Vintage Aircraft Model Kits

Vintage aircraft make wonderful model kits as their designs have features and detail that we no longer see in modern aviation.

Key Information

  1. These vintage aircraft kits are for beginners up to intermediate level model builders
  2. Most are suitable for ages 10+ but be sure to familiarise yourself with the small parts and construction before buying
  3. Most of the kits will require glue to assemble the pieces, and paint to decorate when complete – both would be purchased separately

There’s definitely a romanticism surrounding classic aircraft and these kits are great fun to assemble too!

Most of us grew up watching films and TV shows about fighter planes and bombers, and playing games where we’d be a fighter pilot in an imaginary dog fight with our friends in the playground! It’s easy to imagine yourself as a pilot – an individual, changing the course of a battle against all odds or flying off into the unknown!

These lovely little vintage aircraft kits are great for a range of model builders from beginners and children, to more intermediate model enthusiasts. You’ll need to decide for yourself which suits your skill level, but we’ve indicated on each a recommended range.

The simpler kits are both “snap together” type or require glue, but generally only have a few dozen pieces. The more complex models can have hundreds of pieces and they’re all relatively small, so a steady hand and some patience would be required to assemble. All the models can be painted when finished to add even more detail.

Note that these are display models made from plastic pieces (so they’re not intended to fly!). If you’re looking for a kit that could take to the skies, then check out these balsa wood aircraft kits, some of which have rubber band motors or can have RC components added.

1. Submarine Spitfire

The Submarine Spitfire is perhaps one of the most recognisable vintage aircraft models. Designed in 1928 as a short-range interceptor aircraft, the unique, slim design gave it a superior top speed to other fighter craft, including the Hawker Hurricane and German Bf 109. The aircraft became synonymous with British war spirit due to its popularity with the public during the Second World War – many people would turn up to airfields to see Spitfires return from combat.

This lovely little kit from Airfix is great for children as there are a relatively low number of pieces, meaning it’s simpler to construct. The kit doesn’t come with paint or glue (you’d need to buy those separately, but doing so means you’ll have them for other models too), but it does come with sticker decals.

  1. Ages: 8+
  2. Model Length: 10cm
  3. Difficulty: Beginner
  4. Scale: 1:72
  5. Pieces: 36

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Submarine Spitfire

Submarine Spitfire

2. Avro Lancaster

The Avro Lancaster Bomber was first launched in 1941 and is a British heavy bomber. Heavy bombers are the most powerful military aircraft, capable of delivering the largest payloads over long distances. With such devastation en route to an enemy location, they were priority targets for defending fighter craft so came equipped with four machine gun turrets at various points on the craft. As the Second World War progressed, the Lancaster Bombers were the most heavily used bomber craft and eventually their defensive armaments were reduced to allow a greater flight speed.

This is a wonderfully detailed kit from Revell, with 257 pieces that come together to result in a fantastic model of one of the most famous classic aircraft of all time. The detail on the cockpit, weapons, bomb bay and canopy are all crystal clear and the kit comes with a paint chart so you can decorate it with accurate colours. The level of detail means it’s a more advanced kit, but an enthusiastic intermediate model builder could certainly pick it up.

  1. Ages: 10+
  2. Model Length: 29cm
  3. Difficulty: Experienced
  4. Scale: 1:72
  5. Pieces: 257

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Avro Lancaster

Avro Lancaster

3. Messerschmitt Bf 109

The Messerschmitt Bf 109 was a German World War II fighter aircraft, and was a key unit in the Luftwaffe’s impressive fighter force. It was an interesting model as it was one of the last propeller fighter planes as the jet era ushered in towards the end of the war. Its technical excellence is clear from its impressive history – almost 34,000 units were manufactured from 1936 to 1945, making it the most-produced fighter aircraft of all time. In addition, it was flown by three of the German’s top scoring fighter pilots of all time – you definitely didn’t want to be in a dog fight with one of these!

This is a great starter model for children or beginners. The plastic pieces are “push-fit”, which is similar to how Lego would fit together. The pieces are moulded from coloured plastic, so don’t require painting when complete and it comes with stickers to add decal and a display stand. A great starting point to get kids into model building and coming in at under £10, great value.

  1. Ages: 8+
  2. Model Length: 11cm
  3. Difficulty: Beginner
  4. Scale: 1:72
  5. Pieces: 36

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Messerschmitt Bf 109

Messerschmitt Bf 109

4. de Havilland Tiger Moth

The ‘Tiger Moth’ is a British biplane operated in the 1930s by the RAF and primarily used as a training aircraft. During the Second World War, the model was used in support roles such as surveillance and anti-invasion preparations. Interestingly, unmanned versions of the Tiger Moth (the ‘Queen Bee’) were used as target practice for anti-aircraft gunners in the 1930s, which led to the first ever use of the word ‘drone’ to describe an unmanned aircraft.

This would be a good next step up for beginners or children who want to move on from the “snap-fit” type of model building. This kit comes with 42 pieces, so not too complex, but the pieces are small so will require care when assembling. They’ll also need to be glued and when the model is complete, it can be painted. While the glue and paint aren’t supplied, the kit does come with decal stickers which can be applied when it’s complete.

  1. Ages: 8+
  2. Model Length: 10cm
  3. Difficulty: Beginner
  4. Scale: 1:72
  5. Pieces: 42

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de Havilland Tiger Moth

de Havilland Tiger Moth

5. Memphis Belle

The ‘Memphis Belle’ was the name of a B-17 Flying Fortress US heavy bomber used in the Second World War. During the war, the B-17 dropped more bombs than any other US aircraft and it gained a reputation for being tough due to its heavy defensive armaments which meant more returned to base. The Memphis Belle was the first of the B-17s to complete 25 bombing missions and went on to inspire a Hollywood film of the same name in 1990.

This is another lovely kit for more advanced model builders as it has 235 pieces, many of which are small and require the use of tweezers to assemble. Like others, it doesn’t come with glue or paint but it does come with sticker decals. This is a great kit for both movie fans and military aircraft enthusiasts!

  1. Ages: 10+
  2. Model Length: 32cm
  3. Difficulty: Advanced
  4. Scale: 1:72
  5. Pieces: 235

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Memphis Belle

Memphis Belle

6. Vickers Wellington

The Vickers Wellington was a mid-range British bomber, first flown in the 1930s and into the Second World War. While it became somewhat obsolete to the later Lancaster Bomber which had four engines, compared to the Wellington’s two, it was still used throughout the war, in particular flying night missions. Nonetheless, at the outset of the war, the British only had around 300 aircraft and the Wellington was the most capable of them at the time, so certainly deserves its place in history.

This kit is geared at more intermediate model builders, so you should have some experience constructing plastic models with 100+ parts. As with others, you’ll need to by glue and paint separately, and decal stickers are provided.

  1. Ages: 10+
  2. Model Length: 27cm
  3. Difficulty: Intermediate
  4. Scale: 1:72
  5. Pieces: 141

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Vickers Wellington

Vickers Wellington

7. North American B-25 Mitchell

The North American B-25 Mitchell was a mid-range bomber deployed by the US Air Force in 1940 and throughout the course of the Second World War and after, over 10,000 of the aircraft were produced and served in every active theatre of the War. More recently, the aircraft has features in the mini-series Catch-22, based on the book of the same name. Equipped with machine guns, torpedo, rockets and bombs, the B-25 Mitchell was an extremely capable and versatile aircraft.

This kit is geared at intermediate model makers, as there are 165 pieces which require careful assembly. The final model is lovely and it’s one of the more unique vintage aircraft models available just now. As with others, it comes with sticker decals but no paint or glue. A great choice for model building enthusiasts!

  1. Ages: 10+
  2. Model Length: 23cm
  3. Difficulty:  Intermediate
  4. Scale: 1:72
  5. Pieces: 165

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North American B-25 Mitchell

North American B-25 Mitchell