Kit prices

As someone that re-entered the hobby just a few short years ago I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of manufacturers and pricing. I built Tamiya when I was young and glad to dive back into them again and I find the price point more than fair. I recently dove into one of the Dragon kits I bought which was maybe $20.00 more than the average Tamiya kit, first one of theirs I started and wow. The sheer parts count (not counting the tracks) is amazing, I think I spent 20 minutes cutting cleaning and installing 6 hinge halfs for the engine covers on a Stug III last night. I’m not here to argue over-engineering and accuracy but I found myself enjoying it and looking at the spues and parts remaining and realzing I have plenty of hours ahead of me. The detail is incredible and I for one think I got a wonderful value for the price I paid at the LHS. It still cheaper than my hobby and fishing which have higher upfront costs but I get the return in the hours of peace and quiet when afield.

In the end, I buy what I can afford, treat myself accordingly and don’t think its over-priced versus any of my other interests. The old saying “the only difference between a man and his boy is the price of the toys”. You wont find any $100 plus price kits in my stash, thats a personal limit but what I’m getting for 40-80 is to me satisfying and so I’ll partcipate in the market at the level I’m comfortable at.


@MontanaHunter : two $ 60 kits cost just as much as one single $ 120 kit :wink:

but 3 kits at $ 50 cost more than one $ 130 kit :wink:

About old price lists comparing kits back in 1973 with today:
In 1971, your burger cost an average of $0.30.
In 2018, your burger costs an average of $2.64
That Flak 88 increased by a factor 4.35 but the burger increased by a factor 8.8,
how about that price hike? The burger business is still thriving despite the enormous
increase in sales price. One US dollar from 1973 is the equivalent of $6 today.
Burgers have increased more than inflation, the Tamiya Flak has increased less than the inflation.
Maybe the burger is bigger today but the average tank kit is also a LOT “better” than what Tamiya and Italeri sold back in 1973.


This is a good perspective and important to keep in mind that kit quality has increased exponentially while prices haven’t really. Some of the non big name up an coming brands have great kits at affordable prices.

For instance the Miniart interior kits are awesome and run around $60

One other thing to consider is the Covid affect. I have seen prices climb steadily through some outlets as more people are at home and either manufacturing is slowed or demand has increased. Just like lumber prices, demand for products is driving prices up as supply may not be able to keep up or manufacturers simply see that they can get a higher price.

Here’s a little more perspective on prices. This is a menu from a restaurant I used to go to as a teen in the early 70s:

In the original poster’s defense, I just stumbled across the new Tamiya Puma and was shocked to see it was listed at $106 on Amazon. What would justify such a high cost? It sure looked like a re-boxed Italeri kit…

As a couple others mentioned, I view prices as a cost per time spent ratio. Same way I justify buying books too. Certainly get more bang for your buck than eating out or boozing.

That said I do hesitate on those $100+ kits for some reason. Typically the parts count and complexity is high enough where the ratio is the same as a cheaper and smaller kit, but something holds me back. Meanwhile I can hit up the lumberyard and drop hundreds on trim without blinking an eye.

1 Like

Tamiya in my opinion while nice kits are inflated in price due to brand name. The elefant kit I bought was more expensive then some much nicer kits from less known companies (not that the elefant is bad)

You may want to check the price at HobbyLink Japan (I don’t think they are the cheapest vendor either…)

Someone using Amazon is trying to turn a profit on a hard to find kit.
You can get the Italeri version from an ebay-seller in Canada for less than $20 US + shipping

If I offered the old Tamiya Willys Jeep on Amazon for $200 US I sincerely hope that nobody would be stupid enough to buy it. If they do buy it, God save their simple souls, I would make a tidy profit :wink:

1 Like

I returned to this hobby this year after 35-40 years. Back then I built Airfix, Revell, Italeri and an occasional Tamiya, as Tamiya was the more expensive and better brand back than. Nowadays Tamiya is considered a starters brand and cheaper than AFV, Meng and such. Well, in Holland at my local shop it is.
So I started to search the internet and ended upwith 8 LAV25’s by Esci and Italeri for 120 euro in total, including 4 BlackDog stowage kits. I also got 3 Strykers, Dragon and Trumpeteer, for 35 euro each. Still a lot cheaper than byuing them in my local shop.
Offcourse there is a difference in quality and amount of parts, but I get the same amount of fun from building those 100 parts LAV’s as someone else from building a tank with a 200 parts track.
Point is, you can make this hobby as expensive as you want, if you want more quality you pay more. And yes, sometimes you come across something thats outragedly priced, but no one is forcing you to buy that.


No concern for “The Future of The Scale Model Hobby” The Pacific Rim has it covered. (Japan, China, South Korea, etc). They are why the hobby thrives and grows.

As for kit prices, with a decent stash of kits in hand, they are really irrelevant. I’m willing to buy new kits on occasion. Shopping around its possible to find better prices.

However, an honest accounting of kit plus aftermarket goodies like Aber barrel, PE & Fruil tracks means if the kit has all the goodies $100 is within reason on a few subjects of special interest to me.

Normally, if a kit is over $50 I will pass on it.

I guess I can also justify buying some stupidly expensive kits, such as my HKM B-17G or my Perfect Grade Millennium Falcon, because I don’t really buy aftermarket stuff so the money not spent on masks, stowage, resin upgrades, etc., gets pumped into kits. I also was lucky enough to hit Dragon just as their U.S. warehouse had its big moving sale and I was getting kits for 50% off or more until I had one of every German kit still in stock. I also sold my entire collection of pre-built 21st Century Toys 1/32 stuff and used the money to replace them with their kit counterparts. So all in all, I haven’t really spent that much on this hobby; all I did was swap one hobby for another.

1 Like

Head or body…? :wink:

What something can be found listed for…


and what something actually sells for, are not necessarily synonymous.


I don’t believe that the hobby is dying in Europe, Asia, Russia, etc., especially overseas. In fact, I think that it’s thriving as I am seeing more and more kits being made that I want, and the timeline for modern military kits is almost to 2021 in terms of gear and technology. It’s not there yet as modern military advancements outpace the hobby representation, but it’s close enough.

Check to see where your kits are made from. In the USA, we’re downloading 3D files for printed kits and painting—these don’t need a hobby shop anymore unless one opens one to take orders for 3D printed kits to pick up. Shapeways doesn’t have a Brick and Mortar store.

I often equate the price of a kit to how good, complex, rare, and large it is. Scale and size does matter and the larger a kit is, the more expensive it should be.

I rarely buy from eBay anymore as most of those are Chinese recasts and the quality is sketchy at best. I often buy direct from the source, and even shipping is justified compared to buying from the USA online hobby retailer that doesn’t sell resin figure kits.

Remember, model and figure kits have PERSONAL VALUE, and you should decide how much you want the kit to pay for it. That should always be on your dreaming and imagining mind—what do you want the kit for? How are you going to display it? How is it going to look built? That should help you decide on payment and costs and desire. Dream it finished and see if you still want it. If you do, do you want to pay the price (factoring in spouse, budget, time, fun, etc.)?

If someone were to take your kits, they’re worthless to them because they’re still in pieces. Kits require PERSONAL SKILL, time, effort, and supplies to assemble. That is why I sign all my built kits now; they’re mine. I don’t intend to throw them away. They’re time capsules of history and life.

As a modeler once said, completed kits are like art. One can’t really place a price on them because they’re custom to the entire world. Most viewers have no idea how many parts and how complex building kits are. To them, they might think that completed kits are plastic diecast toys, and that you just painted a LEGO assembly—not panels and tiny parts and decals that you have to cut, file, sand, glue, prime, paint, and weather.

If cost is a factor, try 3D printed kits or wargaming that are cheaper. Shipping costs also factor into kit prices.

Finally, I also think that kit prices are affected by the artists’ skills. Many of our kit suppliers are artists in their prime or near retirement. Their skills have increased and they’re at the stage were they command more salary because they’re experts in design. They don’t design and produce junk anymore.

Oh, and caveat…most online sellers have sales once or twice a year, usually during the Summer and especially after American Thanksgiving in November. Kits usually go on sale in December, but not all online hobby shops have sales. HobbyEasy and LuckyModels in Hong Kong don’t have sales—I asked.

1 Like

A tale of three Lightnings.
Academy P 38 - $ 23.
Hasegawa P 38 - $ 44.
Tamiya. P 38 - $ 64.
All prices from same internet retailer in USA - all in stock.
Having recently completed the Tamiya version I can unequivocally state that it was the most enjoyable plastic aircraft model I have ever built - and I have been doing it for 60+ years. Knowing what I know now I would HAPPILY pay north of $ 100 for it.
The value of something is different for each of us and the factors may be more complex than just parts count , accuracy, etc.
If it were legally and morally acceptable, which would you pay more for - an evening with Rosie O’Donnell or an evening with Sofia Vergara ?
They are both women after all…


I will say this, when I was 11 to 18 years old I bought Tamiya kits and they were the expensive ones of the day. I paid with my own money so it couldn’t have been that expensive. I got a $5.00 allowence every two weeks. I don’t know if most kids that age today can buy the current expensive kits today with their own money on a regular basis.


How much did you pay for a burger or a ticket to the movies back in those days?

1 Like

That, plus there’s this…

"On average , kids in the U.S. get $30 per week, or roughly $120 per month, the survey found."

It’s almost like everything changes together over time, cost of goods and pay rates…

They could if they wanted to,they download expensive video games,have the latest gaming system,latest smartphone,newest fancy sneakers.How do they afford them ? Parents.
If expensive models were their thing,the parents would buy them too for them.

Diffrent world now from our $5 allowances

1 Like