- These aren’t suitable for beginners
- These kits are more complex which means more parts than regular kits
- This means the kits will take longer to assemble and usually will cost more
Have at it, you absolute legend!
Yeh! You did it! You skipped right past all those other guides and came straight to the complex stuff! I bet you assemble furniture without looking at the instructions. You go on road trips without using sat nav. You season your soup without even tasting it first, don’t you? You absolute legend!
Let’s cut to the chase – the model kits below aren’t for beginners.
We’ve shortlisted a bunch of our favourite model kits that aren’t for the faint-of-heart. They’ll require skill, determination and patience to assemble them. You’ve got all that stuff and more though, so you’ll be fine, right?
1. 3D Wooden Gramophone
Kicking off the guide, we have this absolutely gorgeous 3D gramophone wooden puzzle model from ROKR. If you’re looking for a challenge that results in a lovely little working model for your home, this is a good bet.
Yes, that’s right. Working model. When complete, this gramophone actually works and will play vinyls up to 10 inches (the model comes with three different speed wheels). This is an awesome gift for anyone who has a vinyl collection that may be gathering dust. The finished model is completely gear-driven so you can crank the shaft to play music (and adjust the volume with the volume control). While it isn’t perhaps the perfect sound system, it is a wonderfully-curious addition to any home (and you get a complementary 7″ vinyl with the kit). Certainly more decorative than a replacement for your modern sound system!
With 424 basswood pieces (some of which are very fragile), it can take a while to assemble (in the ballpark of 10 hours, but it really depends on your skill level) and definitely only suitable for adults. As the kit pieces are modular, you won’t need any additional tools to put it together – just time and patience.
- Assembled Size: 23cm (L) x 26cm (W) x 43cm (H)
- Pieces: 424
- Material: Basswood
- Difficulty: Advanced
2. LEGO Fast & Furious Dodge Charger
One for both movie fans and classic car fans – a LEGO model of Dominic Toretto’s Dodge Charger from Fast & Furious! The car in the original film was a modified 1970 Dodge Charger and played as much of a role in the film as the cast!
This fantastic LEGO kit has a whopping 1078 pieces, but don’t let that put you off. As a LEGO set you don’t need to worry about breaking anything accidentally and it’s easier to assemble than other complex model kits. However, it’s still a decent project to undertake and will likely take a few hours to complete.
At almost 40cm, the final model is a good size and has a number of authentic features such as moving pistons, suspension, steering and air blower. If you open up the trunk, you’ll even find a couple of nitro bottles as featured in the film. An ideal model for anyone who likes to play around with nice cars!
- Assembled Size: 39cm (L)
- Pieces: 1078
- Difficulty: Moderate
3. 3D Globe Puzzle
This wonderful 3D globe puzzle from Robotime is a fantastic project for beginners that results in a great looking and quirky little model that can be displayed with pride.
Although the kit itself is pretty complex with 567 pieces, it comes with simple to follow instructions and requires no glue or tools to assemble. This makes it a great purchase for anyone regardless of their experience assembling models.
The model’s level of detail is its charm. The base displays depictions of the Eight Wonders of the World, which open up to reveal a secret storage compartments. Using the knob on the base, you match constellations with their symbols to unlock the secret compartments. It’s a quirky little feature, combined with the beautiful detailing, makes this a great gift for anyone. Adults can enjoy this as a challenging project or it could be completed as a family.
- Assembled Size: 33cm (L) x 29cm (W) x 52cm (H)
- Pieces: 567
- Difficulty: Beginner to Intermediate
4. Nagato-class Battleship Kit
Nagato-class Battleships were dreadnought battleships commissioned by the Japanese Imperial Navy during World War I (although they weren’t completed until after the war). The Nagato (the lead ship of the class) was home to Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto during the attack on Pearl Harbour and both ships of the class were present during the Battle of Midway.
After the Second World War, the US used the battle-worn ship as the target during nuclear weapon tests (they had captured her just before the end of the war), where she survived two nuclear blasts with only minor damage. However, damage sustained during the initial capture caused her to list and eventually capsize. The wreck was opened to divers in the 1990s is considered to be one of the best diving sites in the world.
This is a wonderful piece of wartime history. This 3D puzzle kit doesn’t require gluing as the metal parts clip together and come with full instructions. With 430 parts, it’s definitely a project to complete, but with patience and a steady hand the result will be a detailed model that you can take pride in completing.
- Assembled Size: 13.5cm (L) x 2.2cm (W) x 18cm (H)
- Parts: 168
- Difficulty: Moderate+
5. LEGO Technic Lamborghini Sián FKP 37
LEGO Technic is the Lamborghini of the model building world, so when both brands come together you know you’re in for something special. From the moment you unbox the specially-packaged kit, you get a sense of the quality of the Lamborghini experience with a wonderful instruction booklet and behind the scenes booklet that gives you an insight into the collaboration between LEGO and Lamborghini.
The Sián FKP 37 is the first super sports car to be powered by a V12 engine and hybrid technology, letting it reach speeds of up to 220 mph. The design of the car is based on the popular Countach, sporting unmistakably clean lines, elegance and a character typical of Lamborghinis.
The model kit itself is a perfect gift for any car enthusiast and although it’s the largest kit in this guide (at a whopping 3,696 parts), it’s difficulty isn’t too advanced. We’re all familiar with LEGO and coming with clear step by step instructions, building the model is achievable by anyone with the patience give it a go. As LEGO pieces are robust and the kit doesn’t require glue, there aren’t many ways you can go wrong.
This kit is a result of a direct collaboration between LEGO and Lamborghini which means the level of detail is next level. The V12 engine has moving pistons, it has an 8 speed gear box, working steering and realistic brakes and suspension. An absolute treat for car enthusiasts and a lovely working model when complete.
- Assembled Size: 60cm (L)
- Parts: 3,696
- Scale: 1:8
- Difficulty: Intermediate
6. German Tiger II Tank
The German Tiger II heavy tank was an upgraded version of the earlier Tiger I, adopting a sloped, thick armour which is used by tanks and battleships as the sloped facing makes it more difficult for armour piercing rounds to penetrate the hull. The Tiger II was introduced late into the Second World War, and first deployed during the Allied invasion of Normandy in 1944.
While the Tiger tanks weren’t quite as reliable as other models, they were remarkably agile considering their size and weight. In addition, their heavy armour and longer-range gun meant they were formidable against Allied tanks, with the thicker front armour meaning opponents would need to flank the tank for the best opportunity to inflict critical damage.
This is an incredibly detailed kit from Trumpeter which results a lovely 1/16 scale model. As it’s a plastic model, you’ll need glue to put the pieces together and paint to complete the look, but when you’re done you’re left with a great piece of military history. Not for the faint-hearted though – the kit comes with 1,850 pieces, so will take patience and a steady hand to complete. Not one for beginners.
- Parts: 1850
- Scale: 1/16
- Material: Plastic
- Difficulty: Advanced
7. HMSC Snowberry
The HMSC Snowberry is a corvette-class warship deployed by the British Navy during the Second World War. Corvette-class vessels are typically the smallest to be classed as a “warship”, and are used for patrolling key waters or escorting convoys. They’re light, faster but carry heavy armaments which means they’re a great reactionary vessel. The HMSC Snowberry served most of the Second World War in the Royal Canadian Navy (on loan from the British Navy), as a tanker escort, protecting critical oil tankers from German U-boats.
This is the most complex of all the model battleships in this guide, with just over 500 pieces. The kit manufacturer, Revell, grade their models on a scale of 1 to 5 (in terms of difficulty) and this is a 5. While it can be completed by children and more amateur model builders, it’s recommended that perhaps you start with a simpler model first. But, for those who have more experience (and a steadier hand), this could be a great challenge for you to get stuck into.
- Assembled Size: 43cm (L)
- Parts: 501
- Difficulty: Advanced