NEW Citadel Paint Handle Review

Last Updated on November 20, 2020 by FauxHammer

The Citadel 2020 Paint Handle: taking the phrases “if you don’t ask, you don’t get”, and “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it”, and turning them on their heads, giving us something no-one asked for to replace something that was almost perfect.

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New Citadel Paint Handle Review – Summary

The Citadel 2020 Paint Handle is the miniature handle nobody asked for, nobody wanted, and nobody could take seriously when it was first announced. Its supplanting of its well-loved and widely-used predecessor was met with scepticism – and now it’s out and in our hands, that self-same scepticism persists, because it’s just not quite as good as Old Reliable.

New Citadel Paint Handle Review – Introduction

2020 has brought us a great many things that a lot of people didn’t ask for.

The year kicked off to a bad start with violent protests in Hong Kong and Australian bushfires that killed as many as half a billion animals, as well as the death of much-loved basketballer Kobe Bryant. In May, North India was obliterated by Cyclone Amphan, and 20,000 tons of oil leaked into the Ambarnaya River near the Siberian city of Norilsk. In August the port of Beirut, Lebanon, explosions caused by unsafely stored ammonium nitrate killed over 135 people, injured thousands, and left at least 300,000 people homeless. And to then make everything a million times worse, Covid-19 has so far infected 50 million people worldwide, and causes around 1.3 million deaths, forcing billions of people into lockdown, and everyone’s favourite hobby shops to close. Oh, and Sean Connery died.

And that’s just to name a few.

So, when it was announced a few weeks ago, the new Citadel Painting Handle was initially thought to be a bit of light, comedic relief for a community fed up of not being able to go and play wargames with their mates and sit around a table in their favourite Warhammer store on a Saturday painting their figures.

But then, when the classic painting handle was suddenly marked as no longer available on Games Workshop’s website, the laughter ceased. Because it wasn’t a joke any more.

It was real, and it was coming.

Citadel Colour 2020 Paint Handle Review Handle 1

Of all the Citadel and Games workshop products things that could benefit from a bit of a change, the paint handle was bottom of the list.

It’s peculiar design been the butt of many jokes across the hobby-verse, but such taunts hide a real issue: the previous Citadel holder was almost perfect. Why fix something that wasn’t broken? There’s been a genuine sense that Citadel and Games Workshop have really broken down the back door with this product, and thrust it into a community who weren’t feeling all too receptive for such a shake-up.

Citadel Paint Handle Review – Design

The design of the handle is quite intriguing, and, one imagines, is designed to open up the market by causing a bit of a stir with its unusual design.

When it was previewed a few weeks ago, the new Citadel Painting Handle caused a few pains in the proverbial behinds for much of the community, who were not sold on the new handle’s inverted goblet-like shape. Whilst it looks unique when compared to just about every other painting handle on the market – which, on the one hand, is great for making it stand out – its conical design is, perhaps, an unnecessary step too far.

As you’ll see from our previous review, the old Citadel paint handle was more or less the perfect progenitor: it did everything it needed to. It didn’t make a fuss with its straightforward design, and no holds were barred when it came to the overall simplicity of the product.


The neck of the handle is where the most change has occurred. Where previously we had a good, solid lump of plastic to hang on to, the new handle sports a much sleeker, conical design. This is done with one thing in mind: ergonomic accessibility. The previous handle was designed to be held one way and one way only – a fist, with your fingers wrapped around it. Because of this, the old handle felt solid and sturdy; it was a reassuring weight and your miniatures felt safe locked between its hardy brackets. The new handle’s chalice-like shape proposes a versatility which will be welcomed amongst much of the community.

The actual gripping part of the new handle is similar to the original handle, yet a little smaller and much easier to manipulate. The two rims can pushed and pulled back in order to insert and remove your models. The new handle holds all the same base sizes as the old one: 25mm, 28mm, 32mm and 40mm. It does also hold 60x35mm oval bases, though this is not listed for some reason. It’s worth noting that, unlike the previous handle, the top of this one cannot be unscrewed.


The base of the handle has a hemispherical cutaway, akin to that you might find at the butt of a bottle of wine, and far more pronounced than it was on the previous model.

Citadel-Colour-2020-Paint-Handle-Review-New 1

Presumably, much like the neck of the thing, this exists so, should you wish to, you can pop a thumb up there.

Citadel-Colour-2020-Paint-Handle-Review-New and Old 2

Also, its sleeker design saves on plastic, which is always a good thing to aspire to as the Doomsday Clock ticks ever closer to midnight.

Citadel Paint Handle Review – Testing

The new Citadel handle can do everything the old one could, aI;nd a little more thanks to its design. The careful innovations surrounding the design of the neck and main body of the handle mean that the handle can be held in a number of different ways to suit your painting style, or however it is you like to grip your handles.

Citadel-Colour-2020-Paint-Handle-Review New 2

And yet whilst the new handle’s design does make it significantly easier to grip however you may like, any subsequent position you may grasp the handle in doesn’t feel quite as secure as it could. In trying to make the handle as accessible to all as possible – a noble goal, of course – the handle is reduced to a bit of a jack of all hands, master of none. The old grip was designed to be held in a fist, so you held it in a fist, and it was perfect. It didn’t try to be clever, it just did what it was supposed to. The new handle’s ergonomics are stretched a little too thin: catering for any and all possible hands and preferred methods of gripping has meant that, whilst the grip can be held in just about any weird and wonderful way you can imagine, it’s not as reassuring or comfortable to hold in any of said positions.

To me, it doesn’t feel as sturdy, and its reassuring size and weight is gone. The thin neck of the handle, whilst ideal for fitting a thumb into, doesn’t feel as robust as the chunky old handle did.

For example, I imagine I hold a painting handle like most people: in a fist. When I try and hold the new handle like this, my fingers don’t quite fit comfortably around it. Sure, my thumb sits nicely in the neck groove, my fore- and middle-fingers opposite it, but my ring finger doesn’t know what to do with itself. It’s half on the bottom, half off, and whilst holding the grip I’m more concerned about where I’m sticking this finger than I am paying attention to the model I’m trying to paint.

Citadel Colour 2020 Paint Handle Review Handle 2

I feel more inclined to grip the handle much harder, which is more likely to lead to cramping and trembling when painting, because I just don’t feel like I have the same amount of grip on this handle. It’s not as immediately intuitive as the old handle, but I do imagine that, given a couple of days of use, it’s something that could be got used to.

This handle would, however, be perfect for younger hobbyists. If you are a younger person, or maybe have a child of your own interested in miniatures, this handle would be a great place to start. Because of its versatility and relative size, it would fit well into a smaller hand, and would help a younger or newer hobbyist figure out just how, exactly, they liked to grip their minis.

Whilst its predecessor was an established handle in its own right, the new Citadel handle is much more of a gateway grip; its design will help the amateur hobbyist figure out what it is they want from a handle, and will help them make sure they know what to move on to in the future.

Will Citadel Paint Handle Improve my Hobby?

This very much depends on where you are with your hobby. If you’re brand new and have never owned a painting handle before, then yes, this is an excellent bit of kit for you to try out. If, however, you already own a handle you like or are used to, I’d recommend only buying this after having given it some serious thought – or, perhaps, trying one out somewhere else – because the likelihood is that you will prefer whatever you are used to using over this.

Citadel Paint Handle Review – Price and Availability

Perhaps a sign of the times, the new Citadel paint handle is more expensive than the old one – an entire £1/$2.50 (USD)/€1.

Is it worth it? Eh, probably. It feels like a fair enough price, but as said already, if you’ve got something else you’re already happy with, then stick with that.

Citadel Paint Handle Review – Final Thoughts

Can hold all the bases the old handle could
Thoughtful design Brackets are easier to manipulate compared to old model
Good gateway handle
More expensive than predecessor
Not as secure to hold
Doesn’t feel as substantial or hardy
Interesting design


It’s a decent bit of it, so it’s nice that Citadel didn’t tease us by sitting on this design for too long once it was announced, but compared to its predecessor it just doesn’t fill the hole left by its discontinuation.

Whilst the previous Citadel handle was just that – a handle – this new model doesn’t seem to be trying to be just a handle. It’s a piece of kit the hobbyist can learn from and can come to understand how they like to work, but creating a bit of equipment capable of doing this has come at the expense of the handle actually being a handle. Whilst this is on the one hand very useful for a lot of beginner hobbyists, there are far better things out there for people who already know what kind of handle they like – for example, the old, and now discontinued Citadel handle, which is a bit of a “bummer”.

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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New Citadel Paint Handle 2020
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New Citadel Paint Handle 2020


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.

2 thoughts on “NEW Citadel Paint Handle Review

  • November 21, 2020 at 5:31 pm

    Great review – gave me the best chuckle of the week!

  • November 21, 2020 at 7:38 pm

    Speaking as a disabled hobbyist, this is literally what we have been asking for, nice improvements which help fix a few issues we had, particularly the ability to get at models from the bottom.


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