Are you looking for a new hobby where you can admire your own work? Or are you interested in learning about history in a hands-on sort of way? Whether you go with display-intended options made of plastic or flyable versions made of balsa wood, model airplanes are a great way to build both simple and intricate recreations of real machines. They're also great for learning about specific historical periods, especially the World War II era.
That's why we've scoured the internet for the best options, as well as the best points to look for while shopping. Check out our top 10 list and our buying guide to see what we included. We love Flight Miniatures' Delta Airlines Airbus A350-900 model for its secure stand, solid piece construction, and precise level of detail!
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When choosing the right model airplane kit, there are a few different points to keep in mind. You should consider the model type you're looking for and what you want out of the building process.
When shopping for the perfect model airplane kit, you must consider the level of detail and difficulty you want. It's also important to decide if you want an option that is flyable or historically specific.
If you’re new to model airplane kits, or if you’re planning on helping a child build one, you should go with a simple option. These models typically have fewer parts and can be put together quickly. They are often pre-painted and pre-cut, too. They may even come with decal stickers, so you have less work to do.
One of the more popular options is a scale replica model kit. As the name implies, these models are actual replicas. These are very complex and involved, consisting of 100 or more pieces. They’re also very detailed and lifelike, right down to the paint that you apply yourself.
You can usually move the propellers, wings, undercarriages, cockpits, and wheels on these planes. The most popular scales are 1:72, 1:48, and 1:32. But scale isn’t the same as size; it’s a ratio that simply refers to how many inches on a real plane equal one inch on the model.
You can also go with historical planes. These are also very specific models. Most enthusiasts invest in different kits that correspond to a specific era. For example, many people enjoy recreating planes used by different countries in World War II.
If you like this type of kit and are looking to create a group of planes, it’s usually best to purchase ones from the same company. Manufacturing differences can be glaring when they’re side-by-side.
If you’re looking to actually use your plane, go with a flyable option. Model planes are usually made of plastic, but these are made especially light. They often use lightweight materials, such as pre-cut balsa wood, and have plastic features. They either come with electric components or are compatible with them.
Depending on what kind of plane you’re building, the overall level of complexity will vary. Certain kinds, especially scale replicas, will take longer.
You will also have to consider what supplies you might need. Many kits come with tools such as brushes, glue, and paint. But, even for those that don’t include supplies, kits will usually tell you what specific paint colors to buy.
Be sure to check reviews to see what customers thought was lacking or if the manufacturer isn't clear about what's included in the kit. Also, be sure to note the age recommendation for each kit. Putting model airplanes together can be dangerous for small children due to choking hazards. The more intricate the model, the older a child should be.
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Delta Airlines Airbus A350-900
Solid Plastic Construction and Rotating Engine Blades
Incredibly Detailed WWII Model
Smaller-Scale Version of a German WWII Plane
SnapTite A-10 Warthog
Easy Model That's Good for Beginners
Option With a Detailed Cockpit and Closeable Canopy
Plane With Realistic Air Force Decals and a Recon Drone
Historical Model With a Removable Engine Panel
Fascinations F4U Corsair 3D Metal Model Kit
Metal WWII Warplane That's a Fun Challenge
Piper Super Cub 95 Laser Cut Model Kit
Flyable Plane With a Power Motor
1903 Wright Brother Flyer Laser Cut Model Kit
Balsa Wood Recreation of the First Wright Brothers Plane
This plastic model is fashioned after a Delta Airlines Airbus 350-900 plane and has a 1:200 scale ratio. If you're looking for a safe and secure way to display your model, it even comes with a stand.
People loved the solid plastic construction of its pieces, saying the assembled model feels satisfyingly heavy. They also appreciated how detailed it is, especially the rotating engine blades!
This model is fashioned after a B25J Mitchell, which was widely used by Allied forces during World War II. It comes with 138 plastic pieces and also has machine guns mounted on its front. For even more realism, it also comes with weighted tires and detailed figures within the cockpit.
Some people found this kit's directions difficult to follow. But, generally, buyers liked that it's very intricately detailed. They also said that most of the pieces fit together without any issues.
This model recreates a single-seat, single-engine German plane used during World War II. It has a smaller 1:72 scale, making it simpler and quicker to construct. This model has 53 parts, and the paints needed to complete it are listed on the outside of the box.
Some people said the pieces are small and prone to breaking. But, generally, buyers praised its intricate details and easy assembly.
This model of a United States Airforce jet has a 1:72 scale. It comes with a stand for easy display and illustrated instructions. This kit can be put together fairly quickly and doesn't require any gluing or painting. Its pieces snap right together, and you get to add your choice of both authentic and custom decals.
Some people said this model's plastic feels cheap. But, overall, customers loved how easy it is to put together. They said it's a good beginner's model, noting that kids can easily assemble it as well.
This British World War II plane kit has 34 pieces and two sets of decals. Its cockpit is incredibly detailed, and its canopy can open and close. This kit also comes with illustrated instructions for easy assembly.
Some people said their kit's parts didn't fit together well, and a few found the landing gear weak. But, generally, buyers said this plane has a notable amount of detail. Many also said the instructions are thorough and easy to follow. Reviewers noted that kids enjoyed assembling it as well.
This detail-rich fighter jet includes a seated pilot and an observer figure. It also comes with realistic US Air Force decals and illustrated easy-to-follow instructions. In addition to the main plane, the kit also comes with a recon drone on a wheeled trolley.
Multiple people said this model was hard to put together and required a great deal of work. But, generally, reviewers said it's still a quality model with good detail. A few people also praised the kit's large size.
This American World War II model comes with two sets' worth of decals, so you have more than enough to decorate it exactly how you want. This kit has 49 plastic pieces and comes with illustrated instructions to put them all together with ease. You can even lift off the plane's engine panel!
A few people reported receiving a kit that was the wrong skill level, and a few had issues with pieces fitting correctly. But most buyers said it was easy and fun to assemble, even for kids. They also appreciated the level of detail, especially in the cockpit.
This unique kit has metal pieces and is fashioned after the American F4U Corsair, which had the largest engine available during World War II. In addition, it was the first US warplane to go over 400 miles per hour during level flight. This kit also doesn't require any glue.
Some people said that this model's metal is fragile, and they had some difficulty bending the pieces correctly. But, overall, many reviewers confirmed that it's a fun challenge to assemble. They also said that the finished model looks great on display.
This model's pieces are made of laser-cut balsa wood, and it comes with all the parts and accessories you need for assembly. This flyable plane comes with a motor powered by a rubber band, but it can also be converted to electric or gas. This kit is made in the US and has a sizeable 24-inch wingspan.
Multiple people said this model isn't good for inexperienced builders. But, generally, reviewers praised the precision of this kit's laser-cut wood. People also said they had a good time putting it together.
This model is a miniature recreation of the first plane that the Wright brothers flew in 1903. It's made in the USA and comes with a laser-cut profile of a pilot to make it even more realistic. It's made of balsa wood and comes with movable propellers and a display stand.
Some people had issues with this model's wood being too fragile. They noted that it's probably too difficult for beginners, too. But, generally, buyers praised the clean lines of the laser-cut wood. Multiple people also appreciated this kit's high level of detail.
Here are some more articles to help you get started on any new hobbies you've always wanted to try!
No. 1: Flight Miniatures | Delta Airlines Airbus A350-900 | AAB-35090H-001
No. 2: Revell | B25J Mitchell | 85-5512
No. 3: Airfix | Focke-Wulf Fw190A-8 | A01020A
No. 4: Revell | SnapTite A-10 Warthog | 85-1181
No. 5: Revell | Spitfire MKII
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