Ottoman Banners - Table top bling bling!

Part of one of my own painted units

Well, this is somewhat of a bling post but I just enjoyed myself so much doing these flags that I thought I would share. I decided that any Ottoman unit I got the chance to  paint and/or base was going to get one of my old style linen flags.

The Terry's Chocolate Orange Orta - The men listen intently to their Bolouk!

Once I started it was hard to stop! Sometimes its a bit messy but in the end the results justify the effort. I have made and painted probably 250 to 300 of these since 1986 when I first developed the technique. It has changed a bit since then but fundamentally its the same labour intensive process.

Bold and striking colours set off the Janissary Ortas

I know a few people have tried to industrialize/commercialize it since then but I always felt there was something missing from these. Printing directly onto material does not work and any flags of that sort I have chanced upon seem a bit insipid and lifeless.

A very commonly used symbol in the Ottoman Army -  The crescent moon

The secret of these flags I will never reveal. There is one single step I have always omitted from the 'How to' guide simply because I wanted to keep my style as singular as possible. As I have no intention of going commercial on them it seemed like a nice little detail to hold back. It is, to my mind, the step that makes them come alive.

I just wanted to enjoy myself with this one - over indulgence really.

Painting boldly also helps - lots of paint, not too much water. Some blending and some dry brushing will all contribute to the striking look.

The banner could have fitted in either hand - check the same figure in the top photo with the flag in the opposite hand.

I chose to theme these flags by linking their colours to the clothing colour theme of the units. In particular with those Ortas painted by Rob G, I really liked his use of shades I would never normally use on period figures - pinks, pale blues, oranges, bright greens etc. Lovely brush work by the painter inspired me to be bold with their banners.

Serious looking banner bearer leads the invincible Janissaries!

I also decided several flags per unit was going to be the way to go although one or two ended up with a large banner at the centre of the Orta and nothing else.

Digging deep! - A battle hardened group of Janissaries in the thick of it! 

With the campaign dress units I resorted to torn and frayed banners with faded colours. The 'in the field' look.

Pushing the flags out to the ends of the unit give it a totally different look - the eye focuses not on the flags but on the officer

En masse the Ottoman Janissary Corps is starting to look the business. More to come!