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Metal car model kits to build

Best Model Car Kits 2019 – Plastic Scale Models Review

by Peter Melville | Last Updated: January 3, 2019

Best Model Car Kits 2019 for Adults

Model Parts Length, in Length, mm Level
Tamiya – Ferrari LaFerrari (Editors Choice) 173 7 7 ⁄8 200 Intermediate Check Price
Revell – Camaro Zl-1 (Best for Beginners) 48 7 5 ⁄8 194 Beginner Check Price
Tamiya – Nismo R34 GT-R Z-Tune 94 7 1 ⁄2 190 Beginner Check Price
Tamiya – Honda S2000 89 6 13 ⁄16 173 Beginner Check Price
Tamiya – Toyota Celica 78 7 3 ⁄16 182 Beginner Check Price
Aoshima – Lamborghini Murcielago LP670-4 153 7 3 ⁄4 196 Advanced Check Price
Tamiya – Porsche 911 GT3 91 7 3 ⁄8 187 Intermediate Check Price
Fujimi – McLaren F1 GTR Long Tale 112 7″ 178 Intermediate Check Price
Tamiya – Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren 149 7 11 ⁄16 195 Intermediate Check Price
Fujimi – Ferrari 575M Maranello 84 7 7 ⁄16 189 Beginner Check Price

Tamiya – Ferrari LaFerrari – A Kit with Interior Details

This Ferrari kit comes in the 1:24 scale and is molded in black, metallic, and red plastics. The chrome parts have an above average look, and the sprue connection points should be hidden once the parts are glued into place. A realistic interior and engine compartment make this a nice option for builders looking for details not found in a curbside kit.

There are just under 150 parts in total and are adequately protected by a sturdy box that helps to prevent damage. The body and glass are packaged and should not be scratched when the box is opened. It comes with accurate decals that are clean, although they are printed on a fairly thick sheet.

    Chrome sprue connection point can be h style=color:#00bb0c> Its body is molded with smooth plastic without blemishes The box and bag packaging keep parts from scratching
    The connection points for the doors and rear hatch aren’t sturdy It comes with decals that are printed on a thick film

Revell – Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 – A Step up from the Basic Kit

Make sure to remember that this model kit is molded in the 1:25 scale, the same scale that most American car subjects are designed in. The multi-colored sprues come in chrome, black, red, and gray. It has rubber tires that are connected to metal rod axles, which allow the tires to move. The chassis is molded with exhaust and suspension, but it is detailed enough to provide weathering options.

Revell packs the kit in a thin cardboard box that provides less protection than another company packaging would. Most of the sprues are bagged together and some parts may fall off of their sprue. The clear plastic and body are packed separately and should arrive without scratches.

    The engine in this kit appears accurate and detailed It comes with rubber tires that prov style=color:#00bb0c> This body lacks mold lines on the car body
    There is a low part count for the price point The chassis and suspension are molded onto the bottom body part

Tamiya – Nismo R34 GT-R Z-Tune – An Updated Mold for Greater Accuracy

This 1:24 scale kit is produced from a newer mold that updates body pieces for a more accurate look straight from the box. This includes the front bumper spoiler and the front louver. Rear end detailing is enhanced with a diff oil cooler and large muffler assembly. The disc brakes are detailed and stand-out on the finished build.

This kit comes in a standard top opening box and the parts are grouped into bags sealed by staples. There are only a few stickers offered with the kit. The curbside design and modest interior may appeal to modelers that are looking for a more simple car kit of a rare subject.

    It comes with a highly detailed bumper and muffler parts The wheel and disc brake pieces look realistic after assembly Tamiya produced a photo-etch set that adds extra detail
    This curbs style=color:#b82025> The R34 interior is accurate but spartan in look

Tamiya – Honda S2000 – A Budget-Friendly Model Kit

This curbside kit comes in the 1:24 scale, and has been engineered with typical Tamiya fit quality. The single piece body is clean but would benefit with fine sanding on the mold separation lines. Its chassis is detailed and the additional exhaust and suspension parts add depth to the underside. The tires and disc brakes provide a realistic look no matter what position that they are set in.

The model comes in a top opening box, and the multiple sprues are stored together in stapled bags. This kit comes with decals that appear accurate without bleeding, and the window masks will speed up painting on the body.

    It comes with metal emblems that have a self-sticking back There are window masks that fit snuggly during painting This kit comes with separate exhaust and suspension parts
    This is a curbs style=color:#b82025> The wheel hubs have sinkholes that can make decal placement more difficult

Tamiya – Toyota Celica – A Highly Visible Interior

This 1:24 scale model is a curbside kit, which might appeal to builders looking for a faster build. The model is based on the seventh generation of Toyota Celicas, which sported larger windows and a sunroof. This design allows for a better view of the vehicle cabin a dash, which are fairly detailed for a budget-friendly model. The kit comes with options for building the dash with a left or right side steering wheel that allows a builder to create a car for any car market.

Its parts are sealed in bags with staples, and multiple sprues are placed together. The body alignment is good, and a detailed chassis completes the look.

    The steering wheel can be mounted on the left or right s style=color:#00bb0c> Its interior s style=color:#00bb0c> There is a sunroof that provides more interior viewing angles
    The antenna is thick and out of scale It has a large clear plastic piece for the windows that will show any scratches

Aoshima – Lamborghini Murcielago LP670-4 Superveloce – Best Packaged Kit

This 1:24 scale kit from Aoshima is highly detailed, and will provide a challenging build for even the most advanced model maker. The interior is highly detailed and the model does include engine components. A highly detailed chassis and wheel assembly provide a superior look, although the model sits low in its stance. Its doors open which will allow a better view inside the model.

A typical cardboard top opening box provides decent parts protection. What stands out is the bagging with this kit. Each sprue is sealed individually, providing the best protection from scratching. The parts fit on this kit is good, so there shouldn’t be any alignment issues.

    Each of the sprues is indiv style=color:#00bb0c> The doors on this kit open for a variety of looks This kit comes with clear plastic windows that do not distort
    This kit comes at a higher price point due to the superior packaging The door hinges and spoiler are weak points that can break easily

Tamiya – Porsche 911 GT3 – A Fun Build

This 1:24 scale Porsche recreates the GT3 with an accurate body design in yellow plastic. Black, chrome, clear, and silver sprues allow a decent look without having to paint the car. Limited engine details are visible through the rear window, but the body is molded in a single piece. The plastic used for the windows are clear and produce little distortion when looking through them.

This kit comes at a lower price point, and this is seen in the packaging. A simple cardboard box provides limited protection. The clear sprue is packaged separately, helping to prevent scratching. This kit is a fairly simple build and the instructions are easy to understand.

    This model recreates the curves of the 911 without extreme body lines The one-piece chassis is highly detailed and prov style=color:#00bb0c> A well-aligned car kit is easy to put together
    Engine parts offer shallow details on this Porsche kit This kit may build-up too quickly for many builders

Fujimi – McLaren F1 GTR Long Tail – A Decal Challenge

The 1:24 scale Fujimi kit builds into a familiar McLaren design. Black, clear, and silver sprues allow the builder to create an accurate representation, but it will require painting to imitate a familiar racing team’s colors. Those looking for a challenging build might be disappointed by this quick kit with limited parts. Limited details may also be an issue, especially for modelers looking for an engine on this curbside kit.

Fujimi does provide good packaging for the model, however. The sprues are sealed individually in bags, and the decals look clear and crisp. This may be a selection for collectors looking for this specific car.

    This kit comes with decals for a unique racing livery It will be a quick build out of the box for all skill levels A wide range of aftermarket parts can be used to increase detail
    This kit comes with a low parts count for its price point It comes with limited details and is a curbside design

Tamiya – Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren – A Medium Build Complexity Kit

The body on this 1:24 model kit highlight the complex curves and venting found on the full-scale SLR McLaren. This kit comes with standard Tamiya chrome parts as well as chrome pieces that have an almost satin finish, adding more variety to metallic parts on the car. A well-aligned chassis and frame kit tightly with no visible gaps. A parts count of 150-pieces makes this a more challenging kit with extra details.

Tamiya packages this model in their typical top-opening box, with sprues placed in bags that are stapled. The decals are clean but a bit thick, and the instruction manual is well-designed and easy to follow.

    Metal hinges and rods are included to hold the doors open Its outer body is highly accurate and lacks mold lines Translucent red parts are included for the tail lights
    Its engine details are molded to the engine tub that lacks depth The more complex nature of this build may prove too difficult for beginners

Fujimi – Ferrari 575M Maranello – A Kit with Limited Details

This 1:24 scale Ferrari offers a simple canvas for young builders to work on. Black, chrome, clear, red, and white colored sprues add variety without having to paint the model. The chrome dip that is used for this kit looks good, and most attachment points should be hidden when the car is fully assembled. It uses clear plastic that does distort a bit when looking through it.

The instructions are made from rather simple diagrams that should be easy to follow. It is packaged in a simple model box, and the bags used for storage provide adequate storage that protects parts from scratches as they shift.

    This kit comes with an extremely low parts count for beginners It offers a Ferrari subject at a lower price point The kit provides a detailed muffler system at the rear
    The details on the pieces are soft throughout the sprues

Plastic Model Car Buyer’s Guide

Why are Plastic Model Automobiles Found in 1:24 and 1:25 Scales?

Both scales were selected by early manufacturers of injection-molding model cars. The 1:24 scale was the traditional size for die-cast and slot cars from the first half of the 20th-century. This scale was selected by many of the early producers of plastic model kits, including Monogram. Other American manufacturers such as AMT, Jo-Han, and Revell made minor alterations and produced models in the 1:25 scale. Asian based companies such as Tamiya have produced their automobile models in 1:24 scale from the start.

Why are Most Automobile Model Kits Made in Multi-Colored Plastics?

While military subjects are often uniform in color, automobiles are painted in multiple colors. Modern injection-molding car kits are produced with colored plastics to imitate this. It allows a new or young model maker to build a car that looks more realistic without having to paint the model. However, even with these colored plastics, advanced modelers will still paint their cars with an airbrush or spray cans.

Why are Some Parts Metallic in Color?

Again, kit manufacturers include these metallic colored parts so that new or young modelers can build their car without having to paint it. These parts are referred to as chrome parts and are produced by dipping the sprue into a metallic coating. But the one problem with chrome parts is that removing them from the sprue will expose non-chromed spots where they were connected. Therefore many builders will strip this coating off and re-coat the parts with metallic paints to fix the problem.

What is a “Curbside” Car Kit?

A plastic automobile care kit referred to as a curbside kit do not include engine parts that can be built or displayed. These kits will often be produced with a one-piece body and will not have a hood that opens to display the engine compartment. Curbside kits have traditionally been produced for the Asian and European markets, while kits made for the North American market have engines that can be built and installed into the cars. In recent years, curbside kits have made way for models that allow builders to create engine details during assembly.

Do All Model Kits Require Glue for Assembly?

Most plastic models will require glue to assemble the kit. With that being said, there are basic kits that can snap together without using glue. These kits are listed as a starter kit or low skill level product and will indicate that they do not require a builder to glue parts. It should be noted that all of the kits reviewed above will require glue for assembly.

What Tools are Required to Build a Plastic Model?

One of the most versatile tools a modeler will use is a hobby knife. A sprue cutter will make removing parts from a parts tree easy, and files or sandpaper help to remove blemishes, flashing, and nubs. Clamps and rubber-bands keep parts held together after they have been glued, and an optic-visor or other magnification device allow older eyes to see small parts. Finally, paints and weathering products can help to provide a more realistic look to the model.

What are “Aftermarket” Parts?

Aftermarket parts are model pieces that are sold separately that will add extra detail to a model, or replace certain pieces with a more accurate look. These parts are produced by model companies like Aoshima and Tamiya or are made by third party companies. The parts are usually made from metals, plastics, or resins. There are model kits available that include aftermarket parts, especially with formula racing model subjects.

Are There Resources Available to Help Model Builders?

Several online resources are available that will help build better cars, including online forums and groups, as well as instructional videos on platforms like YouTube. Many hobby stores can put a modeler in touch with clubs like the I.P.M.S. (International Plastic Modellers’ Society).


The ten automobile kits reviewed above offer a wide variety of civilian and racing subjects. These products also provide different difficulty levels that should provide enjoyment for young or old, novice or advanced builders. It is important to remember that many American cars are molded in a 1:25 scale, while car designs from other parts of the world will be found in 1:24 scale. So, no matter what type of car you are interested in, there should be a model kit available that will challenge your skills and provide you with hours of model building pleasure!


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