Friday Quick Tip: Model Holder

There are a lot of ways to go about painting a model. For the past 10 years, I've been of the school to just pick him up by the base and get to painting. Unfortunately, that method tends to end with you rubbing away detail on the model inadvertently and leads to clean ups as you realize far too late that you have black paint on your hands. To circumvent this, many people use some sort of hand hold to keep a grip on their models. And today I'm using Games-Workshop paint pot to do just this.

The break down is simple. Find a paint pot and stick your model to it! But there are some things you might think about as you go to securing your model.

Weight of your model: If you are painting a light plastic model, try using some sticky tack as I have in the photo above. If your model is heavy, don't use sticky tack!! You might think to super glue him to the top of a flat pot instead. I would only suggest using the smallest amount needed to really secure the model to the pot. You don't want to be ripping the base apart just to get your model off!

Use an old dead pot: Don't use a paint pot you always use!! This one should be a no brainer.

I've found that the GW pot is about the right size for me to work around and manipulate without being cumbersome and heavy.

Don't have a pot you can sacrifice for this? Try using a bottle cork! I've seen many a painter using these over the years to hold their precious work aloft and out of their grubby mitt while they work on them. Pinning being the method I've seen used most to secure them.

Find an object that works for you and your hands best and run with it! Special points for anyone using a Hockey stick!

Any other suggestions? Ideas? Tips of use? As always, we want to know!

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  1. Since I usually magnetize my bases, I have a ready-made method to hold onto the little guys. I have a stack of the round magnets that I use in the bases that acts like a handle - works great.

  2. Mr Awesome here again...

    I am of the old school mentality/style of painting, holding the base, and when possible painting the model before finally putting it together.

    So to correct the problem of getting paint on other areas of the model, or oils/rough skin messing up painted areas...I always wear one latex glove...similar from when I work on my car.

    It works great, the paint dries abnormally fast on the glove so there is never any smudging or smearing of paint, and it makes a great piece to help get paint off a brush, and to act as a small paint pallet...see top of thumb nail covered with glove.

    Best way I have found to paint a model. IT also helps in firmly gripping the model...best place to buy good gloves are from Auto Parts suppliers, ive found their gloves fit the best and last the longest when hit with the various chemicals we all paint with.

    Trust me, when it doubt get the glove out.


  3. Bottle caps

    slightly larger then 25mm bases the textured edges make them extremely easy to hang on to.

  4. CMDante here.

    Being biast towards the corks (obviously as I already use them :D) I have to say, they are my preferred method of everything else I've tried.

    Something just feels a bit weird about wearing a latex glove, plus you can still damage (break fragile parts, wear off fresh paint etc), the model regardless of the glove, simply by handeling it.

    With corks you have a perfectly sized hand hold so as not to end up with hand cramps (I get this if I'm holding something smaller like a pin vice for too long), you almost never have to touch the figure and you get the enjoyment of drinking whatever the bottle said cork is from contained!

    Champagne corks are the best ones as they tend to have a nice wide, flat base and plenty of room to fit even large figs onto comfortably. You can also buy corks from craft stores pretty cheap, just always make sure that they have a flat base that will be wider than the model placed upon it so that they don't tip and fall when left standing.



  5. I use the old GW pot with blue tac as well. I find when having to do many plastic models I can pop them off and on pretty quick and only have to touch the model twice. I tried corks but ran into the problem of balance when wanting to put the model down for a wash to dry or just to take a break.

    I also put cheap polymer clay into the empty pots to add weight which I get more control from. For heavy models I use a 2 point process with hot glue. I find it is less damaging than super glue as it can be peeled off or cut off easily. And because it flexes quite well without breaking it's bond I prefer it.

  6. The only problem I personally find with the pot and blu tack method is that you either have to base the model before painting/sculpting, or deal with it wobbling about in the blu tack while you sculpt/paint on it.

    You can of course put them on a dummy base and remove it later for re-basing, but its more hassle than just pinning the feet into a cork and you also run the risk of damaging the figure while removing from the temporary base.

    In saying that, I guess the cork method is fine for me as I only work on a handful of figures a year, but if your doing an army or a squad etc, then the pot and tack method is probably the way to go.

  7. I've used two other methods beyond what's listed here.
    1) Glue a short shafted, large headed nail to the bottom of the base. Both PVA and Superglue work well for this. Its a plus since you can easily set up a holder for them, and it is also an easy way to get smaller models arranged for spray base coating.
    2) Needle Drivers or hemostats. I have access to a reasonable supply of these, and have found that clamping the jaws on a base gives me a secure and very long handle to manipulate from.

  8. Fabulous tip, champagne corks are my favorite to use and drinking mimosas while painting is also quite enjoyable.

  9. I tend to just use alittle white glue (elmers) to glue directly on a used pot of paint. I have a number of heavier glass paint pots that work well for it. It has enough weight not to easily tip over, plus is large enough to move around in your hand without interfering with painting the model. Magnetizing would be my other method, but I haven't tried it yet.

  10. Try using an old medicine bottle from the pharmacy. I filled mine with play-doh to weight it down and it was just the right size.