Wednesday 1 February 2012

Ottoman Janissaries

Wanting a change I decided to paint up a battalion of Ottoman Janissaries from TAG. As there is very little hard information on uniforms of this corps I have gone for an unusual combination of grey, turquoise and orange. Also I have given the unit two flags as two always look better than one.

I have an osprey on the Ottoman Empire as well as a small yellow booklet by Johnson and Bell called 'The Ottoman Empire and the Napoleonic Wars'. In the latter it says that there were 196 Ortas (or regiments) of Janissaries divided into three classes – Djemaats - 101 Ortas responsible for guarding the frontiers and, presumably, serving in the regular army. These were distinguished by red boots. The second class were the 61 Ortas of Benluks who garrisoned the capital and the Sultan and wore yellow boots. The third class were the 34 Ortas of Segbans, Keepers of the Hounds, who, in the field were responsible for guarding the camps and supply routes. I have decided to paint one of these Ortas of the Segbans and have, fictionally, decided to call this unit the 44th Orta Segban Sari Kopekler or 'Keepers of the Yellow Hounds'.

The last thing I wanted to mention was the sheer versatility of having an Ottoman Army. This one is designed to fight the Poles of my Renaissance collection, but there is no reason why this army could not fight either SYW/WAS Austrians or Russians and indeed even Napoleonic foes. So with one army ( and small changes) you can cover a period from the 1600s to 1800s. And they are rather colourful!


  1. Nigel,

    The Janissaries are terrific! The TAG figures are lively - do you recommend them? WIth the plumes, flags and robes, they are full of pomp and circumstance. I share your thoughts about the versatility of the army.



  2. Jim, Yes I do recommend these TAG figures although the command bag only has one standard bearer and three officers so one of the latter will have to be converted if you want 2 standard bearers. Additionally, ArmyPainter works very well on those enormous plumes!

  3. I always do an undercoat using black enamel washed almost 50/50 with white spirit. It goes on quickly and I let it dry overnight.