Airbrushes are Dangerous

Yeah, I’m goin’ there.

Airbrushes are dangerous.

You can get a spray booth and paint out in “the shed” and put the offending vapors out into the wide blue sky and still, airbrushing is, to the person that’s doing it, dangerous. It may not be likely to cause birth-defects or cancer, but it is likely to do serious and permanent damage to your attitude.

It’s not your body that is in danger–it’s your soul.

Okay, I’ll let the laughter die down…

There is no (or a limited) problem if you live alone and you do what you do to no one else. You are free as a bird to spray and spray and spray. You may find it more challenging to attract a “mate” but your splendid isolation ensures that your spraying will not poison anyone else.

So that’s cool.

But if you live with other people, or intend to, and you do not own a big fat American house with a big fat outdoor workshop in a part of America where it’s sunny all the time–then other people are going to smell your smell.

I know, I know that it’s upsetting. I know that you were bullied and harassed and your self-esteem was caught under the bleachers and knifed to death. I know that the world builds huge, multi-billion dollar sports facilities and acts like Jesus only loves athletes, but when it comes time for poor little me to build a model (minding my own business) along comes some harpy to tell me that I can’t use an airbrush. It feels like some kind of emasculation and it’s disturbingly close to being actual, given the more-than-slight resemblance between the all-too phallic airbrush

and the manly member we all hold in such regard.

It’s just indecent to suggest that a real man should stop doing something he “loves” when his life (in general) is rather short on love and long on the bitterness of being different in all the wrong ways.

Well, get over it Francis. One should, and I mean should, have some regard for the people one share’s one’s life with. If you are not a true manly man and you do not live in aforementioned country estate in aforementioned desert climate, then spraying toxic stuff into the air is going to be a problem. Period. The fact that model kit forum members never mention this, and happily gush their praise of airbrushery for all and sundry, doesn’t tell you how free we are to do any damn thing we want, it tells you how free we are to have little or no regard for the right of others to breathe clean air.

If a woman lives with you, then she may become pregnant and not be aware of it during the critical early stage of fetal development. If what I just said sounds like something from another planet then aren’t you late for your date with the outdoor man cave? And sorry about the heat wave in Southern California. Must be rough.

Does the presence of “fumes” or “particulates” have a positive or negative effect on kids? I’m old school in many ways, but I’m smart enough to know that when I say that completely insulating kids from environmental pollutants is wrong I also mean that over-exposing them to pollutants¬† is wrong. Does airbrushing fit into the “happy medium” where children’s bodies learn to deal with stuff in the air but also don’t get poisoned?

I don’t know, but if you wear a mask, then you should be outside. If you have to draw the air outside using a fan, then it’s a challenge to do that when it’s very cold in the dead of winter. At no point in this analysis have I said that airbrushing can’t be made safe. Of course it can. But the majority of people just don’t have that option. To make it safe, you need a studio with the option to exhaust air to the outdoors. Without that–you, my friend, should be brushpainting.

Why don’t we read this in forums? Why does every single cotton-pickin’ “how to” guide insist on the airbrush when the majority of us cannot set up a safe airbrushing paint shop. Why is it always assumed that “everyone” lives in a huge house with a huge workshop “out back?”

I value the health of the people I care about more than the plastic airplanes I build as a hobby. I sure as hell hope you do too. But if you become to infatuated with the “perfect” paint job that you can’t see that you’re endangering other people (or at least annoying them in a really selfish way) then I have to ask if the ultimate danger of airbrushing is that it may turn you into a selfish jerk–and that, my friends, is something that most of us really can’t afford to become.


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