KISS Method Track Planning Templates

By Michael Benolkin

I am in the process of designing a new layout in HO. I've poured through the numerous track plans and other idea books available, and while I've gleaned some useful ideas from many of them, I haven't found the 'right one'.

After sketching some ideas out on precision bar napkins (the engineer's drafting medium of choice), I realized that I'd better get some precision planning tools to get a better idea of how much I can cram into the space available before I spend any money on building material, track, switches, etc.

About this time, I was contacted by Mr. Steve Moore of KISS Method Inc. (Keep It Simple Stupid - the way engineers are supposed to approach a problem). His company has developed a set of templates that assist the average layout builder/expander with getting the design right the first time.

Here's a look: These templates come on four 8.5" x 11" transparent sheets of plastic. (These sheets are clear, I left the transparent blue protective cover on the template to make it easier to see.)

Each sheet has four circles of varying diameters that precision cut. The sheets are delivered with the holes in place, so after you pop the circles loose, you can either draw your turns with the freed circle or from the hole in the sheet. Both are clearly marked for scale turning radius.

In fact, these templates are designed to support the O, HO and N scale planner. The key indicates that O Scale is one foot of layout is covered by 3/8" of template. HO is 1' = " and N is 1' = 1.5". If you model in another scale, you can easily do the math to adapt these templates to your needs.

Also provided on the edges of these template sheets are tangent alignment tools for various turn-out angles, and scale rulers for drawing scale straight sections. The KISS folks have put a great deal of thought into getting as much functionality as possible into this set of templates. Further study into the instructions will provide you with a variety of other instructional tips to aid the novice designer through many of the design challenges that might occur.

My sincere thanks to KISS Method Inc for this review sample!

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