15mm Historical Ranges

Sci Fi, Pulp and Fantasy Ranges






15mm Safavid Persians, 1501-1736AD

If the military superpower of the 16th century, the Ottoman Empire, feared anything, it was the onslaught of the Safavid Persian cavalry. This is why, in the Battle of Chaldiron in 1514, the Ottomans relied, not on their own massive corps of formidable horse, but upon massed artillery and arquebus power, behind field fortifications, for victory. Up until that disastrous battle, the Safavids racked up victory after victory, relying primarily on the fanatical Quizilbash warrior cavalry caste to flatten their opponents. The Quizilbashes, or "red heads," were so-called because they wore a very tall, very slender red hat, with a teardrop shaped turban wrapped around it, called the taj-e haydar. Up until the defeat at Chaldiron, the Quizilbashes believed the Shah was a divine figure -- the hand of God -- and they fought with complete confidence and incredible ferocity.

After the defeat, the Safavid state languished for decades, often losing territory to the resurgent Ottomans, until the ascension of Shah Abbas I, called "the Great." Abbas was a brilliant military commander and a farsighted reformer. He saw that the Safavid army needed to modernise, to adopt the same sort of firepower that had shot down the invincible Quizilbashes at Chaldiron. He established a large corps of slave soldiers as a regular musket infantry, the Tufangchis, trained by western adventurers, who were held in high esteem by the court and wrote fascinating stories of their exploits in Persia. With their help Abbas established a drilled corps of artillery as well, the Topchis. He also lessened the power of the Quizilbashes over the state and military, and established a professional corps of ghulam cavalry, called the Qullar, who were Georgians, Armenians, Kurds and other peoples as well. Unlike the more traditional Quizilbashes, who still fought with saber, bow and sometimes lance, the Qullar adopted the pistol for their rapid charges. The Quizilbashes might not have formed all of the cavalry under Abbas, but they were still fielded in great numbers. With this army the Safavids won victory after victory against the Ottomans, re-establishing the full extent of their empire and even expanding it. (This crisis on their eastern border had much to do with the pre-occupation of the Ottomans during the Thirty Years War.) Abbas now had a reliable army of professional Ghulams behind him, but in many of these battles, the decisive blow was landed by a breakneck charge of the Quizilbashes, as in days of old.

Some notes on the Safavid Army
Some Quizilbashes wore helmets, and it's perfectly appropriate to mix helmeted men in with the Quizilbashes in their red and white turbans. However, non-Quizilbash cavalry should probably just be in helmets, and not in the Taj-e Haydar. Even before Abbas raised a large ghlam army, the Safavids always had small bodies of Ghulam professionals as elite troops and bodyguards, and the lancer cavalry figurines on armoured horses can be used to represent these, or the better equipped elements of the Quizilbash, Persian or other feudal horse. They are probably too heavy for the Qullar.

Many of the horsemen are provided break-waist for pose flexibility and to permit you to depict the archers shooting forward -- particularly important for the Quizilbashes as they shoot while rushing into contact. One thing to note here is that the Safavid horsemen generally wore a long caftan with short sleeves that covered their chainmail or plate metal protection. But occasionally men dispensed with the long caftan and therefore their chainmail is exposed. When matching up the upper and lower body parts, please note that some of the lower bodies have the chainmail, and should be paired up with the upper body not wearing the caftan and showing its chainmail shirt.

The Tufengchi musketeers were made up of men from many lands, including Africans -- in fact there is a famous painting of a Safavid Tufengchi who is a negro. Mercenary infantry were hired throughout the entire span of the Safavid dynasty, especially pugnacious Afghan tribesmen with swords or jezzails. The Safavids often raised levies of infantry armed with bows, or armed camp servants with spears to defend the rear. Turcoman tribesmen were in plentiful numbers to be hired as light cavalry. We have made the extremely colourful Zamburak camel gun corps as well because it was virtually synonymous with Persian warfare right after this period and, if it was used by the Mamluks, and Ottomans, it was certainly used by the Safavids!


CodeContentsPrice (US$)Order/Progress
safavid-high-command15mm Safavid high command -- Shah Abbas I and attendants (can also represent a vizier or sub-general)$5.99
safavid-elite-cavalry15mm Safavid elite cavalry -- ghluam bodyguards, or Tarkan heroes for the Quizilbashes or other feudal cavalry, on armoured horses (x4)$5.99
safavid-quizilbashes15mm Safavid Quizilbashes in Taj-e Haydar with mixed weapons (x6, four shooting bows, two wielding sabers)$8.99
safavid-helmet-archer15mm Safavid Cavalry Archers in Helmets, as Quizilbashes, Persians, or other feudal cavalry, with mixed weapons (x6, four shooting bows, two wielding sabers)$8.99
safavid-qullar15mm Safavid Qullar Cavalry in Helmets, with mixed weapons (x6, four with pistols, two wielding sabers)$8.99
safavid-turcomans15mm Safavid Turcoman tribesmen in telpaks (x4)$5.99
safavid-tufengchis15mm Safavid Tufengchi Regular Musketeers (x12)$8.99
safavid-merc-musket15mm Safavid Mercenary Musketeers, Afghans and similar (x8)$5.99
safavid-merc-sword15mm Safavid Mercenary Swordsmen, Afghans and similar (x6)$4.49
safavid-levy-archersSafavid Tadjik levy archers (x 12)$8.99
safavid-levy-spear15mm Safavid Levies, Camp Attendants, Etc. with Spears (x10)$7.49
safavid-artillery15mm Safavid Topchi Artillery, medium field gun with four crew$5.99
safavid-zamburaks15mm Safavid Zamburak Camel Artillery, two camels with light cannons, crew and equippage$5.99