Aircraft Kit Manufacturers, Ranked

The panel of judges for Tumbling are seemingly in agreement at 2010 British Trampoline Championships at the National Indoor Arena Birmingham.

On a whim, I decided it’d be fun to kick a hornet’s nest pit all the various kit manufacturers against each other, just to see where they come out. In a half-assed attempt to be somewhat scientific, 90% of the score is based on Accuracy, Detail, Engineering, Fit and Vitality (which is basically…activity…so Kinetic will rank higher there than, say, Dragon, who’s been pretty quiet the last few years). Each individual category is worth 18%.

The remaining 10% is split evenly between two miscellaneous areas – to address things like Revell and Italeri’s addictions to repops that border on fraud, or AMK being relatively new to the scene, or Great Wall Hobby responding very well to shape issues with their F-15B/D kit.

Anyway – want to see the full monty, GO HERE. And here’s the top 10:

  1. Tamiya (92.6)
  2. Wingnut Wings (92.1)
  3. AMK (85.7)
  4. HK Models (85.6)
  5. Great Wall Hobby (82.8)
  6. Hasegawa (80.3)
  7. Zoukei Mura (79.8)
  8. Trumpeter (78.3)
  9. Hobby Boss (78.3)
  10. Eduard (76.9)

*NOTE: Yeah yeah, I realized I’ve left a few off the list. Academy, Freedom Model Kits, etc…will address soon enough.


12 Comments Add yours

  1. Haggis says:

    Interesting that HK Models came so high when accuracy was one of the criteria. Just for that Mosquito alone I’d have them near the bottom. I know it’s only one kit in the range, and it’s very innovative but the range is small and that nose looks more like an egg plane than the real

    1. Doogs says:

      Accuracy was one of the criteria – not the only criteria. HK did indeed get dinged for accuracy, but they show strong in engineering and fit. The Mossie is also only one of the kits the make – the B-17 also has some problems, but I’ve heard no grousing of any kind about the Do 335, and the B-25 is quite good outside of a few small areas like the shape of the props.

  2. Guido Hopp says:

    That is an interesting ranking. I agree with alot of your observations, but I wonder GWH has such a low score on accuracy. Even lower than Zvesda…

  3. Rick says:

    Another innovative, thought provoking write up. Love it! You never disappoint.

  4. mostrich says:

    I’m with you in most points. In the last few years some new players sniffing on Tamiya’s back, but they all have to prove if they can hold the level over such a long time. Still no.1 in town.

  5. billweckel says:

    I fall pretty much right in line with your results although I don’t have kits from each of your top 10 (yet). I think Airfix should get an “honorable mention” for their apparent turnaround and offering some really well done kits at very low prices. I think of Eduard as an aftermarket company who happens to make kits, and probably hold their feet a little further from the fire than I would some of the Asian companies, which is neither logical nor fair of me now that I think about it.

  6. John says:

    Sorry, but Tamiya is very much over rated.

    There’s shape and accuracy issues with many of their kits: Tubby Wildcat, bloated N1K1-Ja George, Stormovik canopy, Storch needs a nose job, what are those raised rivets on the P-51 wing, ejector pin marks in ALL the wrong and hard to get at places on their F-16s. Definitely not 10/10. Sure Tamiya kits are engineered well for fit and assembly. Shake and bake as they say. Detail is sometimes – Meh. As for Vitality. Really? They release one 1/32 aircraft kit a year. In 1/48 the schedule is more like cicada insects. Where’s the follow up on the family of A6Ms?!?!?!?! They re-pop just as much as other companies but add some vehicles or new tooled corrections (Lancaster) and decal variants to brighten the mix. I haven’t purchased a new 1/48 Tamiya kit in almost a DECADE!!!

    You’re also a little unfair to Eduard. Eduard re-pops and repackages other’s kits in Limited Editions which sometimes add a shit-ton of after market items: Academy Phantom boxings with gorgeous Furball decals (I’m looking at you Rockin’ Rhinos), Hobbyboss F-14 Danger Zone filled with beautiful resin details. Yes some of the re-pops Eduard does from Hasegawa are thinner on aftermarket add ons, which is probably due to how they contract out to Hasegawa for the plastic. As for Eduard’s in house plastic kits. Yes they had a stumble with the Bf-109G, but they also have the greatest line up of 2nd and 3rd Generation MiG-21s and unparalleled late mark Spitfires. I dare you not to drool when opening their Aussie Eights Limited kit. They release new tooled 1/48 kits and their variants every year – Hellcats, Bf-110s, MiG-21 family, Spitfire Mk IX VII XVI, Bf-109G (retooled in 2016), Bf-109F (are coming) now retooled Fw-190A family (starting with A-3/4), soon the P-51B/C D/K family. Contrast all these releases with Tamiya’s yearly 1/32 scale release schedule and consistently inconsistent 1/48 new tool kits.

    As a result Tamiya comes down a few place Eduard exchanges places with some manufacturer further up the list.

    1. Eduard are not a manufacturer. They just borrow other’s kits – the ones people have stopped buying – then chuck in some hastily designed decals & after-market they have hanging around, slap on a ridiculous price and wow betide anybody who dares criticise.
      They even though their 1/48 109 kit – the premier, go-to, exemplar example – was great despite being it being a totally unique, market-leading 1/46 scale. They deserve a good shoeing. The fact that they want $150 for Hase’s P-47 with some AM & decals chucked in – oh, and a tiny poster – is further proof. The bloody cheek.

      1. John says:

        You should visit Eduard’s website. They’re celebrating 25 years in the business.

        Seems they’ve purchased a new tool making machine which they are using to pop out the new tooled Fw-190A-3/4. Kits will include very well researched Cartograph printed decals.


      2. Bruce says:

        Have you even looked st Eduardo catalogue Dean?
        Me110, spitfire Vlll/IX Serie, FW190 family, and the NEW 109’s , not to mention their beautiful line of WW1 models, oh and did I mention the Mig 21′ s as well , yes , they offer benoxings, but like the other poster stated, with plenty of extras . Even Tamiya and revell reboot other kits , using kits of a lot lower pedigree.
        Do some research before you post absurd statements like “Eduard is not a manufacturer “

  7. Ian Orford says:

    Emmm, Airfix? They have made such massive strides in the last couple of years and really do cater for the modeler who needs a low entry point into the hobby. Apart from the fact that they are producing some excellent kits. (?) And great content as usual 🙂

  8. I’d agree, but swap WNW & Tamiya around.

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