Turkish Infantry, 1916–1918

Old Contemptibles 20 mm Scale Figure Review

Turkish medium machine gun, 1916–1918, 1:76 Tumbling Dice OCINF53.

Turkish soldiers in fleece cap, firing a medium machine gun. The Old Contemptibles range includes many armies, and troop types which have not been seen in this scale before. The troops have a lot of charm and character. Unfortunately, the standing and mounted soldiers are much shorter than Airfix, and Revell plastic figures of the same period. Kneeling infantry, machine gun teams, and seated gun crew seem to be taller, and they would fit in quite well with existing ranges of plastic figures. Deployed in their own units, these miniatures can serve on the same battlefield with battalions made up of the taller plastic troops. One trick is to mount them on thicker bases, making them appear taller than they are.


  • 99 Figures, 1 Horse, and Weapons
  • 21 mm equal 160 cm Height
  • 1 Mounted Officer
  • 5 Officers and 4 NCOs
  • 2 Grenadiers
  • 2 Casualties
  • 48 Infantry (8 different poses)
  • 8 LMG 08/15 with 16 Crew
  • 4 MMG 08 Teams with 12 Crew
  • 2 Mortars with 6 Crew
  • 1 Medium Mortar with 3 Crew

Lawrence of Arabia

Turkish Infantry, 1916–1918, 1:76 Tumbling Dice OCINF51

The Old Contemptible range includes British, Indian, Australian, Turkish, Egyptian, Arab regular, and irregular troops of the Arab Revolt. If you have seen the movie, you may have been tempted to recreate this fascinating campaign in miniature, and here is your chance to do it. Model railway track and equipment, aircraft, and armoured cars from other manufacturers can be used to set the scene.

Arab regular on the left, Turkish grenadier (1916 helmet) on the right. In the center is an Airfix French infantryman, added for scale reference.


Excellent choice of subject. The First World War period has not received much attention from manufacturers of military miniatures. The Old Contemptibles range covers most armies involved in the war. Figures are available individually, but the manufacturer offers the much more attractive discount packs of infantry battalion, cavalry and camelry regimental strength. These ready made units are well balanced fighting forces, with the proper mix of troops and support weapons.

Nicely detailed figures. Faces, hands, folds in the clothing, pouches, water bottles, weapons, belts, straps, headdress, and horse furniture are well sculpted, and easy to paint.

Mounted officers fit into the saddle very well.

The horses are correctly proportioned, and very attractive. The gait is not entirely correct, but that’s hardly noticeable at a slow walk. The horses have separate heads which need to be glued on. The seam is conveniently hidden beneath ammo pouches or straps.

Good casting quality, with minimal mould lines. We found almost no flash on the men, and only a little of it between the horses’ legs. Minimal clean up was required to prepare the figures for painting. Mounted figures and some of the officers have separate right arms, and there may be a choice of weapons included in the set. This is a great idea, providing more variety of poses. Assembly can be a little tricky at times, a hole in the upper arm, and small gaps between the arm and the shoulder need to be filled with putty.

The casting sprues on the underside of the base had been trimmed off, and filed flat, requiring no additional work to make the figures stand up straight. Riders still had sprues attached between their feet, and these were easily trimmed off with a sharp knife. Some riders carry a blanket roll on the sprue, which needs to be trimmed, and attached behind the saddle.

The figures are cast in lead free pewter, eliminating the danger of lead poisoning. The figures are very sturdy, we encountered no broken or badly bent weapons. On the other hand, conversion work will be more difficult, requiring heavier tools than would be needed for plastic or soft metal figure conversions.

Typical wargaming poses are used, and they are very attractive. The difference between early, and late war battalion packs is sometimes only in the headgear. Soldiers from earlier periods could be mixed in with the later types to add variety. Doing so would almost completely eliminate the need for conversions.

The range is practically complete, and wargamers should be able to raise entire armies for their favorite game system.

Incompatible with Airfix, and Revell figure sets. Kneeling infantry, machine gunners, and gun crew would be compatible with plastic figures, but the standing and mounted figures are noticeably shorter. This is not a problem in the case of the Turkish army and its opponents, because there are no plastic figures covering that part of the Great War yet. It is an issue to consider if Old Contemptibles figures are to be used alongside Airfix and Revell troops on the western front. The Arab Revolt range is unique in this scale.

Historical Employment

  • Sinai-Palestine, 1916–1918
  • Mesopotamia, 1916–1918

The Old Contemptibles range of true 20 mm scale figures covers the armies fighting in France, Palestine, and Mesopotamia in much detail. Infantry, cavalry, camelry, support weapons, and artillery are available to allow complete simulation of the conflict. Anyone interested in campaigning with or against the Turkish army in Palestine or Mesopotamia is well advised to consider this range. Incompatibility with Airfix and Revell plastic figures is not an important issue, because it seems rather unlikely that the plastic figure manufacturers will ever give this particular conflict the amount of attention it deserves. Old Contemptibles are ready to fight now.

Sample from Tumbling Dice Miniatures

World War One Miniatures