• Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024

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Comparing the Different Types of Model Kits: A Guide to Model Cars

Model Kits Australiasource: alphamodelkit.com

Like the timeless looks of the ’68 Charger? Or the rumble coming out of all the ten cylinders in the Lexus LFA? Maybe the 1992 Nissan Skyline GT-R brings back a few memories. These are cars that now cost well over 6 figures, some are collector’s items, and others are just out of reach for most car enthusiasts without remortgaging the family house. If you’re into cars (and who isn’t) then the next best thing is buying a model kit and building these automotive legends from the ground up with your own two hands. 

Model cars are a fun foundation for building a variety of skills in all age groups, and instil love for anything with four wheels. All kits are life-like, built to scale, and include details faithful to the original. They’re also a great way to spend time with friends and family, cut down on stress, and gain basic knowledge of the complexities of how cars work. Besides the extensive range of model kits Australia, hobbyists can also find replica kits of motorcycles, trucks, aeroplanes, boats, and even military figures and historic scenes. Kits are sold in different skill ranges, with a varying number of pieces that need to be assembled, and some come with the basic tools and extras to get the job done. 

Basics of Model Kits 

Basic of Model Kits
source: reddit.com

Kits consist of a specified number of parts arranged on a sprue and need to be cut and assembled in a defined order. Parts are usually made of lightweight and durable plastics, but other materials such as wood, resins or metals can also be found in particular components or complete kits in higher price ranges. Some can also include basic extras like paint and decals for more life-like vehicles, specifically special-edition vehicles, but may be missing a few necessities. Glue, sprue clippers or knives, brushes in varying sizes, and tools for finer results, such as sandpaper or cement and putty are usually missing in kits higher up the skill range, but are offered in different types and often bought separately to suit each building project. 

Types of Kits

Regardless of your passion, kits come in dozens of different types. Those based around cars are undeniably more popular, and the ones that attract buyers of all ages. They are also more affordable and offered in more skill levels. There are current and past models to choose from, cars that have appeared in ads and movies (Fast and Furious anyone?), famous racing legends, or one-off prototypes. Additionally, there are faithful replicas of semi-trailers, firetrucks, classic trucks and vehicles that have won the Paris-Dakar. Other categories include dirt and road bikes, helicopters, commercial and military aircraft, spaceships and rockets, yachts, trawlers, oil tankers, and ships that have changed the course of history. 

The appeal of plastic model kits is that besides hours of fun, and building motor skills and patience, especially in kids, they provide an educational element. 

Scale and Skill Levels 

Scale
source: modelcarsmag.com

Model vehicles come in varying skill levels, meaning there’s something for all age groups. There are model kits Australia sold for beginner, intermediate and advanced hobbyists. Overall, there are 5 skill levels, each one containing a defined number of parts in sprues, and getting more complex. Details and realism are also more true to life the higher up you go.  

Beginner levels (1 and 2) have parts that are simply snapped together, with no or minimal gluing and painting. Intermediate levels can have up to 100 separate pieces, and require more time in assembly and tending to details. Advanced (4 and 5) levels have between 200 and 1000 pieces, need days to complete, can have varying paint finishes, a range of decals, and extensive finishing needs like sanding to reproduce models with the highest semblance to the real thing. 

All kits are supplied with instructions, and parts numbered in the sprue. More complex models can have alphabetically numbered sprues to avoid confusion and make assembly easier. 

Related is scale or size. This roughly correlates with the skill level, so larger-scale kits usually require more work with more parts involved. Scale largely depends on the type of vehicle, but for cars, this is usually 1/24. This is also one of the more popular sizes you’d find in RC cars. For the Dodge Charger mentioned above (a car measuring 5283mm in length) a 1/24 model kit comes out roughly at a manageable 220mm. Other popular scale sizes are 1/20, 1/12 and 1/10 for cars and trucks, and smaller kits based around 1/32 and 1/50 models. As something of note, the bigger the scale the more expensive the kit will be. 

Other vehicles are somewhat different. There’s enough detail in bikes that are sold in 1/12 scale, but much larger vehicles like aeroplanes and ships downsize this to 1/35, 1/48 and 1/72 scale while still providing plenty of detail and a vehicle that’s easier to work on.  

By Anthony Hendriks

The life of the party, Anthony is always up for spending some time with family and friends, when not blogging of course! Ever since a child, his love for books of mystery, race cars and travelling keeps on growing so it's difficult for him to single out that one all-time favourite hobby. If there's one thing he hates, though, it's having pictures taken but you already guessed that from his choice of plant photo for the blog.