Best F1 Model Kits 2024

A model of the black and light blue Mercedes F1 car on a black podium.
Credit: F1 Authentics

A model of the black and light blue Mercedes F1 car on a black podium.
Credit: F1 Authentics

With Formula One over 70 years old, finding the best F1 model kits is tricky given the vast number of cars available spanning all eras of the sport. However, we'd argue there's no better way of rolling your racing passion with your hobby of building into one than with a top-tier model set.

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, much like we did with our list of the best LEGO car sets.

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 Mercedes-AMG F1 W14 E, then we've got you covered right here.

Best F1 model kits

  1. McLaren Honda MP4/4 1988 - a great model for all experience levels
  2. Ferrari F310B 1996 - best plastic model
  3. Williams FW-13B 1990 - a retro F1 masterpiece
  4. Lotus 49B 1968 - a superb metal model
  5. Mercedes-AMG F1 W14 E - a more modern option to consider
McLaren Honda MP4/4 1988 product image of a white and red Honda branded F1 car model.
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Credit: iModeler

1. McLaren Honda MP4/4 1988

Best F1 model kit overall

Manufacturer: Tamiya
Scale: 1:20
Material: Plastic

We begin with a 1:20 scale replica of the McLaren Honda MP4/4, crafted by the excellent model car manufacturer Tamiya. In the realm of Formula 1, the actual car stands as nothing short of a triumph, clinching victory in a remarkable 15 out of 16 races it contested.

Moreover, piloted by two of the most iconic figures in the sport's history—Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna—the McLaren Honda MP4/4 adds an extra layer of prestige to this miniature recreation. Arguably, there exists no more fitting subject for a model car build than this legendary vehicle, encapsulating the legacy of its drivers and the era it dominated.

Reasons to buy:

  • It's an accurate replication of one of the most successful F1 cars
  • Driven by two huge names in F1 - Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna
Ferrari F310B 1996 product image of a red F1 car model with Shell branding.
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Credit: Tamiya

2. Ferrari F310B 1996

Best plastic F1 model kit

Manufacturer: Tamiya
Scale: 1:20
Material: Plastic

Including this Ferrari F310B on our list is a nod to the immense success of the Ferrari team in Formula 1 history. Boasting a rich heritage, the F310B holds a special place, particularly due to its association with Michael Schumacher's debut year at Ferrari.

Schumacher's extraordinary journey with Ferrari is etched in the annals of F1, marked by his stellar performance that led to the clinching of five championships. His legacy is further underscored by the attainment of seven titles in total across his career, a record matched only by Lewis Hamilton to date.

The Ferrari F310B, a symbol of that remarkable era, serves as a timeless representation of the team's pursuit of excellence. As Ferrari continues its quest for supremacy, opting for a plastic model of the F310B becomes more than a mere homage—it becomes a celebration of a glorious chapter in F1 history.

Reasons to buy:

  • Driven by Michael Schumacher in his debut year at Ferrari
  • It's quite lightweight being made from plastic
Williams FW-13B 1990 product image of a blue, yellow, and white model F1 car.
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Credit: Tamiya

3. Williams FW-13B 1990

Best retro F1 model kit

Manufacturer: Tamiya
Scale: 1:20
Material: Plastic

If you're in search of a vintage car that predates the 1996 Ferrari model, the Williams FW-13B from Tamiya presents an appealing alternative.

While it may not boast the same level of success as the previously mentioned cars on the actual racetrack, it's worth noting that Riccardo Patrese and Thierry Boutsen both secured one victory each during the 1990 F1 season in this remarkable machine.

However, the primary selling point of the Williams FW-13B lies in its iconic design. Featuring a straightforward yet striking combination of yellow, blue, and white, this colour scheme would later become synonymous with Fernando Alonso's championship-winning Renault car. As a result, the Tamiya Williams FW-13B model offers a captivating choice for enthusiasts of retro racing.

Reasons to buy:

  • It's one of the best-looking F1 cars of all time, with the model reflecting that
  • A great option for long-time fans of F1
Lotus 49B 1968 product image of a retro red and white F1 car model.
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Credit: Tameo Kits

4. Lotus 49B 1968

Best metal F1 model kit

Manufacturer: Tameo Kits
Scale: 1:43
Material: Resin/Meta

Shifting away from traditional plastic models, the Tameo Lotus 49B kit boasts an exquisite blend of resin and metal craftsmanship. This masterful creation, scaled down to a 1:43 ratio, may be slightly more compact than its counterparts, but it certainly doesn't diminish the style of the iconic red and white Lotus design it faithfully replicates.

It's also worth pointing out this car was expertly driven by the legendary Graham Hill, a formidable two-time F1 champion who clinched his second title while at the helm of this very vehicle. This historical resonance elevates the Lotus 49B to a league of its own, making it an unrivaled choice for those seeking the sophistication and durability of a metal model kit.

Reasons to buy:

  • Made from metal, so it should withstand the test of time
  • Driven by the legendary Graham Hill in real-life
Mercedes-AMG F1 W14 E product image of the black Mercedes F1 car made from LEGO in front of its box.
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Credit: LEGO

5. Mercedes-AMG F1 W14 E

Best modern F1 model kit

Manufacturer: LEGO
Scale: 1:8
Material: Plastic

We're rounding things off with something a bit different, although we're sure everyone reading this will know of LEGO. If so, you probably also know how great LEGO models are, hence the inclusion of this Mercedes-AMG F1 W14 E from the 2023 season. This may not have been Mercedes' most successful year to date, however, this doesn't take away from the fact the model is a thing of art.

With 1,642 pieces to delicately put together, this one will have you building for hours. It's clever, too, with steering that can be controlled using the wheel, a removable engine cover, and moving pistons. It's arguably one of the most accurate F1 models out there, even though it's made from LEGO.

It's a little different, sure, but it's still a great model kit to invest in, especially if you're new to the world of Formula One.

Reasons to buy:

  • Tons of pieces to intricately put together
  • It's LEGO. Who doesn't like LEGO?

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?

The time it takes to assemble an F1 model kit varies based on your working pace. While smaller models with fewer parts might seem quicker, that's not always guaranteed.

Typically, building an F1 kit could span from weeks to months, and occasionally even years, especially if you're focusing on intricate details.

There's no set time frame, and you shouldn't worry about taking too long either. However long you take to build a model is how long it takes at the end of the day.

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, you'll almost always need an adhesive. Models typically necessitate glue or cement for part assembly. Depending on materials and model type, varying adhesives like plastic cement, super glue, or wood glue might be necessary.

Moreover, kits usually furnish an array of modeling tools, like hobby knives, cutters, sandpaper, tweezers, and a brush set for painting. A cleaning cloth is also advisable to tidy up any debris during construction.

Consider your workspace too. A flat, uncluttered area is ideal for constructing and allowing the model to dry undisturbed. Equally crucial are the instructions; meticulous reading and adherence to each step ensure the desired final product.

Should you paint a model before assembling it?

Typically, it's recommended to complete the assembly and gluing of a model before painting it. However, there are instances where it might be more convenient to paint smaller components before affixing them to larger, differently coloured pieces.

For optimal guidance on the painting sequence, consulting the manufacturer's instructions is recommended prior to starting the process.

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 ones that 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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