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I am getting pretty tired of my hands cramping up from trying to hold the minis while I get this new Dwarf Army finished. Please share your tips for reducing hand stress/shaking. Do you use a tool to hold the mini? Do you paint in a certain position? Any tips would be great. At the moment I am considering taking a piece of dowel rod about 7 inches long and an inch in diameter and turning it on a lathe (sp?) to make about 4 inches of it a smooth teardrop that will fit comfortably in the hand. The other end I am going to glue a magnet to. With small rare earth magnets costing very very little, I could afford to add a small magnet under the base of all my models. Anyone think this is a bad idea?
Thanks for your help.
Blu-tac and sawn off broom handle suit me just fine.
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Sounds like it's significantly smaller than what you're looking for, but I don't have any cramping issues; I use bottle tops from your average 20 oz soda pop bottle. YES, I wash them... It's just enough bigger than the rim of a 28mm round base, and fits small square Fantasy bases just fine. I use Blu-Tac (and make sure it's BLU tac, not some cheap, ineffective yellow "poster putty" stand-in) to hold the models on, and it's definitely strong enough - especially for a wee plastic Dwarf.
Old GW paintpots (one of the few things they are good for and that people seems to have a quite few of too) can be used to create a quite good handle too, also I use a gluegun instead of bluetac.
Yet another way is to drill a hole and glue a pin in one of the foots, then you use a pinwise and hold the mini with that. Quite good for singel miniatures, but not when you're working on several minis at the same time. But I guess if you had something to place it on such as a corkboard or maybe a foamboard it could be usefull for a "paintline" too.
Another recommendation (and there are some great ones here already) is to pick up a wood egg. Sound crazy? Bear with me. Wood eggs are available in craft stores and are inexpensive (where I live they're about $.80 each). Just attach the mini to the end of the egg (either using blu tac or some other means) and paint away. The shape of the egg is very comfortable to hold for long periods of time and, in between painting, you can store them in (what else?) an egg carton.
I have some reverse long handle forceps I use. They dont lock shut, but you have to squeeze them to OPEN them. I bought them for another reason but I've found out they work great for holding onto minis while I paint. Excepting for the larger metal ones, which are too heavy for the spring pressure to hang onto if I tip the mini over...I dont mind though, cause I dont have to worry about too much pressure scoring the surface of the rest of the minis I do. They were like $4 on a table full of varioius medical instruments at the flea market.
I've seen a lot of people just use a pin vice to put a hole into the bottom of a figure, and then put the pin they insert into the mini into the pin vice and just paint holding the pin vice. I'm going to try that for some of the Wolfen I've got to paint, which are too heavy for my tweezer-forcep-thingies.
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To answer the other part of your question, I find that resting my hands/wrists on the table seriously reduces stress and shakiness. You will need a higher level table for this; I use a drafting table, originally obtained to reduce the back pain I was feeling from crouching over a table for long periods of time -- a related problem!
Unfortunately Blu-tac is not something I can get here in Indiana very easily, which is why I was thinking about the magnet deal. I am going to have to try that wooden egg, if I can find a reasonable replacement for Blu-Tac. Thanks everyone for the suggestions. Much Appreciated.
As far as positioning goes, you definitely need to rest your forearms on a table or other object to prevent them from shaking. I also find that if I hold the brush in my hand with my thumb and forefinger, then put the other fingers touching my other hand(which holds the mini), my hands remain very steady and comfortable.
I personally don't use blue-tac or any other object to hold the mini, just the base. I end up painting my base last, so i never worry about rubbing paint off of there.
Just my technique.
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