Brennan's Blog

Hap Hazard Packing Co.

The Hap Hazard Packing Co.

The Hap Hazard Packing Co,

This is a working model of the 2nd structure in my Frank  Ellison Tribute Series. It still needs doors and shutters for the window openings. The kits are now available. If you would like to have one of these limited edition kits, please contact me.

This is the street side. I still have a few minor details to add.


Dennis Brennan Recognized as one of the Top Model Railroad Photographers by Classic Toy Trains Magazine

I was recognized by Classic Toy Trains magazine in the December 2017 issue as one of the top model railroad photographers over the past 30 years. This is in the December issue!

Ob-Long Box Co."Let’s turn the spotlight on a different group of photographers, free-lancers hired for specific assignments... More often our free-lancers came from outside, having built solid reputations in the fields of railroad photography and scale modeling"

"Three stand out for the consistently high quality of their work. Dennis Brennan, Steve Crise, and Paul Dolkos have long added to CTT by providing terrific images. We look forward to many more years of collaboration with them."

Introducing the Ob Long Box Co

Ob-Long Box Co.

This is the prototype for the first kit in my Frank Ellison Tribute Series. Frank was a model railroad pioneer back in the 1930s, 40s & 50s. He was considered a top name in the field and his beautifully built Delta Lines was perhaps the most widely known model railroad in the world according to John Page, the editor of Model Railroader Magazine in the early 1950s.

Structure Placement and Scenic Details

Ob-Long Box Co.

Using my prototype for the Oblong Box Co. kit, I’m going to show you how to integrate a rail side structure into your layout. Placement is important when you have rolling stock clearances to take into account, especially when a spur track actually enters a factory. I use the National Model Railroad Association (NMRA) Standard Clearances as a guide for locating the track relative to a loading platform—in this case our interior loading dock wall:

Roundhouse Kit

This is a Limited Edition Plaster Roundhouse Kit.  I have produced 60 kits and there are less than 20 left. Because each kit may be ordered with different options, please allow up to 5 weeks for delivery. This allows time for ordering the laser cut windows and the custom packaging for your kit. If you have any questions, please call or email.

This roundhouse is inspired by the Norfolk & Western Ry. Roundhouse in Williamson, WV. The more-than-a-century-old prototype has a traveling overhead crane that traverses the open two story center section. It also uses roll up overhead corrugated steel roller doors. And, in case you’re wondering, I’ve discovered that roller doors came into existence sometime prior to 1925.

0 Scale or O Scale, 0 Gauge or O gauge?—That is the question.

First let’s look at words scale and gauge. Although they’re often used interchangeably, they refer to two different albeit related things. Scale is the proportion to life size expressed as a ratio: 1/48 or 1:48 for O Scale or ¼ inch = 1 foot.

Strictly speaking, gauge properly refers to the distance between the rails. So in O Scale, the track gauge would be 1-1/4 inches. That equates to 5 scale feet, although in real life the distance is actually 4 feet 8-1/2 inches between rails. This discrepancy is negligible and will be addressed in another post. Since each scale - O, S, HO, N, Z has its own proportionate gauge, it’s easy to understand why gauge is often substituted for and understood to mean scale.

Toy Trains or Models?

PopcornWhenever this topic comes up on any 3 rail train forum, it’s time to get out the popcorn. And I’m sure more than a few of you have raised eyebrows right now. So, I’ll get right to it–the answer to the question, “Are they toys or models?” is “Yes.” The hullabaloo arises because we have 2 distinct camps: those who wish to embrace the toy in the train and those who view themselves as model railroaders. However, one doesn’t have to preclude the other.

Inexpensive O Gauge Ballast?

Kitty litter, chicken grit, oil dry, and aquarium gravel are a few items that are often suggested as cheap alternatives to commercial ballast. Rather than make a value judgment about the suitability of any of these stand-ins, I’m simply going to take issue with the reasoning for using them.


The idea that commercial ballast is too expensive is not true in comparison to other train related purchases.

Chain Link Fence Review by Eric's Trains

Pretty much since day one of planning my O-Scale layout, I’ve known that I would eventually want to add quite a few chain link fences to the scenery. Chain link fences are EVERYWHERE in modern times, so it only makes sense that a train layout would have quite a few of them to keep would-be trespassers out of a train yard, a power plant, a factory or any other are where privacy is desired. To that end, several years ago I bought a chain link fence kit from Brennan’s Model Railroading. Dennis Brennan has become a good friend over the years and his expertise in scenery building has proved invaluable to me. A great majority of my speciality scenic supplies (fences, ground cover, track ballast etc.) come from Dennis. His chain link fence kit, when assembled properly, results in the most realistic O-Scale chain link fence on the market…period.