This box of toy soldiers and scenery props made of pewter in Germany in 1906, by Georg Spenkuch, portrays the Russian Japanese war, the first war won by an Asian power, Japan, against a European power, Russia, in the modern period. In their original box, and still in excellent condition, the toys travelled with their owner all his life, mostly spent in the Pacific and Indonesia, surviving both World Wars (the donor spent part of the Second World War in a Japanese concentration camp in Indonesia), and the tropical climate. Given to him when he was 12, the toys were his most treasured possession.
Known as 'flats', this type of toy soldier was and is very popular in Europe, particularly Germany where these were manufactured, in contrast to the more familiar hollow rounded figure which became the type made and sold in England and the United States of America. Georg Spenkuch was one of the best known makers of pewter toys at this time.