Guide to Choosing Your First Model Cars

If you think you’re too old for building and collecting model cars, well, think again. The rise of close-to-reality model cars has been getting more attention in the past decade. With the production of more sophisticated and carefully designed scale models, the hobby slowly becomes more like a passion for some. Children and adults alike would spend hours after hours playing with their toy car and still can’t get enough of it. Others collect models of luxurious and popular cars to display and to show off their friends. 

Building model cars are equally enjoyable as any other hobby. In addition, model cars are educational toys – every time spent building them goes unwasted since it lets your brain practice focus, foster creativity, and use analytical skills. Whether you are a kid, teenager, a full-grown adult, or just a parent who’s looking for an excellent gift for the coming holiday, model cars are worth every penny. If you plan on purchasing one sometime soon, let us give you a quick heads-up on what to look for when buying your first-ever model car.

1. RESEARCH THE MODEL KIT BEFORE HEADING TO YOUR LOCAL STORE

You’d indeed e caught off-guard if you go to your local stores without knowing what to buy in the first place. With a sheer amount of options available in the market, you’d find yourself get nauseated and stressed out with indecision. You’d save yourself from the hassle and stress if you first research the model car you want before actually buying it. Doing so also gives you enough information about the product to decide if the said kit is worth your cash.

2. CHOOSE THE SCALE THAT FITS YOUR PREFERENCE

a tiny red service car with blue lights 

When buying your first model car, think about how big or small you want it to be. Model cars come in several different scales. In the United States, the most common model car scale is 1:25, about 6.5 to 8 inches long, although some manufacturers use a 1:24 scale (about 6 inches). This model car size is ideal for teenagers and adults. In some European countries, the 1:18 scale (about 9 inches long) is more common. Mini model cars with a size of 1:60 (around 3 inches long) are also available in the market. Deciding upon the measurement is essential, depending on what you want to do with the toy. If it’s for the sake of assembling it, you may opt for a 1:24 scale or bigger. On the other hand, tiny scales make a perfect plaything for children, given their cute little hands. They can also be excellent starters for your collection. 

3. SELECT YOUR VEHICLE TYPE

At this age of boundless technological advancement, finding a scale model for your favorite car is as easy as a single click over the internet. The fun begins when you see several miniature versions of popular vehicles such as NASCAR, classic cars, sports cars, hot rods, trucks, and service cars. The most prominent model car type is the sports car (Ferrari, McLaren, Corvette, etc.), making for a fantastic toy collection. Others prefer hot rods for their distinctive aesthetic design, as well as the complexity of building them. NASCAR model cars are pretty famous, especially in the US, rivaling sports cars in popularity.

4. DETERMINE THE COMPLEXITY OF THE MODEL KIT

DETERMINE THE COMPLEXITY OF THE MODEL KIT

Not all model car kits are meant to be shoved back and forth on the floor. Most people buy model cars for the sake of building and customizing them to satisfy their creative cravings. You can evaluate the complexity of the kit based on the number of pieces you have to assemble. Model car kits’ complexity categorizes into Skill 1, Skill2, Skill 3, and so on. Skill 1 can have around 50 pieces. Skill 2 includes around 200 parts, while Skill 3 and up can have 200 to a whopping 1500 pieces or higher, including some delicate parts. So, if you are buying one for your kid, Skill 1 can be an excellent start. On the other hand, Skill 3 to 5 model cars are perfect for wannabe builders. 

5. CONSIDER THE AVAILABILITY OF TOOLS AND ACCESSORIES

As a beginner model car builder, you will most likely invest in some hobby tools to make your life easier. For starters, you will need a hobby knife or cutter, non-toxic paint (for color customization), a fine file, tweezers, and modeling glue or cement. You also have to know whether the kit you will work with has accessories you can buy online or from your local store, should you damage or lose a part or two.

6. MIND THE PRICE

As people would say, “it is not always how expensive your model is; it is how it delivers and how it performs.” With the same philosophy in mind, choose your first model car based on the quality of the product and not the price. Of course, most quality kits come at a hefty price, but there are also tricky products that lack the oomph factor, although pretty expensive. To avoid falling victim to this marketing scheme, you might want to shop around first, check prices online, or ask veteran model car collectors and builders for ideas. After all, you wouldn’t want to spend money on something that won’t measure up to your expectations, right? The same can be said for cheaper model cars. It doesn’t mean that they come at a lower price; they are lousy. With a keen eye for details, you can be sure to own your first model car that’s worth every penny.