Which model car kit is best?

Models that you assemble yourself are a great way to learn about engineering, arts and crafts at the same time. Along with model airplanes, model cars are one of the top choices of people who like to build model kits. There are so many makes and models that the world of model car kits is nearly endless.

Favorite choices include cars your family once had and cars you only ever dreamed of having. If you are interested in an exotic model car kit, take a look at the Lamborghini Aventador Roadster. This 1:24 scale die-cast metal Lambo needs no glue because it assembles with metal screws.

What to know before you buy a model car kit

Metal kits

Because they are heavy and durable, metal car kits can be built with more moving parts and features. Because they are metal, modifications are too hard for most to make, so stick with metal for car kits that are true to the original.

Plastic kits

Plastic is cheaper, lighter and can be molded into many shapes that metal cannot. Plastic model car kits generally have more parts than metal kits. They require more painstaking assembly to achieve the high-quality results that make modelers proud. Plastic is also the choice of modelers who like to customize their models in ways not possible with metals.


Some model car collectors prefer to collect and build model car kits all in the same scale, like those who collect model trains. Other car kit collectors enjoy having different-sized models for the variety. A few collectors enjoy the special pleasure of having different versions of the same model car, like 1:12, 1:24 and 1:48. 

What to look for in a quality model car kit

Vintage models

The only way most of us will ever own a vintage collector car is if we buy the model kit. People who like cars from the movies will want to look at the DeLorean from “Back to the Future,” the Batmobile, the Greased Lightning 1948 Ford from the movie “Grease” and the classic 1968 Ford Mustang driven by Steve McQueen in the film “Bullitt.” The actual Mustang used in the legendary chase scene recently sold at auction for more than $3 million.


Some modelers like to assemble cars from the earliest days of horseless carriages and Henry Ford’s Model T. Others like to build model cars from the muscle car era of the 1960s and 70s. There are many cars for them to choose from, including the Dodge Daytona and Superbee, the Mustang Mach I and GT, the Pontiac GTO, the Chevrolet Z-28 and Malibu SuperSport, the Plymouth RoadRunner and many more.


Whichever car you choose, building a model yourself is a big part of the fun. Simpler model car kits are made to snap together and take only a few minutes to build. This type of assembly is good for small kids but holds little appeal for older kids and serious hobbyists. If you enjoy the challenge, look for model car kits with lots of pieces requiring many hours of painstaking work that is a combination of engineering, art and craft.

How much you can expect to spend on a model car kit

Simple car kits with few parts cost $10-$15. From $20-$50 or so, you will find better models of all kinds. Once you get above $100, you have entered the territory of the collectors.

Model car kit FAQ

Does a model car kit need to be primed before painting?

A. It depends mostly on who you ask. Most casual modelers won’t bother. Serious modelers will always wash and prime all surfaces first because they want the best-looking and longest-lasting paint job they can get.

How do I get the parts off those plastic trees?

A. Impatient amateurs twist them off, leaving unsightly and distorted edges and sometimes ruining the part completely. Serious hobbyists use very sharp blades to carefully cut parts off at the exact spot where the tree begins, then sand the point where the excess plastic was removed. 

What’s the best model car kit to buy?

Top model car kit 

Maisto Lamborghini Aventador Roadster

Maisto Lamborghini Aventador Roadster

What you need to know: This die cast 1:24 scale metal Lambo comes pre-painted.

What you’ll love: The 3D “exploded” view makes assembly easy. This model car kit is 7 inches long and no glue is needed because it assembles with metal screws. Mostly metal, it has some plastic parts. The doors open and the steering wheel works. 

What you should consider: The metal parts don’t always fit together exactly and modifying metal for a better fit is difficult.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top model car kit for the money

Revell Ford Bronco

Revell Ford Bronco

What you need to know: This highly realistic 6 inch long 1972 Ford Bronco is made with older kids in mind.

What you’ll love: This 1:25 scale model car kit has 137 highly detailed plastic parts molded in clear, white and chrome finishes. The hardtop is removable and the spare tire swings away for access to the tailgate. 

What you should consider: The required tools, paint and glue are not included but shouldn’t be a problem for the experienced model car builder who has all these things and more on hand.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

TAMIYA Nissan Skyline GT-R

TAMIYA Nissan Skyline GT-R

What you need to know: Nissan built this car to go racing. Hobbyists like it as a demanding 150-piece plastic kit.

What you’ll love: The GT-R has a strong racing heritage. It was made for sports car racing, rallying, drag racing and drifting. This 1:24 scale model car kit is delivered in a bare-bones street version that has all the plastic parts molded in a chrome blue metallic color. Hobbyists

can paint theirs in the style and type of racing that appeals to them.

What you should consider: This model car kit takes a serious hobbyist about five hours to assemble. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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David Allan Van writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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