How to Paint Lion El’Jonson – Greg Chiasson’s Method

This article is part of a larger series on how to paint Dark Angels space marines. For more on painting Dark Angels, you can return to that series by clicking this link.

Like most Primarchs, El’Jonson comes on a 40mm gaming base, which slots into a 60mm diorama base depicting him owning the hell out of a bunch of Night Lord chumps. For this article we’re focusing mostly on the smaller base, and the Lion himself, because neither of us felt like painting the display base. If you want some tips on how to paint that, How to Paint Everything: Night Lords might be useful.

The first thing to deal with here is whether to assemble the model first, or do subassemblies. Given the pose of the model – one arm across his chest, a huge swishing cloak – it made sense to build him in parts and then assemble later. As I learned from my Astraeus, the resin blocks that parts are cast on make excellent painting handles, so I left them attached and touched up the missing paint later. Fortunately, the contact points with the sprue tend to be the actual bits where the parts glue together, so you’d want to leave them unpainted away, which minimized cleanup. Whether this was done on purpose or through blind luck, we’re not sure, but it depends on your opinion of Forge World.

A slight annoyance is that, due to the way the backpack and cloak assemble, there’s quite a few subassemblies required, often just a single piece, in order for them all to slot together properly.

I left the scabbard and front/rear hanging tabards off, as well as the cloak, fur trim, iron halo, and back pack. I attached the right shoulder to the body, and then glued the left arm, left pauldron, sword, and left forearm together as one piece. The hip armor and a few small pieces were attached to the body, and then he was ready to prime. I forgot to take pictures at that point, but here are the subassemblies with some paint on them:

I decided to do the model in normal 30k colors, so black armor and red details, but I wanted to include some green as a nod to my 40k Dark Angels, which I incorporated on the robe stitching. Most of the ornate decorations are in gold, but the armor trim is metal, and I decided not to do his weapon as my usual blue power sword, and just painted it as a regular sword. I don’t know why exactly, I just thought it might look tacky having a big blue sword. That’s a look that works well in 40k, but 30k models, despite being pretty much the same thing, have a different aesthetic. I genuinely got confused when I went looking for purity seals and skulls, and found none on the model. Anyway, the colors I used (all Vallejo Game Color, unless otherwise noted:

  • Armor: I primed white, since that was the primer I had, so I started with a coat of Citadel Contrast Black Templar just to get the base layer down. Armor joints were Sombre Grey with Nuln Oil. The plates got a highlight of Cold Grey, and a second highlight of Ghost Grey, then a Nuln wash and another highlit of Ghost Grey, before cleaning up with Citadel Chaos Black.
  • Robes: Based with Khaki, then layered everywhere except the recesses with Bone White, before getting a wash of Agrax and more layers of Bone White, and then Dead White on the raised bits. This takes forever.
  • Metal: Base of Gunmetal, Nuln wash, layer Chainmail Silver, and an edge highlight of Silver, which is a really nice bright metal.
  • Gold: Glorious Gold, wash of Citadel Carroburg Crimson, and then randomly drybrush Polished Gold on some of the parts and Bright Bronze on others – there’s enough gold on this dude that I wanted some variation, so for example the pauldron trim is a different shade from the lion head in the center. If you want more depth to it, around the bolts or inside the lion mouth on the shoulder, you can selectively hit it with Agrax to really deepen that.
  • Red: This went on the chest, knee, and shoulder logos. It’s Gory Red, Bloody Red, Agrax, and Hot Orange. The orange is pretty thin, so a few coats of it will make the red pop without making it too orange. This is bad if you wanted actual orange, but it’s great for just brightening up small red parts.
  • Green: Sick Green, highlight Livery Green. There’s not a lot of green on here so no point going nuts with it.
  • Cape: I don’t love the VGC reds! But they’re also all I have, so here we are. Basically this is the technique from the white robes, but the colors from the red logos, and due to the size of his enormous cape and the less-than-amazing paint coverage, it took approximately one hundred hours. Gory, Bloody, Agrax, Bloody, and then a tiny amount of Hot Orange on the hem and the logos/stitching in the corners. I didn’t punch this up as much as the other reds because I wanted it a little more muted, but it resulted in a nice deep red.
  • Fur: I cheated on this one. Citadel Apothecary White, then drybrushed Bone White. The little claws attached to the end got painted Bone White, then washed with Agrax and highlit up to Dead White.
  • Belts/Leather: Beasty Brown, wash Agrax, highlight Leather Brown.
  • Oh yeah, the face and hair: Paint the entire head with Bronze Flesh Tone, wash the whole thing with Agrax. The hair then gets a drybrush of Bronze again, but the face gets a nice layering of Bronze and then finer layers of Elf Skin Tone. Not as blonde as the FW version, but I don’t love any of my yellows, and this still worked pretty well.

That’s a lot of paint, and all in all it took about 8-10 hours to get him done, but here’s some pictures

This article is part of a larger series on how to paint Dark Angels space marines. For more on painting Dark Angels, you can return to that series by clicking this link.