If you're searching for the best F1 model kits around, you've come to the right place.
Perhaps you're a fan of the latest F1 Manager title, the F1 22 game, or simply watch all the races in the F1 calendar and enjoy making models in your spare time, then we'd argue there's no better way of rolling your two passions into one.
Not only can they be a great display piece, but the building process itself is an excellent way to keep yourself entertained for hours on end, all for a relatively inexpensive price.
Although picking up one of the best model car kits may be your first thought when looking for a new set, we'd argue that narrowing things down to F1 cars, in particular, is ideal if you're a fan of the sport.
So, to help kick off your search, we've put together a list of our top picks using price, reviews, and difficulty to inform our selection.
Whether you're looking for an old-school championship-winning vehicle, like this McLaren Honda MP4/4, or you're new to F1 and you're after something a little more recent, like this Ferrari SF70H, then we've got you covered right here.
Best F1 model kits
Best F1 model kit - McLaren Honda MP4/4 1988
We begin with a 1:20 scale model of the McLaren Honda MP4/4, made by leading model car manufacturer Tamiya.
The car in real life is widely regarded as one of the most successful F1 cars ever, winning a staggering 15 out of 16 races it competed in.
The car was also driven by two of the biggest names in the history of the sport - Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna.
As a result, we feel there's arguably no better car to build a model of than this McLaren Honda MP4/4.
Best plastic F1 model kit - Ferrari F310B 1996
Ferrari is the most successful team in F1 history, so it may come as no surprise we've included a model of the iconic Ferrari F310B on our list.
One of the reasons why this car is so iconic is because it was driven by Michael Schumacher during his debut year at Ferrari.
Schumacher went on to win five championships with Ferrari, taking his tally up to seven in total, a figure only matched by Lewis Hamilton thus far.
All in all, a plastic model of the Ferrari F310B seems like a good choice to us, especially as Ferrari looks to extend their reign at the top with Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz vying to beat Red Bull for the top spot.
Best retro F1 model kit - Williams FW-13B 1990
If you're searching for a slightly older model than the Ferrari car from 1996, then we think it's worth considering this Williams FW-13B from Tamiya.
While not quite as successful as the aforementioned cars in real life, Riccardo Patrese and Thierry Boutsen still managed to pick up one win apiece during the 1990 F1 season.
That said, we've included this car mainly for the design. A simple yellow, blue, and white colour scheme that would go on to become the palette for Fernando Alonso's championship-winning Renault car.
On the whole, the Williams FW-13B model from Tamiya looks to be a great retro choice.
Best metal F1 model kit - Lotus 49B 1968
Moving away from plastic models, this Lotus 49B kit from Tameo is made out of resin and metal.
With a 1:43 scale, it's slightly smaller than the previous entries; however, that doesn't take away from the classic red and white Lotus design.
It's also worth pointing out that the car in real life was driven by Graham Hill, a two-time F1 champion who picked up his second title driving this vehicle.
As a result, we feel it's hard to look past the Lotus 49B, especially if you're after a metal model kit.
Best modern F1 model kit - Ferrari SF70H 2017
Don't worry if you're a slightly newer F1 fan as we've got you covered as well with this 2017 Ferrari SF70H model from Tamiya.
The kit returns to the 1:20 scale and features a silhouette that more closely resembles one of the current F1 vehicles.
The car was driven by two championship-winning drivers in Kimi Räikkönen and Sebastian Vettel, who went on to pick up 20 podiums and five race wins between them over the course of the 2017 season.
As a result, we feel this Ferrari SF70H model is well worth considering if you're new to the sport of F1.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
When it comes to model car kits, there are usually a few questions that pop up. Don't worry though because we've answered some of the most common queries right here.
How long do F1 model kits take to build?
There is no one set answer as to how long an F1 model kit will take to build as it will depend on the pace you work at.
Smaller models may have fewer parts and should, therefore, be completed slightly quicker; however, this isn't always the case.
Generally speaking, an F1 kit could take weeks, months, and sometimes even years to completely finish depending on the level of detail.
What do you need to build a model kit?
Although most of the components will be supplied in the kit, it's worth keeping in mind some of the main elements you'll typically need to build a model.
Firstly, some sort of glue or superglue is almost always required.
A small, soft-bristled brush can also be required to wipe away debris.
You may also need a hobby knife and/or a pair of clippers to remove the parts of your kit from their housing.
Finally, you may need some paint to finish off your model depending on the type of kit. Some, for instance, come pre-painted for ease and finer detail.
Should you paint a model before assembling it?
Generally speaking, you should paint a model after assembling and gluing it together; however, there can be times when it's easier to paint a small part first before attaching it to a larger, different-coloured piece.
It's likely the painting order will be detailed in the manufacturer's instructions, so we'd recommend checking that first before you begin.
What are the scales for model cars?
Generally speaking, model cars are scaled down to the following sizes:
- 1:18 - 9-12 inches / 24-30 cm
- 1:24 - 6.5-8 inches / 16-20 cm
- 1:32 - 4-6 inches / 10-15 cm
- 1:43 - 3.5-5 inches / 8-12 cm
- 1:64 - 2.5-3 inches / 6-8 cm
However, you will occasionally find models bigger than this, and sometimes even one's which fall in between two sizes.
For instance, the majority of the F1 cars featured in our list use a 1:20 rather than 1:18 or 1:24. This is perhaps an easier measurement to scale down to due to the intricacies of F1 vehicles.
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