Affordable Model Kits Buying Guide

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Affordable Model Kits Buying Guide

There are many types of affordable model kits available to buy online, from cars and aircraft to monsters and other animals. eBay is a great place to begin looking for affordable model kits suitable for both children and adults, and kits can be found in a range of materials such as wood, plastic and metal. Prices vary depending on the complexity of the kit and the material used, as many expert kits contain tools, specialist paints and decals for construction and decoration.

Model kits have been popular since the mid 1900s, with wooden kits giving way to plastic and metal options in later years. Plastic model kits first came into existence in 1936 and became popular in America in the 1950s and 1960s, and although initially kits were an expensive investment, there are now affordable new and used model kits available to buy online on sites such as eBay.

Model kits are popular with children and adults of all ages, as well as dedicated ‘hobbyists’ who spend their time collecting and assembling models, many of whom spend hours online researching and hunting for the most rare and most detailed models available. The attraction of the hobby is the attention to detail to create the perfect model and many kits can take hours to complete. Serious hobbyists often use techniques that involve creating models from scratch with handmade parts, or will use a combination of parts from various kits in a method known as ‘kitbashing’ to create a truly unique model.

The Types of Model Kits Available

When shopping for a model kit, there are many options that are available to choose from. Using eBay makes it easy to browse through the choices available, whether purchasing a military aircraft model kit or a motorcycle.. Kits are available in various different scales, and it can be helpful to look online for a guide to assist with understanding these. Kits vary from easy to complete basic models of planes and cars, to more complex kits worth hundreds of pounds, which require special tools to assemble and are incredibly detailed.

A model kit needs to be selected that is not only age appropriate but also appropriate to the skill of the person assembling it. There is no point in purchasing a kit that is aimed at advanced model enthusiasts for a six-year-old child. Most model kits for sale online will have age recommendations on the box, or manufacturer websites can be checked for guidelines.

Kits are available in the following materials:

  • Wooden Kits
  • Plastic kits
  • Metal kits

The material of the kit does not directly relate to the price, although often metal and plastic kits are more detailed.

What to Consider when Choosing a Model Kit

When choosing a model kit, there are various factors to consider, such as the following:

  • What type of kit – for example: car, military aircraft, tank etc.
  • Material - such as wood or plastic
  • Scale
  • New or Used – which is more affordable?
  • Brand
  • Complexity of the kit
  • Accessories needed such as tools, paints or decals

It is important to browse through the various categories when shopping for a model kit, as prices can vary greatly depending on the options chosen. Used kits will often be a more affordable option, although this is not always the case, as collector’s items and rare kits can sell for many hundreds or thousands of pounds.

New or Used Model Kits?

It is a personal decision whether to purchase a new or used model kit, but used kits may often be more affordable. Shopping on eBay, it is easy to filter search results and view either new or used kits,, sorting them by price so that it is obvious which is the most affordable. Older model kits and those which are rare can often be very expensive, so if looking for a specific model kit it may often be worth checking in both new and used versions to see which is the more affordable.

When purchasing accessories such as paints and decals it is possible to find used options online, although be careful of the condition when buying paints as these can dry out and become unusable fairly quickly if they are not kept properly sealed. Rare and vintage decals can be found on eBay and many are for sale in mint condition. Bulk packs of decals can also be purchased which is a more affordable option than replacing missing or damaged decals singly from the manufacturer.

Complex and Advanced Model Kits

The complexity of a model kit to some extent denotes what age range it is suitable for. There are many kits that take weeks or months to complete and require extra parts and accessories to be bought.

Generally speaking, the more complex the kit, the more expensive it is. Those that include paints, decals and tools as part of the kit will cost more than a basic wooden dinosaur kit, for example. When purchasing a kit for a child, it is important to look at the level of complexity, and choose something age appropriate. Whilst children can be supervised when assembling models, it is never a good idea to allow younger children to use tools or kits that contain sharp or small parts.

Advanced kits can contain an incredible level of detail and time and patience is required to complete these. Some model car kits today have photo etched details, wiring to allow for the installation of engines, and even special foil which can be adhered to vehicles and simulates chrome trim. Some hobbyists even install engines in their model cars, although purists maintain that this turns the model into a toy.

Choosing Age Appropriate Model Kits

Model kits are a great way to encourage children’s creativity whilst boosting their motor skills and teaching them to be patient and pay attention to detail.

Most model kits available online, on sites such as eBay, will have age guidelines on the packaging or listed in the product description. It is always worthwhile checking the manufacturer’s website or looking up information online if unsure whether the product will be suitable for younger children. Small parts, toxic paints and sharp tools are for older teenagers and serious hobbyists only, and it is important to make sure that the model kit purchased is appropriate for the age of the child concerned.

Wooden Model Kits

Simple wooden kits are often popular with children, and with a range available on eBay, it is easy to find the perfect kit at an affordable price. Popular options include animals and dinosaurs, ships such as sailing ships, pirate ships or riverboats and even wooden cars which are popular with children of all ages. The beauty of wooden kits is that the model can be left unpainted or finished in whatever way desired, allowing children to express their creativity.

Some of the most popular manufacturers of wooden model kits are detailed below:

Name of Manufacturer

Type of Wooden Model Kits Produced


Boats including pirate, Viking and sailing ships


Light aircraft






A wide range including ships, weapons, devices and tools and even cars.

Aircraft Model Kits

Aircraft model kits are one of the most popular kits available on the market today. eBay has a range of aircraft model kits available at affordable prices, ranging from a few pounds to several hundred pounds for those not on a budget.

For children or those new to building models,, it is possible to purchase a pre-assembled kit online on eBay, where most of the aircraft has already been built and there are just a few parts left to finish and decorate. This type of model takes around four hours to build and is popular with younger children or those looking for a quick project. In comparison, a standard model aircraft kit can take anywhere from 10 to 20 hours to complete.

There are three levels of complexity for model aircraft kits available to purchase on sites such as eBay and these are detailed below:

Type of Kit

Who is it for?

Scratch built

Recommended for those with experience – the kit is built completely from scratch and can be time consuming and complex.

Kit Built

These kits comes with full instructions and die cut parts and are a more affordable option than the ready to fly kits, plus there is the bonus of learning how to assemble a complete plane by following the instructions. This also makes repairs easier if the plane is damaged in flight.

Ready to fly

This model comes almost ready to fly straight from the box. All that is usually needed is installation of the main components and hardware.

It’s possible to purchase a static, non-flying model or a model that actually flies. However, bear in mind that flying models will require power, so additional extras such as motors, servo motors and batteries may be required. These are not always included in the kit.

Types of Model Aircraft Kits Available

The following types of kits are readily available to buy on websites such as eBay:

  • Diecast models – diecast models are usually readymade from metal and requiring no construction
  • Snap fit models – these are an affordable choice and recommended for beginners, as the parts are pre-painted and there is no gluing or cutting required to assemble the aircraft.
  • Wooden kits - Pre-cut pieces of plywood interlock to form the body of the aircraft and a three-dimensional model can be created without the need for gluing or cutting, when using wooden kits.
  • Advanced plastic model kits – Generally these require skills to complete such as cutting, gluing, painting etc. They are very detailed and usually contain over a hundred parts. As well as excellent construction skills, patience and time is needed to complete these kits.


How to buy Affordable Model Kits on eBay

The easiest way to buy affordable model kits is to browse eBay. Visit eBay and go to the drop-down menu of categories, which you will find at the top of the page. Select Toys and Games aand this will open up a list of sub-categories. Click on Model Kits,, then in the left hand side bar under the heading ‘Price’, a minimum and maximum price can be entered. The list of results displayed can be ordered by price by clicking in the ‘sort by’ drop down box at the top right of the page, and selecting ‘Price: Lowest first’.

A search can be narrowed even further by selecting the type of model kit - for example, military aircraft or animals - and then selecting a subtype such as decals or paints. In the left hand side bar there is an option for choosing the condition of kit whether new or used, and the scale of model kit required as well as options for choosing a specific brand such as Revell..

There are many types of model kits available on eBay at affordable prices, and using a specific term to search can help in finding the correct kit for any budget. Just type the words related to the item, such as ‘Revell Boats &’ into the main search box. For further tips on how to search eBay, go to their Search Tips page.


It has never been easier to find affordable model kits online with sites such as eBay offering the opportunity to bid and find bargains. Model kits are popular with children of all ages, but also with adult model enthusiasts who take the hobby very seriously. Kits vary in complexity, from ready-made models to those that require construction from scratch and can take many hours to complete and decorate.

Always ensure that the model kit purchased is appropriate for the age of the recipient and their level of model building skill. Complex models may be too difficult for younger children, who may not have the motor skills and patience required to construct them. Cars, aircraft, tanks, animals, dinosaurs and other model kits can be found on eBay for an affordable price whether purchasing a new or used model kit.

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