Company Profile: Merten
History in a Nutshell
Walter Merten Miniaturplastiken GmbH of Berlin was founded in the 1950s; they manufactured injection-molded plastic figures of knights, soldiers, cowboys and Indians in 65-70 mm size. Eventually they added a model railroad range, which spanned HO, TT, N and Z Scales. Merten's product line was a bit more creative than most: in addition to railroad staff and passengers, they made garden gnomes, pirates and other unusual figures.
The 1980s brought a decline in sales: they hadn't been adding any new sets for years, their figures all still had molded-on bases, and the painting quality had not improved since the 1960s. In the 1990s, Preiser purchased Merten Miniaturplastiken and immediately began to improve the products, especially with respect to painting quality, while retaining the line as a separate brand.
N Scale Products
Merten never exceeded around 80 N Scale figure sets, and the quality was always marginal. Still, the line included some unusual items, such as these garden gnomes and pirates, which have become very rare as Preiser re-released only about half of their sets.
Packaging changed over the years, and the sets originally featured watercolor background illustrations, most of which can be found here.
Merten was curiously inconsistent in adding new sets the first several years.
The backs of the 1964, 65 and 66 catalogs had the same full-color, full-size illustration:
Copyright © 2018 by David K. Smith. All Rights Reserved.