Sunday, 31 July 2011

276 Why I Absolutely Love the Penal Legion

I don't know if any of you lovely readers ever glance at the section of the left sidebar titled 'Cool things my Penal Legionnaires have done...', but this post is about the our felonious little friends and why I love them so very much.
I've fielded them in at least ten games of note, and of those games, the Legion have been absolutely brilliant in all but one of them. Seriosly, check out their record on the left.

All this for 80pts. That for a stubborn objective-claiming troops unit which can scout and has a fun set of randomised special rules!

One of the things I love most about being a Guard player is when things go wrong. I love it when my mortars drop short, and it was fun last week to watch as an over-keen Guardsman lobbed his demo charge in a beautiful arc which propelled it straight over the targeted landraider to obliterate three of his mates from the other platoon. Fielding the Legionnaires is simply an extension of the same thing: will the come on the right table edge? Will they roll the ability that'll really help me against my foe? That (and BS3) is what being a Guard player is all about.

Of course, like all the infantry units in my army, they are utterly expendable: like Marbo, once they've done their thing I expect them to die; it's a pleasant surprise if they don't! Worth it though: compare the bare points values of some of what they've destroyed to their paltry 80pts, and then think about the tactical edge this will so often have afforded me... I'd say they've been game-winners or game-changers about 90% of the time. Most importantly though, they're fun*.

Any thoughts on the little chappies?

- Drax.

* And they're the only unti in my entire sodding army not painted green!

PS: Astute, long-time readers of this blog may have noticed that the pic I've included is in fact their work-in-progress pic (follow the label, below, to see the finished squad) - this is beacuse the composition in this image is far better than the other one, but what;s missing is the barcodes on their left shoulder pads. As it happens, quite a few of these have come off in transit, so I may be painting up some alternatives, to commemorate some of the squad's 'battle honours'. I think I may just have persuaded myself to paint up another squad of them, too! Hmmm...

PPS: If you're bored, sad, or musically-inclined, check out this link for fun with an 80s US interpretation of G&S's classic comedy British Bobby. Crimefighting at its best form 3'00". If you're really bored, I'd like to think this next scene is essentially a theatrical manifestation of my Legionnaires sneaking up on the foe. Look out for a young Kevin Kline as the athletic, comic and verbally dextrous Pirate King. Even better here and especially here.


  1. Agreed. I absolutely love Penal Legionnaires. When my list is finished I plan to transport them in a Vendetta and outflank the lot of them. Drop the Legionnaires off on-top of objectives etc. I converted mine from some Catachans, filed off all the bandanas. Didn't paint them red though haha, but hey, each to their own :)

    Check them out at

  2. They sound like a barrel of laughs. I love it when cheap disposable chaps go on to achieve far more than they ever should, really is the cinematic element of the game.

  3. Something about them just sticks in a craw ... since they blooded my Tau they've been on a perpetual rampage!

  4. Thanks, Chaps,

    And I'm afraid, Suneokun, that the sudden demise of your broadsides was the very spark that did ignite the fuse of my love!

    Grim Darkness, thanks for the message. I love what you've done with yours; alas I couldn't leave a comment on your site as my bloomin' computer often won't let me. Harrumph.

    - D.

  5. I've converted a unit of Tau Firewarriors to be my prisoners of war Penal Legion, but I haven't had the time to paint them. I want to fit them into my lists, but I never get around to it.

  6. I love Penal Legion to, no matter what abilities they get. They are always very useful if used correctly! Also i totally agree with you mate, the random abilities + outflanking are half the fun!!!

  7. What ho Admiral. Missed them on Devos IV. Doubtless the elements of D Coy who were not airlifted into Freeman's Square will be found wanting by the commissariat and thus bolster (replace ?) your penal detachement.

    Nice red too, although it may be the photo...

  8. I totally agree mate, Although my legion have been rather less fortunate (constantly being onboard a valkyrie when it plummets to earth and having to bail out on fire only to charge straight into the jaws of some horrible xenos nastyness) but i still love them as a cheap and unpredictable unit, sometime they get shot up as they walk across the open, but sometimes they can be psychopathic monsters leaping from the rank and files to batter the hell out of some ugly behemoth that threatened to walk through your lines. they do make any foe think twice about whether to head for the standard soldiers rather than the bright orange dudes.

  9. Thanks, All: glad you enjoyed it!

    Tsini's right by the way - they are in fact orange. It's the photo, that's all. It's glaringly obvious on the photo of them finished.

    By the way, I AM reading your blogs - I just can't comment on them at the moment!

  10. Update:

    In last night's game, the squad flanked an isolated corner objective, charged into the cover to assault the squad of 10 Dire Avenger holding it, realised they didn't have frag grenades, then, after only two casualties, proceeded to slaughter them and send them packing!

    They ran off the table and my legionnaires, havin gpaid their debt to the Emperor, sat tight and unmolested on the previously Eldar objective til the game's end.



Thanks for taking the time to comment!