Rathcore Handles Review

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Rathcore Painting Handles Review - Featured

The Rathcore Miniature Grip V.3 and Rathcore Miniature Holder V.3 are two very different painting handles – and one is significantly better than the other.

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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.

Rathcore Handles Review – Summary

Whilst the Rathcore Miniature Holder is a little on the small side and can be a bit of a pickle to hold, the Miniature Grip is easily one of the best painting handles currently on the market – even if its finger rest is topped with a jarringly hideous little rubber skull. 

Rathcore Handles Review – Introduction

Isn’t it nice when someone makes a product actually look nice?

Think about it. In just about every other wake of life, we buy stuff because we like the look of it. The clothes you’re wearing, the plates you eat off, and the chair you’re sitting in right now. Having been a part oft his awesome hobby community for nearing three-quarters of a year, I’ve been struck by just how, you know, plain a lot of hobby products are.

Sure, our miniatures all look great, but that water pot? Those brushes? That palette? They just look like a water pot, some brushes and a palette. There’s absolutely nothing special about any of them (aside from Squidmar’s stunning Mk. I’s). And yet we still buy them.

Of course, we buy these things for their merits and what they offer the process of our hobby: we buy good brushes because they paint good, our palettes because they palette good, not because either is gold-plated or is decorated to look like a sixteenth-century fresco. Ultimately, performance is what makes or breaks a product. It’s also part of the reason sites like this one exist, so nerds like me can be opinionated about hobby supplies.

But it’s still nice when a hobby product arrives in front of you, and some effort has been made to make it look nice, to make it look like something other than a shaped lump of black-coated plastic. Rathcore’s products do just that.

Rathcore is the work of German dental technician Stephan Rath, a multi-Slayer Sword winning miniature painter with a decade-and-a-half of painting experience to his name – and, unsurprisingly, a gallery full of awesome figures on his website. Much like his painting, Rath’s products, currently limited to painting handles, all look great.

But, as stated above, whilst it’s all well and good that a product looks good, the proof is in the pudding painting, or perhaps, in this case the…holding?

Rathcore Handles Review – Design

The Rathcore range has a wonderfully simple and snazzy modular feel to it. Each handle is only made from a few simple parts: the wooden grip or holder, the metal finger rest, the rubber “Skullies” and plastic “Tubes” that are used to hold and manipulate the finger rest, and the cork adapter. Every component can be individually bought from Rathcore’s online store as well, so should anything break, or you find a piece getting worn out from use, you can buy yourself a new part instead of an entire new handle.

For the purpose of this review, we received the following Rathcore miniature handles:

They’re really easy to use as well. The finger rests can be switched out by removing the little grey rubber “Skully” (which has a hideously goofy look to it that really jars with the otherwise classy and attractive look of the handle) and sliding off the grey slider that helps keep the metal rest fixed in place during painting. This is a nice touch, as the metal finger rests are really good and sturdy and being able to chop and change between them saves you from having to buy three different handles to get three different sized finger rests.

Rathcore Handles Review All

I’m not a fan of small painting handles, so the Miniature Holder V.3 is a bit of a no-go for me. I don’t find that there’s any really easy or comfortable way to grip smaller painting handles, and would much rather have something with a good, solid grip on it – likely a side effect of being raised on the Citadel painting handle. If you prefer smaller miniature holders, then this would be a good shout for you, not just because it looks great, but because of its sturdy build, simple design, and lightweight model.

But I really, really like the Miniature Grip. The larger handle is really nice to hold and also very light in spite of its reasonably large size. Being able to chop and change the finger rests really comes into its own with this piece of kit, too – you feel like a pro using it, even if your minis are a bit on the crap side. Plus, the Grip models come with a little T-shaped stand which you can deposit your and the smooth wood finish makes any model, look like a display piece, no matter how unfinished.

Rathcore Handles Review – Testing

As I’ve said before, I’m not an enormous fan of these small miniature handles/holders, such as the Holders from the Rathcore range.

Rathcore Handles Review Holder 1

I find them a little too small to be held comfortably, but that is a matter of very personal preference – I know plenty of people who get on with the smaller holders as well as I do with larger Grip-style handles.

Rathcore Handles Review Holder 2

That said, I do quite like Rathcore’s Holders: they are made of good sturdy components and the finger rest doesn’t budge when the plastic slider is locked in place. They also manage to look awesome in spite of being relatively small bits of kit.

But the real head-turner of this range is the Grip.

Rathcore Handles Review Grip 1

Not only does it look fantastic, it is also excellent to hold. The curvature of the handle feels great in the palm, and the rise and fall of the handle’s shape means that its very comfortable to hold at lots of different angles and thus reach those difficult-to-get-to bits of your figures. It’s also reasonably lightweight in spite of its solid build, so it’s easy to keep in the hand for a long period of time.

Rathcore Handles Review Grip 2

The cut and shaped bits of cork across the range are all simple yet effective methods of keeping your miniatures and components in place. The shaped Adapters will keep your based miniatures in place, but, like the Standard Corks, are also suitable for pinning. These products do lose a few marks for not coming with a wider variety of Corks and Cork Adapters. The Grip comes with a medium-sized Cork Adapter, which can fit a circular 30mm base (for reference, that’s a Skeleton Warrior, Chainrasp, or classic Space Marine base – none of that 32mm Primaris nonsense). The Holders come with Standard Corks, which means any components or figures you want to paint using one will need to be pinned.

I love the Rathcore finger rests, they are by far the most stand-out part of these handles. Well, that is I love about 95% of the finger rest. To use, they are fantastic: they’re quite wide, so your figures can fit comfortably around them, and they’re great to brace your brush hand on. They do not budge, and only a tremendous amount of pressure on the metal will make it move, and if you’re putting that kind of strain on your products, you might be in the wrong hobby.

Its so sturdy that there’s very little chance of the finger rest slipping and betraying you just as you’re about to apply that final all-important brush-stroke. That extra bit of control that the Rathcore finger rests offer is noticeable, and will really help ensure those final details are nailed as best as they can be.

But there is a “but”. It’s a small, grey, rubbery but.

Rathcore Handles Review Skully

What the hell is this?

This hideous little thing is called a “Skully” and basically helps ensure the prongs of the finger rest stay put. You can buy them in threes from Rathcore’s shop, if you really want to.

But it’s so hideously ugly.

Looking at every other part, every other component, every other bit of this range is a joy. Everything is chic and well-designed, everything looks awesome. But this? Putting this little grey skull on these handles is like slapping a wonky polystyrene Halloween skull from Tesco on to the front of a sportscar. It’s dreadful.

But, blowing past its look, it does serve a very important purpose by holding the prongs of the finger rest together. Ugly it may be, but it is an integral part of that incomparably fantastic finger rest. Given just how good the handle is, I think I can find it in my cold heart to forgive this.

Will Rathcore Handles Improve my Hobby?

Now, this is where things get a bit fiddly.

Rathcore handles are luxury, bespoke products. They are about as classy as a bit of miniature painting hobby kit can get, and have a price tag to match.

It’s clear to see that these are being pitched at people who know what they’re doing when it comes to their hobby, who have some money to invest, and who want the absolute best equipment available to them. A beginner to intermediate-level painter may will be deterred by the hefty price-tag and all the other bits associated with these handles – be they the corks or the finger rests – and would be better sticking to something simpler and less expensive, such as the Citadel painting handle.

But, if you’re an improving or advanced painter who needs a handle with not only all those extra corky and finger-resty bits, and you don’t mind spending a little extra cash, this is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the best ranges currently available. Make sure you give it some serious consideration when you’re in the market for a new handle.

Rathcore Handles Review – Price and Availability

These are quality products made from quality materials, there’s no doubt about it, and that is reflected in the pricing.

A Holder will set you back around €18-€20 (£16-18/$21-$24), whilst a Grip will cost you somewhere between €28-€30 (£25-£28/$33-36). These are definitely priced up towards the more expensive end of the painting handle spectrum, but these are good products – particularly the Holder.

All Rathcore products are readily available from PK-Pro.de.

Rathcore Handles Review – Final Thoughts

ProsCons
Modular
Simple
Classy look
Robust
Great finger rests
The Grip is brilliant
Hideous little grey Skullies
Smaller Holders not so easy to handle
Expensive

Cool, classy, and a joy to use, whilst the Rathcore handles range may be a little beyond the price range of most beginner to intermediate-level hobbyists, there’s no denying that you are paying for the quality that you receive with these products.

There is a genuine, tangible quality running through every grain and curve of each Rathcore product. The grip is something truly superb, and even one such as myself, who has long harboured a dislike of small Holder-style painting handles, can’t bring myself to condemn the Rathcore Holders simply because of the quality and pedigree they display.

These are some damn good products.

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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.

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Rathcore V3 Painting Handle Series
Author Rating
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Product Name
Rathcore V3 Painting Handle Series
About VoltorRWH 22 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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