Model building is the hobby of creating models out of materials provided in a kit or your own resources.
The material you see often is most likely plastic, but metal models are popular as well.
Unlike plastic models, metal ones are more flexible while also being more fragile.
The metal pieces are easy to shape into curves, but too much manipulation can damage the material.
Because of building metal model kits’ delicate nature, it is essential to approach it slowly as a beginner.
Even if it’s just the material that’s new to you, it’s still an entirely different experience. It is better to be too careful than overconfident with the fragile metal plates.
9 Best Metal Model Kits
With so many metal model kit options, it can be a little overwhelming to decide on the best one for you.
However, some stand out from the rest in terms of quality, engagement, and assembly.
Here are just a few of the best metal model kits of varying difficulty.
1. Metal Earth 3D Model Kits Star Wars Set of 3
For Star Wars geeks 14 years and up, this metal model kit set is a moderately difficult build. Tweezers will suffice, but a pair of needle-nose pliers may come in handy.
With the Millenium Falcon, R2-D2, and an X-Wing Starfighter, the complete set will look fantastic on any shelf, especially if part of a collection.
- Ideal for hobbyist model builders.
- Provides a great challenge.
- Minimal tools needed.
- Lack post-assembly durability.
2. Delorean 3D Metal Model Kit
This metal model kit doesn’t just look cool when built; it’s also quite the challenge. With outer and inner details, the small pieces make for a fulfilling tinkering experience.
Beginners may find it to be more trouble than it’s worth, however.
Experienced model builders 14 years old and up will have hours of fun putting together this iconic miniature replica.
- Looks awesome when finished.
- Detail-oriented assembly.
- Faultlessly difficult.
- Not for model building beginners.
3. Black Pearl Ship Black Version 3D Metal Model Kit
This Black Pearl model kit is a moderate challenge for anyone 14 and up. With no glue or solder needed, it comes together in a few hours.
A steady hand that can deal with intricate detail is a massive help with the small parts and sometimes confusing layout.
It’s not unheard of to have to skip a piece or two, but there’s rarely a noticeable effect on the finished model.
- Dark-colored metal is unique and eye-catching.
- Beautiful finished product.
- A decent challenge for newer builders.
- Design can be problematic during assembly.
4. Gundam Barbatos 3D Metal Model Kit
Most lists of model kits wouldn’t be complete without a Gundam.
This Barbatos metal model is of high quality and poses a delightful challenge for relatively experienced builders.
Gundam fans will especially appreciate the immense detail and refreshingly different assembly experience than typical plastic models.
- Instructions are clear and easy to follow.
- The built model is intricate and pleasing to the eye.
- For people ages 15 and up.
- Additional tools are almost a necessity.
5. Apollo CSM Space Set
Out of the two models included in this set, one is somewhat more straightforward than the other.
However, both are still quite challenging and will keep you busy for some time.
The Apollo CSM is moderately difficult, and the Saturn V is only less so.
Anyone 14 and up can enjoy this kit as long as they have a little experience building models with metal in particular.
- Particularly challenging.
- Interesting conversation starter.
- Excellent for precise, patient builders.
- Instructions may be confusing.
6. Harley Motorcycle 3D Metal Model
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As one of the more comfortable-to-build models on this list, this Harley motorcycle is an excellent introduction to metal model building.
While on the smaller side, the parts are still high quality and super durable.
- Less challenging for interested builders 12 and up.
- Entertaining to put together.
- Easy to understand instructions.
- It might not be difficult enough for hobbyists.
7. USS Theodore Roosevelt CVN-71 3D Metal Model Kit
This expert-level metal model kit is not for a new model builder.
Without additional tools and an extreme amount of patience, building the USS Roosevelt will become a headache in no time.
This model’s instructions leave room for interpretation, and following your instincts can make a huge difference.
Great attention to detail and a steady hand are also beneficial for completing this ship.
- Super challenging for the hobbyist.
- Intricately detailed.
- Ideal for expert builders 14 and older.
- Extra tools needed.
8. P-51D Mustang Sweet Arlene 3D Metal Model Kit
Patience truly pays off with this model kit.
With extra help from a magnifier and a variety of tweezer styles, this complicated build pays off in the end and will leave you with a great sense of accomplishment.
- Painted details are a nice touch.
- Delivers a fun yet challenging experience.
- Perfect for experienced builders looking for something more.
- A helping hand tool may damage the fragile metal finish.
9. Sherman Tank Metal Model Kit
Even with its small size, this Sherman tank model is accurate and looks incredible when put together.
Most of this kit is a breeze to assemble, even for beginners.
However, the last few steps can be tricky, especially with the unclear instructions. Keep that in mind if this would be your first time building a model.
- Only tweezers needed for building.
- Fun and decently challenging to build.
- Lots of fine details.
- Instructions are poor.
Metal Model Car Kits
For car enthusiasts, a metal model kit can be not only a fun activity, but it can also be a fantastic decoration or collection addition when completed.
Model cars are always popular and entertaining to build, and the metal type is no different.
You don’t have to be a car expert to appreciate them, however. These are some excellent metal model car kits to keep your hands and your mind busy.
1. Willys Overland Metal Keep Model Kit
For beginners with a bit of experience, this car model kit is ideal for moving to the next difficulty level.
You may need some extra tools to deal with the finer details, but the experience and final product are worth it.
- Fun to assemble.
- On the more straightforward side of challenging models.
- Cool details on the finished model.
- Requires additional small, delicate tools.
2. 1965 Ford Mustang Metal Model Car Kit
This metal Mustang kit is fun to assemble and results in an exciting, eye-catching model.
For this model, a magnifier can be an essential asset to see the various small pieces best.
You’ll want to have some experience with model building before trying this model, for it can be somewhat tedious to make necessary adjustments.
- Quick yet challenging build.
- Excellent quality.
- Detailed, accurate design.
- Potential issues with parts fitting.
3. Silver Bullet – Moving Wind-Up Retro Car Model
With just tweezers and pliers, this retro car comes together after some hard work. Those 14 and older will love this challenge.
The vintage wind-up design is a huge draw of this model. However, the wind-up parts may not work, so keep that in mind if looking for something that moves.
- High-quality metal material.
- Attractive final build.
- A significant challenge and only 90 pieces.
- The moving parts don’t seem to work well.
4. Monster Truck 3D Metal Model Kit
Clear instructions and a moderate difficulty allow this metal model car kit to be a fun yet challenging project for anyone 14 years and older.
All you genuinely need is a good pair of tweezers and lots of patience.
The details etched into the truck are super realistic. Kids and adults alike can appreciate the quality and complexity of this metal model.
- Fantastic details in design and assembly.
- Keeps the mind and hands busy for hours.
- The assembled model is shiny and attractive.
- Requires a lot of patience.
Metal Model Plane Kits
Plane kits made from metal are another ideal model building project for enthusiasts. There are many metal model kits of various classic aircraft.
As an excellent conversation piece, many are high-quality, recognizable metal plane models that could be a perfect gift.
Here are some top picks for metal model plane kits:
1. B-24 Liberator Model Plane Kit
For moderately experienced model builders 14 years and up, this well-made plane kit is an excellent pick.
While it can have some tricky components, some extra tools make working with it much more comfortable.
- The painted design looks great when finished.
- It comes with a removable stand.
- Historically accurate design.
- Requires a magnification tool for best precision.
2. Avro Lancaster Bomber, Mitsubishi Zero, F4U Corsair, P-51 Mustang (Set of 4 Planes)
This metal model plane kit set is one of the better choices for new builders. It is a straightforward build, and you get four chances to get used to the model building process.
You can even make it a group or family activity that is not only fun but engaging for everyone 14 and older.
Even more ideal is that they assemble without glue or special attachments.
- Easy and entertaining to assemble.
- It comes with four planes to build.
- Perfect for beginners with its easy skill level.
- Much smaller than they appear.
3. F-22 Raptor – F-35 Lightning II – F-15 Eagle (Set of 3 Fighter Planes)
Even if they are relatively small, these metal fighter plane models are an excellent challenge for interested builders 14 and older.
They look great on the shelf and are an interesting conversation starter.
- Maintains luster for a long time.
- Challenging yet fun activity.
- They only need tweezers for assembly.
- They can be smaller than expected.
4. A-10 Thunderbolt II Model Aircraft
This realistic rendition of the A-10 Thunderbolt is a satisfyingly challenging metal model kit.
With tweezers, long-nosed pliers, and a steady hand, experienced model builders will enjoy tinkering with this plane.
- Accurate, cool-looking design.
- Provides a significant challenge.
- Ideal for anyone 14 and up.
- Directions may be inadequate, especially for beginners.
Metal Model Kits for Kids
As STEM prevalence continues to rise, keeping kids engaged in learning and encouraging creativity is more important than ever. (Learn more about STEM kits here.)
Enriching activities such as building metal models can help them focus and even improve attention to detail and problem-solving skills.
These are some awesome metal model kits for the creative, hands-on kids in your life:
1. 3D Metal Dinosaur Kit
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This 3D dinosaur metal model kit is ideal for younger kids who need more of a challenge.
Having to keep track of many parts encourages organization skills and attention to detail.
It takes approximately five hours to build, and the sense of accomplishment can go a long way.
- Presents a moderate challenge.
- Screw assembly with no glue needed.
- Excellent for kids ages 8 and up.
- Metal Earth Kit toolkit required.
2. Lunar Lander Metal Kit
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With this fun and educational metal model kit, kids can explore their imaginations in a relaxed, engaging way.
The smooth edges and interactive assembly boost patience and hand-eye coordination without the fear of cut fingers.
When the assembly is complete, this model continues to bring a unique atmosphere to a collection or by itself.
- Interactive and educational.
- Clear, concise instructions provided.
- For anyone 8 years old and up.
- Quality of shipping.
3. 4×4 Metal Car Construction DIY Engineering Kit
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Not only does this metal model kit give you a reason to spend time with your kid, but it also takes up to 15 hours to assemble.
All you need for this project is a screwdriver and ample patience.
Kids age 8 and up can tap into their maximum potential and creativity to build and rebuild this kit as many times as they want in just as many ways.
- It comes with 536 pieces.
- Durable and well constructed.
- A challenge that fully engages the mind.
- The directions could be better.
4. Iron Commander Model for Kids
If you can get past the barely decipherable directions, this colorful metallic model kit is perfect for anyone 8 years old and up.
While building it, kids can improve their STEM skills and see if they have a unique talent or interest.
Two or three hours may be all your kid needs to make something interesting out of this model.
- Excellent details on the finished model.
- Moderately challenging and fun.
- 251 easy-to-connect pieces.
- Confusing instructions.
Things to Consider When Buying Metal Model Kits
When buying a metal model kit, there are some critical factors to keep in mind.
Building these kits can be engaging and fun but only if you have the right tools, mindset, and skill level for the model.
Many metal model kits require a certain amount of skill to make them successfully. There are several levels of difficulty that you will find.
It is essential to match your skill level, especially as a beginner.
- Easy metal model kits are straightforward and have a limited number of pieces. They don’t require glue or any soldering during assembly.
- Moderate level kits have more parts, a slight rise in difficulty, and may require additional tools.
- Challenging and expert skill levels are just as they sound. Even more tools and pieces are involved, and some higher-level projects can take weeks.
Some designs are supposed to be incredibly difficult, and most beginners will find them frustrating and confusing.
However, there is a clear distinction between levels if you pay close enough attention.
Even if you have previous model building experience, metal models have unique properties and can be delicate, so starting with a more manageable model may be best.
As with any model kit, a few essential tools can make the process much less stressful.
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The metal used for these kits is relatively soft, and too much maneuvering can cause parts to break.
Tweezers are going to be the most used tool, and sturdy, high-quality ones are ideal. Long, fine-tipped pliers also help immensely.
These two tools are the bare minimum you’ll need.
Other tools, such as a magnetic strip or a hobby knife, are useful. The magnet lets you keep track of small pieces, and a knife comes in handy with smaller, more detailed areas.
The tools you will ultimately need for metal model building depend on the model.
Some kits come with tweezers, but having your own is always a good idea, especially if you see yourself getting more models in the future.
Don’t miss our complete list of model building tools to find the bare essentials, optional gear, and fun toolbox additions all in one place.
Finding a metal model kit that suits your skills doesn’t have to be as overwhelming as it sounds.
There may be many options, but by narrowing it down to what you can accomplish in terms of skill, you can rule out a great deal.
With patience, attention to detail, focus, and determination, even starting a model building hobby can end up being a worthwhile addition to your life.
Not only will it do that, but keeping your mind engaged and active with such activities is essential to your health and well-being.
Whether looking for the best tools to add to your own model building arsenal or hunting for the model fanatic in your life, this resource is for you. It's constantly updated with recommendations from beginner to advanced.
Last update on 2023-05-31 at 16:59 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API