Anyone can enjoy the world of model airplanes, but aspiring pilots and history buffs are especially enthusiastic about this fun hobby. For the history buff, there is a story embedded in each model airplane kit. For the aspiring pilot, most airplane kits are historically accurate and have impressive, authentic surface details.
It is easy to get caught up in the process of assembling the model aircraft. For many model plan enthusiasts, it's the most fun part. Imagine putting together a puzzle that turns out to be a mini piece of history worthy of displaying in your home – that’s the payoff of building airplane models.
Be sure to read the reviews of our three favorite build-your-own plane models: the Revell Mustang P-51D, the Hasegawa F-22 A and the Revell B17 Flying Fortress. We also have articles on model airplanes if you want to delve deeper into the model airplane world.
When on the hunt for the perfect model airplane kit, you must first decide what you want out of the experience. Are you looking to put together an intricate 100-piece, historically authentic plane? Do you want something simple you can complete with your kids? Are you looking for a gift for an aviation buff? Below is a list of model airplane characteristics to help you choose the right model for your needs:
You want your model airplane to look and feel as authentic as possible. It is imperative that the instructions to build your model are clear and precise and that all the pieces fit together properly. The Ease of Assembly score portrays just that. If a model’s instructions are easy to follow and the parts fit together seamlessly, we give the model a high score. The lower the score, the more problems we had with assembly. It is also important to consider that each model has a different number of parts and requires a different skill level. If you are looking for more of a challenge, a model with more parts should suit you well.
The scale of a model airplane doesn’t refer to the size of the completed project; rather it describes the size in relation to the actual airplane. So if a model's scale is 1/72, that means every inch of the model is equal to six feet of the actual airplane. If you want to know how large the completed model will be, reference the wingspan and dimensions of each model airplane.
Model airplanes make great gifts, but if you're buying for a history buff or aviation enthusiast, the devil is in the details. Each plane is a little slice of history, complete with a back story from its particular era. If the gift recipient on your list is a World War II aficionado, a historically accurate WWII military fighter may be the perfect model to give. For someone interested in modern air flight, a commercial jetliner may be more up his or her alley.
Losing the instructions to your model aircraft could result in an unfinished aircraft. Purchasing a model from a company that offers downloadable instructions is certainly convenient. A company that has a store locator on its website can also be helpful if you need to locate a store near you.
The best part about model airplanes is it's the kind of hobby that caters to all skill levels and fits any budget. You can make models that are challenging to build but not beyond your abilities.