After its Everlasting Wet Palette, its brushes for miniatures, and its RRG 360 miniature handle, Redgrass Games has recently introduced a new version of its handle, aptly named RRG 360 V2. According to Redgrass Games, it is "the best ergonomic handle for miniature painting". A Kickstarter campaign is underway for this RRG 360 V2 (until June 4, 2020), it should then be available in stores like the rest of their products.
They graciously sent me this handle (thank you!), so I tried my best at testing it.
Disclaimer: The following is my point of view and therefore does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the rest of the universe.
Disclaimer: Lots of text below. For those in a hurry, go directly to the conclusion.
I do not own the 1st RRG 360 V1 handle. But I use abundantly and since several years the Rathcore handles (they have 2 models, let us call them Small Rathcore and Large Rathcore. The Large Rathcore is the closest to the RRG handle). I also know the Citadel handle for having used it some times, but I don't own one. And of course, for a very long time I used home-made handles (old paint pots, pieces of wood, anything that fits in the hand, with blue-tac on top of it to hold the mini).
There are probably other companies that make handles for miniatures, but I don't know them...
Unpacking the thing:
The product is delivered in a plastic package, which contains:
- The handle itself (composed of a handle and a cap)
- 1 piece of orange adhesive putty
- 1 metal disc with adhesive bonded underneath.
I also received in a separate bag:
- 2 extra caps
- 1 extra piece of orange adhesive putty
The stuff I received.
From a perceived quality point of view, it’ within the Redgrass standard: it's clean, strong, it looks well finished. The other elements (putty and disc) are in line with it.
The principle of the RRG handle is as follows:
1. Put orange adhesive putty on the cap
2. Stick the mini on
3. Hold the handle and paint...
4. While painting, you can rotate the cap with your thumb or forefinger, which will rotate the mini (obviously).
For those who know the V1, the new features of the V2 are:
- Removable cap
- Magnetization of the underside of the handle
Installing the thing:
I cut a piece of orange putty, I spread it on the head, and I stick the mini on it. The head is 30mm diameter, it's quite possible to stick bigger bases on it. RRG says up to 50mm. Could be more, anyway I guess there's a size & weight limit beyond which it becomes irrelevant. A big metal dragon or a giant isn't going to do much good. As with any other miniature handle, actually.
With the orange putty on the cap.
Using the thing:
The grip is good, the handle has an adequate curved shape, quite ergonomic. That's appropriate, since it's an ergonomic handle...
While painting, you rotate the cap with your thumb or forefinger to access all the sides of the mini. There is a slight resistance to rotation, it is not mounted on ball bearings otherwise it would be annoying, duh... You might still have to keep a finger on the head when holding the handle horizontally or tilted, otherwise it tends to rotate very slowly because of the weight of the mini (it happened when the mini’s center of gravity is off, like the Batman I’ve painted for this review, it certainly won’t with a more “centered” mini). Anyway, if it does, you get used to it very quickly.
The rotating head saves a bit of time on a entire paintjob, because sliding just one finger is a tiny-wee-bit faster than rotating the whole handle in your hand (as it is the case with competition’s handles). In short, the rotating head is a nice little feature that won't change your life if you already use a handle, but one cannot deny that RRG are the only ones making rotating heads.
One note: with 30mm bases or bigger, it is possible to touch the edge of the base and thus to put finger grease on it (so, lower paint adhesion on the edge of the base). So, you have to be a tad careful where you put your fingers. Especially for those who have big hands and/or big fingers. It's not a big deal, but I think it could have been improved with one or two minor modifications of the cap, for example by lengthening the head by 5 or 10mm, or by giving it a conical or flared shape (i.e. not cylindrical). Maybe for the V3?
The cap is removable (V2 new feature), so if you have several caps, you can paint several minis almost in parallel. The "extra caps" option is therefore interesting for "assembly-line-mode" painters, no need to buy several complete handles.
The handle and the cap removed.
It is also possible to use just the cap alone, but then I think it loses its interest compared to a homemade handle...
The bottom of the handle is flat, so it stands on the table. If you want more stability, there is a magnet inside the handle (another new feature of the V2), which allows it to adhere to metals (well, ferrous like carbon steel, eh, not stainless steel or aluminium...). Tables being generally made of wood, that's what the metal disc provided is for. It can be sticked on his adhesive side. It is not repositionable, so before sticking it, think a bit about its location (otherwise you're good for un-sticking it and re-stick with double-sided scotch tape).
It is possible to make the handle hold horizontally, the magnet is strong enough for that. Personally, it suits me fine, I often have a lot of mess on my table...
Once the mini’s painting is finished, I take it off the handle to varnish it. The orange putty seems qualitative to me, it adhered very well during the painting phase, it remains stuck to the head of the handle afterwards, and leaves very few traces under the mini’s base. With regular blue-tac, I almost always have some small traces and pieces that remain stuck under the base. With RRG orange putty, there seems to be a little less.
According to RRG, the orange putty is reusable quite a few times. It seems credible, after this test. I must have used between 1/4 and 1/3 of the supplied piece. As a first approach I would say that the piece of orange putty provided should last a year while painting quite often (if you take care not to soak it in sand, dust, or paint). Of course, to have a more precise order of magnitude it would take a much longer test. Anyway, it is always possible to use regular blue-tac, or buy extra orange putty from RRG ‘s online store.
All handles have advantages, and the disadvantages that usually go with them (you don't get anything for nothing).
Rathcore handles are made of wood. The aspect is nice, the contact of the wood is really pleasant under the hand, it is super-qualitative. Rathcore use special cork heads to hold the figs, adapted to the sizes of the bases. It's a very "clean" system but less versatile than adhesive putty. The cork heads can be removed and put back on, but it is not as quick and easy as on the RRG. The Large Rathcore fits very well in the hand (like the RRG) but doesn't stand on its own, it has a wooden stand to put it on (too bad). The Small Rathcore is much more compact and stands on its own. Both Rathcore can be equipped with a metal rod that passes over the mini and allows to turn it in all directions while keeping a great stability. This rod works great with the Small Rathcore, less so with the Large one (simply because of the long handle). You don't often need to flip a mini upside down for a long time, it depends entirely on the mini, but when you need it, it's great. All this means that if you want the whole shebang at Rathcore (all types of cork heads, several handles to be able to paint several figs in parallel, the two handle shapes, etc.), it all adds up pretty quickly!
The Citadel handle is made of plastic, and uses an adjustable spring system to clamp the base. No need for adhesive putty or multiple cork heads, it's cool. But this system, like the others, has its limits regarding base size, and can sometimes tend to hurt the edges of the base, or even deform it. The Citadel handle is very compact (more "bulbous" than the RRG), fits well in the hand, and stands on its own. If you want to paint several figs in parallel, you need several handles, no choice. This adds to the bill, there again.
No picture of the famous Citadel handle. Google is your friend.
Is the RRG 360 V2 "the best ergonomic handle for miniature painting" ?
Yes. No. It depends. In fact, every painter will have his preferences. According to his tastes, his use, and his budget. It's like the miniature paints, I would say that there is no bad brand (nor absolute best brand).
The RRG probably won't dethrone my usual handles, but I'll certainly use it as a complement. Just like the paints, in fact (the sharp eye will spot 4 different paint brands on the previous pictures, and there are a few more out of scope).
It's well designed, well made, and very easy to use. It does better than competitors on some aspects, less well on others. I'd say its main strengths are its superior versatility and a competitive price for those who paint several minis in parallel (even if you buy extra removable caps, the budget remains limited).
Roolz, 27 May 2020