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Grex Tritium.TS3 and Genesis.XGi airbrushes


Grex Tritium.TS3

I'll be upfront with you: I like Grex’s Tritium.TS3. I know some will look at a double-action, internally mixing pistol-style airbrush and think it's hard or uncomfortable to use, but nothing could be further from reality. I painted most of a 1/6 scale figure while testing my TS and found it provided reliable performance and enjoyable sessions.

The TS comes with three side-feed paint reservoirs: two metal gravity cups (1⁄4 and 1/2 oz.) and a 1-oz. siphon bottle. All three mount to the side of the airbrush and are adjustable to allow for painting at odd angles without spilling. To me, the reservoirs are the weakest part of the TS3’s design. Because they screw into position and are secured with a locknut, the reservoirs must be turned upside down to remove — not always the quickest or cleanest of operations. I think I’d prefer a friction fit instead, like on an Iwata. Luckily, this is possible with an optional adaptor (No. AD31).

The “quick-fit” needle caps are one of the coolest design elements of the TS. The airbrush comes with both a standard and crown cap that can be easily removed from the magnetic nozzle cap and swapped. I found myself switching from one to the other on the fly as my painting needs changed from broader strokes to detail work and back.

Unlike sessions with my Genesis.XT, I never suffered fatigue using the Tritium’s ergonomic handle. The trigger mechanism operates smoothly, and the preset knob on the back of the brush is useful for painting consistent line widths. Moreover, the TS is suitable for right- or left-handed use.

The TS disassembles easily for cleaning. However, I’ve found that special attention must be paid to the fluid nozzle. At .3mm, it can be clogged with acrylic paints. So, be prepared to disassemble the brush between color changes and give it a thorough washing before proceeding.

 Veteran painters who are used to the more-traditional pen-shaped airbrushes may not want to add this brush to their arsenal, but I think the TS would make a great place for beginners to start. It’s pricey, but most quality airbrushes are. The TS, if properly cared for, will last your entire modeling career and allow room for growth with optional nozzle sizes and performance kits.

– Tim Kidwell

Grex Genesis.XGi

When Grex airbrushes broke onto the scene a few years ago, the novelty lay in their pistol-grip and trigger design. I was impressed with the quality of the brush but wasn’t sold on the handle and trigger. I felt I had more control over the paint and airflow using a traditional top-button airbrush.

So, I was only too happy to try Grex’s new Genesis series of double-action brushes. They combine conventional airbrush design and quality construction with ergonomic additions that make this my new go-to airbrush.

The brush I tested was the gravity-feed XGi. The Genesis is also available with a side-feed, the XSi, and a bottom siphon-feed, the XBi.

The XGi comes with three interchangeable reservoirs ­— 1⁄20, 1⁄4, and 1⁄2 fluid ounce — that screw into the top of the brush. Each is fitted with a lid to prevent spills during painting.

The brush I tested was fitted with a .3mm nozzle, but Grex sells .2, .5, and .7mm replacement nozzles and needles.

In keeping with Grex’s push for ergonomic design, the XGi and XSi are fitted with soft rubber grips on the body and button. Molded in the company’s trademark green, both slip easily on and off the brush and can be cleaned with thinner.

A new feature on this and other recent Grex brushes is the Quick-Fit needle caps system. A magnet secures the cap to the front of the brush. A similar magnet holds a spare cap on the rear end of the handle. Changing from the standard cap to the crown cap for close work is super easy.

The brush features a couple of other terrific engineering touches that make use and cleaning almost trouble-free. The nozzle is big enough to comfortably pick up in two fingers and screw into the end of the brush. It flares into a hexagonal end that the supplied wrench fits over easily to snug it down with little risk of damaging the fragile end. I also like the sturdy metal actuator; it’s easy to align when replacing it behind the trigger.

To test the brush, I painted a 1/8 scale figure and a 1/35 scale Leopard 2 in NATO camouflage. Properly thinned enamels, acrylics, and lacquers sprayed smoothly at pressures from 8 to 40 psi. I was able to work close to the surface when shading the figure. On one occasion I noticed a little pulsation, but it turned out I hadn’t tightened the nozzle properly.

Cleanup is a snap. I flushed the brush with thinner between colors. After each session I disassembled the brush, including the needle and nozzle. Cotton swabs got into most of the spaces of the brush, but I needed a pipe cleaner for the narrowest section at the front. I recommend interdental brushes to remove paint in the nozzle.

The only trouble I had involved breakage of the O-ring seals between the reservoir and the brush. Grex was quick to respond and has replaced the rings with a new material that seals as well but is much sturdier. 

The Genesis.XGi gives me consistent, predictable results, has good optional features, and is easy to maintain. Add to that my customer service experience with Grex regarding the O-rings, and I can’t recommend the brush enough.

– Aaron Skinner

Note: A version of these reviews appeared in the July 2014 FineScale Modeler.


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