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Classic German Yule Figure

Pewter miniatures made the old fashioned way

The Germans are credited with turning toy figures into an industry.  Their specialty was a figure called a "flat."  It is a flat figure, with embossed detail on both sides.  German flats were originally cast in molds carved into slate.  They produced toy soldiers in abundance, and "flats" are still made for toy soldier hobbyists.  However, the Germans have been prolific in making non-martial figures since the industry's origin.  

To this day, German firms make "flat" figures for traditional holidays.  The figures shown here are of recent manufacture, but use the old molds and original techniques..  Figures are cast of a pewter alloy, colloquially known as "zinc" by Germans because of its high zinc content.  Other "ingredients" might be lead, copper, tin or antimony.  They are then trimmed, cleaned and painted.  The painted figures are baked, a process which melds paint to the alloy.  The result is an attractive miniature.  The figures below reflect the traditional German style of figure painting.  I should note that most of these holiday figures were intended or sets, though any of the could stand alone.  They were the holiday vignettes of their day, and fortunately are still being made for our day as well.

Blue angel figure with sled.  These figures reflect light, sue to their glossy finish.  Note details like a teddy bear in the pocket.

Red angel does holiday decorating.  Behind her is a plain pine tree.

The Yule Tree, complete with a toy train and teddy bear underneath.

Santa and his sled.  Many of the German Santa figures were intended for export to America and Britain, as the German "Father Yule" has a somewhat different appearance.

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