Here is a step by step guide showing how to paint an Imperial Guard Penal Legion trooper.
The model used in the guide is an old Mark Copplestone sculpt from first edition 40K: Rogue Trader. It is the original penal legion trooper which has an explosive collar around his neck and thanks to the new Codex is no longer an obsolete model!
Unfortunately there was only one penal legion model ever sculpted (and no custodian), so every guy in the squad looks a lot alike. This model was modified with a simple head swap using a plastic Empire Knight of the White Wolf head, original plastic arms (with the massively over-sized shoulder pockets removed), and a Jes Goodwin Necromunda lasgun. The plan is to do a head swap conversion to all the troopers in the squad except for one (whom I will call “Meathead” because his head is much larger than the plastics, you can see him in Just Been Sealed 2) using White Wolf and Mordheim heads.
The colour scheme chosen for the model is based on the prison clothes worn today in the 21st century. It is a high visibility orange coloured jumpsuit with white sneakers. It really gives the unit the feel of convicts.
I have started out with the converted Penal Legion Trooper primed black.
Paint the uniform VMC (Vallejo Model Color) 70982 Cavalry Brown.
Paint the uniform medium color VMC 70956 Orange (sometimes translated as “Clear Orange”). This is the most time consuming step, as the orange has a difficult time covering the brown undercoat. Take your time and keep painting thin layers until the brown cannot be seen coming through the orange. Then think to yourself: I’ll probably only ever have to paint one squad of these guys…
Paint the metal parts of the lasgun [barrel and battery pack] P3 Pig Iron with some VMC 70941 Burnt Umber mixed in (or any dark brown paint) to dull it down a bit.
Paint the body of the lasgun and “flak armor undershirt” (cannot be seen in the pic) VMC 70862 Black Grey, leaving the cracks primer black.
Highlight the uniform with VMC 70911 Light Orange.
Paint the top surface of the lasgun VMC 70994 Dark Grey, leaving the Black Grey in the cracks.
Highlight the sides of the lasgun and the flak armor with Dark Grey.
Highlight the barrel and battery pack with P3 Pig Iron.
Paint the shoes [sneakers?] VMC 70987 Medium Grey.
Paint the skin a 2:1 mixture of VMC 70940 Saddle Brown and VMC 70804 Beige Red. Paint right up to and slightly onto the hair / beard areas. Leave the eye sockets black.
Paint the hair / beard VMC 70822 German Camo Black Brown, careful not to get any onto the skin, but cover up the overlap skin color so that there is no black line between the hair and skin (one of the few areas I do not want to be blacklined).
Paint the hair with a mixture of German Camo Black Brown and VMC 70914 Green Ochre.
Paint the skin with a mixture of the base color and VMC 70955 Flat Flesh.
Paint the shoes with a mixture of Medium Grey and VMC 70883 Silver Grey.
Paint the explosive collar (except the two explosive charge boxes on the sides), belt buckle, circular chest badge, and lasgun top surface highlights with VMC 70836 London Grey.
Paint the explosive boxes VMC 70814 Burnt Cadmium Red.
Paint the London Grey basecoated areas with VMC 70990 Light Grey.
Paint the explosive boxes VMC 70926 Deep Red.
Highlight the hair / beard with Green Ochre.
Highlight the skin with Flat Flesh.
Highlight the shoes with Silver Grey.
Highlight the Light Grey areas with a mixture of Light Grey and White.
Highlight the explosive boxes with VMC 70909 Vermillion.
Paint the two white dots in each eye with VMC 70918 Ivory.
Put a heavy coat of VMC 70873 US Field Drab (Earth) on the base and dip into my proprietary mix of Woodland Scenics ballasts and talus rocks.
Paint the base rim with US Field Drab.
Seal your model with Testor’s Dullcote or Model Master Lusterless Flat.
Prepare to lay down your pathetic life for the Emperor!