Wednesday, October 19, 2022

REVIEW: Citadel Tools

While we all love our miniatures, we sometimes forget about the importance of the tools we use to assemble them. Where would our stalwart Space Marines be without the clippers and knives used to put them together? Games Workshop has refreshed their own line of hobby tools to help you accomplish just that, so let's take a look at them!

First off, thank you to Games Workshop for sending me these for review. Tools aren't a new addition to the GW line, that've had various versions of them for as long as I've been in the hobby. Sometimes which tools are available will come and go. Back in the day they had sculpting tools alongside their hobby tools for instance (I still use my old GW sculpting tool!). This newest refresh of their line sees a pair of Super Fine Detail Cutters (clippers), a drill, a moldline remove, and a knife. I'm going to take a look at each of them individually. The first thing I want to cover, is that all of these have plastic handles instead of the heavier metal ones the previous GW tools had. I didn't have any of those personally, so I can't really compare, but just be aware.

Citadel Tools: Knife

Ah, the essential hobby knife. It's hard to go wrong here and GW's newest version is quite good. In fact, I think this is my favorite of the new tools! The blade itself isn't anything revolutionary. It's the same as the blade on any other hobby knife, and the same as the one I was using previously from a different company. That's not where the uniqueness of the tool comes into play. In fact, I'm very glad it's not some kind of proprietary blade, as once you run out of the extra blades this knife comes with, you can just replenish it from any hobby shop or office supply store that sells these kind of blades. The handle is what make it unique.

The first thing I noticed is the way you change out the blade. You may notice the silver round bit near the back of the handle. This is what you twist to loosen and tighten the grip on the blade when you need to change it out. Besides being easy to use and pretty cool looking, by having it near the back of the handle you're unlikely to accidentally twist it while using it, so your blade should stay nice and secure. The next thing I noticed was the "hood" over the top of the blade itself. This is molded in a way so that your finger will sit nicely on it. This not only protects you from accidents from the blade a little bit, it also gives you a great place to apply pressure when making a tough, downward cut. It also comes with a nice safety cover the fits over the tip of the knife, even with a blade attached.

The only downsides to this for me are for personal reasons. I hold my pencils/paint brushes/knives/etc in a weird way. It's just how I hold stuff. In elementary school they even gave me those triangular shaped pencils to try and correct it, but nothing worked. It seems to have worked out pretty okay for me, but the handle on this knife is molded in such a way as to fit nicely into the "proper" way for holding it, which means it's awkward for me to hold. If you hold your tools in the proper way, then you'll have no problem here. I also use knives to scrape away moldlines on models, and when I was using this knife the "hood" would get in the way sometimes. I think this had more to do with me not being used to it yet. If you're aware it's there then it's easy to avoid the problem, it just takes some getting accustomed to.

At $34 there is no denying this is more expensive than most knives though. It could be worth it, the handle is pretty cool to be honest. At the end of the day the blade is the same as any other blade, so it's up to you and what value you deem as worthy. This is my top pick from the new tools though.

Citadel Tools: Mouldline Remover

I have never used the GW mouldline remover before, so this one was brand new to me. I have heard a lot of people sing its praises over the years, but I've always just used a hobby knife. Trying it out I could instantly see the appeal, it does a pretty good job! I feel like it also gives you a bit smoother of a surface on the model too since there is no risk of the blade getting caught and accidentally taking a chunk out of the plastic. There's no denying it's safer too since there is also no risk of cutting yourself.

The one big downside is that it won't be able to fit into tight spaces. You'll still need a knife for those areas. This one also suffers from the same personal issue the knife holds for me. The handle of it is molded to fit the "proper" way to hold tools, which makes it a bit awkward for me since I hold mine differently. This is the cheapest of the new tools at $25.

Citadel Tools: Drill

The drill, otherwise known as a pin vise, is a very handy tool to have. It's great for drilling holes for pinning, and of course, for drilling out those bolters if that's your jam. This one has the drill bit inserted in the same way as the blade on the knife, with that silver part midway through the handle. Again, this make it pretty handy so you don't accidentally loosen it. You also get 4 different sized drill bits with this that you can swap out.

This may be a "me" thing again, but I felt it was a little hard to twist in the normal way I do due to the flare around the middle. I put the butt of the drill into my palm and use my fingers to twirl it, but since this isn't perfectly round in the middle, I'm finding it a bit more difficult. It's also worth mentioning that you won't be able to use a drill bit larger than the largest one that comes with this drill (attached in the picture). I have other pin vises where the head can be swapped out to allow for larger or smaller drill bits.

I think this is okay for a drill if it's your first, but you may find yourself needing more variety in your drill bit sizes, at which point you'd have to move on to something different. Also, at $35 it's a bit on the expensive side.

Citadel Tools: Super Fine Detail Cutters

Lastly we come to the set of clippers. I'm not going to lie, these are my least favorite of the tools. I recently just bought a new pair of clippers from Tamiya, and compared to those ones, the Citadel ones aren't a super clean cut. Now, that's not to say it's a messy cut. They definitely are not. It's pretty good, but not the best. Also, their resting width is super wide. Like, the handles flare way out and stay that way unless you're putting pressure on them, as you can see in the picture above. If you have smaller hands this might become annoying. 

Above you can see a comparison to my Tamiya clippers. The Citadel ones are the ones on top. It's not like these are horrible by any stretch of the imagination, they're just not great for $50. The ones I bought are $25, and that was splurging for me. I was looking at the crazy $60 ones out there, but it was just too much for me to justify.

All in all, I think these are pretty good with the exception of the clippers, and even those aren't bad per se. The biggest drawback is the price, as there is no denying they're pricey. The one advantage to these is that they'll all be sold at GW stores. When I started in the hobby I went exclusively to my local GW and didn't have the knowledge to source alternatives for tools and such on my own. It was convenient having it all right there for me. Obviously things are a bit different now with the internet being much more of a thing, but there's still something to be said for it. If I had to pick one tool out of the four it would be the knife. The handle really is nice, and if I held my tools properly it would be even better. It's also infinitely safer for younger hobbyists compared to pretty much any other good hobby knife I've tried out there, which is definitely a positive. In fact, I would say a lot of these tools are great for younger hobbyists. They're safer, easier to use, and cover the basics.

Until next time,

Tyler M.

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