Sorting out the top-quality model truck kits from the inferior models that will leave you frustrated and disappointed isn’t always easy.
I’ve built my fair share of model trucks and have run across quite a few that really missed the mark.
Shoddy construction, flimsy design, parts that just won’t fit no matter how much you bend and sand them. It just takes away all the fun from the process.
Here, we’ll only focus on the truck models that will come together beautifully, challenge your skills, and give you a gorgeous result that you can proudly display.
Want a sneak peak at the best options in each category?
- Best 1:25 kit: Autocar Dump Truck – incredible details, working dump body, quite challenging, vintage look.
- Best Chevy kit: ’66 Fleetside – great dashboard and engine detail, not too difficult, positional tailgate.
- Best Ford kit: 1971 Ranger – fantastic detail, clear instructions, customizable.
- Best Semi Truck kit: Western Star – authentic retro look, good for beginners, instructions include detailed pictures.
1:25 Model Truck Kits
Working at a 1:25 scale, you might find yourself building some of the most prized vintage truck kits on the market.
This classic scale is nearly interchangeable with 1:24 model pieces.
It’s so similar that many hobbyists will swap out parts between the two for extra customization options.
When it comes to early ’70s model trucks, you can’t go wrong with a classic build like the Chevy Blazer Crew Chief.
Today’s kits are a reissue of the original, but they still include all the detail and fine craftsmanship that made the Blazer a bestseller in the first place.
Note that this kit is best suited for an intermediate modeler.
Each piece in the set arrives individually bagged, and one kit offers two build options: “off-road” or “street.”
AMT kits are known for tight-fitting parts with no flash.
Instructions are easy to follow, and once you’ve completed the base, the Blazer is an excellent subject to modify with your own paint and accessories.
- Multiple build styles.
- Tight-fitting parts.
- Little to no flash.
- Individually bagged pieces.
- Straightforward instructions.
- Some kits arrive missing pieces.
- Windshield piece is fragile to ship.
Another time-tested favorite among the model truck community, the 1984 GMC Pickup was recently reissued with new decal options and packaging illustrations by Don Greer.
This off-road intermediate kit comes with over 150 parts, including a V8 engine, rolling chrome wheels, and a heavy-duty roll bar.
The GMC Pickup is a skill level 2 kit, best suited for medium-expertise modelers.
You’ll need your own paint for the build, which comes in a clear or black base, and plenty of glue as well as every piece needs adhesive to attach.
Once every last detail of the build comes together, it has an excellent clean finish with no flashing.
- Chrome mag details.
- Don Greer illustrated packaging.
- Classic water-slide decals.
- Lifted tires.
- Oversized wheels can’t be swapped out for standard tires.
- Some pieces need bending to fit.
Looking for an extra modeling challenge?
Try leveling up to this Autocar Dump Truck, which comes with over 300 different parts and needs an expert painting and cementing job to finish the build.
Once completed, you’ll enjoy an impressively large truck packed with intricate details, like an opening hood and working dump body.
AMT kits from the late 1970s are prone to spotty luck with pieces fitting, so it’s recommended to test fit each part before gluing in place.
Not every part is even numbered, which is why an experienced modeler should tackle this project.
Intuition and memory will guide you to a finished build, and then you can paint over the molded white pieces in the design of your choice.
- “Heated” working dump body.
- Multi-option decal sheet.
- Large finished build.
- Reproduction AMT vintage packaging.
- May need to scrape pieces or ream holes to fit.
- Parts aren’t numbered.
Chevy Truck Model Kits
Chevy pickup trucks were revitalized in 1962 with a redesign that included seatbelts, a 4×4 square body, and a rounded shape.
The C/K line of trucks came with 2-wheel and 4-wheel drive capability, as well as different bed styles between models.
Today, these classic kits have been rebooted for a modern crowd, but they keep the vintage charm and quality build.
Chevy enthusiasts are likely already familiar with the Revell name because they’ve produced quality kits, like the Fleetside Pickup, for decades.
This kit comes with more than 80 pieces, including a separate bed and positional tailgate.
It’s an impressive model of the ’60s Chevy pickup, which was a famous redesign with a brand new frame and suspension system.
Although the Fleetside comes with less pieces than other model truck kits, it’s still best suited to intermediate modelers, due to its vintage fitting that may cause the builder some trouble getting parts into place.
You’ll need to buy cement and paint separately, even though the box appears to advertise an included tube.
The kit comes with straightforward instructions for a clean, easy build.
- Detailed vintage decals.
- Spare tire.
- No metal parts.
- Realistic truck bed.
- Box may come with wear and tear.
- Issues fitting some pieces.
Chevy lovers don’t need a history of the ’60s alternative to the Fleetside bed style: the Stepside.
This beloved square body is extremely popular both as a truck and a model kit.
Opening up the hood, you can build a detailed V8 engine and finish it off with a roll-over bar with spotlights.
This kit was relaunched in 2019 with just over 100 different pieces.
It’s best for beginner to intermediate builders, as the instructions are straightforward, but some pieces are tricky to get in place, including the stripe decals.
It’s molded in white and comes together quickly, with a build guide that includes recommended paint colors for a clean finish.
- 4×4 suspension with front guard.
- Soft black tires.
- Detailed V8 engine.
- Multiple decal options.
- Box may arrive with wear and tear.
- Fragile muffler piece.
Ford Truck Model Kits
Vintage Ford trucks are certainly not lacking in fame, but it hasn’t always been easy to get your hands on a scale model.
Moebius has filled this niche for decades, currently offering retooled versions of their classic builds.
You can still pick up beloved models like the Ranger and F-100, which offer an astonishing level of detail with an intuitive assembly process.
The Ford Ranger is a true classic for truck lovers, and the Moebius model kit has been a hit since the ’70s.
Today, it’s retooled with an accurate instruction manual and a big-block engine.
The kit comes with plenty of room for customization, including chrome wheels, hubcaps, and plain steel rims, so you can build a Ranger to your personal taste.
This kit falls in the realm of expert level modeling.
Even though the cab is molded as one piece, the truck bed and other parts are prone to some warping issues.
You may also need to sand your parts or wipe them down with thinner to remove the manufacturer’s mold-release treatment.
Once your pieces are clean enough to assemble, you can appreciate Moebius’s attention to detail with features like wood-grain decals and look-through grates.
- Options for different wheel builds.
- Detailed small features.
- Easy-to-read instructions.
- Interior engraving.
- Parts come with paint-resistant coating.
- Slight warping on frame.
Fans of the Ford F-100 will recognize hallmarks of the beloved vintage model in this kit, including a beautifully detailed 352 CID V8 engine underneath the hood.
The kit comes with molded parts in gray, white, and clear, which the intermediate to expert modeler can paint with a custom design.
The kit is recommended for ages 14 and up, so steer clear of this project for an easily frustrated beginner.
Noteworthy details on the F-100 Custom Cab include the realistic chassis and soft black PVC tires.
You’ll need your own cement to assemble the 1/25 scale pieces, which are prone to some warping, especially with a vintage set.
As with many Moebius sets, you’re better off cleaning or sanding the parts before applying a layer of paint to avoid a fisheye result.
- Soft PVC tires.
- Realistic engine and chassis.
- Detailed look-through grate.
- 1:25 scale.
- Pieces can warp.
- Paint-resistant finish.
Semi Truck Kits
Big rigs might intimidate modelers used to smaller pickups, but the impressive level of detail on a finished semi tractor trailer makes the challenge worth it all.
If you haven’t tried out a logging truck build before, this Western Star kit is an excellent entry point into semi models.
The modern, rebooted version comes with all original packaging and a sheet of decals that allow for plenty of customization.
Open it up to find a 6-cylinder engine, roof mounted horns, and all the trappings of a long haul model.
Along with paint and glue, you will need to pick up your own building tools for this model, so make sure you buy them separately or have pieces to borrow from another kit.
All parts should be included in the package, including a detailed fan belt and alternator. It’s best suited to a beginner or intermediate builder.
- Accurately sized logging truck.
- Multiple decal options.
- Beginner difficulty level.
- Ships quickly.
- Does not include building tools.
- Needs primer for paint to last.
The Kenworth W900 model from Revell truly does justice to the long haul vehicle.
This truck has an impressive range of detail, from the finely engraved interior to the diesel engine hiding under the tip-forward hood.
Simulated alloy wheels come with a sparkling chrome plating, plus a wealth of decal options for customizing to your heart’s delight.
The Kenworth W900 fits together well with little to no flash.
While it’s coded a skill level 5 with a few hundred parts to assemble, you won’t run into issues with poorly drilled holes or pieces that need sanding.
An expert assembler can easily add to the finished build with a custom paint job.
- No flashing.
- Smooth and flush part fitting.
- Six-cylinder Diesel engine.
- Multiple decal options.
- No truck bed detail.
- Some kits missing suspension piece.
What Is the Best Scale for Model Trucks?
The best scale for a model truck depends on your desired result.
A 1/12 scale model captures a good amount of detail from the original, but it’s also the most costly option.
Many collectors like to work on a 1:24 scale, which comes with plenty of detail at an affordable rate.
A 1:43 scale is the most popular for model cars worldwide.
What Company Makes the Best Model Kits?
The top model kit makers include Revell, AMT, Tamiya, Fujimi, and Moebius.
I know, I know. Picking one isn’t easy. Maybe this will help you narrow it down:
Both truck models will provide lots of challenge and result in a true work of art.
Last update on 2021-04-14 at 20:09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API