Citadel Painting Handle Review – Is It Worth Buying?

Games Workshop put out a very simple product recently, the Citadel Painting Handle. It was released at the same time as some other related painting products, like the water pot and painting mat. So, it seems obvious GW has decided to throw their hat in the hobby supply ring.

They’ve always had some hobby supply stuff, but historically it wasn’t great quality and/or they charged a premium for it. This time though, GW is releasing useful tools, of a good quality, and at a reasonable price. It’s crazy!

I’ll be honest, this will be a very short review. There’s not a lot of depth to discuss or fine details to go over. That being said, ‘ere we go!

Citadel Painting Handle

Let’s start with what Games Workshop has to say about it.

Making it much, much easier to hold your miniatures securely while painting them, allowing you to find the perfect angle with which to access the fiddly bits while avoiding the inevitable hand cramps that come when holding a base for a long time, the Citadel Painting handle has been designed for painters, by painters.

If features a spring-loaded clamp mechanism, which locks tightly onto 25mm, 32mm and 40mm round bases, as well as fitting 60x35mm oval bases.

Grasping the sturdy plastic handle rather than the base or miniature you’re painting means fewer smudgey mistakes from careless fingers and will help you improve your painting all round!

Painting holders have been around for awhile now. You can find some on Etsy, Kickstarter, etc. However, they all had a common problem in my opinion – unreliable model holding abilities. The ones I’ve seen rely on using blu tack to hold the model down, or some other temporary bonding. I don’t know about you, but I’m damn rough when it comes to painting models. So, I never bought any of the other holders.

Disclaimer – I never really looked for painting holders, so if some exist that do what the GW one does then I wasn’t aware.

Product Breakdown

Citadel Painting HandleThe spring loaded base holding ability of the Citadel painting handle was the selling point for me. I can hold the handle in any direction without fear of the model falling off. I can knock it over, the handle (and I have), and the model will remain in place. I’m seriously like a bull in a china shop with painting.

The size of the handle, and the shape, work really well. Your hand conforms around the handle easily and naturally.

Other than those things, the only other area is price. This was the most shocking part of the product for me – the reasonable price. You can buy handle for only $8. I know, right! I feel that this is one of the most reasonably priced products from Games Workshop.

I Don’t Need a Painting Holder!

This was something I thought for a while, though I was never adamant about it (obviously).

Here’s the thing, if you paint models at all then you can benefit from the painting handle. Have you ever damaged a model holding it? Maybe bent a sword or snapped off an antenna? How about rubbing off paint from handling the model? That’s what this eliminates.


Should you buy one? Hell yes, you should. If you’re like me and man-handle your models, and you don’t already own a painting handle, then buy this thing. It’s so worth it.

If you’re not convinced yet, here’s a video GW did for it.

  • I’m quite curious about this one and I’ll probably get one to try out, the biggest downside to me is how you mount the miniature, it will be hard to use for busts but it’s not made for busts so I can’t really complain lol plus the price point is much lower than almost all the alternatives.

    • The cheap price was a big selling point for me.

      I have seen some people doing interesting things to use the painting handle for things it wasn’t meant for. Like, I’ve seen people put a wire into the head of a model and then use the painting handle to hold the other end of the wire. The spring-loaded holder will hold almost anything, so you might be able to do something like that; not wire of course, but the idea.

  • Tyler Provick

    I mount miniatures on an empty M&M minis container which I’ve added weights to. I’ve used bluetack, hot glue and magnets to hold the miniatures. I currently prefer magnets because I can swap the miniature on and off but bluetack is the most secure. Much cheaper than the GW handle, I have 10 of them.

    • I have seen a lot of setups like that, and there’s no arguing that they’re cheaper.

      At the end of the day I’m lazy. I don’t have to play with blue tack, hot glue, magnets, etc. I slide this into the holder and done. It will stay in that holder FOREVER. I can swap in another model to the same holder in seconds. That means I don’t need more than one holder because it’s not a hassle to swap.

      I don’t mind spending a little, and $8 is a little, to get something that’s great for us lazy folk ;)

  • Zab

    Its fine, no better or worse than the old blutac + paint pot, it’s not a good as the rathcore holders though , but not everyone paints display level minis so not everyone needs a fancy mini holder like the rathcore ones, so for the price point its good.

    • There’s better ones out there, but for the price of the GW one – you can’t go wrong. Personally, I’ve never used one until I bought this, so it’s a great starter holder I feel.

  • Thanks for this review, I was fascinated by this holder. What about its balance? I mean, put it on a table with a miniature in is it going to make miniature less steady, due the heigher center of gravity (holder+miniature is higher than miniature)?
    And may I ask you if is it arranged in advance for bigger base miniature? And in this case the center of gravity with bigger and wider base and miniature?
    I know these are rather absurd questions, but I ‘ve thought this when I saw it the first time and now that you have one, I’m quite curious. I’m a bit bored by my corks+blue tack, old colours pots + blue tack and so on (except for priming).

    • It is surprisingly well balanced considering the design. I was also concerned it would tip over easy, but it doesn’t. The only time mine has fallen over it when I’ve hit it with my arm, but any holder would have fallen over in that case.

      It will work for 25mm, 32mm, 40mm, and 60x35mm bases. You don’t have to change anything to use it for different bases. I think that’s what you’re asking? All those base sizes work with it without having to do anything.

      • Thank you very much! I was wondering if you can guess the clamp is replaceable with a bigger one for bigger bases like the Primarchs’ ones or the Glottkin’s one. If no, no problem, the object is anyway cool. Now I have only to spend some month to decide to buy lol!

        • It doesn’t get changed; it’s the same clamp for all those base sizes. I’m wondering if they will come out with a bigger one later for things like Glotkin.

  • Siph

    I’m still not convinced it’s any better than my blob of blu tac on an empty paint pot handle I currently use… but at a fiver, I may well splash out if the need takes me ;)

    • Like you said, for €5 why not try it ;)

  • Thanks for the review Thor! Had no idea it has a spring loaded section for gripping the mini, that is pretty freaking cool!

    • Yeah, the spring loaded clamp was THE selling point for me.

  • Nick Thrower

    So, am I the only person that’s never considered that I might need a holder? Honestly never used one, not even the old blu tac and paint pot method, I just hold the mini by it’s base. Never had hand cramps as a result, only occasionally smudged a bit of paint but nothing serious.

    For me, it seems a solution to a problem I don’t have.

    • I feel like you’re an exception to the rule, but I could be wrong about that.

      For me it’s just more ergonomic, and that’s something I value a lot. I’m a programmer, I type all day long, and have always used an ergonomic keyboard. Normal keyboards have me cramp up in no time.

      Same with painting, my hands will feel it after a while, and I’m certainly not getting younger!

  • Honestly hadn’t considered getting one but at least you gave a good opinion on one. Cheers for that

    • It’s not something people “need”, but it’s useful and affordable anyway.

  • Is the handle strong enough to hold the model if you do some green stuff sculpting?

    • Very much so. The only way the model will come out of the handle is if you want it to. It has a very strong grip.

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