Best Visible Engine Model Kits
#1. Haynes V8 Engine Kit
This is a great model kit if you are an intermediate to an advanced modeler. This is a working model of a dual overhead cam V8 engine that is easily assembled with over 100 parts. When assembled the V8 engine model does an excellent job illustrating how a combustion engine works.
Haynes has done an excellent job creating a see-through model of a V8 engine that does its job perfectly displaying all the pistons, crankshaft, timing sprockets, valves, and springs in action. The kit includes an ignition system composed of a battery, two distributors, and eight LED spark plugs to illustrate the combustion in each stroke. The manual is well written with lots of illustrations making it easy to follow.
The recommended age for this kit is 14+ due to the complexity and number of parts, but with parental guidance, I’m sure younger kids will love it too. Also as adults, we find it to be a fun few hours spent building it.
Alternative: Playz V8 Engine
#2. Revell V-8 Engine Kit
This 1:4 scale V8 engine kit from Revell received the Parents Choice Award in 2008 and a Silver Honor in 1995 from Doing & Learning Toys. With over 300 parts it will give you something to do for a couple of enjoyable hours.
The engine is well made and does a great job illustrating how a combustion engine works with all the moving parts. The hand crank that operates the pistons, camshaft rocker arms, and valves makes it very easy to study each part in detail.
The model gives you a great feeling of satisfaction when built together with your child. You will have lots to discuss during the build and your child won’t stop talking about it to his/her friends for days. And I’ll tell ya, everybody wants one cause it’s so cool!
#3. BMW R/90-S Flat Twin Airhead Engine Model Kit
The 1:2 scale BMW R90 S Boxer engine is a really cool build. A 200 part kit transparent working model of the 1973 flat-twin classic. When the R90S first came on the market it was one of the fastest series production motorcycles of its time. This legendary BMW engine still fascinates fans all over the world.
The engine is fairly easy to stick and screw together without any adhesive. A special highlight is the true-to-life five-speed gearbox. The engine can be assembled in about three hours and is not suitable for children under 14 years.
This kit is a must for R90s enthusiasts!
#4. Discovery 4-stroke Engine Kit
This 4-stroke engine kit from Discovery is primarily made for children. Although it says from 8 years, we recommend being at least 12 years and with parental guidance since it is quite a few steps and a lot of snapping, tightening screws, and checking to make sure everything works in the end. With that said, it still is a good model for teaching children how a gasoline combustion engine works.
The kit comes with a battery pack that will make the engine come alive. Watch the pistons, belts, and valves move around. It will spark your child’s creativity and you will have a great time discussing the works of an engine.
#5. Smithsonian 4-cylinder Engine Kit
This somewhat simpler model of a 4-stroke engine (with about 100 parts) from Smithsonian (previously sold by Haynes), is still a good choice if you love engines and mechanics. The kit will be great fun to build even as an adult.
All the required tools are included and no glue is needed. The kit also includes an electric motor and a built-in sound chip that reproduce the sound of an engine starting.
It will make a great showcase on your desk or your child’s “show and tell” at school.