models used in military and law enforcement training
initiatives are highly classified. Despite their
enigmatic nature, there is a significant need within the
marketplace to supply these replicas for various
training protocols. Typically, data pertaining to the
construction of scale models for structure study is
restricted due to the amount of intelligence involved.
Top secret details and sensitive compartmented
information is limited to parties who have passed
background investigations and other screenings to ensure
the integrity of the project is preserved.
With the advent of special operations, rescue operations
and law enforcement assault teams, their strategic
outcome planning is primarily achieved by incorporating
scale models into their training directives. The result
is a comprehensive approach to training that gives these
specialty units the competitive edge required to reach
their mission objectives.
Historically, structure's scale models were widely used
during World War II (WWII). The British spent a great
deal of time studying, analyzing and planning battle
strategies with highly-detailed scale models. Elaborate
dioramas that featured entire towns, villages and
landscape were built with the intent to formulate actual
attack agendas. However, the British were also using the
models as subterfuge for secondary stratagem to
throw-off the enemy.
Unbeknown to the Germans, the British camouflaged their
true objectives by implementing phony structures and
buildings that were openly exposed to enemy fire and
bombardment. Designing structure study models with bogus
elements allowed the British to understand how a
threatened location or area would appear to German
pilots during potential air strikes. To further enhance
their models purpose, the British observed the model
layout with authentic German bombsights, as well as
submarine periscopes for the models of these objects
that were openly exposed to the sea.
As structure's models are developed for military and law
enforcement groups, they can be incorporated into larger
which are vital to conveying movement and mobility
options available during tactical missions. In essence,
the combination of a structures and terrain model
provides a cohesive and detailed visual that enables
special units to focus on relevant situational aspects.
Additionally, such models can be used as setting to
place replicas of vehicles and aircraft for advanced
combat identification and
Models provide an overview of a specific location,
including the anatomy of buildings and other structures
encountered within the designated landscape. By knowing
the precise position of each building, its entrances and
exits and the fortification options that they offer,
military and law enforcement teams are given the insight
needed for effective and strategic planning. These
models can be utilized for offensive and defensive
For instance, the nation’s first law enforcement assault
team was established by the Los Angeles Police
Department in 1968. The creation of this specialized
unit was twofold: to respond to a four-hour
confrontation against the Black Panthers and to manage
critical situations involving shootings while minimizing
As this team evolved, it eventually gained universal
acceptance both domestically and globally as a central
division for law enforcement departments.
Law enforcement assault teams have effectively utilized
structure's scale models in a variety of training
instances such as hostage rescue, riot control,
high-risk warrants, drug raids and perimeter security
for dignitaries and special projects. Rigorous training
methods coupled with structure scale models makes it
easier to execute offensive strategies and contingency
plans that otherwise would not be possible.
Similarly, armed forces special operations routinely
practice defensive training maneuvers with structure's
scale models. They have employed scale models for
reconnaissance/military intelligence, unconventional
warfare, and counter-terrorism actions.
Because special operations units are typically carrying
their missions behind enemy lines, being aware of
surroundings is imperative for survival. Having scale
models of a target site based on satellite imagery and
other available intelligence gives tactical units a
realistic perspective for planning routes, conquering
obstacles, navigating through the site and assessing
enemy capability. Defensive techniques are greatly
improved upon through consistent and ongoing training
with structure scale models.2
Structure scale models normally begin at 1:500 scale and
increase in size from there. There are two types of
large scale models that are mainly used for general
study and training and for actual special operations and
rescue operations planning.
Scale models for general study and training
are more commonly used for military and law enforcement
training in close combat situations found in urban
environments. Imaginary structures and buildings in a
realistically built setting create a backdrop that is
most similar to what would be encountered in action.
Modeled structures feature detailed internal and
external layouts from entrances and exits to the size of
each window. Furthermore, the structure scale models can
be designed to reflect how solid a building’s wall is,
what type of cover it can provide and what the wall’s
sustainability level is regarding types of ammunition
used by both, friend and enemy.
The most suitable
scales for this
type of models are 1:50, 1:43, 1:35 or 1:24. Often,
these models may be produced in even larger scale, such
as 1:10 or 1:12.
Sometimes the layouts of a target site are being built
in life-size. Such set is not associated with scale
model making by definition, however, model makers are
often involved in building life-size sets, providing
props. Although, no doubt, actual size sites are the
most effective from training point of view, erecting
them significantly more costly and takes more time and
Regardless of its size, a model can be enriched with
off-shelf people figurines, replicas of automobiles,
vegetation and other relevant accessories such as
furniture, park benches and trash cans.
"The New Hampshire Police Academy is one of several that
has acquired a portable, scale-model mock-up of a
typical community. The academy takes the model around
the state, giving law enforcement officers,
firefighters, public works officials, and others the
opportunity to participate in a range of scenarios
involving natural disasters and terrorist acts as a
means of practicing the unified command principles of
the Incident Command System (ICS) and the National
Incident Management System (NIMS)..."
From FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, September 2005,
Scale models for special operations and rescue
replicate an actual target site complete with all key
features and landmarks based on gathered intelligence.
Similar to the model for general study and training,
this version also contains characteristics that are
mandatory for mission success, like entrances, exits,
windows and interior and exterior features. What makes
these components unique is that they are built as direct
representations from factual images and data rather than
These models offer operation teams a variety of
different combat strategies such as: deployment,
advancement, regroup and exit options. Normally, this
type of model is fabricated under secluded and
privileged conditions and in a limited amount of time.
Details are critical during construction because once
training concludes, teams need to recognize markers, or
vital attributes in their surroundings, in order to
navigate through the site while under extreme stress or
duress. In other words, training with detailed scale
models can prevent unnecessary casualties and achieve
Scale models of both types can by studied and observed
to gain a clear perspective of an entire area, evaluate
the relationships and distances between different
features and determine the most efficient routes and
angle of fire.
Additionally, the models can be viewed with an
urbanscope – a small apparatus similar to an upside
down periscope – that immerses the trainee in the model.
This enables trainees to see and memorize details as
they will se it in action, orient themselves with their
settings, and ultimately, saving lives. The urbanscope
allows photo or video cameras to be attached to it to
capture image stills and motion tours.
Scale models are invaluable training devices that
deliver the most realistic context available for any
given location, setting or environment. They are not
prone to malfunction, they don’t require software
upgrades, they aren’t subject to power outages or
mechanical failure and they not operationally complex or
limiting. The simplicity of a scale model does not
necessitate learning a computer interface or new
software and it’s vision-friendly, especially when used
with an urbanscope.
Comparatively, technological alternatives of traditional
scale models are extremely expensive to produce.
Unlike television characters Abby Sciuto, from TV drama
NCIS, or Angela Montenegro, from Bones, creation of
detailed and accurate 3D digital simulations require
more than just a snap of pretty fingers. It takes a team
of highly-trained professionals, substantial time and
funds. Digital simulations are inclined to malfunctions
and computer viruses, not to mention that digital
information is vulnerable and may be hacked, which will
compromise the whole operation and lives of team
members. Digital models are at a much greater risk for
complications because of the equipment needed to
assemble, install, operate and maintain the system.
Subsequently, this results in heavy costs that can
severely impact department budgets and cause unforeseen
obstructions to training schedules due to technology
Military and law enforcement benefit from training with
scale model for structure study, but so do other
occupational industries like security and administration
of hotels, resorts and amusement parks, among others.
Scale modes of single buildings and entire sites can be
used to plan for fire escape routes, actions in case of
natural disasters, hostage situations and many other
The features and benefits of such scale models can be
seen throughout history and in today’s modern world.
Many successful military and law enforcement operations
can be directly attributed to the training with scale
models. Overall, they’re a tried and true aid that
should be considered first and foremost for training