If tremors and shakes are keeping you away from your model making, this handy accessory will be a game changer for your modelling.
I don’t know why but I’ve always had a slight tremor in my hands.
And this causes no end of grief in my model making. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been painting or working on some intricate detail only for my hand to tremble at precisely the wrong moment and hours — days — of effort has been spoilt.
I’ve always had this problem, even from a young age, and have learned to put up with the frustration. Others seem to only get this as they get older, with many colleagues complaining it hinders or even stops them enjoying their hobby when they when they reach their 40s and 50s.
Either way, it’s bloody annoying and just recently — after another spoilt bit of model making — I started looking around for solutions.
After a bit of searching and several false starts with fixed position armrests — such the padded armrests for operating a mouse — I came across this Articulating Computer Laptop Arm Support.
As the name implies it’s intended for supporting your arm while typing on computer keyboards but reading the description I thought it could help with my shakiness. Could it perhaps dampen out involuntary muscle movements?
Constructed from strong aluminium alloy, an adjustable fixing allows it to be installed on a wide range of desk and workbench thicknesses, up to 61mm. It’s literally just a case of unscrewing a nob, sliding it over the worktop surface and tightening the screw until a firm grip is made.
Once in place, it rotates around over the desk with three pivot points and two adjustable hinges to offer a wide degree of movement and allowing a good a range of positions at which to support your wrist and arm.
So does it help with the shakes?
I was a bit sceptical at first. While the idea was okay, I was doubtful it would really work in practice.
Unlike typing on a keyboard — which this is intended for — model making involves holding fine tools and brushes while needing a wide range of movement. Looking at the thick metal arms, I was far from convinced this would give me the freedom and flexibility of movement needed.
After a short while using it on my workbench, however, I’m completely won over.
The arm gives more than a good enough range of horizontal movement while keeping my arm and wrist stable and I’ve had no more accidents or slippages since using it.
Another concern I had was the comfort of the rest.
I sit at my workbench for prolonged periods — especially when my wife is away 🙂 — and I had visions of the armrest becoming uncomfortable or even cutting into my wrist.
This hasn’t happened yet. The padding feels soft and comfortable and I’ve experienced no discomfort.
If you have shakes or your hand trembles and it’s stopping you from modelling I recommend giving this a try.
It’s helped me to reduce the number of errors made in painting and fine modelling work and would undoubtedly help others continue with their hobby when shakes and tremors might otherwise prevent them.
I’m now thinking of buying a second unit for my left hand, as seen in the photo above, so both hands are stable.
Extra: Since using this armrest I’ve also noticed a painful shoulder complaint has eased up. I’ve been seeing a physio for about this for several months now and these treatments didn’t seem to be helping. I can’t categorically attribute the shoulder niggle to my model making and its remedy to this armrest but if you get shoulder ache too it might be worth trying.
Where to get it
Full disclosure: The reviews I share here come from hands-on experience establised over many decades of making and building models and model railways. I personally test each product, often for weeks or months, before writing about it. For this review, I purchased the product myself at the regular price, and the seller had no idea it would end up featured here. No special treatment or behind-the-scenes deals – just honest feedback on my experiences of using this product.
Andy is a lifelong modeler, writer, and founder of modelrailwayengineer.com. He has been building model railways, dioramas, and miniatures for over 20 years. His passion for model making and railways began when he was a child, building his first layout at the age of seven.
Andy’s particular passion is making scenery and structures in 4mm scale, which he sells commercially. He is particularly interested in modelling the railways of South West England during the late Victorian/early Edwardian era, although he also enjoys making sci-fi and fantasy figures and dioramas. His website has won several awards, and he is a member of MERG (Model Railway Electronics Group) and the 009 Society.
When not making models, Andy lives in Surrey with his wife and teenage son. Other interests include history, science fiction, photography, and programming. Read more about Andy.