An evaporated nanometer scale granular film provides a simple system for studying Coulomb blockade effects. This technique has often been used during the last few decades. However with respect to potential devices, specific problems continue to obstruct broader application. It is virtually impossible to observe Coulomb blockade in one–dimensional structures, and even for wide two–dimensional systems the yield is frustratingly low. We study these problems using a comprehensive theoretical framework that enables us to model both the growth aspects, and the electrical characteristics. In particular, we study how the morphology of the islands influences their electrical properties. Explanations for the observed behavior are put forward. © 1999 American Institute of Physics.