Ottomania – Last of the Topçu Ocağı

I began the year painting figures from what was both an unusual topic and an unusual era for me; 16th/17th century troops of the Ottoman Empire. Specifically, I focused on their artillery corps (the Topçu Ocağı). These are impressive sculpts from RedBox which was a key reason why I was drawn to them in the first place. Using resin-cast gabion gun emplacements, I created mini dioramas from their following sets:

That left just one more box untouched from RedBox’s Turkish artillery releases; the 16th Century field artillery set.

When I made my 16th Century Siege Artillery earlier this year, I only attempted 3 of the 4 guns in the box as I had a) inexplicably lost one of the gun crew and b) carelessly cut through the axle on the gun carriage! Happily, the missing Ottoman artilleryman finally turned up after a month hiding behind the sofa (thereby not demonstrating the kind of martial qualities required as a member of the Topçu Ocağı of the Kapikulu Corps). Turning my attention to the broken cannon, I had to get creative.

One of my finished siege gun crews from earlier in the year.

So I’ve embarked on a bit of scratch-building by cutting away the broken axle and drilling a hole through the carriage. Next, I used a scalpel to whittle away a cocktail stick to act as a replacement axle. I still had trouble getting it through the hole which I resolved by cutting deep into the carriage so that it sat convincingly on top the axle instead.

You’d have to know how hopeless I am at such practical construction to understand how ridiculously pleased I am with my handywork. I feel like an engineer! My engineer father will be impressed, I’m sure.

I’ve been painting 20 artillerymen figures and they’re approaching completion. So, I’m now working on the big guns…

…and also tackling the resin-cast gabions which have been a feature of these artillery teams.

My remaining gabions from Anyscale Models

I’ve said before that there is significant doubt that there was any real standardised uniform for the Turkish Topçu Ocağı, but I readily confess that I like the uniformity of miniature figures in my painting. Furthermore, I think it suggests something of the relatively advanced professionalism of the Ottoman artillery at a time when their corps were peerless in Europe.

My 16th Century artillery will deliberately look similar to these 17th Century Ottoman field artillery figures I painted.

Finally, I’m also thinking that these figures could also stand nicely as being the artillery of a wargaming imagi-nation; perhaps a fictitious Islamic nation, constantly at war with other neighbouring 17th century Balkan lands, Tsarist Russia or North African states. The Sultanate of Al-Suburbia, perhaps, or the Caliphate of Militaristan?

The Sultan of Al-Suburbia? A Red Box commander from my Jannisaries set.

7 thoughts on “Ottomania – Last of the Topçu Ocağı

  1. Sorry late again sir ! Really grand painting again mate I just love the way you can change what to me looks like a pretty average fig. on the PSR in a magic one !
    Thanks for pointing out Anyscale ,just love those gabions and will have to get some if I ever get around to doing some siege artillery shows .One quick question ,which static grasses have you used on these fine exhibits?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Pat, I’m glad I’ve shown these figures in a positive light for you. I think they’re good figures, “nearly” great ones.

      I think I used the Autumn mix from Javis Countryside scenics range of static grass. I’ve about run out of that too – better get some more for these latest gun crews!

      Sad news about the gabions – I can’t see them advertised on the website anymore but I think they are available through eBay – https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Wargames-scenery-4-Artillery-screens-of-wicker-gabions-for-20-28-mm-figs-851/323068271611?hash=item4b385e9bfb:g:w4IAAOSwohVcRc31&fol=6819130c85907215dc9ecf0b8d23f03c622787ff8053372e60a24d98fb922fc4&pwid=waylander.2012

      Like

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