Today’s plastic car model kits are among the most popular kits in the scale modeling hobby. The kits are usually not too difficult to assemble. However, if a top-notch look is the main goal, a high-quality paint job is required which is something that’s almost impossible to achieve with a paintbrush.
If cars are your passion, you will be able to choose from countless model kits ranging from old historical vehicles to modern sports cars. Just like with other subjects, car kits are manufactured in various scales with 1/24 and 1/25 (for US cars) being the most popular. And those are the scales we are going to cover in this guide.
Are you in a hurry? Check out the table below to see the recommended model kits.
|Tamiya Ferrari LaFerrari||1/24||2013||View on Amazon|
|Tamiya Ford GT||1/24||2019||View on Amazon|
|Revell Corvette C7.R||1/25||2015||View on Amazon|
|Aoshima Lamborghini Aventador||1/24||2012||View on Amazon|
|Tamiya Volkswagen Beetle 1966||1/24||1994||View on Amazon|
|Tamiya FERRARI SF70H F1||1/20||2018||View on Amazon|
Best 1/24 Scale Car Model Kits
Here’s our list of some of the recommended car model kits. We will be adding more kits periodically, so feel free to check the list again in the future.
Tamiya 1/24 LaFerrari – Best Modern Sports Car Kit
LaFerrari is a hybrid super sports car built by the Italian manufacturer Ferrari. It had been in production from 2013 to 2018 with a mere couple of hundreds of examples built. LaFerrari is claimed to be the most valuable 21st-century car ever sold at an auction with the last example of LaFerrari Aperta being sold for $10 million.
Tamiya is a well-known brand among model car builders. Their 1/24 kits are some of the tops a modeler can buy. This kit of LaFerrari, released in 2013, is exceptionally well engineered with pretty much all parts fitting perfectly. Seam lines and ejector pin marks are kept to bare minimum and are mostly hidden were the prying eyes wouldn’t see them.
Painting masks are included in the kit, making the process of painting of the clear parts much easier than usual. Photoetch fret and carbon decals are available as a separate purchase.
Perhaps the only downside of this kit is the fact that wrong tires are included. LaFerraris wear Pirelli tires and Tamiya for some reason decided to put Bridgestone tires into the kit. Oh well, you can always purchase aftermarket tires if you cannot live with this mistake.
All in all, this kit is a real treat to build and I can’t imagine anyone being disappointed by it.
Tamiya 1/24 Ford GT – Best Modern American Sports Car Kit
This is a brand-new release by Tamiya depicting the Ford GT sports car. The first generation of the Ford GT has first seen production in 2004 before being canceled in 2006. More than 4000 units had been produced. The second generation, which is represented in this kit, has been in production since 2016, with 250 units produced annually.
We have already seen a model kit of this car in the 1/24 scale made by Revell, however, the Tamiya’s one seems to be a better choice if a high level of detail and ease of construction are what you are looking for.
As with the LaFerrari kit, you can expect virtually no mold lines and ejection pin marks in places where they would be seen. This makes the build easy and straightforward because you don’t have to spend so much time filling and sanding the ugly bits.
Paint masks for the clear parts are included so there’s no need to go aftermarket or to create your own masks. There are also metal transfers in the kit, which are used to recreate mirror surfaces.
The wheels and some other parts come in the traditional metal plated finish. You can decide whether you want to keep the finish or strip it down and pain the parts yourself. I usually opt for the latter as it simply looks better.
Again, this is another excellent release by Tamiya and you should certainly get it if you are a fan of modern sports cars.
Revell 1/25 Corvette C7.R – Best Sports Car Kit For Beginners
This one is for the racing fans the model represents a grand tourer racing car – the Chevrolet Corvette C7.R. The kit is new tooling by Revell released originally in 2016 and re-boxed into the streamlined Revell packaging in 2017.
The main chassis parts are molded in yellow plastic and are crisply detailed with little to no cleanup needed prior to the assembly. The other parts are molded in the traditional Revell grey-silverish plastic. The above is true for the newer boxing, the older boxing of the kit is molded in white plastic.
What’s interesting about this kit is that the main clear part representing the windows is already pre-painted. That means the modeler doesn’t have to spend so much time playing with masking tape.
The instructions are clear and easy to follow. One downside of all Revell instructions is that they only paint callouts for their own paints where a lot of mixing is required since their paint range is not that wide. Overall the build is pretty straightforward and the low parts count of just 64 parts will allow you to have the model completed in no time. They rate the model kit as skill level 3 (out of 5) but I would say it’s a good choice even for beginners who are not afraid of decals because there are quite a few of them.
All in all, it’s a good kit which should be easy to build and will look great when properly painted.
Aoshima 1/24 Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4 – An Affordable Choice
The Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4 is an Italian sports car that is the successor to the popular Lamborghini Murciélago. The car was unveiled in 2011 and its newer versions are still in production. The base price of the Aventador is around $400,000.
This plastic model kit is produced by the Japanese company Aoshima that is well known among the plastic car modelers. The kit was first released in 2012 so it’s still relatively new. Packed with excellently detailed sprues of light grey plastic, the kit is an excellent choice for the modern sports car enthusiast. The parts are free of flash and require minimal if any cleaning before assembly.
Pre-cut painting masks are included in the kit making the process of windshield painting a breeze. Some parts, such as the rims, are chrome-plated as is usual for car model kits. Personally, I always strip the chrome parts and pain them myself with the AK Interactive Xtreme Metal paints. Alclad metallics are a good choice as well.
The tires are made of rubber and are nicely detailed without the usual annoying center seam line. The wheels are attached to the axles with poly caps. The decals are nice and thin. Detailing parts such as a photo-etch set, floor mat or metal stickers are available separately, but the model will look awesome even without those.
Overall, this is a great looking kit of a modern subject. If you would like to see what can be done with the kit, check out the build video by the modeler Plasmo on Youtube.
Tamiya 1/24 Volkswagen Beetle 1966 – Best Kit For Classic Car Fans
There’s no need to introduce the iconic Beetle by the German manufacturer Volkswagen. It has seen many iterations during its lifespan with more than 20 million examples built. Tamiya has chosen to depict the 1300 model from the 60s.
Being released in 1996, the kit is quite old by now, but this should not deter you. It’s still a great kit even by today’s standards and is an excellent choice for beginners because there are not that many parts, and the construction is very straightforward.
A full engine is included in case you would like to pose the model with an opened bonnet. There’s even a spare wheel in the trunk.
The rubber tires are nicely cast but there’s the annoying seamline running the circumference of the tires, which can, of course, be cleaned up.
The instructions suggest using one of the eight paint schemes with appropriate Tamiya paint mix recipes included. However, Beetles have been painted in pretty much every color imaginable, so the final call is yours to make.
Tamiya 1/20 FERRARI SF70H Formula One – Best Fomula One Kit
Oh look, we’ve got another scale here! Yes, the kits depicting Formula One cars are most often done in the 1/20 scale.
This kit is a brand new offering from Tamiya that was released in 2018. It’s completely new tooled and fits together incredibly well. F1 model kits are usually more complicated to build than kits of normal cars, however, this one goes together in the typical Tamiya fashion. I am sure even a relatively inexperienced modeler would be able to build into a nice-looking model. Would I choose as my first ever kit? Probably not, but as a second or third model? Why not.
There are 154 parts molded in multi-colored plastic. Included in the kit, there are also waterslide decals including the side markings for the tires. Tamiya has also included painting masks which will aid in getting the paint scheme right. As with other Tamiya kits, the painting masks are not pre-cut, therefore you will have to use a sharp modeling knife or small scissors to cut them.
The kit represents the Ferrari SF70H as raced at the 2017 Australian GP and you can choose whether to build it as Sebastian Vettel’s or Kimi Raikkonen’s car, although the differences are not big.
There are some minor errors on the model which some die-hard Formula One fans might spot, but it’s an awesome kit for those who don’t need to have every single bit as perfectly realistic as possible.
All in all, a highly recommended kit for racing car lovers.
How To Choose The Best Plastic Model Car Kit?
If you are new to the plastic scale model building hobby, it can be a bit daunting to choose the best model kit from the wide selection available on the market today. Let’s look at some of the important bits, that should be considered when selecting the next car model kit to purchase.
Obviously, the most important thing to consider is your personal taste. There’s no point in buying a model kit of the latest sports car if you are only into the US muscle cars or rally cars, or whatever. It’s safe to say that the current market selection offers something for everyone. From pre-war cars to modern hybrids, everyone is bound to find a subject that will be liked.
Apart from personal preferences, the scale is likely the most important thing to consider when choosing a model kit. The most popular scale for plastic model car kits is 1/24 or 1/25. This scale has been chosen by the manufacturers because die-cast models have traditionally been made in the 1/24 scale, or 1/25 scale in the US respectively. However, if you would like to build bigger or smaller models you can opt to go for the 1/12 or 1/32 scales. Keep in mind though that the selection of kits is not as wide for these scales. Moreover, the 1/12 scale kits ten to be quite expensive.
So, if you are just starting out, I would get a kit in the 1/24 scale and see how you like it.
Availability of Aftermarket Detailing Sets
Once you get more experienced over time, you will often notice that plastic kits may lack some of the fine details. This is usually caused by the limitation of the material. Superfine molds are difficult and expensive to make, and thin plastic parts are extremely prone to breakage. Therefore, there are often detailing sets available either the manufacturer of the kit or by a third party. These sets can be made of photo-etched metal or resin and may include details such as the radiator’s mesh.
There are also other bits one can upgrade – for example, you can purchase new better-detailed tires for your kit. Better looking seat belts or metal transfers also come to mind.
If you would like to spice up your model with these bits, do some research to make sure they are actually available for the kit you are planning to purchase. Usually, when a newly tooled kit is released, it takes some time for the third-party manufacturers to develop their aftermarket parts.
Frequently Asked Questions
Although I am no expert myself, in this section I will try to address questions that are often asked by beginner car modelers.
Can you use a paintbrush to paint car model kits?
Well, certainly can, but it’s no way an optimal painting solution for model car bodies. Brush marks are often visible when using a paintbrush to paint models. Needless to say, car kits are most often supposed to have that sleek high gloss finish that is not easily achievable with a paint brush. So, my recommendation would be to save some money to buy an airbrush with a 0.4mm or bigger nozzle and an air compressor. That is if you are serious about the hobby. There’s no point in buying these if all you are going to do is to build a single model.
The alternative to an airbrush would be spray cans. However, I’ve got zero experience with those apart from using the excellent primers by Tamiya, so I can’t really tell whether they are a good choice. Spray cans are not expensive though, so you can get one and try how it goes.
Anyway, paint brushes are fine for painting small details.
What’s the point of multi-colored parts?
Traditionally, most plastic model kits used to be injected in grey styrene plastic. Nowadays, the manufacturers are often making their sprues multi-colored to attract the complete beginners who don’t want to paint their models. Does it look good when the model is unpainted? I would say no, but everyone’s got to learn.
What’s really annoying about these multi-colored kits is the fact that they basically force you to use a primer before applying your chosen color. Not doing so could mean that you would end up with a pink finish if you were to apply white paint to a car body injected in red plastic.
So, this is the end of today’s guide. Hopefully, you’ve learned something new and were able to choose the best car model kit for you. In the future, the plan is to expand the article to cover other scales as well, so feel free to come back. If any questions arise, you can contact me via the contact page or the comments section below the article.