15 Seriously Cool Things to Build in 2017

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One of the most fulfilling hobbies kids, teenagers, and adults can ever have is model-building. Everything around us can be built from the ground up, albeit in smaller scale versions of the actual thing. Regardless, it’s the closest thing we could ever get to experience the actual process of building these everyday iconic objects. This 2017, model builders will continue to harness their passion with the 15 seriously cool things to build we have in store for you.

15 Cool Things You Can Build In 2017

Shelby Cobra 427 Plastic Model Kit by Revell Monogram

Shelby Cobra 427 Plastic Model Kit

Age Range: At least 12 years old

One of the most iconic automobiles ever built was the 1965 Shelby Cobra 427. In fact it is one of the most famous grand touring cars ever that even custom builders have created versions of it in great numbers. Now, model builders can get their hands on the Shelby Cobra 427 Plastic Model Kit and begin creating their very own venomous incarnation of this famous touring classic. With a scale of 1:24, the kit should make for an interesting work of art in your display cabinet with its beautiful details from its powerful 427 engine and its signature super-sleek car frame that has become synonymous with this car. Mind you, the kit is not for young kids as the level of precision putting up the different pieces together requires skilled hands and a very keen eye for detail. Painting the different parts and gluing them together also requires steady hands. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a mediocre quality model kit. The best approach?

What We Like about It – The level of realism is simply astounding. We’re pretty sure if Caroll Shelby were still alive, he’d be very proud of this model kit, too.

Star Wars Millennium Falcon Model Kit by Star Wars

Star Wars Millennium Falcon Model Kit

Age Range: At least 8 years old

In the world of Star Wars, nothing can be more iconic than the Millennium Falcon. For die-hard Star Wars fans, the Star Wars Millennium Falcon Model Kit should come as an excellent addition to their galactic collection. Unlike other model building kits we have in this list, the different components of this kit can be easily snapped together without the need for modelling glue. All the different parts have also been pre-decorated and pre-colored so there’s no need for further detailing. This makes it an ideal starter pack for kids to try their hands on model building. There are plenty of movable parts to simulate the real thing. It even comes with Han Solo and Chewbacca mini figures. You’ll also get the optional landing gear which is perfect for simulated landings.

What We Like about It – This is a great introductory kit to children who are still new to the word of model assembling. With easy to follow instructions, kids will surely have fun building a galactic icon.

P-51D Mustang 1:48 by Revell

P-51D Mustang 1:48

Age Range: At least 10 years old

In the Second World War, different fighter planes lorded the skies over Europe and the Pacific campaigns. While each one had its own unique strengths and weaknesses, nothing can come close to the dogfighting superiority of the P-51D Mustang. Hobbyists can now build their very own Mustang and relive the glory of this piston-enginedsuperfighter. The kit comes with 49 fully molded pieces that you’ll have to assemble and then finish with the appropriate modeling paint. The canopy is strikingly realistic. So are the machine gun access on the wings and the engine panel that can also be lifted off. This is one magnificent kit for hobbyists who require a more challenging model to build.

What We Like about It – The only thing that’s missing in this Mustang is the ability to fly. Other than that, it is a superb replica of a classic.

100 Building Ideas by K’Nex

100 Building Ideas

Age Range: At least 7 years old

If you don’t like to be limited to the creation of a single model and you’d like your child to unleash his or her creativity, then you’d need the 863-piece 100 Building Ideas from K’Nex. Just look at it as a LEGO kit but with a slightly different set of construction pieces. From ambulances to airships to the Eiffel Tower and 97 other possibilities, the K’Nex set is one of the best gifts you can ever give to a child as it strongly encourages creativity and imagination. In the initial stages of play, your kid will find the instructional booklet to be highly valuable. However, once he or she gets the hang of it, who knows what else he or she will build next?

What We Like about It – This is the perfect tool for harnessing the cognitive potential of any child. They’ll be able to use their motor skills, their spatial intelligence, and their problem solving capabilities. Best of all, their creativity will also skyrocket.

Metal Earth Apollo Lunar Module 3D Metal Model Kit by Fascinations

Metal Earth Apollo Lunar Module 3D Metal Model Kit

Age Range: At least 14 years old

Landing man on the moon has been one of the most historic events of the 19th century. Your child can now build a miniature replica of the lunar module that landed on the surface of the moon on that fateful day of the 20th of July 1969. Let your child assemble prefabricated steel sheets to complete a 3D model of the actual Eagle with the Metal Earth Apollo Lunar Module 3D Metal Model Kit. The realism of the kit once assembled will leave you in awe of human ingenuity and perseverance to reach the heavens. The pieces easily snap onto place so your kid will no longer need any adhesive devices.

What We Like about It – With an easy-to-follow guidebook, your kid will now have a piece of history right in his or her bedroom. It can also serve as an excellent tool for augmenting classroom discussions on astronomy and especially the lunar landings.

Erector Multimodels Super Construction Set by Meccano

Erector Multimodels Super Construction Set

Age Range: At least 8 years old

The Meccano Erector Multimodels Super Construction Set is one unique construction play set that is composed of more than 640 snap-on parts complete with a 6-volt motor to provide power to your kid’s creations. The kit comes with an instruction guide on how to build 25 different model projects. The best part of such kits is the interchangeability of the different components. This is excellent for encouraging your child to think out of the box. He or she doesn’t really need to limit his or her creativity to the different projects illustrated in the guide. It will be up to your child to stir his or her imagination to create something entirely new.

What We Like about It – The Meccano, like the K’Nex, is a great tool for stimulating creativity among children. The ease of putting the different pieces together is also a welcome feature especially for children who are only beginning to assemble more complicated models.

1/4 Visible V8 Engine Plastic Model Kit by Revell

1/4 Visible V8 Engine Plastic Model Kit

Age Range: At least 8 years old

The American muscle cars are well-known for their signature engines, the V8. If you have a child who happens to be fascinated with the V8 engine, why not give him or her the ¼ Visible V8 Engine Plastic Model Kit. Your kid will have a serious time putting all the pieces together. It comes with a display stand so your child can proudly show off his or her creation upon completion. The model kit comes with vinyl ignition wires, hand crank, pistons, and even a rubber fan belt. Your kid will be using the screwdriver that comes with the kit in constructing this monster engine.

What We Like about It – It’s a great tool for teaching young kids about one of the most famous engines in the world. It might as well stimulate their interest in engine mechanics.

Star Wars R2D2 Model Kit Metal Earth Fascinations by Fascinations

Star Wars R2D2 Model Kit Metal Earth Fascinations

Age Range: At least 14 years old

There are only two robots in the Star Wars franchise that children of all ages absolutely love: R2D2 and C3PO. For younger kids, they can add BB8 to the list. However, for us adults, nothing can match the fierce loyalty of R2D2 to Luke Skywalker. As such, Star Wars fanatics will rejoice with the introduction of the Star Wars R2D2 Model Kit Metal Earth Fascinations. They now can build their very own R2D2 comprising of laser-cut metal earth sheets to produce a stunning 3D replica of the well-loved robot.

What We Like about It – The ease of assembly makes it ideal for kids. As there are no gluing or soldering involved, it should be relatively easy even for a 10-year old.

Metals Batman v Superman 1:24 Batmobile Model Kit by Jada

Metals Batman v Superman 1:24 Batmobile Model Kit

Age Range: 8 to 15 years old

The Batmobile featured in the Batman v Superman movie is simply more bat-like than all of its predecessors. It nevertheless combined some of the unique features of prior models such as the pointed trims of the 60s model and the tank-like bulk and armor of the Dark Knight model. In case you want your child to relive the scenes in the movie, then The Metals Batman v Superman Batmobile Model Kit is the one to get. This die-cast model comes with pre-painted parts so all your child has to do is to put them together. The Batmobile’s doors open like the real thing and features a very detailed interior. The only thing needed now is Batman himself to drive it.

What We Like about It – The sleek lines and muscular stance of this version of the Batmobile is simply amazing. Personally, we wouldn’t want to play with it as it is best displayed for everyone to see. But that’s just us.

Snap Circuits Jr. SC-100 Electronics Discovery Kit by Elenco

Snap Circuits Jr. SC-100 Electronics Discovery Kit

Age Range: 8 to 15 years old

In a world where almost everything is run on electricity, it pays to teach our kids some of the fundamentals of electronics. This is what the Snap Circuits Jr. SC-100 Electronics Discovery Kit aims to do. With about 100 electrical projects to keep your child busy, the Snap Circuits is a great way to enhance understanding of electrical concepts. Let your child build his or her very own electronic device with these 30-plus different snap-on parts.

What We Like about It – The Snap Circuits provides an excellent opportunity for kids to try their hands in building a variety of electronic devices even if these are very simple ones.

11-in-1 Programmable Robot Kit by Robolink

11-in-1 Programmable Robot Kit

Age Range: At least 9 years old

For kids who would like to build their very first robot, the Robolink 11-in-1 Programmable Robot Kit should be an excellent starter kit. It comes with a superb instructional material that guides children on how to build and program 11 different robots. The system has been lauded as a great learning resource for those who would like to get a headstart with Arduino programming. The kit comes with very easy to assemble parts that don’t require any form of gluing or even soldering. At least, your kid’s fascination with robotics will only grow deeper.

What We Like about It – Robolink provides a wonderful opportunity for children to learn the basics of programming and robotics. This makes for a good learning experience for science and technology subjects.

Organic Chemistry Molecular Model Student Set by Model Molecular

Organic Chemistry Molecular Model Student Set

Age Range: At least 14 years old

One of the most challenging concepts to understand in school is chemistry. This is because it is very difficult to visualize how atoms interact with one another to create a compound of molecules. The Organic Chemistry Molecular Model Student Set is the perfect tool to help your child understand chemical bonds, structures, and functional groups. With the color-coded plastic atoms, your child will learn the basic configuration of carbohydrates, proteins, and even fats. There’s no better way to learn chemistry than to actually build these chemical structures with your own hands.

What We Like about It – This model kit is perfect for understanding the fundamental concepts of organic chemistry. It makes for an excellent teaching tool as well.

69 Camaro Z/28 1:25 by Revell

69 Camaro Z/28 1:25

Age Range: 8 to 11 years old

While this is not the old Camaro that Bumblebee first morphed into, the 69 Camaro Z/28 is a classic road racing beauty with its heavy-duty radiator, special suspension, and quick-ratio steering. With its wide stance, the 69 Camaro Z/28 1:25 model kit provides car model aficionados one more reason to expand their collection. The kit comes with chrome-plated parts, bucket seats, and a realistic center console that can be assembled into its polystyrene plastic molded body in under 3 minutes. Waterslide decals are already included in the kit so your kid will have no issues designing this Chevy.

What We Like about It – It’s realistic and very easy to assemble. Perfect for beginning young model builders.

HG Gundam Gold Frame Astray Amatu Mina Model Kit 1:144 by Bandai Hobby

HG Gundam Gold Frame Astray Amatu Mina Model Kit 1:144

Range: 15 to 16 years old

For the fans of the Anime series Gundam, the HG Gundam Gold Frame Astray Amatu Mina Model Kit is one marvelous looking model once completed. All of the different pieces are already pre-styled so you don’t need to worry about extensive detailing anymore. Of course, your child has the option to apply his or her very own personal touches to this mighty robot. The pieces snaps shut together requiring absolutely no glue at all.

What We Like about It – Gundam is one of the most technically-difficult robot characters to build. However, once completed, the joys of being able to complete the project will be indescribable.

Episode VII First Order Special Forces TIE Fighter Building Kit by Revell 

Episode VII First Order Special Forces TIE Fighter Building Kit

Age Range: At least 8 years old

Let your child create the TIE Fighter that Finn and Poe Dameron used to escape from the First Order in the movie Star Wars The Force Awakens with the Episode VII First Order Special Forces TIE Fighter Building Kit. The package comes with all the different parts that will help your child build this phenomenal space fighter complete with action sounds.

What We Like about It – It’s perfect for beginners as it doesn’t require any tools nor glue for assembly nor paint for finishing.

How We Chose the Model Kits in Our List

There are two very important things we had to consider when we came up with this list. First was the design of the model itself. We wanted the object to be as close or as real to the original object that it is designed to represent. For instance, the Shelby Cobra 427 that we had in this list was chosen primarily for its realism down to the smallest detail. This is to simulate the real process of creating these things from scratch so that it will give pure joy to the builder.

However, we also had to take note of the recommended age for the model kit. There are certain building models that are superbly realistic but can only be achieved by teenagers and adults, definitely not young children. This comprised our second parameter which is the age or developmental appropriateness of the kit. It should be challenging enough to motivate the builder but not too difficult so as not to frustrate him or her. This is important especially among children whose patience is not really a virtue just yet. Give them something very difficult and they’ll get frustrated. Give them something very easy and they lose interest for the simple fact that there’s no challenge for them. This is where we spent the most time deliberating in which to include. Additionally, we knew we had to include at least one model building kit for each age group to provide adequate representation across the lifespan.

Based on these two parameters came the other considerations in our search. Model building typically involves a lot of concentration and focus especially in fixing the different parts together. It is thus important that the component parts are appropriate for the age recommended by the manufacturer. Customer satisfaction ratings were also considered. We guessed if the product has an excellent reception among a number of consumers, especially hobbyists, then we’re somehow assured that you’ll love it, too.

Model Kits, Building Toys, and Kids’ Development

We all know that toys are very important in children’s development. Different playthings often provide different developmental benefits. For building and construction play sets, the main benefit is in the stimulation of children’s creativity. While it is true that these toys often come with instructional guides on how to build the set, sooner or later, children will realize that they can actually piece the different components together to come up with an entirely different creation. One classic example of this is the LEGO building play set. Each set comes as a model but when combined with other model sets, children are able to create something totally new. This is the essence of creativity.

Part and parcel of creativity is the development of children’s problem solving capabilities. They begin by forming relationships in the what-if manner. They start experimenting with different blocks to form a different structure. They operate on the “what if I put this block over here and add another piece like this, what will I get?” kind of thinking. For us adults, this may seem like a superficial way of trying out things. In reality, it is a very rudimentary form of problem solving. Kids are presented with an issue and they attempt to resolve this issue by trial and error. Most of us know this very well.

For young children, playing with model kits and building toys also help enhance their spatial reasoning as well as their understanding of causal relationships. These activities also help them master their fine motor skills. For older children, these toys can help them learn scientific principles that may otherwise be a bit difficult to understand when listening to classroom instruction alone.

There are many other benefits of these types of toys to children’s development. Suffice it to say, it’s one of the most beneficial types of toys we can ever give to children.

The Bottom Line

Model building kits are a favorite hobby of many. Help your kid learn the basics of model building and help him or her develop a lot better with our 15 seriously cool things to build in 2017.

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