GREX Airbrush Model Tritium TS3 First-Look
|Date of First Look||April 2009||Manufacturer||Grex|
|Subject||Tritium TS3 Airbrush||Pros||Single-pull double action trigger with the ability to fix the settings outstanding; optional accessories enhance use|
I am not a sucker for trendy items, and in the 40 years I have used airbrushes I rarely if ever jump onto the next bandwagon of “must have” items. Like many, I started with the Badger 250 “airbrush” ( basically an inexpensive external mix spray gun) and went up the ladder to Binks, Badger and Paasche brushes over the years. But they were a combination of conventional single action internal mix (set the needle size by dialing and press the control for air) or conventional double action internal mix (press down for air, pull back for paint flow).
There were two competing companies showing their products at the 2009 AMPS International Show and both had very different products. One was a German manufacturer whose brushes were conventional in design but of extreme high quality and precision (I DID say they were German!) The other was GREX, who is a company from China – but ROC China (Taiwan) and not PRC China.
Their salespeople showed a complete gamut of brushes and I was taken by their top-of-the-line brush, the Tritium series. They come in two models – TG with a build-in gravity feed cup (which is replaceable and can handle different size cups) and TS with an optional choice side-feed gravity or side-mounted suction feed cup. The paint flow can be preset at the rear of the brush with a dial (like most of the Badgers) but the trick to me was the operating method.
The GREX uses a dual-action trigger; pull halfway back to get the air flow and all the way back for paint flow. It has an electric (Kermit the Frog) green pistol grip to go with the trigger, and is much more natural to hold as compared to the normal pen-grip brushes I have been used to in the past. This is the first brush I have literally been able to “sign checks” with due to the controls, and I was quite impressed with the demo model I was permitted to try out.
Upon checking with the salespeople I found that while they would like you to buy a complete set (airbrush, accessories, hose and compressor) the company realizes that not everybody has one airbrush nor wants to buy all new items. They therefore sell a number of converter pieces to fit their brushes to either Badger or Paasche air hoses and other brands of compressors.
I also bought an air controller, Model G-MAC.B, which permits quick attachment to Badger air hoses. It is also a precision air flow controller for the brush. 1080 degrees (three full turns) goes from 100% to 0% of air flow. While it doesn’t have a gauge attached, most modelers with some experience know when the air flow is “right” for the medium they are using so not a problem.
Maintenance is not a major problem as the entire brush can be disassembled (but the company does not recommend going beyond what the Army calls “field stripping”) for thorough cleaning. It is recommended for use with inks, dyes, acrylic and enamel paints, but the directions warn against cleaning with ammonia as it destroys the seals. The brush has a six-year limited warranty.
Other accessories provided include 7 ml and 15 ml gravity feed cups with covers (which may be mounted on the left or right side of the brush, based on the modeler’s choice) and a 30 ml (one ounce) siphon jar with right-angle feed. It also has a solid or cutaway (“crown”) needle cap tip protector, both held on by magnets and interchangeable (one stores at the back of the brush while the other is in use). A fitted plastic case and a nozzle wrench are included; factory options include a 0.2mm or 0.5mm needle and nozzle assembly to change the flow rate (the “3" in this model denotes a 0.3mm nozzle).
The company also offers a number of other models starting at $109 for a basic dual-action brush and continuing up to the TS. There is a cheaper version with a center-mounted gravity cup, the Tritium TG, which is $159 but has the rest of the features of this brush. .
I am looking forward to long-term use of this brush, as I really like its feel and handling.