Friday, October 7, 2011

Spotlight on Later Ottoman Turks

For historical gamers, the Ottoman Turkish Empire has much to recommend. The Turkish armies have some of the most exotic and colorful units you'll find and they bumped up against a multitude of other nation-states during their 500 year empire.  For purists, there are abundant historical adversaries and also research materials to recreate armies and battles.

I chose Later Ottoman because I wanted to paint up a colorful army that would be significantly different to run from my other armies. The Turks delivered in spades! I'm not exaggerating when I say every unit in this army shoots, except for the camp.  The emphasis on cavalry units means that you get a very fast AND shooty army.

Janissary handgunners: These superior handgunners are a "must have."  In addition to rerolling 1s, shooting at an enemy with firearms means that unit tests at -1 during any cohesion tests in the shooting phase, regardless of whether they were actually hit by the firearms!
Azab Handgunners:  You can't have too many handgunners in a medieval army so take these handgunners as well. These can be taken as average or poor. I take them as poor.  While unlikely to hit, the smoke and sound of their guns can frighten enemy troops and inflict the -1 cohesion during the shooting phase.

Azab Archers:  These fellows aren't discouraged at all to be using B.C. technology on an A.D. battlefield.  They're decent skirmishers and a required unit in the Later Ottoman list. They have a job to do and they do it in high fashion!
Akinjis: You may have noticed I'm a big fan of Light Horse.  How big? How about 20 bases worth in this instance.  I used a trick painting these up. I chose 5 color schemes-blue, yellow, green, orange and purple-and repeated the patterns over the 40 figures that make up the 5 battlegroups. I'm very pleased with how these turned out. 
Janissaries:  Superior, protected, drilled, medium foot armed with sword and bow.  Whew! I'm guessing they will be tough as nails on the battlefield and I can't wait to take them for a spin.

Qapu Khalqi Cavalry:  These are the elite guard cavalry responsible for protecting the Sultan.  Drilled, armored, bow and sword armed, they are "Death on Horseback."

Timariots:  Timariots are the bulk of the Ottoman heavy cavalry.  While they'll have difficulty going toe to toe with knights in melee, the trick is to retreat in the face of a charge and arrow your pursuers to death.

Serbian Knights:   As if the Ottoman army isn't tough enough, you can take Serbian Knights as an ally.  I figured with all of the medieval armies built around Knights, I better have a few stands of my own.

Commanders:  In the Ottoman Empire, the more important you were, the bigger and more elaborate your headdress.  My Minnesota Vikings ball-cap tells you everything you need to know about me, by Ottoman or modern standards.
Camp:  I think you'll agree these tents are in keeping with the subtle color scheme of this army. 

If you're thinking of painting up a medieval army, consider the Later Ottoman Turks. Their fighting style is radically different from the knight-centric armies that dominated Europe during this era and the wild colors speak for themselves-quite loudly in fact!  As a bonus, a Later Ottoman Turkish army can easily morph into a Seljuk Turk army if you're willing to paint up additional light horse and heavy cavalry.  It could also be fielded in the Renaissance era so you might say it's a 3 for 1 special.

This army is composed of Old Glory figures and I found these sculpts to be almost uniformly excellent.  They are the best I've seen from Old Glory and were a joy to paint. I'm going to bring this army down to our club games for the next 3 or 4 months and see what I can do in the Medieval era.  Only two weeks until I get to put them in battle so stay tuned!