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  • Building an ROTC TMK

    I'm trying to construct an effective Terrain Model Kit (TMK) to better facilitate OPORD/Mission briefings. So far I have a small sized school box (the kind that holds markers, pencils, etc.) with laminated paper shapes that label ORPs, RPs, Objectives, LOA, Alpha Fireteam, Bravo Fireteam, SL, PSG, PL, roads, water, LDA, etc. I actually think I'm pretty good in that regard. I also have toy soldiers, just some simple plastic ones that come in a kit for children to better represent troops on the ground. I am thinking about representing leadership such as squad leaders, fire team leads, etc. with more recognizable pieces like maybe Star Wars (i.e. Yoda for PL, Obi Wan for Squad Leader) maybe that sounds dumb but it's worked for some friends of mine. I have heard that yarn/string of different colors helps to indicate directions of travel, colorful chalk aids in representing different terrains, and marking grid square lines to better compare the AO with a map. There are a LOT of good ideas out there but I am curious, from those who have constructed and used a TMK before, as to what works and what does not work. I need my TMK to be minimal in size and weight so that it is packable in a ruck. I also need it to be durable and able to work on different terrain/environments, and ideally I want it to be very easy to understand and put together as I will definitely be on a time hack to do so. Thanks for any suggestions.

  • #2
    Re: Building an ROTC TMK

    Originally posted by LoneStarSoldier View Post
    I'm trying to construct an effective Terrain Model Kit (TMK) to better facilitate OPORD/Mission briefings. So far I have a small sized school box (the kind that holds markers, pencils, etc.) with laminated paper shapes that label ORPs, RPs, Objectives, LOA, Alpha Fireteam, Bravo Fireteam, SL, PSG, PL, roads, water, LDA, etc. I actually think I'm pretty good in that regard. I also have toy soldiers, just some simple plastic ones that come in a kit for children to better represent troops on the ground. I am thinking about representing leadership such as squad leaders, fire team leads, etc. with more recognizable pieces like maybe Star Wars (i.e. Yoda for PL, Obi Wan for Squad Leader) maybe that sounds dumb but it's worked for some friends of mine. I have heard that yarn/string of different colors helps to indicate directions of travel, colorful chalk aids in representing different terrains, and marking grid square lines to better compare the AO with a map. There are a LOT of good ideas out there but I am curious, from those who have constructed and used a TMK before, as to what works and what does not work. I need my TMK to be minimal in size and weight so that it is packable in a ruck. I also need it to be durable and able to work on different terrain/environments, and ideally I want it to be very easy to understand and put together as I will definitely be on a time hack to do so. Thanks for any suggestions.
    As a former ROTC cadet, I always felt like keeping it simple and easy to understand was better than getting cute with toys. I used the laminated paper shapes and that seemed to be pretty good. Colored yarn or laminated colored arrows can be helpful as well. I used white yarn for grid lines since it is easily identifiable against the ground in most circumstances. Best part of all, that stuff packs up really nicely into a freezer bag. Light weight and easy to jam into a pocket when it's go time.

    Don't over think it. Put together a OPORD and be able to clearly articulate your plan and the laminated paper shapes should be enough IMHO.

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    • #3
      Re: Building an ROTC TMK

      Originally posted by collk22 View Post
      Don't over think it. Put together a OPORD and be able to clearly articulate your plan and the laminated paper shapes should be enough IMHO.
      Check. I watched Cadets with very spectacular TMKs screw up a lane and get an N. All you need is a laminated paper cutout set, a solid OPORD, and the ability to think on your toes for the dreaded variable lane. Your TMK is a visual aid. The center of your brief, and the part that will really get graded, is your ability to plan and execute.

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      • #4
        Re: Building an ROTC TMK

        I'd have to agree. Go with the simple stuff. I'd add some colored yarn for water, known roads, vegetation and linear danger areas, but thats about it. I'd even skip the little soldiers. You and your cadets should know who is where in various formations... you don't need to point out the SL is in the middle or what not. If you have to do that, then you have bigger problems than executing an OPORD.

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