36 of the Best Model Kits for Adults
Our site is reader-supported. When you buy via the affiliate links on this site, we will receive a commission at no cost to you. All opinions remain our own. Learn more

36 Amazing Model Kits for Adults

Last update: May 2022
Best Wooden Model Kit
  • Fully functional battery operated clock
  • Working pendulum
  • Built-in timer
Best Metal Model Kit
  • Designed from stainless steel for sturdy construction
  • Wind-up mechanism
  • Includes 36” of tracks and a stop/start lever for an interactive experience
Best Lego Model Kit
  • Comes with astronaut figurines and a NASA shuttle
  • Rotating solar panel joints
  • Challenging 864 piece model

Model-building doesn’t have an age limit, despite some people’s tendency towards categorizing it as a children’s activity. In reality, most model kits are geared towards ages 16+, as most are too complex for younger building enthusiasts.

So if you are an adult that wants to start model building, or are already an avid modeler in need of some new ideas, sit tight! We’ve researched all the best model kits for adults and compiled them by their respective categories. In this article, we will show you what we found and share what to look for when buying adult model building kits.

SUMMARY
Model Kit for AdultsSummaryPriceBuy
RoWood Owl Clock Wooden 3D PuzzleBest Wooden Model Kit$49
Time for Machine Steamliner Train Best Metal Model Kit$180
Ford 1965 Mustang V8 Engine Best Metal Engine Model Kit$195
ROKR Vitascope 3D PuzzleBest Mechanical Model Kit$39
Revell Germany 04909 Apollo Saturn V Rocket Best Rocket Model Kit$67
Wood Trick Safe with Combination 3D PuzzleBest 3D Puzzle Kit$59
Bandai Gundam Barbatos “Gundam IBO” Best Gundam Model Kit$49
Revell 1968 Chevy Chevelle SS 396Best Car Model Kit$46
Maisto Assembly Line 1957 Chevrolet CorvetteBest Classic Car Model Kit$21
Wood Trick Hot Rod Wooden Car Best Wooden Car Model Kit$44
Maisto Assembly Line Lamborghini Aventador RoadsterBest Sports Car Model Kit$42
LEGO Creator Expert Ford MustangBest LEGO Car Model Kit$150
Revell A-10 WarthogBest Airplane Model Kit$43
Tamiya Vought F4U-1D CorsairBest Fighter Plane Model Kit$38
Minicraft B-52D/F StratofortressBest Bomber Plane Model Kit$38
Tamiya Kawasaki Ninja H2RBest Motorcycle Model Kit$43
Wood Trick Motorcycle with Rubber Band 3D PuzzleBest Wooden Motorcycle Model Kit$39
Wood Trick Toy Train Set with Railway 3D PuzzleBest Wooden Train Model Kit$69
Revell Kenworth W900 ModelBest Semi Truck Model Kit$29
AMT USA-1 Chevy Silverado Monster Truck 1:25 ScaleBest Monster Truck Model Kit$34
CubicFun 25.6” The San Felipe Ship 3D PuzzleBest Ship Model Kit$34
CubicFun 26.6” Queen Anne’s Revenge Pirate Ship 3D PuzzleBest Pirate Ship Model Kit$34
Revell 1:426 USS Arizona BattleshipBest Aircraft Carrier Model Kit$32
CubicFun Moveable Notre Dame de Paris ChurchBest Architecture Model Kit$59
LEGO Ideas 21320 Dinosaur Fossils Building KitBest Dinosaur Model Kit$59
Bandai Super Saiyan Vegetto Best Dragon Ball Z Model Kit$49
Tamiya US Main Battle Tank M1A2 AbramsBest Tank Model Kit$31
Bandai Star Wars General Grievous ModelBest Figure Model Kit$59
Bandai Star Wars The Mandalorian (Beskar Armor - Silver Coating)Best Star Wars Model Kit$79
UGears Windstorm Dragon Wooden 3D PuzzleBest Dragon Model Kit$49
Moebius Battlestar Galactica MK VII Viper ModelBest Battlestar Galactica Model Kit$35
Bandai Millennium Falcon “Rise of Skywalker”Best Bandai Model Kit$64
LEGO Ideas International Space Station KitBest Lego Model Kit$69
Revell SR-71A BlackbirdBest Revell Model Kit$32
Tamiya US Tank M4A3E8Best Tamiya Model Kit$43
CubicFun Neuschwanstein Castle 3D PuzzleBest Castle Model Kit$21
Table of Contents show

The Best Adult Model Building Kits in 2022

RoWood Owl Clock Wooden 3D Puzzle

Best Wooden Model Kit
Check price at

The RoWood Owl Clock puzzle kit assembles into an attractive owl-shaped wooden mantle clock. While many clock puzzles use a hand-cranked power source to highlight the inner mechanisms, this model uses a quartz battery-operated power source. This means that the finished model can be used in your home like any other clock.

The model is equipped with a timer function that works for up to thirty minutes. In addition to the timer, the clock also features a working pendulum. However, it only works while the timer is enabled and does not constantly move with the clock.

One potential drawback of this clock kit is that the finished model does not have a way to hang it on the wall. Instead, it has a stand that helps it sit flat on a shelf or desk.

Standout Features

  • Fully functional battery operated clock
  • Working pendulum
  • Built-in timer

Time for Machine Steamliner Train

Best Metal Model Kit
Check price at

For a fun and challenging modeling project for adults, Time for Machine’s wind-up steamliner model kit is a satisfying choice as well as a great gift option.

The train uses wind-up technology to move along the tracks. The kit includes enough sheets of tracks to produce about 36” of them. The kit also utilizes a stop/start lever to make it feel even more authentic.

Due to its all-metal construction, it only needs a few tools to assemble it properly. The pieces are laser-cut from thin sheets of stainless steel, so you’ll need a metal file to remove any burs. Also useful is a pair of pliers to shape and fold some of the edges.

Standout Features

  • Designed from stainless steel for sturdy construction
  • Wind-up mechanism
  • Includes 36” of tracks and a stop/start lever for an interactive experience

Ford 1965 Mustang V8 Engine

Best Metal Engine Model Kit
Check price at

If you’re a car junky or just an engineering enthusiast, this 1/3 scale detailed model of the 1965 Ford Mustang V8 engine is a must-have. It features a transparent outer body so you can observe the way the inner parts move and rotate inside, just as they would on a real engine.

The original engine’s spark plugs are substituted with LED lights to recreate what the internal combustion process would have looked like. The model also plays a recording of the original engine sound as the parts move to give a more immersive effect and appeal to your inner child.

The parts for this model are made from plastic and do not require glue to assemble. Most of the pieces snap together, with some parts needing screws for proper assembly. It is a great project for beginner and intermediate adult builders.

Standout Features

  • Transparent outer case to see how the inside parts move together
  • LED light-up spark plugs
  • Recording of the real V8 engine sound plays when you turn on the model

ROKR Vitascope 3D Puzzle

Best Mechanical Model Kit
Check price at

You can easily add a twist to family movie night with ROKR’s 3D puzzle kit of a vintage vitascope. Once assembled, this model is a fully functional miniature movie projector and works like a real vitascope from back in the day.

The projector functions with a hand crank system to feed the (included) film roll through the projector and to power the led light, so you can enjoy watching the short black and white movie clips without having to wire in batteries, a power cord, or other power sources.

The pieces for this model kit are precision laser cut from sheets of wood, making them less likely to have major defects like plastic pieces from other models.

A word of caution: the included film reel translates to only a few seconds of the Charlie Chaplin film “Modern Times” and there is currently no way to buy or make additional films. This model is best used as a fun demonstration of how the technology works.

Standout Features

  • Fully functioning miniature movie projector
  • Battery-free hand crank mechanism
  • Made of sturdy and precise laser-cut wooden pieces

Revell Germany 04909 Apollo Saturn V Rocket

Best Rocket Model Kit
Check price at

This replica model of the 1969 Saturn V rocket is 1/144-scale of the original vessel. Made of quality plastic parts, most pieces need to be painted and glued together with modeling cement during assembly. The fine detailing comes in the form of decals, so you do not need to be overly skilled in painting models to put this kit together.

Once the model is assembled, it can be taken apart via tabs on the plastic outer pieces to show the three stages of the rocket during flight. It also includes three astronaut figures and a launchpad.

Standout Features

  • Disassembles into the three flight stages
  • Includes launch pad, figures, and decals

Wood Trick Safe with Combination 3D Puzzle

Best 3D Puzzle Kit
Check price at

For a great educational project on the lock mechanics of a safe, the Wood Trick Safe 3D puzzle kit lets you experience them firsthand. Cut from sheets of wood, the pieces of this kit make a sturdy and durable product once assembled.

The finished model works like a traditional combination lockbox and lets you choose from 9 recommended combinations or set your own. It even includes a crossbar to make the lock sturdier.

While you can use the assembled model to store anything you’d like, the design includes coin and bill slots to use it as a bank.

Standout Features

  • Functional lockbox with combination
  • Made from laser-cut wooden parts
  • Coin and bill slots to use as a bank

Bandai Gundam Barbatos “Gundam IBO”

Best Gundam Model Kit
Check price at

The Bandai Gundam Barbatos model kit brings the popular mech from Iron-Blooded Orphans anime to life as a master grade (MG) model. MG kits are 1/100 scale, which makes them about twice the size of the standard, cheaper model building kits.

As a master-grade kit, the outer body pieces are assembled onto a sturdy inner skeleton. This improves the durability of the model and allows for a greater range of articulation and movement than can be achieved by smaller models.

You get a full range of accessories with this model to maximize your display capabilities. The model kit comes with all three weapons used by the Barbados Gundam in the anime. It also includes a floating stand to give you full control over posing your finished model for display purposes.

Note: Bandai has released two different Gundam Barbatos models. The one linked to in this post is the newest version that was released in 2019. If you are looking for the older model, you will most likely need to go through resellers to purchase it.

Standout Features

  • Large 1/100 Master Grade model
  • Inner skeleton for better articulation
  • Full range of accessories

Revell 1968 Chevy Chevelle SS 396

Best Car Model Kit
Check price at

As one of the most popular cars of its time, it’s no wonder Revell’s 1960 Chevelle SS 396 model kit is equally popular with adult builders. At 1/25 the scale of the original car, this is a decently-sized model for showing off on your shelf or desk.

Being a Level 4 model kit (the next to last skill level), this is a fairly challenging model to put together. This is a project best suited for experienced model builders, as beginners may find it too difficult.

Standout Features

  • 1/25-scale replica
  • Level 4 model kit - quite difficult to assemble
  • 121 parts

Maisto Assembly Line 1957 Chevrolet Corvette

Best Classic Car Model Kit
Check price at

Looking for an easy evening project? This diecast model kit of a 1957 Chevrolet Corvette from Maisto usually comes together in under an hour, so even if you don’t have much time for or experience with model building, this kit is a great option.

You don’t need extra tools or supplies to build this model. The plastic body snaps together onto a metal chassis, with the only exception being some small parts like the side mirrors that must be screwed on with an included screwdriver. This means the whole thing can be assembled without any glues or cement.

The body pieces are pre-painted, so that means you also don’t need to pull out your artists’ palette or brushes for this project (unless you want to customize it, of course.)

While this model doesn’t have as many functional parts as some higher-tier kits, it is perfectly suitable for new adult modelers or even intermediate/advanced users who want something easy and relaxing.

Standout Features

  • Pieces snap together for easy assembly
  • Pre-painted plastic body and metal chassis
  • Functional wheels and doors after assembly

Wood Trick Hot Rod Wooden Car

Best Wooden Car Model Kit
Check price at

Based on the cars of the 1930s, this Wood Trick hot rod car model re-envisions the classic automobiles as a stylish and functional wooden wind-up toy. Using a rubber band motor and wooden wind-up key, this model can travel up to 32 feet per wind-up once fully assembled.

The pieces are laser-cut from sheets of high-quality plywood, so they create a durable and interesting-looking finished product that doesn’t need any gluing or painting to put it together.

Standout Features

  • Wind-up rubber band motor can move the car up to 32 feet
  • Sturdy plywood construction
  • No gluing or painting needed

Maisto Assembly Line Lamborghini Aventador Roadster

Best Sports Car Model Kit
Check price at

For the hobbyist with a fondness for higher-end automobiles, the Maisto Roadster model kit brings one of the most iconic luxury sports cars to your shelf at a 1/24 scale.

This model features plastic outer pieces on a diecast metal frame for greater durability than all-plastic alternatives. The body panels for this kit are already colored, so there is no need to paint them during assembly unless you want to customize the look of the model.

In addition to a sturdier frame, the Maisto Lamborghini features moving wheels, doors that open and close, and a functioning steering wheel.

Standout Features

  • Diecast metal frame
  • Pre-painted plastic body parts
  • Working doors, wheels, and steering

LEGO Creator Expert Ford Mustang

Best LEGO Car Model Kit
Check price at

The LEGO Creator Ford Mustang kit is one of the most versatile car model building kits on this list. With 1471 pieces, this model kit is a massive undertaking for most builders. If you want something that will keep you occupied for a while, this is definitely it.

The kit comes with additional pieces for a supercharger, rear ducktail spoiler, beefy exhaust pipes, front chin spoiler, and nitrous oxide tank that you can add or leave off to your liking. It is also compatible with most other standard LEGO bricks, so you can add even more customization potential by bringing in pieces outside of the kit.

Finally, the doors, trunk, and hood all open to give you a better view of the interior (or the inner car parts in the case of the hood), and add some nice movement to the model that you wouldn’t necessarily expect from a LEGO kit.

Standout Features

  • Add-on body pieces to customize the look of the car
  • Opening doors, trunk, and hood
  • Compatible with other standard LEGO bricks

Revell A-10 Warthog

Best Airplane Model Kit
Check price at

For military aircraft buffs, the Revell A10 Warthog is a treat of a model kit. Recreating the 1975 aircraft at 1/48 scale, the model has an impressive number of details and inclusions.

This kit is a standard paint and glue project best suited to intermediate users. The model cement and paints are sold separately, which is typical for this type of kit. However, it does include the decals so you can easily add the fine details and custom elements to the interior.

Speaking of inclusions, the kit adds a lot of extra elements and small details that would have been seen on the actual plane. Things like a boarding ladder, bombs, and landing gear add to the authenticity of the model.

Standout Features

  • High attention to detail with inclusions like boarding ladder, bombs, and napalm
  • Includes a pilot figure for the cockpit
  • Standard model type requiring painting and gluing for assembly

Tamiya Vought F4U-1D Corsair

Best Fighter Plane Model Kit
Check price at

Based on the Naval variation of the popular Corsair plane, the Tamiya Vought F4U-1D Corsair model kit gives you the choice to customize your model in a few different ways to get the exact variant you are looking for.

This kit includes two different windshield canopy options, as well as the ability to position the wings as folded or unfolded. The caveat to these features is that you have to choose one or the other. You cannot change them later.

This kit is built like other standard model kits in this category and needs to be painted and glued together during assembly.

Standout Features

  • Two choices of wing position
  • Pilot figure included
  • Two types of windshields available

Minicraft B-52D/F Stratofortress

Best Bomber Plane Model Kit
Check price at

As a skill level 2 model kit, the Minicraft B-52D/F Stratofortress is an excellent option for adults new to building these kits. Needing to be painted and glued together with model cement, it is a bit more involved than a snap-together model.

With changes made to the engine (and the added decals), this kit can be used to build one of two variants of the bomber plane that was popular in the Vietnam War–the D or F variants. This model also changes the tail and turret and added bomb racks (with bombs included)  to more closely resemble the later models of the plane.

Standout Features

  • Can be built as one of two variants
  • Includes bombs and other relevant accessories
  • Skill level 2

Tamiya Kawasaki Ninja H2R

Best Motorcycle Model Kit
Check price at

This Tamiya Kawasaki Ninja H2R motorcycle model recreates the popular bike at 1/12 scale. The model is made out of plastic parts that will need to be painted, with the exception of some metal-plated pieces to recreate the Ninja’s exhaust system. For the fine details, Tamiya included decals for the plastic parts and metal transfers for the metal-plated parts.

Due to the small size of some of these pieces, and because you have to glue most parts together, this model is ideal for users who have some previous model assembly experience.

Standout Features

  • 1/12 scale plastic model
  • Metal-plated exhaust pieces
  • Decals and metal transfers included

Wood Trick Motorcycle with Rubber Band 3D Puzzle

Best Wooden Motorcycle Model Kit
Check price at

If you are looking for a more interactive motorcycle model than the previous one, this kit from Wood Trick features a mechanical rubber band motor that allows the model to drive up to 16 feet at a time using a wind-up function.

The entire model is made from pieces laser-cut from a sheet of plywood, so the finished construction is both more durable and eco-friendly than plastic alternatives. The wooden parts also require no glue or tools to put them together, making this a great project for beginners.

Standout Features

  • Wind-up rubber band motor moves the model 16 feet per winding
  • Assembled from laser-cut wooden parts
  • No tools or adhesives needed for assembly

Wood Trick Toy Train Set with Railway 3D Puzzle

Best Wooden Train Model Kit
Check price at

Yet another fantastic wood model kit for adults by Wood Trick, this one transforms into a highly-detailed two-car train and track set. This train features a rubber band motor that moves the train parts when wound up.

The kit also includes 18” of straight wooden tracks for the train to rest on, laser-cut from the same quality birchwood as the train body.

Standout Features

  • Mechanical wind-up rubber band motor
  • 18” wooden track included
  • Made from high-quality birch wood

Revell Kenworth W900 Model

Best Semi Truck Model Kit
Check price at

If you’re an experienced model builder looking for a satisfying challenge, this Revell Kenworth W900 model is the kit for you. Rated a level 5, it’s one of the most difficult truck model building kits you can buy. This is due in part to how many parts and details from the original truck are incorporated into the model.

That attention to detail shines most inside the tilting hood, where you can view the engine and other front-end innards of the truck. The model is finished off with lightning decals to add extra complexity to the look of the model.

Standout Features

  • Highly detailed graphics and decals
  • Tilting hood to show engine parts
  • Level 5 model kit for experienced users

AMT USA-1 Chevy Silverado Monster Truck 1:25 Scale

Best Monster Truck Model Kit
Check price at

AMT’s USA-1 monster truck model pays homage to the famous truck of the same name that competed in major monster truck races in the 1980s and 90s. The interior does differ from the original truck since they seemed to have used a base Silverado cab instead of customizing it, but the model otherwise stays pretty faithful in its representation.

As a level 2 build kit, it has a lot of small details and parts that need to be painted and glued, but nothing so complex that a beginner can’t figure it out.

The kit comes with two sets of decals, so you can choose which design you’d like on your model. It also recreates some of the iconic parts of the truck, like the supercharged engine and the spring 16-shock suspension.

Standout Features

  • Supercharged engine and spring suspension
  • Two sets of decals included
  • Level 2 build kit

CubicFun 25.6” The San Felipe Ship 3D Puzzle

Best Ship Model Kit
Check price at

History enthusiasts will love this 3D puzzle kit of the well-known 17th-century ship the San Felipe from CubicFun. Made from paper and thin foam, this model is obviously less sturdy than the plastic, wooden, and metal models we’ve looked at so far in this article. Like with other paper and foam ship model building kits, you will need a steady hand.

Since the pieces’ graphics are printed directly onto the outer paper, this kit enjoys a high level of detail in terms of color and perceived texture. These details are all carefully recreated from the actual ship for historical accuracy.

The instructions don’t call for any additional tools and supplies to put the model together. However, using glue on certain pieces helps with the structural integrity of the model. Superglue, PVA, or rubber cement are all excellent choices for this.

Standout Features

  • Parts made from EPS foam board
  • High attention to detail
  • No tools required for assembly (but glue helps)

CubicFun 26.6” Queen Anne’s Revenge Pirate Ship 3D Puzzle

Best Pirate Ship Model Kit
Check price at

Another 3D puzzle option from CubicFun, this kit depicts the ship of the notorious Blackbeard, Queen Anne’s Revenge, at 1/95 scale. Like CubicFun’s other products, the pieces in this kit are made from a combination of paper and EPS. This means the finished puzzle will be more delicate than most models but will have a greater range of surface detail.

Measuring at approximately 26.6” and made from 328 pieces, this is a time-consuming and challenging project best suited for intermediate modelers.

Standout Features

  • Large 328-piece kit
  • Pieces made from paper and EPS
  • Challenging 10+ hour build

Revell 1:426 USS Arizona Battleship

Best Aircraft Carrier Model Kit
Check price at

Like the other Revell options we’ve looked at, this 1/426 scale of the USS Arizona is a level two modeling kit, meaning that it needs to be painted and glued during assembly. This one has a high level of detail already added to it, including engraved texture in the planks and included waterslide decals.

While you can certainly get good results by building and painting this as-is, purchasing the photo-etch kit for this model will really elevate your finished product to a whole new level.

Standout Features

  • Level 2 model kit
  • High level of detail
  • Waterslide decals included

CubicFun Moveable Notre Dame de Paris Church

Best Architecture Model Kit
Check price at

This massive 293 piece 3D puzzle kit lets you create a highly-detailed and accurate 3D model of the famous Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral in France. Each piece is made from a sturdy but flexible foam board material.

The foam pieces have the details and textures of the original cathedral printed on them. The designs are meticulously accurate to the original architecture.

The fully assembled model is just as impressive on the inside as it is on the outside. The structure can be split in half to show the inner details of the cathedral.

Standout Features

  • Faithful recreation of the original building with high attention to detail
  • Split design lets the model open up to showcase the building’s interior
  • Green EPS foam board construction

LEGO Ideas 21320 Dinosaur Fossils Building Kit

Best Dinosaur Model Kit
Check price at

The LEGO Ideas Dinosaur Fossil Kit is a 910 piece collection that lets you recreate the skeletal structures of a Tyrannosaurus rex, Pteranodon, and Triceratops fossil at a 1/32 scale.

While each model is exciting to build on its own, they are all made to be compatible with other standard LEGO bricks, so you can build your own museum or archeological dig scene with the fossils, figurines, and other props included in the kit.

Standout Features

  • 910 piece kit lets you assemble three different dinosaur fossils
  • Includes additional pieces and figures to stage a museum exhibit scene
  • Compatible with other LEGO bricks

Bandai Super Saiyan Vegetto

Best Dragon Ball Z Model Kit
Check price at

Recreate one of the pinnacle battles/arcs of the Buu Saga with Bandai’s Figure-rise Standard Super Saiyan Vegetto model kit. While the Figure-rise Standards allow for articulated motion in general, the technique is refined in this kit for a wider capability of movement.

The plastic pieces for this model are pre-colored, so there is no need to paint the figure during assembly. Furthermore, the default colors were carefully picked to recreate the original palette from the anime as faithfully as possible.

The kit also includes a prop spirit sword and a Buu figurine. The Buu figure has a space where he can be impaled on the spirit sword, further recreating moments from the iconic fight scene

Standout Features

  • Figure-rise Standard kit with more versatile articulation
  • Pre-painted plastic pieces with true-to-character color grading
  • Includes a spirit sword accessory and Buu figure

Tamiya US Main Battle Tank M1A2 Abrams

Best Tank Model Kit
Check price at

The Tamiya M1A2 model kit is a miniature 1/48 scale recreation of the tank used in the Iraq War. Tamiya’s military models pay close attention to detail to make them as accurate in representation as possible, and the M1A2 is no different.

The kit includes two options for decals to customize the model based on the two regiments associated with the tank: 2nd Platoon, F Company, or the 4th Platoon, F Company from the Iraq War in 2003.

Tamiya adds other small details to the model to make it more authentic. The kit includes a weight to make it feel heavier and more tank-like, as well as a soldier figurine manning the gun in the cupola.

Standout Features

  • Includes two options for decals
  • Added weight to make the model feel heavier
  • Includes a soldier figurine on top of the tank

Bandai Star Wars General Grievous Model

Best Figure Model Kit
Check price at

While Bandai has multiple General Grievous model kits, this one in particular is an excellent choice for adults looking for a more challenging Star Wars model building kit. The figure has a high level of detail, including visible organs and an extra set of arms.

The extra details translate to a lot of small parts and pieces that require a steady hand, so it may be too difficult for a beginner. The pieces are also rather brittle and easy to damage when removing them from the parts sheets, so it is a good idea to be extra careful during assembly.

You get four lightsaber accessories to go with his four arms, and a character stand to keep him upright while posing.

The plastic pieces are already pre-colored, so there is no painting required for this particular model kit.

Standout Features

  • High level of detail, including extra arms
  • Four lightsaber accessories included
  • Lots of small pieces

Bandai Star Wars The Mandalorian (Beskar Armor - Silver Coating)

Best Star Wars Model Kit
Check price at

This plastic figure kit of the Mandalorian features a shiny silver coating and a plethora of accessories.

You can swap out the hands to better suit which of the included weapons (if any) he’s holding. The jetpack and spear can easily be attached or removed from his back, depending on what kind of pose you want this Star Wars character to be in.

The sheer amount of customization alone is enough to make this model a win, but when you also factor in that it is a relatively easy build with snap-together joints and pre-colored plastic, it’s easy to see why this is one of Bandai’s best Star Wars models.

Standout Features

  • Detachable jetpack
  • Three different weapon accessories
  • Removable hands

UGears Windstorm Dragon Wooden 3D Puzzle

Best Dragon Model Kit
Check price at

Of all the wooden 3D puzzle kits we’ve considered in this article, this one is the most stunning. It features an articulated dragon suspended midair thanks to the wooden base. The dragon’s body is powered by a wind-up rubber band motor that makes the entire figure look like it’s flying when wound up.

The model and base are laser-cut from sheets of wood to ensure sturdy construction. However, the wings are made from delicate paper cutouts to give the dragon a more magical appearance while in flight.

Like the other wooden puzzles for adults, the UGears dragon kit does not require any additional tools or glues to assemble, making it a good choice for someone between the beginner and intermediate modeling stages.

Standout Features

  • Mechanical body powered by a wind-up rubber band motor
  • Wooden construction for body and frame
  • Paper cutout wings

Moebius Battlestar Galactica MK VII Viper Model

Best Battlestar Galactica Model Kit
Check price at

If you’re a Battlestar Galactica fan looking for a fun project inspired by the show, this kit for two MK VII Viper models is a nice build regardless of your skill level.

The models are 1/72 scale (about 5.5” long), so they are a bit smaller than a typical model kit in this category. However, even with their smaller size, they have high attention to detail that makes them an attractive decor piece once assembled.

If you want even better details on your finished models, you can also buy a photo-etch kit separately for this project for an even more realistic recreation of the original ship.

Standout Features

  • Includes parts to build two separate models
  • Models are small
  • Photo etch kit available

Bandai Millennium Falcon “Rise of Skywalker”

Best Bandai Model Kit
Check price at

While it’s more or less a given that a Bandai model is going to be high-quality, this Millennium Falcon “Rise of Skywalker” kit has an impressive amount of detail for the scale (1/144, so about 9.5” inches long). The plastic pieces snap together for easy assembly, though you can use glue if you are worried about durability.

The kit includes a sheet of decals for adding damage spots and weatherization to the outside of the ship, but the quality of them for that purpose is questionable. Most users find that distressing and weatherizing it themselves has a much nicer look, but that is an optional extra step for more experienced model builders.

Standout Features

  • Highly detailed for its scale
  • Easy snap-together construction
  • Includes decals for fine details

LEGO Ideas International Space Station Kit

Best Lego Model Kit
Check price at

Experienced LEGO builders can rejoice over this articulated LEGO model of the International Space Station. With 864 pieces included, it is a lengthy and challenging build.

This model has some articulation with rotating solar panels and a poseable Canadarm2, making it not only an interesting build but also an eye-catching display.

The kit comes with multiple astronaut figures, a NASA space shuttle, and other themed accessories. However, since most of the pieces are compatible with traditional LEGO bricks, your possibilities for adding to the model are endless.

Standout Features

  • Comes with astronaut figurines and a NASA shuttle
  • Rotating solar panel joints
  • Challenging 864 piece model

Revell SR-71A Blackbird

Best Revell Model Kit
Check price at

The SR-71A Blackbird model is one of Revell’s easier kits for anyone who has advanced past snap-together models but doesn’t have much experience with paint and glue models. At 66 pieces, there is enough there to enjoy the build without it being overly complicated. It is perfectly suited for both adults and kids.

While the pieces need to be glued together like most of Revell’s models, this particular kit requires very little painting. Since the plastic is colored black, you can simply leave most of them bare and just paint the smaller details like the wheels.

The kit includes waterslide decals for the finer details like the USAF badges, and the included pilots already have painted details, so there isn’t much detail work to do unless you want to customize the look yourself.

Standout Features

  • Easy 66-piece model kit
  • Minimal painting needed
  • Waterslide decals included

Tamiya US Tank M4A3E8

Best Tamiya Model Kit
Check price at

The Tamiya US Tank M4A3E8 Sherman is a 1/32 scale recreation of the “Easy Eight” tank used in WWII. Like most Tamiya models, it requires painting and gluing to put it together. This particular model is not terribly difficult to assemble, but it does have a lot of small pieces that can be frustrating to a novice.

As usual, they included decals for the outer detailing, as well as a soldier figurine to sit in the cupola.

Standout Features

  • Medium difficulty kit
  • Lots of small parts
  • Decals and solder figurine included

CubicFun Neuschwanstein Castle 3D Puzzle

Best Castle Model Kit
Check price at

As we’ve established with previous CubicFun puzzles, they are made from a flexible foam board with an outer paper layer. This Neuschwanstein Castle 3D Puzzle is similarly constructed and uses interlocking tabs to stay together. You can build this model with no outside tools or supplies, but you may find that adding glue to high-stress pieces gives you extra peace of mind.

At 121 pieces, this isn’t one of their harder models, but it still has enough substance to be interesting. This would be a good model for a beginner or to do with a child.

Standout Features

  • Interlocking foam and paper pieces
  • Photorealistic detailing
  • Easy 121 piece puzzle (estimated 3+ hours assembly time)

What to look for when buying model kits for adults

It can be difficult to know what elements to watch out for when getting started with building adult model kits, so let’s take a look at some of the most important factors in the buying process.

Choose the right brand

When buying an adult model kit, it’s helpful to choose a good, reputable brand. This is especially true when you are first starting, since you’ll want a kit that is simple enough to put together but still looks great when completed.

Some of the best brands for adult model kits include Airfix, Revell, and Tamiya. These companies have a long history of producing high-quality kits that are both easy to use and look great when finished.

Here is a more complete list of brands that offer quality detailed model building kits:

  • Revell
  • Tamiya
  • Airfix
  • Lego
  • Bandai
  • AMT
  • Maisto

Other brands dominate in specific categories, like Wood Trick being one of the top wooden model makers, so be sure to familiarize yourself with the common names in your particular niche.

Go for quality

You want to choose a model that is of decent quality. If a model kit is poorly made, you might have problems with warped, missing, or otherwise problematic pieces. This can make the building process much more difficult (if not impossible) to progress from, so it is just easier to ensure you’re buying a brand with good quality control.

The brands mentioned above will all be relatively safe bets in terms of the quality of the model you receive.

Required tools

Many of the advanced model kits do not come with the necessary tools and supplies, like cutters and tweezers, so make sure you carefully read what is needed for assembly before buying it.

Some tools aren’t required but are extremely helpful. Things like snippers, Exacto knives, and tweezers to remove plastic pieces from the parts sheet are usually pretty universally helpful. A file to clean up the edges of a metal or wooden model piece isn’t strictly necessary, but they make the finished product look more polished.

Take the project into consideration and read the manufacturer’s descriptions to let you know what you need, if it’s included, and if additional resources or tools are helpful.

Skill level

Not all brands use a skill level system. The ones that do typically use different terminology than other brands. Revell, for example, uses a scale of 1-5 to classify the difficulty of their model kits. A Level 1 is a snap-together model, while a Level 2 requires painting and gluing, but doesn’t have many parts. Subsequent levels typically have more (and smaller) parts as the skill level goes up.

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes a model kit a ‘model kit for adults’?

That depends, but it usually comes down to the number of pieces, the size of those pieces, and how they connect to one another. An adult model kit usually has a lot of small pieces that must be glued together and painted, whereas more kid-friendly kits will use snap-together pieces with less than 100 pieces overall.

However, if you are new to building models, snap-together options are a great starting point, so look for ones that have some added complexity to keep it interesting (like the mechanical motors in wooden most wooden 3D puzzles.)

Why build models as an adult?

Well, first and foremost: because it’s fun! Models are a great way to stimulate your mind and stave off boredom. They are also a great stress reliever for people who enjoy using their hands.

It can also keep your hand-eye coordination sharp, develop your fine-detail painting skills, and challenge you to problem-solve or think in new ways.

Is model building a good hobby?

As it can be educational and rewarding, we definitely think so. However, the answer to this question isn’t as straightforward as you might think.  It will depend on a number of factors such as your age and your experience level.

What is the best model kit for beginners?

If you’re new to model building, we recommend starting with a basic model kit like the Revell 1968 Chevy Chevelle SS 396. These kits typically come with everything you need to put the model together, including the instructions. They also tend to be smaller in size, making them easier to build. Avoid starting with complicated models like large ships.

What types of model kits are there?

There are model kits for just about anything these days, from model cars and model planes to model ships and dinosaurs. We recommend choosing a model kit that you’re interested in so that you enjoy the process of putting it together.

What supplies do you need to build a model?

In addition to the model kit, you’ll need some basic supplies like glue, paint, and a model brush. You may also want to get a few tools like needle-nose pliers and wire cutters.

Conclusion

That’s our list of the best model kits for adults! While the Revell Saturn V rocket model kit was the clear winner with its ability to break down into two other rockets. The LEGO Creator Ford Mustang and CubicFun’s Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral were equally impressive.

What do you think of the model kits we chose? Have you put any of them together before? Which one are you most excited to try out? Let us know in the comments below!

  • Emily is a content writer who focuses on DIY, 3D printing, graphic design, and technology. She grew up learning about design, drafting, and machining from spending her afternoons at her father’s tool and die shop.

Scroll to Top