Monday, November 1, 2010

The Model Builder

Reprinted from Ottawa Citizen. Story and photo by By Bruce Deachman, October 31, 2010.

(Wayne Foy builds all the beautiful model airplanes on display in the Vintage Wings of Canada hangar.)

He describes himself as one of the first latchkey kids. In the late 1940s, when he was five or six, Wayne Foy's dad decided to escape the rat race of Toronto's magazine advertising world, and bought a hotel in Ridgetown, Ont., not far from Chatham.

"My mom and dad were working in the hotel," Wayne recalls, "and I'd come home by schoolbus -- I'd be dropped off, I had a key to the house, I'd be busy on my own."

One winter afternoon after school, Wayne, then eight years old, decided he'd go across the road and down the cliff to the beach, where he planned to play with a toy boat of his among the ice floes along the shore of Lake Erie.

He ventured too far out on the ice, however, and fell through, and eventually spent a week in bed, recuperating.

"I was bored," he recalls. "I was reading comic books and saw a picture of a Sabre jet model on the back cover."

He played what he calls "the sympathy card" on his mother, asking her to buy it for him. Before long, the 98-cent, 10- or 12-piece model was his.

"That led me to buy another one, and then another one," he says.

Back then, he says, he wasn't trying to start a collection -- he just wanted a squadron.

"But I never stopped building models and I never stopped my interest in aviation."

Almost 60 years later, that first model airplane -- a 1949 F-86D Sabre "Dog," marked with U.S. Air Force decals -- is displayed in a room in the basement of his Bayshore home, surrounded by nearly a thousand others he's built since. As the Thanksgiving weekend began, he was starting work on No. 949...

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