Story Boarding

Today Frank from Panzer Schule returns to bring us another article, this time on “story boarding” a platoon.

Story boarding your platoons is a great way to add more character to your army. Typically, the platoon bases are made so that they can be used individually in a game and placed together for the best possible presentation. This is when the story would be revealed.

Story boarding is something that should be approached carefully as it is very easy to produce something impractical or over the top. I have tried to bear this point in mind when completing my own projects. I may or may not have avoided the ‘over the top’ trap!

I would like to share my experience by focusing mainly on my last completed platoon, Fallshirmjager pioneers. Pioneer platoons are very suitable for story boarding as they perform such a specific role. They could be shown clearing barbed wire, removing obstacles, clearing mines and more. This will be the content, so to speak of the story.

Having decided on a series of obstacles to depict, I had to decide on how to present the entire story. To my mind, the most important element of presentation is a sense of movement. A progression from front to back helps focus the eye of the observer and give a start, middle and end to the story. The number of bases in a platoon will determine if the movement is in depth or width.

I decided my pioneer platoon would be shown attacking from cover over barbed wire into a line of MG nests and minefields. This sounds very dramatic and daunting, however, can be achieved with just a little more attention than standard basing.

There are nine bases plus command in the platoon so they could be shown in a nice square block.  The command would be placed at the back. The next row of three bases would depict the cover. The second row of bases would show the barbed wire. The third row would show the nests and minefields. I find it best to make the final row the most dramatic, climactic moment of the story.

I then sifted through my minis to allocate them to bases.

The MGs would be placed in the back row, firing from cover. I would add some static looking figures to depict teams providing covering fire. For the wire row, I would need figures that were mostly on the move, through the wire. I decided these bases would hold the flamethrower figures too. That decision was based on the plan for the final row. The flamethrowers would not look right in this case, if placed on the final row.

MG teams lay down covering fire

Whilst the flame throwers move up over the wire

For the final row, my plan required some converting as I had cobbled the platoon together from my bits box. I wanted to show mine clearing and satchel charges being placed. I selected some gun crew, that figure opening the supply pod and a light mortar crewman. You can see the simple but effective converting in the pictures.

I then had to decide on how to depict the MG nests for the final row. This is the point at which impracticality can enter the equation! I ensured the nests were as small as possible so that the pioneer figures would still feature strongly. For dramatic effect, I wanted one nest being destroyed by a charge. This is adding a feature to a feature so the danger of going over the top increases. It will mostly be a matter of personal preference in such cases. For this platoon, I am happy with the height and size of the nests and explosion.


The features on the other rows were very simple and no special processes were required. Little more than standard basing is needed. Twigs, cocktail sticks and wire are very easy to accommodate.

I hope you agree that story boarding is an effective way to add character to a platoon without too much work. Perhaps you have a few ideas of your own now!

Remember to check out more of Frank’s excellent work on the Panzer Schule Facebook page and  the Panzer Schule Youtube channel.

2 thoughts on “Story Boarding

  1. I’m not the only one who does this! I always try to have sections and platoons working as a whole, so one section is, say, assaulting while another is advancing into assault and the third is giving covering fire. Really like the idea of a scenic story effect too.

    1. It’s always good to know you’re not the only one Graeme! It could be something for everyone I think.

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