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19 of the best Tamiya model kits

If you're a fan of model-making then you've come to the right place! We've rounded up the best Tamiya model kits on the market so you can start building and painting to your heart's content.

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Published: April 19, 2022 at 9:02 am
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Founded in 1946, Tamiya is the Japanese company best known for its model-making kits. Originally the kits were wooden but are now exclusively plastic thanks to modern technology. Tamiya's kits have been loved by children and adults around the globe and the demand for their kits certainly hasn't dwindled. Adults of all ages continue to love building and painting Taymia model kits. There are hundreds of different kits on the market so to help you choose your favourite, we've selected 19 highly-regarded kits in a range of different styles and price points.

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We've included everything from car model kits to space shuttle kits to help you find one which suits you best. Remember, many Taymia model kits do not come with tools, paints, or glue. You'll need to buy these separately from a retailer like Amazon. Head over to Tamyia's store front on Amazon to find additional materials and accessories. If you enjoy these Tamiya model kits then head over to our best lego sets for adults and our best Revell model kits round-ups.

Our top picks of Tamyia model kits

19 Taymia model kits to buy

1. Subaru Impreza model kit

Car Tamiya model kits

Pros: Affordable, clear instructions, beginner model maker friendly

Cons: You'll need to buy the paints and tools separately

Suitable for ages: 14+

Great for: Racing fans

Build the iconic Subaru Impreza, famous for its performance at the 1997 World Rally Championships. This model kit allows you to build authentic replicas of the car's wheels, suspension and interior details. It would make a great gift for racing fanatics or for anyone wanting to get started in the world of Tamiya kits.

2. German tank model kit

Tamiya German tank model kit

Pros: High-quality pieces, easy to assemble, comes with human figures

Cons: Detailed painting required

Suitable for ages: 14+

Great for: History buffs

Recreate a military-grade German tank with this model kit from Tamiya. Everything from the detail wheels to the camo paint job replicates the real thing. It's a model kit that will look great amongst other Tamiya war builds and is an ideal present for avid history enthusiasts.

3. Grasshopper model kit

Tamiya Grasshopper RC Model Kit

Pros: Easy build, can be made electric and driven!

Cons: Expensive, requires a 2-channel radio, battery, charger and Tamiya TS Paint

Suitable for ages: 12+

Great for: model makers who want to do more than display their builds

Based on the 80's USA buggies that drive off-road, this Taymia kit is so much fun to build. Not only is it highly realistic but you can add batteries and drive it! It's received positive reviews from hundreds of model makers and is a cool addition to add to your Tamiya collection.

4. Tamiya motorcycle kit

Tamiya motorcycle kit

Pros: High-quality finish, stands for easy display, extra accessories available

Cons: Can be a little fiddly to assemble

Suitable for ages: 14+

Great for: Speed demons!

This beautiful modern model kit is based on the YZF-R1– the eighth generation of the bike. Motorcycle fans will recognise this bike from the Superbike World Championship and All Japan Road Race Championship and will know of its winning record. This model kit allows you to build the bike in all its glory and has a great high finish.

5. Model ship kit

Tamiya model ship kit

Pros: Impressive size, highly detailed, small accessories for realistic build

Cons: A complex build, not for beginners

Suitable for ages: 16+

Great for: Model makers wanting a challenge

This is one of the largest Tamiya model kits in the world which is very fitting as it's replicating one of the biggest ships in the world! Based on the Enterprise aircraft carrier, the ship will look impressive on display. We love the tiny planes that come on the ship showing the ship's primary use.

6. Porsche model kit

Tamiya Porsche model kit

Pros: Classic model, affordable, detail decal finishes

Cons: Cement, paint, and finishing supplies required

Suitable for ages: 14+

Great for: Gifting to a model maker

Make your special someone's dreams come true by gifting them a Porsche! Well, a Tamiya model kit of one anyway. This model includes all the car's iconic features like its front and rear over-fenders and large-size rear wing. It's a nostalgic model to so great for anyone who might have owned one in the 80s and 90s.

7. T-rex model kit

Tamiya Tyrannosaurus model kit

Pros: Highly detailed, comes with accessories

Cons: Requires paint and tools

Suitable for ages: 14+

Great for: model makers who want to make something different

Most Tamiya model kits are based on vehicles or aircraft carriers which is why we love this one. Build and paint something a little different with this T-rex diorama. If the T-rex isn't for you then be sure to check out the other kits in their range. They also have a Brachiosaurus and a Triceratops. 

8. Truck model kit

Tamiya Highline Tractor Truck kit

Pros: Working model with lights and turning wheels

Cons: Expensive, needs Tamiya Attack Radio, battery with charger and paint

Suitable for ages: 14+

Great for: Experienced model makers

This is another impressive Tamiya kit that's aimed at the more experienced model maker. With a fully functional gearbox, axle differentials, and much more it's a great build if you like authentic models.

9. F1 model kits

Tamiya F1 Car Model Kit

Pros: High-quality finish, affordable, pre-coloured pieces

Cons: Paints required for details

Suitable for ages: 14+

Great for: Future Lewis Hamiltons

In the 1976 F1 World Championships this F1 car was the one to beat. Its infamous design has been immortalised in this Tamiya kit and is great for beginners and more experienced makers. It even includes a mini driving racer figure!

10. Volkswagen Beetle kit

Tamiya Volkswagen Beetle model kit

Pros: Affordable, vintage packaging

Cons: Tools and paints required

Suitable for ages: 12+

Great for: Vintage car fans

Build everyone's favourite 1930s car – the VW beetle! This iconic model has been featured in films, TV and has now had its very own model kit created after it. Pick up this kit and spend the weekend recreating this nifty little car.

11. Eagle aircraft kit

Tamiya Eagle Aircraft model kit

Pros: Stands up by itself, pilot figure included, accurate replica

Cons: Can be a little tricky to fit together

Suitable for ages: 10+

Great for: Makers who love model planes

This aircraft made a name for itself in the 1991 Gulf War so it's only right that Tamiya has created a model kit for it. This exquisite aircraft kit features three external fuel tanks and a removable front nose section. You can also choose to build the cockpit canopy closed or open.

12. Mercedes-Benz model car kit

Mercedes-Benz model car kit 

Pros: LED headlights, easy to assemble

Cons: Battery and paint not included

Suitable for ages: 14+

Great for: Model makers wanting a modern build

Tamiya often creates vintage vehicle kits but for makers wanting a modern take, this is the kit for you. This kit allows you to build a Mercedes Benz complete with side mirrors, wheel arches and front grill.

13. Monster Truck model kit

Monster Truck model kit 

Pros: Includes batteries, charger, radio set

Cons: Expensive

Suitable for ages: 12+

Great for: Model makers wanting to drive their creations!

Go off-road with this cool Monster Truck model kit. It includes everything you need to build and then drive this mega truck. You will need to buy paints separately to paint on the truck's details.

14. VW campervan

VW campervan model kit

Buy it now from Kent Models

Pros: Rare kit, radio control, fun design

Cons: Paint and tools required, design may be hard to replicate

Suitable for ages: 14+

Great for: Colourful model makers!

Spread peace and love with this funky Tamiya kit. Build a remote control VW campervan complete and paint its colourful exterior. Once you've finished, take your campervan outside and drive it around using the remote control. Who needs a real campervan when you have this cool mini version?

15. Rocket model kit

Space shuttle model kit

Buy it now from Wonderland Models

Pros: Display stand included, mini astronaut figures, rare find

Cons: Paints and glue sold separately

Suitable for ages: 14+

Great for: Model makers wanting to add a bigger build to their collection

Shoot into outer space with Tamiya's model rocket kits. This kit recreates in great detail the Atlantis space shuttle first launched in 1981. The shuttle's final mission was in 2011 making it an important and long-standing ship in NASA. They are 6 different space shuttle Taymia kits available all of which are pretty rare to find.

16. Honda motorcycle

Honda Motorbike Model Kit

Pros: Waterslide decals, illustrated instructions, affordable

Cons: The bike's tubes can be tricky to fit together

Suitable for ages: 15+

Great for: Classic model makers

Build and paint the Honda CB750F motorbike in all its glory. Each part of the motorbike has been beautifully recreated including the air-cooled 4-cylinder DOHC engine, cooling fins, oil cooler, and exhaust.

17. Wildcat aircraft model

F4F-4 Wildcat aircraft model kit

Pros: Great quality, fun to make, vintage design

Cons: The landing gear is a complex part of the build

Suitable for ages: 14+

Great for: Fans of Taymia plane kits

Build the plane of dreams with Taymia's Wildcat aircraft kit. Famous during the 1940s, it's a plane with a history in the USA Navy and the early half of WW2. As well as the aircraft pieces the kit comes with a pilot figure and three marking options.

18. WW2 British transporter vehicle

WW2 British transporter vehicle model kit

Pros: Highly detailed, impressive paintwork, come with a figure

Cons: Delicate parts so needs a light touch when building

Suitable for ages: 10+

Great for: Warhammer fans

We've included a German vehicle so we thought it's only fair to include this wonderfully detailed WW2 British van. Tamiya sells a huge range of vehicle kits used in the war. Build this kit, paint, and add to your World War memorabilia.

19. Ford racing car model kit

Ford racing car model kit

Pros: Detailed instructions, remote-controlled, robust

Cons: Remote control with receiver, steering servo, 7.2 V NiMH battery pack, charger all required

Suitable for ages: 14+

Great for: Formula One fans

Finally, we have the Tamyia Ford racing car kit. This four-wheel-drive masterpiece looks as good as it drives. You'll need to buy the required extras in order to drive it but we think it's well worth the money.

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We hope you've enjoyed our round-up of the best Tamiya model kits. If you want more building projects check out our big Lego sets and best string art kits.

Authors

Phoebe Burt
Phoebe BurtSEO and Communities Editor, Gathered

Phoebe has worked for Gathered, and our sister magazine Mollie Makes, for 3 years. She manages our Arts & Crafts section and specialises in social media and content strategy. She has a background in all things marketing, a flair for Pinterest and a knack for finding the next big craft trend. Previously she worked as Digital Campaign Executive for Fat Media. You may recognise her name from Mollie Makes Social Media magazine, where she shared her expertise and top tips on becoming social media savvy.

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