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. When I bought the fence kit several years ago, however, the layout was not in a suitable stage to begin the installation of any fences so I put the kit into storage and waited…and waited…and waited.
Here we are several years later and, finally, the layout is getting to the point where I can begin to work on the finer details of scenery…such as fences! A few days ago I blew the dust off Dennis’ chain link fence kit and set to work.
Upon opening the box I was initially a bit intimidated, to be honest. The box contained loads of pieces, some of which seemed to make sense and others that didn’t, as well a rather thick set of instructions. “Oh boy”, I thought, “what have I gotten myself into? This is going to be a nightmare of a project.” I’ve bought many kits over the years that had lots of parts and yet were sparse on the instructions and therefore were a royal pain to put together…much of the work consisting of guess work due to a lack of good directions. I began to think that the chain link fence kit might end up the same way, but then I remembered something about the guy who sells these kits. Dennis Brennan is no slouch when it comes to making kits. He is an accomplished writer and has a real talent for clear and concise instruction. With that in mind, I kicked back in my chair and read his instructions from beginning to end. His directions actually made sense! They were completely logical and very easy to follow. Suddenly I realized, “Hey, I think I can do this. This isn’t going to be hard after all. Tedious, maybe, but not hard.” And so a few days days ago I began work on my first chain link fence. The kit has all the parts to make about 8 feet (384 scale feet) of fencing that features a metal frame and realistic chain linking within the frame. The list of tools needed is a bit lengthly, but it’s nothing the average train guy doesn’t already have in his shop. The assembly of the fence frame does require the use of a soldering iron, but Dennis was thorough enough in his directions to actually include a bit of “Soldering 101” for newbies.
So my first chain link fence, which will surround a Lionel water tower, is well underway and looking great so far. I’m not to the point where I’m doing a good job of making the standard sections of fence. The next challenge will be to make a gate. I’m not worried, however, because the instructions that come with the kit do a great job of explaining how to make gates. I’ll post some more pictures here when my first gate project is complete. Wish me luck!