siege of Vienna in 1529 and the siege of Malta in 1565 – which neatly illustrate the fact that most military actions of the time were sieges rather than open battles. However the lighter field guns were still a vital part of Ottoman armies, and have finally been modelled in plastic with this set.

The set contains two guns of different sizes. The first has a barrel length of 35mm (2.5 metres) and a carriage 46mm (3.3 metres) in length. The second is smaller, with a barrel of 29mm (2.1 metres) in length and a carriage 40mm (2.9 metres) long. One aspect in which Ottoman artillery lagged behind the West was in standardisation, for many different sizes of guns were put into service, sometimes simply as an experiment. This must have given nightmares to those responsible for supply of ammunition, but it means almost any size of cannon would be likely to be authentic, and we were very happy with the fairly typical size of both these pieces of ordnance. The design of both barrel and carriage is typical of the time, and so fine, although at the start of the century some older guns would still have been without the trunnions seen here. The barrels fit the carriages well enough, as do the wheels, and the only problem is that the longer barrel lacks a cascable.

To serve the guns there are a total of 16 men. These poses include all that you might expect, including a man applying a match from a linstock, another holding a swab, a third perhaps laying the gun or covering the vent and another simply covering his ears against the expected boom. The second row has a pair carrying either powder or ammunition, a man carrying some sort of satchel, and what is clearly the officer in charge. To our eyes this represents a pretty good selection of artillerymen poses, and also having men engaged in bringing up supplies for the gun is a rare but welcome treat.

As in all European societies of the day there were very strict rules about who could wear what clothing, as this was a very clear indication of each person’s social status as well as wealth. For artillerymen however clothing would have been fairly basic, and also reasonably practical. These men all wear very standard civilian costume of an inner and outer kaftan, loose comfortable trousers and high boots. All have their kuskak, or wide sash, into which some have stuffed a sword or axe (the latter particularly appropriate for such men), while others have a sword in a scabbard suspended from a waist belt. Headwear was much the most important aspect of a man’s apparel, and so heavily regulated. The men wear tall caps which are fine, and the two carrying the sack have a headdress reminiscent of that of the Janissary zarcola. The officer wears a large turban, which is correct and a very clear sign of his rank,while three of the men seem to wear a form of hat associated with the Balkans, from where many artillerymen came, so we were very happy with all the costume.

The sculpting is generally very nice, with virtually no flash. What detail is required is pretty good, and the faces are good too, with the beards all are wearing being very clear. The pair carrying the bag are of course separate and the pole merely rests on a little area on each figure so will require gluing to stay put (i.e. there are no ring hands here). As usual we used cyanoacrylate, which resulted in a nice firm join. Other than that the figures are complete and look good. The gun barrels and carriages are as you might expect somewhat simplified but no more so than many other sets already produced, although we puzzled at why the manufacturer failed to complete the pintle hole.

All-in-all we were very pleased with this set. You get some reasonable guns and a good selection of well posed and nicely sculpted figures to serve them. The accuracy is excellent, and with so many important campaigns during this turbulent century it is to be hoped that we will see many more sets of Ottomans to match this one, while if they match it in quality too then they will be well worth our attention.


Historical Accuracy 10
Pose Quality 9
Pose Number 8
Sculpting 9
Mould 9

Further Reading
"A Military History of the Ottomans" - Praeger Security International - Mesut Uyar - 9780275988760
"Allies and Opponents: The Army of Ukraine's Neighbours in the 17th Century" - - Svyatoslav Kuzmich - 9789668174995
"Armies of the Ottoman Turks 1300-1774" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.140) - David Nicolle - 9780850455113
"Guns for the Sultan" - Cambridge University Press - Gabor Agoston - 9780521603911
"Malta 1565" - Osprey (Campaign Series No.50) - Tim Pickles - 9781855326033
"Renaissance Armies 1480-1650" - Patrick Stephens - George Gush - 9780850596045
"The Janissaries" - Osprey (Elite Series No.58) - David Nicolle - 9781855324138
"The Ottoman Turks" - Longman - Justin McCarthy - 9780582256552
"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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