Model Tank Buying Guide

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Model Tank Buying Guide

Military model kits are popular amongst hobbyists, war historians and recreational model builders. Tank models in particular have become a favourite amongst modelers and former members of the military. The following tanks are considered amongst the most popular currently available:

  • Panzer IV
  • German Panther
  • US M41
  • German Stug III
  • Jagdpanzer 38
  • Challenger I
  • Comet Mk. 1
  • Cromwell Tank

Model tank kits take their inspiration from tanks that were used in various wars throughout history. In terms of classification, model tank kits fall under the category of armor in relation to other military model kits. The variety available on eBay is staggering, and its array of trusted sellers carry models to suit all possible interests.

Model Tank Materials

For most people, the type of base material used in a kit is considered an important factor in a purchase. Buyers may choose to stick to one particular material when establishing their own collection of model tanks. The materials most commonly used are:

  • Metal – Usually die-cast metal that features far greater detail than its plastic counterpart. They are purposely built to withstand rougher conditions and are noted for being both sturdy and heavy.
  • Plastic – Used in basic models and lacking in both definition and detail. However for what it looses in such areas it is the perfect material for beginners.
  • Resin – Created using a pour mold system. It usually carries excessive material that may require clipping or removing. Considered the heaviest material on the market but is a favourite of smaller companies due to its low production costs.

Model Tank Material Attributes

What is required from the finished product will be the main factor in choosing a particular kit.

  • Certain surfaces are considered to be easier paint on than others. Buyers who intended to customise their purchase should take that into consideration.
  • Weight is another factor to consider when choosing a model tank kit. Metal and resin obviously carry a greater weight than plastic but are more robust as a result.
  • Metal is considered the prime material for those who wish to create a model collection that will remain stationary.

Model tank builders need to take into consideration what each material offers and whether the finished product is for display purposes or not.

Model Tank Age Classification

Age classification is a system used by the model industry. They come as standard with all tank model kits and help determine the difficulty that a certain kit may present. There are four age ranges that tank model kits can be listed under, such classification will feature on the exterior box.

  • 8+
  • 8 – 12
  • 12 – 16
  • 16+

Be aware that some companies offer the age rating system in months instead of years. It is also worth noting that certain sellers may not be aware of the age rating of the model they’re selling, as some older kits don’t display such information.

Model Tank Scale 

Most tank model kits come with specific size specifications. This is in relation to what scale the model takes in relation to a real tank.

  • In number form, such information will be depicted as 1/16 or 1:16, it will give you a hint at the overall size of the model once completed.
  • Those not familiar with such system should ask the seller for exact measurements. This will allay any fears they may have about buying the incorrect model.
  • If dealing with a limited amount of space be sure that you understand how large a model is before purchasing.

Construction Difficulty

Model tank kits range in difficulty and some even come partly assembled. If such is the case it will be stated either on the box or in the eBay item’s description. The difficulty depends on several factors, how many parts are in the kit and how complex it is to construct the model. Less important factors include the size of the parts and the angles in which they join together.

Types of Pieces     

More advanced tank model kits come with complex pieces that differentiate from the norm. Those shopping for higher difficulty models should take part classification into consideration. This concept means that brands can release tanks that are customisation focused whilst also adhering to historical replica standards. The following are the type of kits you will find on eBay that step away from normal model kit conventions.

  • Scratch – Scratch models do not involve using manufacture-produced kits. Builders will construct a base or skeleton model by their own hand. A true scratch kit can often be hard to come by but with eBay’s array of search options you’ll be sure to find some interesting combinations.
  • Conversion – These kits use what the manufacturer provides as a starting piece and once finished are considered only a base model. From that point on builders can use either their own or third party pieces to further the model.
  • Kitbash  - Kitbashing is a technique that features the use of different parts from various kits; used collectively they construct a single model. A common occurrence amongst model tank enthusiasts is to source pieces from other military model kits. Using such technique allows for the creation of truly unique models.

Depending on whether or not you wish to make additional purchases will play a role in what type of kit you choose. Some will feel restricted by manufacturers initial offerings and will further their abilities by implementing the kit variations above.

However those new to model tank kit building would be advised to stick to basic manufacturer kits. In doing so they will be able to improve their skills prior to attempting more advanced model-building methods, such as those detailed above.

Age and Condition 

Two factors in tank model kit buying that are understated are age and condition. Tanks have emerged as one of the more popular models currently on the market. It is due to this that eBay has more variation in both new and used offerings. In some cases a kit may be inherited or require more work than simply building as per the manufacturers instructions. Storage is another thing that should be taken into consideration prior to buying.

  • Collectors are known for storing models well, however recreational builders may not have been so careful.
  • It is important to ask about storage when buying kits that contain metal, acetate or wood. Metal is subject to rust while wood and acetate can warp over time.
  • The seller may have stored the model kit in a shed or garage and if this is the case damage may be evident. Be sure to choose a seller with reputable feedback in order to ensure that you can trust the information being offered.

Conducting research on an item when it comes to price may also be beneficial when making a purchase of this nature. If an item is priced significantly lower that its RRP you are wise to question the seller and be wary of what is being sold.

How to Buy a Tank Model Kit with eBay                    

Tank model kits can be bought on eBay in several ways.

  • If you want to immediately obtain a set or piece use the buy it now option.
  • Those who are on the hunt for the best price or a rare part will prefer purchasing via auction.
  • Those who are new to tank model kits should spend more time researching what they are after. This will help shoppers further understand the degree of kits and parts available.

Age, condition, model and style vary from kit to kit so know the type of kit you are committing to buy. Model kits are often bought as gifts so be aware of the level of builder that the gift is intended for. Also consider the recipient’s age and the space they would have to store or display the completed model. eBay has a variety of model tank kits on offer to suit all tastes and skill levels.

  • To browse what auctions are live, click on toys and games from the home screen.
  • From there, select model kits from the menu on the left, this will lead you to all the items that are currently for sale.
  • If you have a particular tank model kit in mind use the search function found the top of the page, using the advanced search option will narrow your results down even further.


Tank model kits are a great way for adults and children alike to not only be entertained but to reconnect with history. Dependent on kit size they can be a rewarding long-term project and are without doubt a creative way to use free time. With such a wide array of tanks and brands to choose from, hours of fun is guaranteed no matter your age or skill level.

Finding the tank kit to suit your needs on eBay is a unique experience for all varieties of shopper. It is important to be focused and attentive in order to find the kit that matches the individual. eBay has all the tools to help find shoppers locate that particular preference with ease and simplicity.

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