Meet your new hobby: model airplane kits

Easy to buy, hard to build, cleared for takeoff.

model airplane
Take to the skies.DepositPhotos

The notion of flying has captivated humankind for centuries. An excavation of burial grounds in Saqqara, Egypt in 1898 turned up a wooden artifact dated around 200 BCE that strikingly resembles, among other things, an early model airplane. Modern airplane models are a great way to exercise patience, hone your tactical building skills, and are a fun way to pass the time. It’s a great alternative to TV, and imparts history lessons, too. Here are a selection of the top model airplane kits:

Revell B17G Flying Fortress 1:48 Scale

RevellRevell B17G Flying Fortress 1:48 Scale B17G Flying Fortress 1:48 Scale

A larger model of Boeing's 1930s heavy bomber.Amazon

Boeing’s iconic B-17 Flying Fortress was designed to inflict heavy damage upon the enemy and was capable of carrying more than 4,000 pounds of bombs. This model version is made from a whopping 148 parts and the 1:48 scale gives it a length of almost two feet and a wingspan of a foot and a half. It also features detailed gun turrets, landing gear and wheels, and bomb racks.

Guillow’s P51 Mustang Laser Cut Model Kit

Guillow’s P51 Mustang Laser Cut Model Kit

Fly it with your own control line or use it for display.Amazon

This American-made (both the model and the real thing) P-51 Mustang was likely the best single-seat piston engine fighter used during WWII. It’s easy to assemble and is made with laser-cut balsa parts, and comes with plastic wheels, a full set of decals, and vacuum-formed plastic parts.

Tamiya Mitsubishi A6M5/5A Zero

Tamiya Mitsubishi A6M5/5A Zero

Best for beginners.Amazon

This model only takes about four hours to complete, making it the perfect introduction to building and assembling model airplanes. Manufactured by Tamiya, a company that has been in the modeling business since 1948, the Mitsubishi A6MG/5A Zero was used by the Japan’s armed forces during World War II. This model version is of excellent quality and is hand-painted. It’s recommended for anyone above four years old.