Model Airplanes for Beginners

A model airplane

Ok, so I’m going to write this one for the beginner who might be looking to get into the hobby.  Maybe it’s a gift for a friend you think might enjoy it. 

As I type this I’m planning on sending one to my dad.  He was always into the Lionel Trains!  My brother was an Air Force pilot who flew F-16s so you’d think this is right up his alley too.

There’s something almost therapeutic about working with tiny pieces of a model airplane kit, figuring out which piece goes where, using the right tools, and fixing the pieces together to make a glorious airplane model that can sit on your shelf like a trophy.

Anyone who has ever built a model airplane knows that the activity is highly soothing and de-stressing. After a long and tiring day, it feels freeing to follow instructions on the manual, get your mind and hands in sync, and create something beautiful.

This is exactly why model airplanes are loved not only by children but also by adults.

From a child’s bedroom to big wig conference rooms, these elaborate models are found everywhere. Moreover, building models together can also turn out to be a quality bonding time for people.

So whether you are considering a new hobby or looking for fun ways to spend some quality time with friends or family, a model airplane will get the job done.

Getting Started

Before you can start building model airplanes, it is best to familiarize yourself with the tools and equipment that you’ll be using. The assembling process is generally easy once you get the hang of it but you’ll almost always need the right tools to complete a model.

Here’s a list of some basic tools and equipment that you will require to assemble model airplanes for beginners.

  • Decal Tweezers
  • X-acto Knife
  • Sprue cutter
  • Needle files
  • Paint set and primer
  • Airbrush for painting
  • Glue
  • Model cement
  • Clothespins
  • Assorted sandpaper

You may not need all of these items to build a simple model but it is best to have them. If you are serious about taking up this hobby, you’ll eventually need all of them.

Tools: For now stick with a basic kit like this one

Glue: This is the best stuff, Tamiya Extra Thin Cement. For some reason, this always takes forever to get to me from Amazon.  Forever meaning like… 4 days. 🙂  You might see it at the local hobby shop, or they have it other places online, it’s just… shipping costs for the little bottle… eh.

Paint:  I mean if you’re a beginner and you want to hold off on the airbrush, I got ya.  It can wait.  So then pick up a spray can of primer, some paints (I’m a Vallejo paints guy, they have amazing acrylic paints), a few cheap brushes and off you go.  When you’re ready for nicer brushes or maybe you want to start with high-quality ones, these are my favorite brushes for models and miniatures.

Importance of Picking the Right Model

OK!!!  So now to find a good beginner-friendly model…

I have been building models for a while and I can tell from experience that it never gets boring. For someone just starting out with airplane models, it is essential to start with the right one.

Start with a model that is too simple and you’ll probably never get hooked to building model airplanes. On the other hand, if you start with something too complex, you’ll probably end up feeling frustrated instead of enjoying the building process.

Therefore, choosing the right model airplane is of utmost importance, especially for beginners.

Unfortunately, there are so many options out there that it can easily get overwhelming when it comes to purchasing the right model airplane. But the good news is that I have compiled a list of model airplanes that are just perfect for beginners. Go through it to choose your first model airplane!

My Favorite Model Airplanes for the Beginner

1. Revell Stuka Ju 87G-1 Tank Buster Plastic Model Kit

Revell Stuka Ju 87G-1 Tank Buster Plastic Model...

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For a beginner, this is number 1.  This is an older model, but it’s great to start out. WWII era Stuka that looks great once it’s done, I feel like this is my go-to referral for people starting out.

It has that character you look for in a model. It’s got enough parts to be a challenge. It’s detailed, and the instructions have been refreshed so you can follow them. It’s the right price to get you going! Revel even has a painting guide for it here.

2. Tamiya P-51 Mustang

TAMIYA P-51D Mustang Hobby Model Kit (TM60322),...

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Ok so this one, let me say it’s expensive.  But it’s a P-51 Mustang!  It looks SO good I had to put it number 2.  The amount of detail in the Tamiya P-51 Mustang will surprise you but keep in mind that such an impressive level of detailing does not come without tiny parts that may be smaller than 1/4th of an inch.

So, before you go out and purchase this, make sure you are ready to put in some hard work and have plenty of space in your schedule. Personally, it is one of my favorite 1/32 scale airplane models. The wingspan is 14 inches and building it is as much fun as it is an educational experience.

Perhaps, the best part about this model airplane kit is that despite having tons of details, it is not too hard put together. We can thank the detailed booklet, decal sheet, instructions, and the larger detail sheet for that!

Furthermore, the assembly instructions are provided in English, Japanese, German, and French so you should not have any problem understanding and following them.

It can be set in multiple ways so you can enjoy a bit of creative liberty there but keep in mind that it is essential to follow the instructions to the letter or you can end up in trouble.

The Tamiya P-51 Mustang is a bit on the expensive side, especially once you factor in the cost of paint and tools required. You can also invest in an aftermarket kit or additional decal sheets to take your model airplane to the next level.

Remember, while this model is suitable for beginners, it is still advisable to build a few airplane models before moving on to it. Otherwise, there’s a high chance that you’ll find it too complex and end up giving up on the project altogether.

To make sure this doesn’t happen to you, start with a few 1/48 scale kits and work your way up to this regal beauty.

3. Revell Messerschmitt BF 109G-10

Revell 1:48 Messerschmitt BF 109G-10

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This is another classic fighter craft to add to your collection. The Germans built the real thing in 1937 and, to this date, more than 33,000 units have been produced.

The airplane was used extensively in World War 2 and has quite a bit of historical values attached to it. This makes Revell Messerschmitt BF 109G-10 the ideal model airplane for the fans of military airplanes.

It is another marvelous kit by Revell, scaled at 1/48. The model features movable propellers, a long-range fuel tank, and optional landing gear. However, the fun paint job is what really stole my heart.

Decals are included in the package along with spinner spirals, instruments, and stencils for painting and detailing.

The kit is fairly easy to put together and should not take you more than an hour to assemble even if this is your first model airplane. Many people would say that the cockpit is relatively plain and bland.

However, I believe, this is just the kind of thing that will get a beginner hooked to building model airplanes. It is neither too simple nor too complex.

4. Revell B17G Flying Fortress

Revell 85-5600 B17-G Flying Fortress 1:48 Scale...

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B17 is an iconic airplane. It was designed as a bomber airplane and played a pivotal part in World War 2. It is one of the toughest planes ever created and also one of my favorite. If you are into warplanes or love learning about military aircraft, Revell B17G Flying Fortress is the perfect model airplane for you to start your very own collection.

Since the model is fairly large in size, you won’t have to struggle with extremely small pieces. The wingspan is about 26″ and it’s about 18″ long. This works in favor of beginners.

With 148 pieces, it should take you around 4 – 5 hours to assemble the kit. This 1/48 scale model offers detailed engine fronts and cowlings, and a beautifully designed cockpit with seats, controls, and even an instrument panel.

Apart from that, the highly detailed bomb bay complete with bombs, bomb racks, and moveable bomb doors is also fun to assemble.

However, trimming may be required to fit some pieces but then again, this is pretty common for model airplanes. Another factor to keep in mind is that while interior detailing is impressive and fun to work on, you won’t be able to see much of it once the model is complete.

So, if you are not a perfectionist, you can skip the parts like building the bombing bay and your model airplane will look just as amazing!

5. Daron Skymarks SKR 715 American 777

Daron Skymarks SKR715 American 777-300 New Livery...

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The 777 model of this series was designed keeping in mind the ever-increasing cargo space. The spacious airplane can fit 777 passengers as opposed to the popular 747 series.

It was first created by Boeing in 1995 and the last airplane of this particular model was manufactured in 2006. This means that these airplanes are still in service and, for all you know, you may have already traveled in one of these or may get a chance to do so in the future.

This only adds to the thrill of building the model of this airplane.

The Daron Skymarks SKR 715 American 777 kit is scaled at 1/200. Most parts are made of high-quality plastic. Apart from that, the kit also features a number of metallic components, especially the ones in the engine.

As a result, the completed model is pretty sturdy and hefty. You can rest assured that it won’t damage easily. Another great thing about this model airplane is that it doesn’t require painting unless you want to add customizations. This works well for beginners, especially if you want to experiment with assembly before investing in paints or an airbrush.

These are some of my most favorite model airplanes. The best thing about these models is that they are perfect for beginners but at the same time the kits are engrossing enough to keep you interested for hours. Plus, the completed models will not only look aesthetically appealing but they will also feel sturdy and durable.

These beginner model airplanes will get the wheels in your brain turning for sure. And if you enjoy a little challenge and like to indulge in mind-stimulating activities, these models will come as a real treat!

Last update on 2024-05-26 at 15:59 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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I'm a hobby enthusiast with a real love for painting miniatures. I also happen to run this site and write the majority of its content!