From time to time, I’m asked to recommend kits that I’ve enjoyed building. Here are a few that come to mind.
Please note: I am far more concerned about ease of build than I am accuracy, so this is NOT a list about shape and realism. It’s what I enjoyed.
In no particular order:
- Accurate Miniatures 1/48 P-51A- This kit, in my mind, is just about the “perfect” 1/48 scale World War II fighter kit. The parts count is not too high, the fit is very good, the interior detail is good, and surface detail is good. I’ve built two of them, plus several other of the early Allison-engined variants Accurate Miniatures released, which are all essentially the same core plastic. The only complaint I have is the kits generally didn’t have much in the way of decal options. Still, if every 1/48 kit met this standard, I’d be a happy camper.
- Eduard 1/72 F6F-3 Hellcat- Many times modelers will talk about “perfect fit”, but rarely do I encounter a kit where I find that my build reality meets their hype. But this one did. A friend told me “I didn’t even need glue on the wings and tailplanes”. Yeah, right, I thought. He wasn’t kidding, though. Heck, I don’t really even like 1/72 scale, and I thought this kit was simply amazing. Good detail, great fit, cool subject. Low price.
- Tamiya 1/48 Spitfire Mk. I/Vb- This kit has just about the best fit of any 1/48 scale kit I’ve ever built. The detailing is good in the interior, and the surface detailing is excellent. This one, in many ways, defines “shake and bake” kit. It may not be the most modern boxing of this subject, but overall I still think it’s the best.
- Tamiya 1/32 Spitfire Mk. IX- When this one came out, it set the bar for precise fit and detailing very, very high. Even with its hundreds of parts, it’s not difficult or fiddly. You will need to spend some time gluing it all together, but the way Tamiya engineered this one is breathtaking. It’s the kind of kit you may only build once, but it’s a “must build” for sure.
- HobbyBoss 1/48 AMX A-11 Ghibli- Yeah, I’d never heard of this one either. I’d spent many years building WWII fighters almost exclusively, and so when I decided to make a foray into jets, I picked this one. It just looked cool. And the build experience was incredible. Great fit, excellent detailing, and just an all around fun build. Not a bad price either.
- Trumpeter 1/48 JL-9- Essentially, my comments for this one mirror what I said about the HobbyBoss AMX. While it’s an obscure subject, the engineering, detail, and fit of this kit are top notch. Even in the basic light gray scheme with very boring markings, I thought this one turned out very nice. It was one of those kits I hated to finish.
- Pegasus Hobbies 1/48 Hurricane Mk. I- Yes, it’s a snap-tite kit. It’s not the most detailed, doesn’t have the best surface detailing, and is a bit simplified. But it fits like a glove, and when painted, it looks surprisingly better than its $10 (at the time) price tag. If you’re bogged down by the modern, super-detailed and fiddly kits you’ve been building, this is a great palette cleanser.
- Eduard 1/48 Spitfire Mk. IX- Despite some initial misgivings about a few engineering choices, this kit has grown on me to the point that I have to will myself not to build it to the exclusion of everything else. While there are a few fiddly bits- basically the rudder pedals and exhausts- the overall quality, fit, and detailing of this kit make it truly shine. And with all of the boxing available, there is something for every budget and detail expectation. This one is certainly a must build.