One man's legacy: Model airplane collection

March 4, 2009 10:01:57 AM PST
Vintage airplanes from World War II are re-created in Frank Modica's kitchen. For more than 50 years, he's been building model war planes at home. He now has more than 500 models in his collection.

When ever Frank Modica of Berwyn starts building a model airplane the family kitchen becomes his workshop. And that happens rather frequently since he's been creating miniatures of world war two aircraft from kits as a hobby for 53 years.

"Its a kind of a thing you go through something then you pick up the catalogue and then you see another aircraft and you say, oh God I have to get that one and that one and that one, and before you know it gets out of hand...what do I have...581 now...still counting," said Modica.

A former assistant principal at a Chicago elementary school and a Korean era war veteran, Modica may work all day on a single model which usually takes 10 weeks to complete.

"Everything that was designed by France, England, Germany, Japan, Russia, they're all there...they've all been assembled and built. There isn't too much that was designed by any of the combating countries that I haven't found in a catalog," said Modica.

Modica is not always satisfied that the instructions contained in the kits guarantee accuracy so he maintains a library of manuals as a back up.

In between working on the model war planes he also put together models of the warships prominent during World War II. His miniature fleet numbers 62.

"One day they'll out live me I'm sure and maybe one day the American Legion or the Veterans of Foreign Wars or maybe some collector would be interested to have them to display....that I would take a great deal of pride in," said Modica.