Games Workshop put out a very simple product recently, the Citadel Painting Handle. If you’re unsure what it is, it’s a miniature painting grip to hold your model while you paint.
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!
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 grips 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 like pins. 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 miniature painting grips.
The other thing with the painting grips I considered buying was the price. Most of them are 3-4 times the cost of the Citadel Handle. That’s a fair bit of money for a holder when you would need a few to do batch painting, as taking a model off and on with blu tack isn’t ideal.
Honestly, I just never found one before this that had everything I wanted and wasn’t extremely expensive.
Let me break down the various elements of the handle and my thoughts on them.
Spring-loaded Base Holder
The 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 (and I have – a lot), and the model will remain in place. I’m seriously like a bull in a china shop with painting.
The other thing I really like about the spring-loaded holder is that you can easily swap models in and out for batch painting. I don’t have to buy 5-6 handles to work on squads. I just quickly change out the model being worked on. That beats the hell out of blu tack in my opinion.
Now, having a few extra painting handles isn’t a bad idea though. While you can get away with one, even for batch painting, having a few others will certainly help speed things along a bit.
In fact, I need to remember to buy a few more the next time I’m in my FLGS…
Grip & Construction
The size of the handle, and the shape, work really well. Your hand conforms around the handle easily and naturally. It’s not too big that it’s awkward to hold, and it’s not so small that your hand will cramp. I think it’s the ideal size, for me anyway.
The Citadel Painting Handle is made of a hard plastic, as you would expect. The thing is sturdy. As I said, I’m rough on my hobby tools, and this thing is holding up very well.
A neat feature is that the top clamp/base holder unscrews. The screw holding it on is an 1/8″ screw, which is a common size for cameras. So, you could set your camera on this if you need a holder.
My thought is that eventually Games Workshop will create some alternative base holders for the top. They probably won’t be able to go much bigger than they have with this, not with the grip size, but maybe a little.
Who knows, maybe they have another idea entirely for things to attach to the top. We’ll see.
Other than those things, the only other area is price. This was the most shocking part of the product for me – the reasonable price! This may seriously be the best priced product that Games Workshop has ever put out.
Plus, as I was saying above, you really only need one of these, so it’s money well spent if you ask me.
Hell, you could buy three of these for the price of one of the other grips out there.
I Don’t Need a Miniature Painting Grip!
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.
The big thing for me is not rubbing off paint when using the handle. I always handled my models too much, and without fail I would wipe off thin layers like highlights. I would have to save the area my finger rested on to be painted last to avoid that issue. No longer a problem!
Also, I find the grip on this handle to be ergonomic. Some painting grips will give you a finger rest above the model. It’s a neat idea as it’s how many of us hold models when not using a grip. However, for me I find it cramps my hands a bit over time.
However, with the Citadel Painting Handle you are grabbing around the handle in a more natural grip, which doesn’t cramp up my hand like the other posture does. It just feels more natural I guess.
A little sidenote, the handle works very well for priming miniatures as well. I know a lot of painters who do this because it’s easy to hold the model and spray it at all angles. With the spring-loaded base holder you know it’s not going to fall off on you.
Of course, you could do the same for sealing/varnishing sessions if you’re someone who does that as they paint to save progress.
Oh, it also works extremely well for sculpting. Again, that spring-loaded holding power is amazing here. If you’ve done any sculpting then you know how hard you have to press at times. Well, I haven’t had a miniature fall off while I’ve done sculpting yet.
Also, by sculpting using a grip, I don’t have to touch the model and in turn fingerprint, or otherwise mess up, the sculpting work I’ve done. Trust me, I did that a lot before using the Citadel Painting Handle.
Citadel Painting Handle XL!
Well, the handle has been so popular, plus we needed this, Citadel has put out an XL version. Yep, Citadel Painting Handle XL!
The XL will hold models from 50mm to 105mm in diameter. So, this means you can hold models like Dreadnoughts.
Otherwise, it’s the same thing as the original. Actually, the grip does seem a bit larger, but I’ll know for sure once I snag mine :)
Citadel Assembly Handle
Well, on a related front, Games Workshop has put out an assembly handle. Basically, this is the same as the painting handle, but it also has little arms on the side to hold things.
While they are promoting this as an “assembly” handle, I think it’s better suited for painting. You can use the little arms to hold smaller pieces you’re painting if you’re doing a sub-assembly.
This thing looks a bit odd but it has potential. It is more expensive than just a painting handle though.
Citadel Painting Handle Conclusion
Should you buy a Citadel Painting Handle? Hell yes, you should.
If you’re like me and man-handle your models, and you don’t already own a miniature painting grip, then buy this thing. Seriously, it’s probably the best money you’ll spend on a hobby tool.
If you’re not convinced yet, here’s a video GW did for it. You can see the handle in use, get a better idea of the size, and judge for yourself if you need one. Pssst! You do!
I would also dare say that I’ve learned to become a better painter with the handle. I know it sounds odd, but it’s helped me with my brush control. I can’t really explain it. I’d say between buying a painting handle, and having yourself a good hobby light, you could quickly and easily improve your painting.