Which Tamiya model airplane kits are best?
Building model aircraft is a serious business, and there are several companies around the world competing to be the best. From World War II classics to passenger planes and current warbirds, you would be hard-pressed to find something that you don’t like.
Model airplane kits aim to faithfully recreate their real-world counterparts on a much smaller scale. It takes a steady hand and determination, and a model like the Tamiya America Grumman F-14A Tomcat can take hundreds of hours to fully complete.
What to know before you buy a Tamiya model airplane kit
Scale of the model
Model airplane kits are available in a range of scales with the two most common being 1/48th of the original size and 1/16th of the size. Consider which aircraft you want to model and keep scale in mind. It is important to know that the scale isn’t a measure of the final product but rather the scale compared to the real-world craft. If the airplane is huge, a smaller scale will be needed.
Complexity of the build
As with all model kits, whether its planes, tanks or ships, they are available in varying degrees of complexity. This will depend on how intricate the details are to put together and stick on the model, and it can be more difficult if the model features moving parts. Difficulty can range from beginner to intermediate and expert. In either case, you are going to need a high-quality model tool kit with all the gadgets to put it together.
Required tools and accessories
When you buy a Tamiya model airplane kit, keep in mind that only the individual parts needed for the specific kit are included. It is very rare that you will receive the necessary tools and accessories needed to complete the build. Before you get started, it is a great idea to make sure that you have everything ready and available to put the kit together.
What to look for in a quality Tamiya model airplane kit
Durable materials and components
A model airplane kit will be no good if it collapses or detaches from itself after a few days. While that might happen due to inferior glue being used, a good-quality Tamiya model airplane kit will be made from robust and durable materials. Generally, materials for airplane models are available in plastic or balsa wood.
Accurate modeling of the aircraft
Completed models can be an excellent conversation starter but only if it looks like the real thing. There is little point in painstakingly putting everything together only to realize afterward that it looks nothing like the picture on the box. A good-quality Tamiya airplane kit will accurately model the real-world craft and include all the small details to increase the authenticity.
Additional models for set building
A completed airplane model displayed on your desk or mantel can be fulfilling, but others might want to take that a step further. Tamiya airplane models are highly detailed, and they can be used as part of a set build. Additional models like pilots, trees, walls or vehicles can also be assembled to complete a scene.
How much you can expect to spend on a Tamiya model airplane kit
The average cost of a Tamiya model airplane will largely depend on the scale, complexity and series that it is from. An entry-level model can retail for between $30-$40, while bigger, more complex models can retail for between $100-$200.
Tamiya model airplane kit FAQ
What language are the instructions in?
A. Tamiya is a Japanese company, but they do have headquarters and a warehouse in the United States. All instructions on model kits, including airplanes, are available in English, German, French and Japanese.
How much do model airplane kits weigh?
A. That will depend on the model and the scale in which it is being built. However, in most cases, the completed model shouldn’t weigh more than 4 or 5 pounds.
What are the best Tamiya model airplane kits to buy?
Top Tamiya model airplane kit
What you need to know: This kit provides the opportunity to build a classic American war bird that has served the U.S. well.
What you’ll love: The Grumman F-14A Tomcat is one of the most recognizable airplanes in the U.S. military, and this model kit faithfully recreates the impressive real-world design. The model is a 1/48th of the real airplane, but it measures about 1.5 feet when completed. The wings can swing out, and the model is built in a parked position with the landing gear deployed.
What you should consider: Very small parts are included with this model, so it might not be suitable for younger builders.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top Tamiya model airplane kit for money
What you need to know: The Spitfire Supermarine airplane is one of the most recognizable airplanes in the world and was heavily used during World War II.
What you’ll love: This Tamiya model features impressive accuracy on the 1/48th scale model, and it also includes different parts to recreate the various Mk.1 types. The model includes a pilot, and the canopy can be displayed open or closed.
What you should consider: As with most Tamiya kits, this one requires glue to be assembled, which isn’t included in the packaging.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: Mustang fans will love this model that features impressive details.
What you’ll love: Next to the Spitfire, the P-51D Mustang is just as impressive to look at and see in action. A regular fixture over the skies of Europe during World War II, this 1/32nd scale model features accurate radiator parts, a removable oil cooler flap and parts for 75- and 108-gallon drop tanks. The markings for the model are based on the U.S. 8th Air Force.
What you should consider: This model is a bit more expensive than the others because it is shipped from Japan to the U.S.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Charlie Fripp writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2022 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.