|Posted by Adam on March 12, 2016 at 5:55 AM|
Ottoman armies have always been an interest of mine. One of the key powers through the 15th to 17th Centuries and with an army to be feared; plenty of excellent cavalry and, when Jannissaries were added, good, regular disciplined infantry. In addition they had reams of raiding light troops and volunteer mujahadeen types to strike terror into their neighbours.
It is the 18th Century that holds my main interest however. After the narrowly failed seige of Vienna in 1683 the Ottoman state and army went into a period of decline. There were still military successes and attempts at reform but the Ottoman Empire was on the defensive from there on in. There is a real scarsity of information about the Ottoman army of this period (in English at least) which is part of the reason it is less well catered to for wargamers. Much of what is offered (in 25mm at least) seems to be extrapolated from sources from the early 17th Century and the 19th. Armour does seem to have fallen out of favour, except for a very few Guard units, and foot becomes predominantly musket armed. Uniforms are not much in evidence, so to my mind it means I have the opportunity to use the same figures for the bulk of the army throughout the period.
Indspired by conversion projects seen online, I decide to have a try at converting some suitable plastic figures. After a modicom of research the most promising subject looked like the Zouaves made by Perry Minatures for the American Civil War.
Although intended for the later 1800s the general style is based on the North Africans who had been a part of the Ottoman Empire, but could represent the general shape of Ottoman dress on campaign with a bit of adjustment.
Some of the fancier braid could be shaved off or just painted over for lower grade soldiers and the turbanned heads included would be pretty close to earlier styles. The biggest issue is the rifle carried by the figures. A bit of clever converting and painting might do to hide its provenance or a new musket of the earlier style used to replace it. A third option would be to cast up a new arm with the correct weapon and this would enable some change to the pose of the figure at the same time.
I had the idea that I would want the Ottoman regiments I would create to have the look of aggressive troops, ready to get into hand to hand, even if this wasn't quite the truth for the period... Thus having them charging with sword in hand and musket carried in the other might give me a morale advantage as they are deployed onto the table (however little they live up to this subsequently!) This ambition would require the creation and casting up of some new arms with the correct weaponry, as life is just too short to do individual conversions on hundreds of foot soldiers. I have always fancied a go at this anyway but I decided I would make up one prototype and paint it before diving into this.
The officer sprue in the Zouaves box has an army weilding a likely looking sabre, close enough to a scimitar for this test. A number of arms were then hacked to pieces and putty and wire forced into a shape vaguely resembling an earlier eastern typ of musket. I also considered chopping back some of the kit carried by the ACW infantryman but relented and left it in place. Why make myself more work at this stage? A quick coat of paint to hide the worst of my cack-handedness and he was done.
I am reasonably happy with that. It gives the required impression of "charging in with cold steel" and exotic easterner. Several regiments of these weilding purposeful yataghan swords rather than girly scimitars will I hope give an opponent pause for thought. Time to practise those putty pushing skills...
Categories: Painting Projects