Motorcycle Model Kits You Can Assemble And Paint Yourself

If you can’t afford your dream bike, buy a realistic model of it instead.

Building plastic model kits was a staple of kids’—and some dads’ too—weekends in the 1960s. But is it still? It can be with the wide array of motorcycle model kits currently available. From cruisers to classic bikes, and from road burners to superbikes, just about every motorcycle niche is represented by model manufacturers. Like a full-size custom bike, you can build them quick and dirty or slow and precise; it’s your choice. For the most visual impact, choose a larger-scale kit. As well, with models you often get what you pay for when it comes to price. And remember, the paint schemes shown on the boxes are just a guideline; it’s your model, so you decide how to paint it! Here are three kits we like.

Tamiya 1982 Honda CB1100R

Intended for model builders age 14 and older, Tamiya’s detailed 1982 CB1100R is a tribute to Honda’s early superbikes.Amazon

This Honda CB1100R from Tamiya is a four-cylinder blast back to the 1980s. Importantly, this 1:12-scale plastic model is not a prebuilt replica, but instead a kit; tools, paints, and so on are required but not supplied. The model is suggested for ages 14 and above, meaning that it’s a fairly complicated and sophisticated kit with multiple parts. To the motorcycle in question: For 1982, Honda’s CB1100R was an air-cooled, inline-four superbike with huge performance. Its dominance was short-lived, though, as within months the V-4-powered VF series arrived.

Hasegawa 2001 Honda NSR250 Daijiro Kato

A stirring 1/12th-scale replica of former MotoGP star Daijiro Kato’s Honda NSR250, this Hasegawa model offers a premium-build experience.Amazon

Replicating the late Daijiro Kato’s championship-winning Honda NSR250 in 1:12 scale, this kit looks great and will be inspiring to build. Naturally, as is typical for plastic models, the kit requires the appropriate cement and paint (not included) for assembly and will turn out all the better for the time and care put into these tasks. In this way, this model and a real racebike share the same reality: Precise assembly nets a better-finished result. Happily, the original two-stroke that flew around a racetrack and the scale model adorning your desk both inspire the same dream of roadracing flight.

MPC Honda Trail 70

This plastic kit is manufactured in a generous 1:8 scale, so even though the real Honda Trail 70 is small, the model is good-sized.Amazon

We’re into challenges, so here’s a challenge question: Who did not want a Honda Trail 70 as a kid? No one that we can think of! And that’s exactly why this affordable MPC model makes so much sense. If you were there for bell bottoms, Laugh-In, and Watergate, this plastic model kit will bring a smile to your face. And if you weren’t, building it and displaying it on the breakfast table where you can stare at it every morning surely will. The 1:8-scale model is generously large, so a strong aesthetic impact is baked into the kit. It’s intended for ages 10 and older.