Citadel Painting Handle Review

Last Updated on November 7, 2020 by FauxHammer

The Citadel Painting Handle is the progenitor, the benchmark, the one against which all other painting handles must be measured. Simple, firm and effective, it is the Emperor of Mankind to the Primarch gene-seed of all other painting handles.

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The Best Hobby Handles for Miniatures & Models

This article is part of our series looking into the best Hobby Handles for Miniatures & Models.

To see our up-to-date list of the best Hobby Handles for your miniatures, just click the image above.

Citadel Painting Handle Review – Summary

One of the most basic and inexpensive painting handles on the market, the Citadel Painting Handle is the place where all hobbyists should begin their explorations into painting handles.

Citadel Painting Handle Review – Apology - FauxHammer Profile Pic

Hi Guys, FauxHammer here again. So. I’ve had this handle to review for, well, years. And well, it was never top on the list of priorities.

But when the new writing team came along I decided to share it out to get our opinions out to you.

Then literally, just as we are about to release the review, Games Workshop go and release a new… toy!

So yeah, sorry for the delay, shouldn’t happen again now there are more of us. but since Rob went through all the trouble to write this. we thought we’d still share it anyway. Until we get our hands on the new one. (which Rob has on the way to him already, I just haven’t told him yet… This is my way of seeing if he actually reads the site once his stuff is published, doesn’t tell him)

Citadel Painting Handle Review – Introduction

If you are a seasoned hobbyist, you’ve probably owned a Citadel Painting Handle at some point. Every now and then, they turn up as a freebie with a partworks magazine, and they’re the kind of thing you pick up at the end of an order when you go into your local Warhammer store to buy a box of minis.

For those of you that haven’t – or, more specifically, for those of you that don’t own a miniature painting handle of any kind, what are you doing?

For the first three months of my now nine-month tenure as a hobbyist, I did not own a painting handle. I did not even know they existed. I thought that constantly dropping your figures and getting hand cramp from clutching their bases was just a part of the painting process, so when a Citadel Painting Handle arrived as part of my Mortal Realms subscription, my world was changed forever.

No longer did my figures make leaps for freedom from my fingers. They stayed anchored firmly to the handle, and because of the handle’s comfortable grip, gone were the painting cramp.

Citadel Painting Handle Review – Design

With a larger, solid handle and two spring-wound brackets, the Citadel Painting Handle is easy to get to grips with. Your miniatures can sit on one of two-tiered cuts into the bracket – the lower one for smaller bases, the taller one allowing you to fit a couple of larger ones in there as well. Citadel do also sell an XL Painting Handle for the largest of bases, something no alternative company seems to be trying to muscle in on as yet. The handle also has a flat base, so it can be stood upright when you put it down.

Citadel Handle Review Handle 1

The handle’s spring-wound mechanism is its genius. The brackets on either side grip any attached miniature in place so firmly that there’s really no chance whatsoever of your figure trying to make a jump for the floor.

Citadel Handle Review Handle Close

More advanced painters will lament the absence of a finger rest and any kind of place to attach a cork for pinning, but for beginner to intermediate-level painters, you can’t really go wrong with this. It does everything the beginner to intermediate level painter needs, and does it very well.

Citadel Painting Handle Review – Testing

I’ve used a Citadel Painting Handle almost every day until very recently, and the only reason I’ve stopped using my Citadel handle is that I’ve reached a point with my painting where I need something a little more advanced.

Getting your figures on to and off of the handle is easy: simply pull back one of the brackets and slot your figure in, or push the base of the figure against one of the brackets so it slides back and you are able to slot it onto the holder. Done.

Of all the handles I’ve tried over the last few months, Citadel’s offering remains one of the easiest and most comfortable to hold. The larger handle can be braced against the inside of the hand and gripped with several fingers so you always feel as though you have a good level of grip on the painting handle.

Citadel Handle Review Handle Necron

The handle will fit 25mm, 32mm and 40mm round bases, as well as 60x35mm oval bases, which covers everything from a Skeleton Warrior or a Chainrasp up to a Ninth Edition Space Marine or most things on a mount of some kind. Even with figures on the larger bases attached, the handle doesn’t feel unwieldy. It’s solid, sure, but that’s not a bad thing – it’s a reassuring weight, not cumbersome.

Citadel Handle Review Handle Black Knight

It doesn’t do anything fancy. It doesn’t try to do anything special. It just holds your figures, and does so extremely well.

Will Citadel Painting Handle Improve my Hobby?

If you don’t already own a painting handle, then yes, certainly.

I actually put this past a few buddies of mine outside of the FauxHammer team. One, who has been painting for years and has cabinets upon cabinets full of Tyranids in his home, said he noticed a visible improvement in their painting ability not too long after buying himself a handle, and would never now be without his Citadel handle.

Another, who has previously never owned a handle, began to notice an improvement in his painting almost immediately after receiving a Citadel Painting Handle: not only did he feel as though he could get a brush into those hard-to-reach areas better, he also felt he had more control over the entire painting process with his figures anchored to Citadel’s Painting Handle.

If you’re a more advanced painter, then the likelihood is that you’ll need slightly more from a painting handle than what Citadel’s humble but durable offering can give you – as mentioned above, a place for pinning, a finger rest, and so-on. If you are, or you’ve been using a Citadel handle for some time and feel like it’s time for a change, have a look at our list of the best painting handles for some inspiration.

Citadel Painting Handle Review – Price and Availability

Ironically, at the time of writing this, and for a few weeks prior, the Citadel Painting Handle has been unavailable on Games Workshop’s website. Now, this may be because it’s being phased out in anticipation of the new questionably shaped painting handle that was announced the week of the 19th October 2020.

It’s also not currently available on Amazon for anything less than £20 which is daylight robbery, so I would strongly suggest having a poke around your favourite independent hobby retailer’s website or their store as they will likely have a couple knocking around. Most places have it for around the £6 mark ($7.80/€6.60), which is entirely more reasonable.

Citadel Painting Handle Review – Final Thoughts

Can hold the majority of regularly-used bases
Very easy to use
Lacks add-ons that more advance painters will require, such as a cork for pinning or a finger rest.

The benchmark. The progenitor. The one against which all that come after will be measured.

It is the basic form of a painting handle, simple yet brilliant and thus perfect in its own unique rite. Everything it does, it does to perfection, and whilst there have been many successors to this handle, with every bell and whistle imaginable, there will only ever be one Citadel Painting Handle.

It’ll be interesting to see how 2020’s 2.0 version will hold up against it.

Please Note: This site uses affiliate links. Our Affiliate Partners are shown below
(Affiliate links will result in compensation to the site on qualifying purchases)

Click this link & buy your hobby stuff from Element Games for the UK & Europe to support – Use Code “FAUX2768” at the checkout for double reward points.

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Citadel Painting Handle
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Citadel Painting Handle


Rob has spent most of the last 20 years playing World of Warcraft and writing stories set in made-up worlds. At some point, he also managed to get a Master's degree by writing about Medieval zombies.

One thought on “Citadel Painting Handle Review

  • November 7, 2020 at 11:57 pm

    Started with this one, and it has served me well. I’m now using the Redgrass 360 with a few extra caps & it is absolutely wonderful.


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