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In-Box Review
Ottoman Irregular Cavalry(Bashi-bazouk), 18th - 19th Century
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by: Engin Kayral [ GRAYWOLF ]

Originally published on:
Historicus Forma

about the figure

Bashi-bazouk ( bas: head, bozuk: damaged, out of order) means leaderless or disorderly in Turkish. Though the Ottoman Empire had a well organized regular military formation; Turkish armies always contained bashi-bazouks as well as regular soldiers. The strain on Ottoman feudal system caused mainly by the Empire's wide expanse required heavier reliance on irregular soldiers. The bashibazouks were a species of irregular troops employed by the Turks. They were were notorious for being brutal and indisciplined. They were recruited from homeless, vagrants, criminals, slaves and prisoners of war. Foreign mercenaries and volunteers could also be hired to the corps. They were not only Ottoman Turkish origined but in majority from the countries Ottomans conquered in Balkans .

They were armed and maintained by the government as mercenaries but they were distinguished from the general mercenary soldiers since they usually did not receive regular salary. Due to their lack of discipline; they were allowed to wear standard uniforms, to have distinctive badges on their clothing or carry flags or banners of the Ottoman Empire. They could fight either mounted or dismounted and especially were the experts of skirmish. They always walk in front of the army and attacked the enemy first before the regular Ottoman army. They were gathering information about the enemy army formation and giving maximum damage to enemy sacrificing their lives. Because of their lack of discipline, they were incapable of undertaking major military operations. Their uncertain temper occasionally made it necessary for the Turkish regular troops to disarm them by force, but they were often useful in the work of reconnaissance and in outpost duty.

Their usage was abandoned by the end of the 18th century, however self-organized bashi-bazouk troops still appeared later, until the late of 19th Century. As for example, those left bashi-bazouks were notorious as crushing the Bulgarian's April uprising in 1876 where they brutally slaughtered 15,000 over of people.
The term "bashibazouk" has also been used for a mounted force, existing in peacetime in various provinces (newly expanded territory mainly) of the Ottoman empire, which performed the duties of gendarmerie.

Bashi-bazouks didnt have standard uniforms but they had a typical clothing style. Baggy trousers, short leather or cloth vests , knee-high leggings and leather shoes or sandals were typical. Balkan origined Bashibazouks and especially chieftains wear pleated skirts as todays Greek army traditional dress. They used all kinds of Ottoman or captured weapons but typically they had front loading flintlock style rifles at hand, 1 or 2 pistoles and short swords or daggers on the wide leather weapons belt.
Seil Models SH54060 represents an Ottoman Irregular Cavalry-Bashibazouk, 18-19th century in a victorious pose.


The figure comes in 130x80x50 mm. standard Seil Models black hard cardboard box. The box is inserted in a high quality paper cover which shows a photo of the painted figure.

Inside the box; there is an A5 paper sheet with 3 photos of the figure painted by Kim Man Jin from different angles that can be used as a very good painting guide.An informative historical note about Bashi-bazouks in 2 languages – English and Korean, is also included in the kit.

Parts are sandwiched between two slabs of thick gray polyfoam for a better protection and figure base is placed seperately under the polyfoam to protect parts from an unexpected damage.


The figure is sculpted by Russian sculptor Yury Serevryakov and made up of 14 white metal parts. The parts are cast clean and crisp in very good details. There is a small need to clean a few vertical seamlines on the parts. A fast brushing with a metal brush and washing the figure will make it ready for priming.

The main part is torso with left leg and right thigh. He wears a cotton or silk button-front shirt with no collars. This shirt with long sleeves is called Mintan and the sleeves are decorated with buttons up to elbows. Over the shirt, he wears a short leather vest called Cepken. A long and wide cloth belt or sash which is called Kushak is wrapped on his waist and a leather weapon belt is tied on it. Buttons on the shirt, folds of sash, lining of the vest and straps of leather belt are well defined. He wears baggy
trousers named Shalvar and ankle-high leather shoes with no heels. Baggy trousers is tightened under the knees with leather leggings.

Other parts are;

  • Head : Facial details, moustache and beard are very well defined. He wears a conical fez-style cloth headdress named Kullah and a long turban is wrapped over the headdress. Head fits well to the neck part of the torso.

  • Left arm : It is posed to carry a flintlock rifle and mounds on the part fit well to the holes on the torso. Cloth folds and buttons are well defined.

  • Right arm : Posed to raise a flag or alternatively to carry a cuthead.Cloth folds and buttons are well defined.

  • Right lower leg : It fits to right thigh well. Legging and shoe are well represented.

  • Pistole bag and short sword : Bashibazouks usually carry a big cloth or leather bag in front of their torso to carry their pistoles and ammo. Classical reverse-angled, slightly curved Ottoman short sword- Yataghan in scabbard is cast on the back side of the bag as inserted to the leather weapon belt. The typical rounded 2-piece pommel of the Yataghan is very well defined.

  • Pistole : He carries a short barrel, flintlock style percussion pistole on his bag. Ottoman pistoles are richly decorated. An example to an Ottoman percussion pistole can be seen here.

  • Yataghan with strap : The figure carries another Yataghan hanged to his right wrist with a leather strap attached to its hilt. The tip part of the scabbard of this short sword is supplied as a seperate part to assembly it to the right side of the figure.

  • Small bag : A small bag to attach on the back side of the leather belt is also supplied. The embroidery on the bag is well represented.

  • Left hand with rifle : He carries a long barrel flintlock style rifle . Left hand is casted with the rifle and makes a good fit to the wrist.

  • Right hand with flag : He carries a long, spear-headed flag pole on his right hand. Right hand is casted with the flag pole and fits well to the left wrist. As Bashi-bazouks were not allowed to carry Ottoman Empire flags and banners, this flag can be considered as a captured flag ( the victorius pose supports that) and can be painted in any scheme for the enemies of Ottomans.

  • Right hand with cuthead : An altenative right hand holding a cuthead is supplied in the kit. The face details and hair of cuthead are well defined.

  • Figure base ; Ground texture and a big flat-top rock are well represented. The holes and the footprints on the ground make the assembly easier and a good fit.


    Besides the informative historical note and paper sheet with 3 high quality photos that can be used as a painting reference, the kit includes a very good photo etched plaque/nameplate for the figure and 4 small screws to attach it to any wooden figure base.

    A lead foil in 5x7 cm. dimensions is supplied in the kit to use it as the flag.


    Historical books do not include helpful color photos that can be used as painting references. In my opinion, the best references to paint a Bashi-bazouk are the paintings made by some American and French artists in different periods. I advice you to see the Bashi-bazouk paintings of Francis Davis Millet and Stanislaw Chlebowski as a painting reference.


    Nice sculpted figure in a victorious pose ,very nice details on parts, high quality casting, useful painting guide, easy assembly and perfect fit on parts, photoetched nameplate and more… Another great figure from Seil Models for figure painters (especially Crimean War fans) who like to paint Oriental figures in colorful uniforms.

    Highly Recommended

    Highs: Very nice posing figure sculpted and cast in good details. Lead foil for scratchbuilding the flag and photo-etched nameplate are good additions.
    Lows: Long flag pole with right hand is casted in one piece and it makes some problems to keep it straight during assembly. IMO it could be great to use a copper wire as the spear.
    Verdict: A very good figure to paint for figure painters who like to paint Oriental figures in colorful uniforms.
    Percentage Rating
      Scale: 54mm
      Mfg. ID: SH- 54060
      Suggested Retail: 24.50 €
      Related Link: 
      PUBLISHED: Jul 25, 2007
      NATIONALITY: Turkey / Türkçe
      THIS REVIEWER: 92.20%
      MAKER/PUBLISHER: 90.67%

    Our Thanks to Seil Models!
    This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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    About Engin Kayral (Graywolf)

    Born in 1962,married and having 2 sons. I started modelling about 8 years old building USS Fletcher with mom. It was a model dad brought from USA., I think in those days only a few people in Turkey had info on scale model kits. Grown as an AF officer son , I built many aircraft models in years. Som...

    Copyright ©2021 text by Engin Kayral [ GRAYWOLF ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ModelGeek. All rights reserved.


    Thanks for an interesting review, Engin. I'm glad to see the casting are looking so good again. I'm looking at a slightly older Seil figure at the moment that is suffering from a slightly missaligned mould Rudi
    AUG 07, 2007 - 09:27 AM

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