A Guide to Boat Model Building Kits

Model building is an exciting and productive leisure activity that helps stimulate the brain and keep it engrossed for long. It requires extensive focus and problem-solving skills, thus enabling the builders to engage in the activity actively. Many model building kits are available online and in stores – of which boat model building kits are widely popular.

If you are a novice in model building and looking to buy a model boat kit to start on this incredible journey, then you have landed at the right place. Boat model building is quite common worldwide as many people love it. There are various levels of difficulty with which these kits come, so if you are starting to get into this hobby, it is best to start with the beginner level.

This detailed guide regarding boat model building kits will make choosing and buying process easier for you, as it entails all the information you need about boat model building kits.

How to Pick a Boat Model Kit

Pick a Boat Model Kit

It is a broad question with many possibilities, so you must ask yourself the following questions before delving into a search for boat model building kits:

  • Determine the type of boat you like 
  • Gauge the level of boat model building that you can easily accomplish 
  • Know the size of the boat you might be interested in building 
  • Your budget
  • The material you prefer (wood, plastic, paper, or metal)

Some Important Pointers for Beginners

When you go to the store or visit a site with a collection of boat model building kits, an enthusiast’s involuntary reaction is to want everything the store offers. However, beginners must stick to the following characteristics of the model building kits to avoid extensive difficulty levels in the beginning:

  • It is advisable to buy the kit with one or two deck levels at the most
  • Rigging should be in a simple form
  • Go for the kit that has a clipper-like hull with no buff or apple-shaped bows
  • A boat with only a few decorations is suitable for beginners
  • Cannons should be of limited number so that the beginners are not intimidated 
  • It is also best to get boat model building kits that are closest to a personal interest, such as one denoting a favorite historic moment 

Are all Boats Made into Kits?

all Boats Made into Kits

It is one of the most asked questions about boat model building kits. Yes, every boat and ship in its actual full-blown form is made into a kit. However, not all the kits are created equal – some boat model building kits have the most accurate scaling as the real-life ones, while others are more historically accurate.

Also, these kits vary significantly from one developer to another. Some boat models lack the small details that otherwise complete the kit, while others might be too fragile to stand on their own. It is pretty disappointing if your set is incomplete or lacks finer details. 

Following are the different ships and boats made into model building kits. 

  • Pirate ships 
  • Submarines 
  • Age of sail ships 
  • Post-WWII Warships 
  • Civilian ships 
  • Carriers 
  • WWI ships 
  • Civilian work boats 
  • WW2 warships 
  • PT boat kits 
  • Pleasure Craft 
  • Coast Guard 

Different Levels of Boat Model Building Kits 

Boat model building Kits come in difficulty levels from one to six – with one being the easiest and six being the most difficult. Each of these kits has a detailed manual instruction booklet illustrated with drawings to help the builders. 

Skill level 1 
  • Best for beginners 
  • No experience required 
  • Snap together models 
  • Seldom require the use of simple hand tools 
  • Best for ages ten and above
Skill level 2
  • A little expertise comes in handy for this level 
  • A little bit of gluing or the use of simple hand tools might be required 
  • Recommended for children 12 years and above 
Skill level 3
  • Experience is a must
  • These kits may require a little fabricating of the wood, plastic, or metal
  • Reading detailed instructions and comprehending the illustrations is a must 
  • Best for ages 14 and older under adult supervision 
Skill level 4
  • Experience with a level 3 boat modeling kit is a must 
  • It requires hand tools to shape the parts and mold them 
  • Best for ages 14 and above under adult supervision
Skill level 5
  • Experience in model building kits with skill level 4 is a must
  • Involves extensive use of hand tools
Skill level 6
  • It is the most challenging level of boat model building kit 
  • Requires extensive experience and patience 
  • It might take months to build 

Which Materials to Prefer When Buying Boat Model Building Kits?

Boat Model Building Kits

The wooden boat model building kits are made of solid wood, and most have two pieces attached to a vertical wooden seam placed on top of each other. Buying a wooden boat model ship lessens the carving required to make an accurate hull form.

On the other hand, plastic boat model building kits have become famous after World War II. It is usually made by injecting styrene or resin. Nevertheless, plastic boat model building kits are not pricey and primarily suitable for beginners (level 1 or 2). So, if you are a beginner and want to polish your model-building skills, a plastic kit is the one you should go for. 

Paper boat model building kits are also primarily common in Europe. These kits are preprinted and come in a great variety of scales. Paper boat model building kits are more manageable than the other materials. However, these are most apt for beginners who aim to practice on gaining experience before moving on to the more complex wooden or plastic kits. 

Note: For ease of buying, paper boat modeling kits are the ones to go for. Instead of boxes, these paper kits come in the form of a booklet that customers can buy online and print at home. 

Our Top Picks for Model Building Kits 

Where to Buy
Revell 85-0319 PT-109 Patrol Torpedo Boat
Revell of Germany 05210 RMS Titanic Plastic Model Kit
Revell Germany 05040 Battleship Bismarck Model Kit
HMS Victory Mid Size Ee Model Ship Wood
Scale 1/96 Laser-Cut Wooden Sailboat Model kit: The Harvey 1847 Ship Model


1. Revell 85-0319 PT-109 Patrol Torpedo Boat

Pros Cons
  • Worth the price 
  • Wide variety of models to choose from 
  • Glue or tools not included in the kit 

It is a plastic model ship-building kit corresponding to a skill level 5 expertise. It contains 146 parts and can be built by children ages 13 and above under adult supervision. This ship’s features include a two-part hull, a superbly detailed structure entailing interior cabins, and a 37mm anti-tank gun on the foredeck. 

It is scaled to 1:72, and all its parts have two paint schemes. You can choose between PT-109 with Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron 2, 2 August 1943, or PT-109 Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron 2, Tulagi Islands, South Pacific, August 1942. 

Some parts of this model kit might require glue and some hand tools. However, glue and tools are not included in the kit. It is one of the memorable Black Pearl’s most authentic boat model building kits.

2. Revell of Germany 05210 RMS Titanic Plastic Model Kit

Pros Cons
  • Detailed decks
  • Better than the previous versions of the model
  • LED lights do not mostly work

It is the hundredth anniversary kit of the great model kits developer company Revell. This 05210 RMS Titanic plastic model kit has everything a titanic lover dreams of. It entails a big hull with every bit of detail one can think of, impressive deck structures, lifeboats with davits, and even cargo hoists.

The details of the deck are carved with a wood plank. The kit also includes a display stand with waterslides decals. It is a newer and updated version of the previous models by the company. It has some unique features, but the LED lights on the boat do not mostly work.

3. Revell Germany 05040 Battleship Bismarck Model Kit

Pros Cons
  • Accurate replica of the historic battleship 
  • Glue included
  • Only for advanced builders  

It is one of the most detailed and accurate replicas of the original Battleship Bismarck of World War II. This boat modeling kit is primarily for the history fanatics who are enthusiastic about building a battleship that significantly made its mark in the history of America during the World War.

It is undoubtedly a difficult model with a skill level 5 or above, entailing 659 pieces, some of which require glue or hand tools to put together. All in all, it is a pretty fun and challenging boat model kit for advanced builders. 

4. HMS Victory Mid-Size Ee Model Ship Wood

Pros Cons
  • Extremely detailed replica of the historic battleship
  • Perfect gift for history fanatics
  • Not for beginners 
  • Adult supervision required 
  • Instructions are not very clear  

HMS Victory was the best British fighting vessel – about 227 feet long with 104 guns and 850 men on board. The whole kit resonates with an era of grandeur for British rule worldwide. It is a wooden kit made of high-grade wood pieces, such as western red cedar, mahogany, and rosewood.

The kit includes three decks and three strong metal rows of cannons on either side of the ship. A bowsprit is in the front with three huge masts securely connected with highly-advanced rigging and knots. The sails of this model ship are made of fine linen, and the anchors are made of metal. 

It is a perfect gift for someone who loves boat model building kits and prefers historic boats with detailed crafting. It is suitable for ages 14 and above. 

5. The Harvey 1847 Ship Model 

Pros Cons
  • Made with high-quality wood 
  • It comes with a display stand  
  • None

The Harvey 1847 is an incredibly realistic boat model kit of scale 1:96, made of high-quality balsa wood. All the parts in this kit are laser-cut, have defined shapes, and are molded beautifully. It has sails, masts, and a display stand. 

What can be more rewarding than building something with your hands and displaying it in your home? This Harvey 1847 Ship model building kit is the best choice for advanced builders as it does require some prior experience. It can become a great décor in your home or office or an excellent present for someone near and dear to you. 

Model Building as a Hobby

One of the best times people have in a day is the time they spend doing something for their selves. Model building kits give you a sense of accomplishment with an even greater sense of engaging your mind in the most exciting ways possible. 

Whether you want to spend your time doing something productive or indulge yourself in some creative work, model building is one of the best activities to go for.