Garfy’s Get a Grip Review

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Keeping hold of your miniatures whilst painting them can sometimes be more difficult than it may seem – especially if they’re on teeny-tiny bases. But how did we fare getting to grips with Garfy’s Get a Grip grips?

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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.

Garfy’s Get a Grip Review – Summary

Garfy’s Get a Grip handles are a perfectly useable and very affordable alternative to many painting handles currently on the market, and their biggest strength – their simple, modular design – is so clever it will leave you wondering why more people don’t make painting handles.

Garfy’s Get a Grip Review – Introduction

Garfy Etherington (or @Garfytwit, on Twitter), is a celebrated and popular miniature painter, whose work subscribers or regular buyers of White Dwarf will be familiar with. That awesome photography article in issue 457? Him.

A master of the brush, Garfy’s talents aren’t just limited to putting colour on miniatures (seriously, have a look at his Necrons in this article), or making his miniatures look incredible in dioramic pictures worthy of everyone’s favourite hobby magazine. What he is also known for are his unique painting handles.

Garfy’s Get A Grip handles – which are by far the best-named product range in the hobbyverse – are super simple, super easy to use, and super affordable alternative painting handles. And they’re really rather good.

Garfy’s Get a Grip Review – Design

For this review, we received the Basic, Pro, and Long Pro handles, as well as all the extra bits we needed to make the Long Pro into an Ultra.

Garfy’s Get a Grips are 3D-printed. For those of you unfamiliar with how 3D printing works, a 3D printer essentially creates a design out of lots of layered and dried plastic strings – a little like really long, really thin noodles stacked onto each other. Whilst this is a super idea for being able to cheaply produce affordable and simplistic grips, the resulting material isn’t the nicest. The 3D-printed plastic feels brittle and cheap, and if you’ve got a thing about textures, the corrugated 3D-printed edge will set your teeth on edge – though the lightweight material does mean the handles are wondrously light to hold.

Garfy's Get A Grips Review All

As mentioned above, Garfy’s Get A Grips are also made of very few components: two halves of a handle, a wire metal spring-clip, and two “shims” that can be swapped in and out depending on the size of the figure you are painting. The Pro designs come with a slot that a finger rest can be clipped around, and the finger rest itself is made of two slotting components: the clip and the plastic rest itself.

The simplicity of the design means even someone like me who hasn’t touched a scientific or practical subject since the end of high school can clearly see how they go together, so they’re easy to assemble and just as straightforward to fix should they fall apart for whatever reason.

Then there’s the look. Much like their simplicity in design, Garfy’s grips are simple enough to look at. There’s not really much special going on here, but then again there doesn’t need to be. A painting handle is going to spend most of its working life inside your palm and covered in paint.

So, thus far it’s looking pretty good. Simple? Check. Easy to understand? Check. Versatile? Check check check.

Garfy’s Get a Grip Review – Testing

I decided the best way to test all three of these handles was to walk through attaching, holding, painting, and detaching process at the same time with three near-identical Necron warriors, one for the Basic, one for the Pro, and one for the Long Pro/Ultra.

First up, getting the figure onto the grip. How hard could this be?

Well, not quite as easy as I’d have liked.

In their most basic forms, the painting handles are only held together by a single wire clip that affixes their upper rear edges. Because there is only this single point of contact between the two sides, the halves of the handle are not particularly stable.

Because the only point of contact between the two halves is where the small wire clip is attached on the upper edge of the handle, even just pinching the two sides apart to try and affix the appropriate-sized “shims” can make the two halves of the handle slip out of alignment. This problem is affixed, however, when you get your model in the shims, as the base, once held in with the shims, helps hold the two sides of the handle together.

Garfy's Get A Grips Review Shims

Getting the shims in isn’t always easy. They are a bit fiddly It’s a little bit of a balancing act fitting your two shims and your figure to the handle, but there is a bit of a knack to it. I actually used the Ultra a couple of times before writing this review, and by the time I was clipping in my final mini I found I had got to grips with…er, yeah.

Once I’d finally got all three together, I noticed that the Basic option wasn’t quite as sturdy as it could be. With a little wiggling, the two halves of the paint handle still moved a little, and although my figure was secure on the end of the handle, a sudden slip or movement mid-painting could spell some problems for that super fiddly bit of edge highlighting you were trying to do.

Garfy's Get A Grips Review Basic

Those options that come with finger rests, such as the Pro and Long Pro, get around this problem entirely. The clip on the finger rest, which is attached around the neck of the handle, works to lock the two halves of the handle in place and hold them firmly together. No slipping, no problem.

So, there we are. Three figures, all docked and ready for painting. So, how are the handles to hold?

I think we can all agree that a basic requirement of all painting handles is that they are more comfortable to hold than a mini’s base, and that you have more grip on them than you would on a few millimetres thick piece of plastic to which your figure is affixed.

Which leads me to wonder why, exactly, are the Basic and Pro so small?

Garfy's Get A Grips Review Pro

As I’ve said in previous articles, I’m an above-average sized human. At six feet and four inches, you will not be surprised to learn that I have larger than average hands to go with my larger than average body. But still, with the Basic and the Pro perched between my fingers, I find myself wondering just how anyone could actually have a firm grip on either of these handles.

For comparison, with my Citadel Painting Handle, I’d be able to either wrap all my fingers around its handle in a comfortable fist, or brace the larger part of the handle against the insider of my thumb with three or four fingers. In six months of near-daily use, I’ve never once dropped it. With Garfy’s grips, though, I can just about hold the Basic and the Pro with two fingers and a thumb, which is how I’d hold a miniature by its base. I don’t feel as though I have much more control or grip on the handle as I would on an unattached figure.

The Long Pro and the Ultra are much better, the larger handle means you can actually firmly hold the thing properly, so the Long Pro passes the “is it holdable?” test, whilst the Basic and Pro fall a little short for me. I imagine a reasonable-sized human being with normal-sized hands who can buy trousers and t-shirts in regular sizes will get on with the smaller handles far better than I, so don’t write them off completely.

Garfy's Get A Grips Review Long Pro with Ultra Attachment

Whilst they may be a bit of a nuisance to fit into the handles, Garfy’s shims are quite brilliant and really help hammer home just how fantastically versatile these handles are. There is a shim for more or less every size of small to medium base you can imagine, which means you’ll no longer be struggling to fit some of your larger figures, or those on cavalry bases, into a holder.

Now, painting. The big difference between the Basic and Pro models is the inclusion of a finger rest for the Pro variants. Whilst the Basic doesn’t suffer much for the lack of a finger rest, it is a welcome addition to the Pros.

The fact that you can swap out your shims any time makes these handles a hell of a lot more versatile than a lot of their competitors and eliminates the need for having to stick your figures onto a handle with a lump of paint, hair and dust-covered blue tack or modelling putty (yes, you; it’s gross, throw it out). Coupled with how cheap individual shims are, as well as how reasonably priced the handles in the range are, Garfy’s get a grips are perfect for batch painting.

The Pro, Long Pro and Ultra handles also come with a cork holder in them, located just below where your miniature would sit. Now, whilst I had a few reservations about how well the handle actually held onto a figure’s base, these things grip cork-like how Di Caprio should have gripped that door at the end of Titanic, which is really, really good. If you’re using a cork, you’re doing some fiddly detail work – eyes, teeth, displays on wrist consoles, whatever – and you need to know what you’re holding isn’t going to slip and slide, and Garfy’s Get a Grips don’t budge.

Will Garfy’s Get a Grip Improve my Hobby?

Most probably, yes.

Although I don’t like the smaller handles myself, I know lots of people who do who will get on really well with these. If, though, you’re like me and would rather have a larger, more substantial handle to hold, then Garfy’s range has you covered.

Garfy get a Grip Review - Options Chart

Again, that’s the key point to take away from this. The range is extremely versatile. There’ll be a model of handle for you no matter your preference, and the interchangeable shims mean you have a better grip on those figures with longer or fatter bases than you would with, say, a standard Citadel painting handle.

And then there’s the price.

Garfy’s Get a Grip Review – Price and Availability

Garfy’s Get a Grips come in several packages from Garfy’s eBay store:

As a reminder, for this review, we received the Basic, Pro, and Long Pro handles, as well as all the bits necessary to make the Long Pro into an ultra.

These are cheap. Really cheap.

Their affordability makes them perfect for batch painting – you could quite easily pick up a bunch of Garfy’s handles and never have to switch between miniatures as you’re painting, which is extremely useful if that’s a particular gripe you have.

So, between being extremely versatile and very affordable, you can’t really go wrong getting a grip from Garfy.

Garfy’s Get a Grip Review – Final Thoughts

ProsCons
Cheap
Simple
Lightweight
Optional finger rest
The Cork of Destiny
A little flimsy during set up
Shims can be a bit fiddly
Material not the nicest

The biggest strike against Garfy’s handles is their assembly. They are not the easiest of products to put together the first couple of times you use them, but once you get the hang of it they’re not so bad.

Garfy’s Basic handle is cheap as chips, but a little on the small side. The smaller Pro option also suffers the same problem – its handle is a bit too short; the whole point of a painting handle is that you’re supposed to be able to get a better grip of your miniatures whilst you’re painting them, and if you’re holding the painting handle with just as many fingers, as those same parts of your fingers, as you’d be holding the base of the model, it’s not going to give you the support you need to paint with confidence that your figure isn’t going to go spinning out of your hand at any given moment.

The Long Pro and Ultra are significantly better, are comfortable to hold, and fit nicely into the hand. The larger handle means you can properly keep hold of the device, and you’re far less likely to drop anything. The finger rests are a really nice attachment, too, and that they are detachable is another thoughtful touch

The real hero of this product, though, is its cork. That little lump of impermeable bark tissue that sits nestled inside the handle really brings this product together. It is perfect for pinning, and taken in conjunction with the finger rest, means that, in spite of its low price, this is a truly professional bit of kit. What they lack in looks they make up for in versatility, simplicity, and comfort.

Nice.

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

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Author

  • Rob has spent most of the last 15 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.

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About VoltorRWH 48 Articles
Rob has spent most of the last 15 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.

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