16 Best Model Airplane Kits in 2020 by Brand (Revell, Tamiya, Etc.)

Best Model Airplane Kits

Everyone has a different opinion on what are the best model airplane kits. It’s hard to give someone a blanket recommendation, because each modeler has individual needs and interests:

  • For example, someone may be experienced and have the time, ability, and patience to complete a difficult challenge — while another modeler may just be a beginner.  
  • While some folks may prefer to work on a 1/32 model airplane kit, other people may find more enjoyment from completing a 1/48 or a 1/72 kit. 
  • Someone may be looking for an airplane model kit that requires painting, while others may feel the opposite way. 
  • Someone may want a cheaper model to free up money for aftermarket accessories, while another person may want a more expensive out-of-the-box option. 
  • Etc.

I could go on and on, but you get the idea — everyone has differing opinions and interests.

That being said, there are several brands/manufacturers that are known to produce high quality model airplane kits.

The general consensus in the industry is that Revell and Tamiya are in the top echelon, and in my opinion, Airfix has some fantastic airplane model kits as well. Also, while Zoukei-Mura is a brand that many people haven’t heard of, their detail and quality is incredible.

In this post, I’ll share my top few choices within each brand to save you research time, and help you make the right choice. While everything I list is based on my own opinion and personal preference, perhaps you’ll find a model airplane kit that catches your eye as well.

Contents:

  1. Revell
  2. Tamiya
  3. Airfix
  4. Zoukei-Mura

Revell: Top Picks


Revell Messerschmitt Bf109 G-6 Plastic Model Kit

Overall Top Pick (1/32)
  • This Revell model airplane kit is an extremely good value at the current price, and it frees up money for aftermarket parts/accessories, so you can add value and make it look truly special. 
  • Revell has an extremely large amount of available accessories in the aftermarket, so if you’re into that, you’re in luck.   
  • I would recommend this kit for those who are in the low/moderate skill level. This is not meant for a beginner.


Revell B25J Mitchell

1/48 Model - Top Pick
Revell B25J Mitchell Airplane Model Kit


Revell B17G Flying Fortress Model Kit

1/48 Model - Runner-up Pick
Revell B17G Flying Fortress Airplane Model Kit


Revell SR-71A Blackbird Model Kit

1/72 Model - Top Pick
Revell SR-71A Blackbird Airplane Model Kit


Revell F-14d Super Tomcat Model Kit

1/72 Model - Runner-up Pick
Revell F-14d Super Tomcat Airplane Model Kit

Tamiya: Top Picks


Tamiya Vought F4U-1D Corsair

Overall Top Pick (1/48)

This is my top pick because this aircraft kit is not very difficult to assemble and it’s relatively easy for beginners (but at the same time challenging enough for advanced model builders). This Corsair scale model can look incredible with a proper painting job. Also, it served an important role in WWII and the Korean War.

One customer said that they chose to add the following items to the build: (1) Pilot figure (2) Display stand (3) Flying propeller (4) Aerial wire antenna (5) Aftermarket decals, because even though the kit comes with decals, they’re not very high quality and can easily break.


Tamiya Supermarine Spitfire Mk.I

1/48 Runner-up Pick
Tamiya Supermarine Spitfire Mk.I Airplane Model Kit

Similar to my top overall pick, this kit is suitable for both beginner and advanced modelers.


Tamiya P-51D Mustang Model Kit

1/32 Model - Top Pick
Tamiya P-51D Mustang Airplane Model Kit
  • This is one of the most detailed Mustang kits on the market. Due to its incredible detail, it’s not meant for beginners, but experienced Modelers will enjoy this challenge. 
  • The P-51D was a long range, single seat fighter that took its first flight in October of 1940 and served an important role during World War II.  
  • If you’re curious, the wingspan of this model is 14 inches.   
  • Several neatly packaged sprues of parts, requires patience and skill to build this model.  
  • The landing gear is strong and assembled with metal pins.  
  • Extremely detailed instructions. 
  • Engine, cockpit, internals, and panel lines on the exterior look great.


Tamiya F4J Phantom II Model Kit

1/32 Model - Runner-up Pick
Tamiya F4J Phantom II Airplane Model Kit


Tamiya P-47D Thunderbolt Scale Model Kit

1/72 Model - Top Pick
Tamiya P-47D Thunderbolt Airplane Model Kit


Tamiya Lockheed Martin, F-16 Fighting Falcon Plastic Model Airplane

1/72 Model - Runner-up Pick
Tamiya Lockheed Martin, F-16 Fighting Falcon

Airfix Top Picks (Well-Suited for Beginners)

In general, I personally prefer Revell and Tamiya models over Airfix. That being said, Airfix has really stepped up their game the last 6 years or so. They’ve put in effort to improve their newly released models, and they’ve succeeded in producing several high quality model plane kits.

Airfix’s old models used to be extremely difficult to assemble, but that has changed recently. If you’re a beginner, Airfix offers several 1/72 airplanes that are easy to build and cheap (so you can get some practice without worrying about messing up). So that’s what I’ll be focusing on in this section.


Airfix Supermarine Spitfire Mk1A Military Aircraft - Starter Kit

Overall Top Pick (1/72)
Airfix Supermarine Spitfire Mk1A Airplane Model Kit

Airfix published a fantastic tutorial on their YouTube channel, where they show you how to assemble this aircraft model from start to finish:


Airfix Hawker Hurricane MkI Plastic Model Kit

Runner-up Pick (1/72)
Airfix Hawker Hurricane MkI Airplane Model Kit

Just like the Supermarine Spitfire, Airfix’s Hawker Hurricane is a simple and easy model aircraft that’s well-suited for beginners. It also served an important role in World War II.

Zoukei-Mura: Top Picks

Zoukei-Mura is a company that most model building hobbyists probably haven’t heard about. That being said, modelers who have built their airplane kits are usually astounded by their superb quality and engineering.

While Zoukei-Mura doesn’t have a very large selection, the kits they do have are extremely detailed — if you have the time and patience to take them on, you may find it worthwhile.


Zoukei-Mura Super Wing Series, 229 Horten

1/32 Model: Top Pick
Zoukei-Mura Super Wing Series 229 Horten Airplane Model Kit

This kit is definitely far from a small weekend project, and some customers have described it as a “museum piece”.


Zoukei-Mura F-4D Phantom II Super Wing Series No. 7

1/48 Model: Top Pick
Zoukei-Mura F-4D Phantom II Super Wing Series No. 7

It’s worth noting that many modelers who build this particular Zoukei-Mura kit (and others) don’t see a need for aftermarket parts/accessories.


Zoukei-Mura F-4J Phantom II Marines

1/48 Model: Runner-up Pick
Zoukei-Mura F-4J Phantom II Marines Airplane Model Kit

Click here to check out a detailed online review of this model

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most popular scale for model airplanes?

The most popular scale for model airplanes is either 1/32, 1/48, or 1/72.

What is the best model airplane kit for beginners?

The following video does a great job of listing several popular airplane model kits for beginners, and the “why” behind each choice.

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