It’s hard to give someone a blanket recommendation on what is the best model tank kit, since everyone has different interests…
For example, while most modelers may prefer a 1/35 kit, some people could find more enjoyment in building a 1/48 model tank. Also, everyone likes different subjects. Some folks may prefer focusing on the WW2 era (i.e. American Sherman tank or German Tiger tank) versus the WW1 era (i.e. British Mark IV tank).
In this post, I consolidated some of the best model tank kits that have been released over the years, and categorized them by (1) brand and (2) scale.
While everyone has different personal preferences, my hope is that as you go through the list, you find a model tank kit that catches your eye, and truly gets you excited about building it!
Tamiya: Top Picks
The general industry consensus is that Tamiya produces the best model tank kits. They’re the gold standard for reliable kits that are extremely detailed, well priced, and not very difficult to build.
In this article, I’ll mention popular model tank kits that other brands/manufacturers produce, since everyone has different preferences — that being said, I’d strongly recommend Tamiya, and it’s hard to go wrong with most of their kits.
Great value for the price. High quality kit and easy to build. Despite the low part count, it’s extremely detailed.
This classic Churchill tank kit is a joy to build, and it was first released in 1997. It is still in production today, and the difference from the original release is the four figures you see in the image.
If you’ve never built a model tank kit before, then this is the perfect fit for you, not just in terms of ease-of-build, but also price (so you don’t have to worry as much about messing up).
Just like the M41 Walker Bulldog I mentioned earlier, this is also a great model for beginners. Great value for the cost and easy/fun to build.
Instructions are easy to understand and the sprue trees are clean and without too much flash.
Tamiya’s available selection of 1/35 model tank kits is much larger than their 1/48 kits. That being said, they do offer some solid 1/48 choices (like this one).
Academy: Top Picks
While some of Academy’s old model tank kits are low quality, they have changed things up for the better recently. I personally prefer Tamiya, but Academy’s newer models are generally a great value for the price, the builds are enjoyable, and the fit and detail very good.
If you plan to build this model, I recommend you read Steven Zaloga’s book about the M18 Hellcat Tank Destroyer, so you understand more of the history/background behind this kit. This American tank destroyer served a very important role in WWII.
Several customers have said that this is one of the most enjoyable model tank kits they’ve ever built, and the highlight of their collections. If you end up building this kit, it’s recommended that you use Mission Model Paints. Also, it’s worth noting that the kit comes with tons of accessories and decal options.
This is a gorgeous Merkava model. The build can be incredibly fun for advanced modelers, but it’s not recommended for someone who’s just starting out with model building.
Trumpeter: Top Picks
In my opinion, while many of Trumpeter’s model tank kits are a hit or miss, their KV series of tanks is just as high quality as many Tamiya products. The KV series models are a great value for the price. The build is easy and straightforward, and the fit, shape, and detail are incredible.
Revell: Top Pick
While Revell offers high quality kits in some subjects (i.e. model cars), they’re not well known for model tank kits, and they don’t offer a very large selection in this category.
The only reason I chose to mention Revell in this post, is because they have a great model tank kit for kids that’s easy to put together.
This model is great for an adult-child project, and it’s a unique gift that many kids would love:
Meng: Underrated Manufacturer
Meng is a very underrated model kit company/manufacturer. Generally, their instructions are straightforward, the fit is good, there’s rarely flash, and they don’t overuse photo etch. Also, according to customers, some of their scale models even have better detail than Tamiya.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you paint a model tank?
This useful video will show you how to use an airbrush to effectively paint a model tank (or even other types of military vehicle models)
How do you weather a model tank?
The quick 8 minute video below will show you how to effectively weather a model tank with equipment that’s not too expensive.
How can you paint camouflage on a model tank?
The following video will teach you basics of painting camouflage on a model tank:
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