Merten Style 1
Initially, the boxes comprised a mottled greenish-brownish-grey opaque base with lettering molded into the corners of the bottom (WALTER MERTEN/MINIATURPLASTIKEN/BERLIN-WEST/MADE IN GERMANY), and a clear lid. Inside was a paper insert with color background artwork; the ends and bottom had small paper inserts with identification. The boxes all have slots along the bottom into which either the figure bases or the casting sprues (as in the above example) are wedged, and the bottom paper insert helps keep them secured.
Merten Style 2
Later, the same box bases as before were cast in clear plastic, with the same small paper inserts in the bottom and ends. The old background images were still part of the insert artwork, as can be seen in the rare cutting error shown above (which means they were throwing out a lot of paper). Eventually they printed new inserts that took advantage of the box base being clear; a few of these had set numbers with 160 instead of N.
The Preiser reissues are plain clear boxes with one-piece folded white paper inserts, plus vacu-formed clear plastic nests for loose figures. As before, strips of paper are inserted into the slot in the bottom of the box to help secure figures with bases. For the reissued sets, these strips are the same as those of the previous era of packaging, printed in green. For newly-issued sets, Preiser printed new strips in blue with the new logo.
For some inexplicable reason, I've always liked the background art in Merten's early sets. Perhaps it's because the simple images take me back to my early modeling days. So, just for kicks, here's a gallery of Merten's artwork (hover over the images to see the sets in which they appear). Note that I don't have them all—a few, such as 2024 and 2025 (the pirates) are very hard to find.
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