When it comes to hobby tools such as paint brushes and knives, I tend to avoid the Citadel/Games Workshop family of products. Generally, it feels like I’m paying a premium for official GW products, and I’m not getting anything better than if I went to an art or hobby store. For example, I’m not sure who in their right mind would pay $36 for a hobby knife.
However, once in a while, the industrial designers at GW manage to hit a home run, making a good product at a not-unreasonable price that makes it onto my workbench. The latest two I’ve picked up have been their Mouldline Remover tool and their Water Pot.
Citadel’s Mouldline Remover is about $20 and can be found at your local purveyor of Games Workshop products. Essentially, it’s a scraper that does what it says on the tin – by running it over mold lines and applying a touch of pressure, you can scrape them off.
The tool is a stiff scraping blade a couple millimetres thick, with a handle screwed on either side. As it is pretty much just a big chunk of metal, it feels pretty solid in the hand. The edges of the blade are square and crisp and work well for what they do. The blade has three main shapes to it: A flat backside, a rounded tip, and a concave curve on the front. This allows the modeller to choose the shape that best matches the part he is working on. The inside, for example, would be useful for scraping mold lines off pipes and tubes without leaving flat spots.
It works on both resin and plastic, as well as certain filler putties, and in addition to removing mold lines, it can be used to even out slightly misaligned parts. The nice, stiff blade is easy to control and it makes the task of getting rid of mold lines easy.
The one downside is that it is a little big for certain jobs. It may be perfect for things like Sector Mechanicus terrain and tanks, but on a small, highly detailed model like an Escher gang member, it’s probably just a little too big for some of the work and you should resort to something like the back of a hobby knife blade.
This tool is definitely a good addition to my hobby arsenal. Nice and sturdy, it does what it says on the tin. It’s great for erasing mold lines and evening out misaligned panels. Also, this would be a good tool for younger modellers who might not be ready for a knife yet.
Normally, I wouldn’t spend $10 on a simple water pot. However, I had seen it on the desk of a couple twitch streamers and heard good things, so when I was negotiating a trade with a friend who works at the LGS and we were getting close to a mutually acceptable deal, I said “throw in one of these and we’ll call it even.”
I’m a little persnickety about my painting area, always experimenting with ways to more efficiently sort things out. This probably goes back to my time working in aerospace where a clean and well-organized workspace was essential because you really don’t want to lose a tool only for it to be found bouncing around inside a jet engine at 30,000 feet. Also, I don’t exactly have a large hobby space, having to keep most of my hobbying confined to a small LINNMON table from Ikea. As such, I like products where some thought was given to maximize functionality and ergonomics — a tool that has three uses takes up less space than three separate tools, and every square inch I save on my desk is another square inch that I can clutter up with works in progress.
This is one of those products. I mean, Citadel could have just taken a coffee mug, slapped their logo on it, and raised the price by 400%. But they didn’t do that. They crammed this thing full of little features that may not be apparent at first glance, but that painters will appreciate.
First, the shape of the thing. It is about the size of a large coffee cup, however it is wider at the bottom than it is at the top. This means that it is not likely to tip over like so many bottles of Nuln Oil. Further, with the unique shape, it is unlikely that you will mix up your paint water and your drink.
On the inside, it has a number of ridges that make cleaning paint off the brush easier. The sides of the cup are gently ribbed, which should help knock stubborn paint out, while the bottom has some sharper ribs. While you probably don’t want to be grinding a kolinsky sable brush against the bottom, these ribs are useful for things like knocking paint out of your beater brushes and cleaning off the makeup brushes I use for dry brushing. Since cleaning your brushes out is important to make them last longer, anything that helps make cleaning easier and more efficient is a welcome feature.
Speaking of cleaning your brushes, the top has a curve molded into it so that you can place your brush sideways on top without it rolling off. This is actually a good idea for when you’re finishing a painting session. You don’t want to leave a wet brush point up, as that will encourage the water and any debris in it to migrate down into the ferrule. This curve allows you to, at the end of your session, place your brush down on top of the water cup and let it dry out sideways.
Finally, there are a series of grooves cut into one side. By running a brush through these grooves, they allow you to reform the point of the brush. This gives you an option to quickly reform the point without eating paint. While this works good in theory, old habits die hard, and I’m still licking my brush and using the corner of my mouth, so I would rather Citadel just focus on making their washes taste better. Further, I’m not sure they work for all sizes of brushes, so it might have been good for them to have an array of different sized grooves so you can use it to form the tip on your big beater brushes you use for terrain.
My only gripe, and this is minor, is that I wonder if it would have been better to cast it in a clear plastic. That way, you can somewhat see the ribs do their work, and it’s easier to tell looking from the side when it’s time to clean your water. On the other hand, it might be hard to see anything anyways with the refraction of light on the water, and the cruddy water look may not have been what they were going for.
Of course, similar to the Redgrass Games Everlasting Wet Palette, the main issue is that it’s hard to compete on value when your main competition is essentially free. Yes, this product has some nice features, but you can probably get away with using any old container or jar indefinitely and save yourself $10, so long as you are careful to choose a container that isn’t too similar to your coffee cup. Still, if you have a bit of cash burning a hole in your pocket and you’re at the LGS, you could do far worse. Like spending $36 on a hobby knife.
I am far from a GW fanboy, and don’t see the need to use official Citadel-brand products very often in my painting. However, I do like both of these products. If I had to give them a letter grade, I would give the mouldline remover an A, while the water cup would probably get a B+, only because although it’s not that expensive, it can’t compete on price with free alternatives.