Review - GREX Genesis.XGi5 Airbrush

Product Review: GREX Gensis.XGi5 airbrush set; retail price US$209
Advantages: smooth, well-manufactured and ergonomic modern design air brush
for use in modeling and other spray applications
Disadvantages: nothing of note
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for any modeler needing a new airbrush or upgrading from an
older one
Airbrushes among modelers are much like cars were in the 1960s: a Ford man
will not even think about a Chevy, and a MOPAR fan looks down on both of t
hem. Currently there are a number of dominant brands - Badger, Paasche, Iwa
ta, and Thayer & Chandler being just four - and many other up and coming br
ands, of which GREX has joined the fray in the last few years.
Airbrushes have been around a long time, but modern ones date back to the
first one produced by the Stanley brothers in 1893 (the same ones from the
famous Steamer car line). This evolved into Thayer & Chandler and eventuall
y today's line of Badger airbrushes, but the designs all date back to that
introduction. Today we break them down as either "single action" or "double
action". They also are made around the world: Badger, Thayer & Chandler, a
nd Paasche are American, Harder & Steenbergen is German, Iwata is Japanese,
and GREX is from Taiwan.
Single action only permits the user to adjust the air flow with a trigger
or button type control. The paint is set by manually adjusting the tip. Dou
ble action permits the use to use the control in two axes to control both a
ir flow and paint flow simultaneously. The former are good starter airbrush
es, the latter are better once skills have been developed.
This airbrush is a double-action type and is provided with a few nice opti
ons. While most airbrushes are "pen-type" and shaped like a thick pen, this
particular design comes with an ergonomic grip just below the barrel of th
e airbrush that makes it easier to grasp. A non-slip pad is also fitted to
the top of the button control on top of the airbrush.
A locking device is provided via a knurled knob at the ear of the brush so
that the same flow of paint can be metered out with each use. As with all
double action airbrushes, pressing down controls air flow, pulling back inc
reases paint flow.
This brush adds a few nice touches of its own. The base unit provided here
comes with three interchangeable gravity feed cups that screw onto a mount
at the front; 2 ml, 7 ml and 15 ml. The base can also be used for holding
a tiny amount of paint for touch-up work.
There are also two needle guards for the front of the brush: a "Quick-Fit"
needle cap which is ring shaped, and a "Quick Fit" Crown Cap which is notc
hed. The latter is suggested for use in close proximity to the work to avoi
d backblast from the air flow by allowing it to blow out sideways. Both cap
s use magnets for mounting and the one not in use can be attached to the kn
urled knob at the rear of the brush when not needed.
The brush comes with a fitting designed to mate up with GREX compressors.
This particular one also came with two additional devices not listed in the
directions or box blurbs: a fitting that appears to convert it to fit on a
standard Badger air hose, and one for necking down to fit into a generic r
ubber or vinyl air line. A small wrench is included in the neatly designed
plastic storage box as well.
A few years ago I purchased the GREX TritiumTS1 airbrush at an AMPS show a
nd later their dedicated compressor; when used together they are a very wel
l designed setup that works well for smooth paint delivery to the subject.
But while that one uses a pistol-grip control which takes a bit of practice
to adapt to, the biggest drawback I had with it was that it was primarily
designed for use with a lot of liquid agents and when used with the small a
mounts of paint I use became awkward and difficult to clean properly after
each use. I therefore decided to switch to this brush, which is just what I
There are four different size nozzle/needle combinations offered: 0.2mm, 0
.3mm, 0.5mm, and 0.7mm. I picked the 0.5mm (.020") one as it is a general p
urpose one and more fitting to painting armored vehicles. The designator te
lls you which tip is fitted (e.g. XGi2, XGi3, or XGi5 with the 0.7mm being
a special after-purchase order).
Control is very precise and the setting adjustment can prevent using too m
uch color when not wanted. As it is straight gravity feed, cleaning it is a
lso much easier.
Right now I have about eight different air brushes: four Badgers and a tru
sty old Paasche H which are my primary ones for use with enamels and lacque
rs; the two GREX brushes are my go-tos for use with acrylics. I have a coup
le of "throwaway" ones from Harbor Freight (cheapies made in China - the do
uble-action one was only $15) that I use for experiments with things like M
r Surfacer.
The GREX brushes work magnificently with Tamiya acrylics and acrylic thinn
er, and I am about to try them out with some of the Vallejo and other brand
s as well.
Overall this an excellent brush; while a bit on the expensive side, it may
be found cheaper. This particular one came from Chicago Airbrush Supply an
d was $168 with shipping.
Cookie Sewell
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