The Ottoman Empire played a large part in the Great War, but this role is often overlooked today. Yet some of the best known actions of that war involved the Empire, most notably the Gallipoli campaign and the exploits of Lawrence and the Arab Revolt. Like all Imperial armies, theirs was a multi-national affair, but the Turkish contingent was its backbone and it is these troops that are modelled in this set, a long overdue acknowledgement of these courageous soldiers.
By the outbreak of war in November 1914, the Imperial Ottoman Army has in the process of many reforms, and was battle-hardened in the Balkan wars of the previous few years. Therefore unlike some nations their troops had a practical modern uniform right from the start, and this changed little throughout the war. Though various styles were sometimes worn, particularly as supply became critical, these men wear the standard uniform that in theory all Turkish soldiers wore when the war started. The helmet is the peakless kabalak, which was a cloth wound round a wicker base. This winding was done in many ways, but these men have a typical arrangement. Like the uniform, the equipment is all correctly sculpted, with only the marching figure having a pack. The rifles look like the Turkish version of the German Mauser, which is correct.
HaT have as usual provided eight poses which cover the basic needs - marching, advancing and firing. However for those looking for something more there is little on offer here. None of the poses are bad, but we would have liked to have seen a machine gun crew, and some of the similar advancing poses could have been sacrificed in the name of variety, perhaps some standing figures reflecting the trench life experienced at Gallipoli.
Our only quibble as regards accuracy is that the officer wears a gorget round his neck. This is a feature for which we can find no evidence, and even if in the regulations it is unlikely to have been worn in the field as it was simply a shiny invitation to special attention from enemy snipers. Strangely even the advancing figures have their bayonets in their holders rather than on their rifles. Still, the figures are quite slender and look good, have no flash at all, and the detail is well done and very clear.
With one of the biggest and most influential wars in history getting little attention until recently, it is good to see HaT producing sets like this to fill in some of the gaps. This is a quality product which only really wants for one thing, excitement.