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!
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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!
Miniature 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.
It holds: 25mm, 32mm, 40mm round bases, as well as fitting 60 x 35mm oval bases.
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.
To that end, you can actually buy a package of 5 painting handles at a discounted price. Definitely worth doing if you find yourself needing more than one.
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. I finally picked one up and the grip is the same size and the only difference is the size of the models it holds. It’s pretty handy having one of each size.
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. You can also take the arms off to just use it as a plain handle.
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’d 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.
Also, if you’re after more ways to improve your painting for little money then check out my tutorial on making a DIY wet palette. We also have a great article on painting supplies you need.
Oh, also be sure to check out my article on simple tips to make you a better painter.
Hobby Supplies, Tips & Tutorials
Various tutorials and guides for common hobby supplies.
Citadel Painting Handle
DIY Foam Trays
DIY Light Box
DIY Wet Palette
How to Use Liquid Green Stuff
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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.
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 ;)
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.
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.
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.
I have painted a few models with and I loooovvvvveee this thing. Best painting tool I have got. Works great!
And for $8, who can complain?
I use a finial and poster tack, preferring a narrower grip and the finial has a recess so the pieces can sit flush as opposed to the lip the grip has, giving me more access for tiny pieces. There are some larger pieces I have though that are popping off that set up. Saw this at an official store and it’s definitely on my to buy list. I expected it to be twice what it costs and is worth it for being able to handle those midsize and larger models.
A narrower grip would come in handy at times for sure. Prior to this though I didn’t use anything, so I’ve gotten accustomed to the size at this point, and I actually like the larger grip. Smaller grips (in general, not painting) have been playing havoc with my hands. The fun of getting old…
Did you see they are also releasing a larger version of this for even larger models? I’ll be getting one when it comes out.
The large handle and the one with the 3rd hand grips. The big base one is interesting but the 3rd hand doesn’t seem overall strong. Will need to see that one in person before buying.
I’ve got a friend who got the one with the arms and he hasn’t been impressed with it so far. It’s a neat idea, but I think it’s too lightweight (weak) for anything serious.