More and more people are starting to realise that putting fingers all over their models during painting will rarely lead to good results – Hobby Handles and Painting Grips will resolve most of the issues you have, but some are better than others. Today we’re going to take a look at the Best Painting Handles for your Miniatures & Models.
To see all of our guides to the Best Tools for Miniatures, click on the image above.
Best Hobby Painting Handle for Miniatures & Models – Summary
If you want to avoid all the text and just get the list, see here. However, there are good reasons why the handles below may be better or worse for you. So please read it before buying the wrong thing.
|1||Garfy’s Get a Grip|
|3||GameEnvy – Hobby Holder|
|4||Citadel Painting Handle|
|5||Redgrass Games RGG 360°|
|7||An Old Paint Pot|
|8||Latex / Nitrile Gloves|
The ‘Best’ Hobby Painting Handle for Miniatures & Models
As I always say with these articles, the term best is very subjective, it could mean the best price, the best value, best features or which gives you the best results. The list below is based on our preference based on all of these considerations and more. But I strongly recommend you read into the options and choose the best of the bunch for you. for one reason or another, each of these options deserves to be in the “Best” category.
Ok, so this is much less of a handle and more just a barrier between your fingers and the model you are painting. But boy does it make a difference.
When I first got back into miniature painting I was having lots of issues with the finish of my models by constantly handling them. At the best of times, matte paints would wear down and lose the matte finish and end up being semi-gloss by the end of a paint job. Worse still, in some of the more pointy areas, my fingers would wear through the primer back to the base plastic – nasty. But I have a condition I’ve since come to dub as “sandpaper fingers.
Gloves have 2 benefits, they keep skin oils off the model and stop you from polishing the surface smooth and they keep away the coarse texture of fingerprint grooves. Results will vary depending on how precise and soft your touch is when handling models – many people have no issues at all. (darn your perfectly soft hands).
Personally (situation dependent) I tend to keep a glove on my model holding hand, even when using a painting handle
If you are going with gloves, the downside is that they are pretty much one-use. The best option is to get powder-free (for obvious reasons) Latex Gloves which are commonly used for surgery as they give the best tactile response.
If (like I have with some brands) you develop a latex allergy and get itchy hands from prolonged wear – Nitrile Gloves are the next best choice, they are often harder wearing than latex but you do lose quite a bit of the feedback, many tattooists will use these.
The thing you don’t want are Vinyl Gloves – these are for making salads.
7. An Old Paint Pot
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this option if you have an old paint pot and some blu-tack you have a painting handle. Personally I prefer handles which are a touch more rigid than the ones where putty is used to attach the model. But this is cheap and it does the job to a certain degree
If nothing else, holding a paint bottle in a fist rather than holing the model base with fingertips will mean less fatigue in your hands.
6. Cork Bungs
I love using cork for holding my models, it’s super cheap for one. I’ll normally choose cork as an option if I am pinning my models in sub-assemblies.
Just drill a tiny hole in a part of the model component you won’t see when it’s assembled. Add a paperclip or wire with some super-glue into the hole as your pin and just push this into the cork.
It’s a bit more time consuming than some people like, but if you are working on a display piece this gives your parts a solid hold. But lots of flexibility to move the components around as you paint the intricate areas. This is especially useful on smaller components. it also just makes priming (especially with an airbrush) so much simpler
There are two types of Cork Bungs you should look at. The first is normal wine bottle corks which are cheap to pick up a ton of them, cheaper still if you already drink a lot of wine. I tend to use these for smaller models and components in the most part. With larger models (Primaris Space Marines and Stormcast) the Model’s stance is usually wider than the cork’s width so you need to bend in your pins and it often puts the cork off-balance causing them to topple (there’s a solution to this later).
The better option is tapered cork bungs for 1-gallon jars, (shown above) which are still pretty cheap. One end is wider than the other meaning even some of your heavier models are stable – Even the narrower end of these is wider than the wine-bottle corks so you can fit a larger variety of models on these anyway.
The best thing about these is that thanks to the limited width and that your parts are suspended on pins, you can get a brush right up into the tighter parts of your models.
This is certainly one of the more comfortable grips out there.
The putty on top is noted as bespoke to this particular use case. I don’t find it any better or worse at gripping models than blu tack – it’s just a bit firmer. Yet I’ve never had an issue of a model falling off during painting
This supports up to 50mm bases, Any larger and the issue here is with the weight distribution, as there’s no counterweight in the base of the handle, it will easily topple over for larger or even heavier unbalanced models.
The 360° rotatable top really is a personal preference. Most hobby handles are rounded anyway so there really was no issue with simply turning the whole handle in your palm. An issue which has been introduced here by the shape of the handle on the RGG 360° – But there’s an argument that this handle shape is a more ergonomic grip.
This is a very common option for many painters, and it is a good solution for those of you who build and stick your models to the base before painting them. Large army painters would find a lot of use for these.
They are cheap for what they are, reusable and are made for the various sizes of Games Workshop Bases. GW Selling them in a set of 5 is a pretty good idea too.
The standard size (shown above) supports 25mm, 32mm and 40mm round bases, as well as fitting 60x35mm oval bases.
There’s also a larger model to support circular and oval Citadel bases between 50mm and 105mm. However, I would tend to just use this smaller handle stick a load of blue-tack between the base and the grip – you know, because it’s twice the price. I even tend to use the small ones on Space Marine Rhinos. With a bit of Blu Tack, the handle will fit snugly between the tracks on the underside of the tank.
They also have the Citadel Assembly Handle which can be used to hold smaller components. although the ball-joints really seem to weaken over time.
The downside to these is that the spring-loaded clamp can occasionally lead to catapulting your models from time to time and the width of this clamp can restrict your brush.
This Kickstarter Success story is the most customisable hobby handle you can get.
The basic set-up is just 2 (of 4 optional) components. 1. A tiny little base which you can directly add putty to or screw on a 28mm bottle cap (with putty on). 2. a riser bar supporting 56mm tall and 56mm wide models, which clips on to the base letting you rotate the model as you paint.
You can also add 20mm wine corks into the recess on the base. Although these either need to be cut down or you need to get the longer riser bar to support the cork and the model.
Speaking of… the third component is the XL riser which supports 76mm tall by 76mm wide models.
The final component, which is a necessary component to set this product’s place so high in this list, is the Ergonomic Handle.
This handle is what makes this holder a true competitor as I feel that without it, the whole product can be a bit small to hold, making it fiddly. It has the benefit of being the best for all-round model size as it supports up to 76 mm wide models and it’s really stable when holding them.
Each component is available in a variety of colours so if you’re looking to brand something alongside your commission studio style, you should be able to find something here to match. Made from ABS plastic and they are packaged in proper retail-style packaging. Overall a solid product for those of you who have the money and paint single models at a time.
2. Rathcore V3
Simple, Elegant Beautiful. Made by Stephan Rath, an incredible painter but also someone who desperately needs to drag his own website into this decade, the Rathcore handles are just incredible – they are works of art unto themselves.
The Rathcore Miniature holder V.3 is a small wooden stand, laser engraved with the Rathore Celtic-Esque branding. It houses pre-cut cork bung in the top. Similar in size to a 1-gallon cork bung mentioned above. Though there are also some optional inserts. At retail, this comes with either a 50mm, 70mm or 90mm tall riser bar, although the maximum model width is set at a set 60mm on all 3 (based on my tape measure). The risers are also available separately.
This is a decent stand, but for better handling the stand-out product is the Rathcore V.3 Miniature Grip. Shaped like a spinning top, this is the most comfortable handle on the list by a clear margin. Instead of having the holder itself form the stand for when you want to set the model down. The stand is a separate puck-like component. The handle is available in light and dark wood.
As for the cork bungs themselves, you have the basic option of flat cork bungs with a split across the middle this is perfect for pinned models especially if you don’t want to keep making holes in the cork, which will weaken the grip over time (albeit a very long time).
There are then adaptors for everything from 20mm round (or 20mm square) bases to 40mm round bases. Whilst these do grip, it is only via pressure as you squeeze the bases into the body of the grip. A really hard shake could dislodge them, but why are you shaking it?! They are still much stronger than any of the putty holders.
This is a great product for those painters who focus on single models at a time and spend hours holding them in one session.
This is my personal favourite range of Miniature Painting Handles (although I’m not a massive fan of the name – it’s just too long-winded for people who want to search for it online). Considering these are simply 3D printed, the production quality is still really good. The ridges which are common in this type of 3D printing are actually really useful as it improves the surface grip. The design is incredible and leads to some great versatility.
If you have access to a 3D printer you can try printing the old one for free, although the new ones are much better.
At the lowest level of the range, the standard Get a Grip Basic, is at a lower price than Games Workshop’s offering. The added benefit here is that model bases are mounted using various size shims supporting 25mm, 28mm, 32mm, 40mm and 50mm out of the box. Again Game’s Workshop’s handle doesn’t support 50mm.
It uses a spring clamp system that is far less fiddly than the Citadel Painting Handle. Although on the Basic there is no retaining clip to hold this together, your own grip will do that job. But once it’s gripped you can shake it as much as you want and the model isn’t going anywhere. That solid grip (along with the price) is the reason this is our top pick handle.
These both feature a recess for wine-bottle corks too. Which, as I said above, is great for pinning miniatures.
They also have a rotatable riser bar which lets you grip the model close to the surface you are painting making you steadier without having to touch the model itself.
At the price these are, I bought a load of them because I’m always chopping and changing between the different projects I’m working on.
Garfy’s eBay store has a load of other cool hobby products too, so check it out to find these. Along with bundles of handles and other cool hobby extras at really fair prices – worldwide shipping is available.
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