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In-Box Review
Ottoman Deli Cavalry
Ottoman Deli Cavalry: Daredevils of a mighty Empire
  • deli1

by: Engin Kayral [ GRAYWOLF ]

Originally published on:
Historicus Forma


The only Turkish company making efforts to produce metal figures is Altar Modeling. Besides their rich collection on small scales and a helpful modeling book , they make a good start on 54 mm figures with Turkish Commando figure released on November 2006, now they released another Turkish theme historical figure.

about the figure

Within the Ottoman Army (Ordu-yi Humayun), Deli forces were light cavalrymen recruited in the frontiers under the command of the Rumeli beylerbeyi and sanjak beys. Due to their extreme courage, extravagant clothes and willingness to attack the enemy without hesitation, these soldiers were named deli, literally “mad head” in Turkish. These unique soldiers were among the most amazing and interesting units, not only in Ottoman history but also in world military history.

Deli were first seen in the 15th century and were abolished in the 19th century. They adorned their clothes with eagle feathers, eagle wings, lion or snow leopard pelts, and wore trousers made from bear or wolf skin. Their pointy yellow boots carried foot-long spurs. The aim of wearing this extraordinary clothing was to create panic and fear in enemies unfortunate enough to face the Deli in battle. With their terrifying appearance, determination, and willingness to fight in a superhuman manner, they served the Ordu-yi Humayun well for many decades, and were imitated by the enemies of the Ottomans for years to come.

ALT-OSM-08-02 represents an Ottoman Deli cavalry figure with his fantastic clothing in standing pose. The figure is an outcome of historical research from Ottoman and European sources. The photo above is a work of Byzantine historian Chalcondyles published in Histoire des Turcs by Thomas Artus. One copy of this book is in the rare items section of the Middle East Technical University library in Ankara, Turkey.


The figure comes in 120 x 70 x 25 mm. Altar Modeling dark blue cardboard box. The front and back covers of the box show photos of the figure painted by Fernando Enterprises from different angles which can serve as a painting guide. The sides of the box include historical information about Ottoman Deli cavalry and technical information about this figure. The historical research of this figure was performed by Abdullah Turhal, the owner of Altar Modeling.

Inside the box, there are 2 smaill documents in Turkish and English. One of them gives brief information about what to do when assemblying metal figures and how to make them ready for painting. The other document shows the names of historical researcher, sculptor and boxart painter.

Parts are well protected in the cardboard box putting every piece in different small plastic bags to avoid any damage.


The figure is sculpted by Tony Aldrich in 54 mm and made up of 11 white metal parts. The parts are clean and there is almost no need for a cleanwork like sanding seamlines or anything else. The details of the figure are well defined and all parts make good fit… but I have to say that the figure looked a little underscale to my eyes.

The main part is full body without arms. He wears a Kaftan, a front-open Ottoman woolen outer garment in knee length. The edges of the coat on the front and elbow length sleeves are embroided edges with fur or skin. He carries a leopard pelt on his back, the front legs are sculpted on the shoulders of this part. The paws of the leopard are well defined. He carries a wide leather belt with metal buckle to hang his sword. The cloth folds on shirt, trousers and on the back side of kaftan are well defined. He wears typical yellow leather boots with long prick spurs and knee length leggings. The facial details like eyes, nose,ears and beard are well represented. He wears an interesting headdress adorned with a combination of eagle feathers and leopard skin.

Other parts are ;

  • Leopard pelt : It makes a good fit to the shoulders of the figure.

  • Eagle wings : As a part of his extraordinary clothing and his terrifying appearance, he carries two eagle wings on the back side. The feathers are well represented on the wings and small pins make the assembly easier.

  • Shield : Unlike the regular Ottoman rounded shields, Deli cavalry mostly carry medium size rectangular shields with a diagonal cut on the top. This kind of shield is adopted to Deli cavalry from the eastern European foes of Ottoman Empire. Two pins on the shield are to assembly the feather decorations.

  • Eagle feather shield decorations : The feather textile is well defined on both parts.

  • Left arm : Posed to carry the shield. The cloth folds and fur or leopard skin emboridery on the elbow length sleeves are well defined.

  • Right hand : Posed to carry a Topuz. Topuz is an Ottoman mace with thick heavy metal flanges (four flanges on this one) mounted on a wooden shaft. Some of them were covered in black leather and silver sheet with pierced and engraved ornament and gilding. Cloth folds on the arm and embroidery are well defined.

  • Sword : He carries a Shimshir sword in its scabbard. Shimshir is an Ottoman sword vary from 60 to 80 cm.s in length and are slightly curved towards the sharp edge. Their hilts are made of bone,horn,ivory and silver and show different types of pommels.

  • Figure base : A round figure base showing a nice stoneroad texture is supplied in the kit. The holes on the base and the pins under the figure feet make the figure assembly easier and strong .


    I believe despite the problem on the scale, it is a worth to paint figure because the subject is very interesting, the details are well defined and the result will be very colorful and attractive.


    Highs: Very colorful subject and details like eagle feathers are sculpted and cast very good.
    Lows: It looked a little undersized to my eyes.
    Verdict: A nice figure to paint.
    Percentage Rating
      Scale: 54mm
      Mfg. ID: ALT-OSM-08-02
      Suggested Retail: 26 EUR
      Related Link: 
      PUBLISHED: Jan 26, 2009
      NATIONALITY: Turkey / Türkçe
      THIS REVIEWER: 92.20%
      MAKER/PUBLISHER: 80.00%

    Our Thanks to Altar Modelling!
    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.


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