I think banners are pretty important for an Imperial Guard army, I'm not sure how useful they really are in a game of 40k but I certainly couldn't imagine my Praetorian's going to battle without waving at least a few of them.
Banners have been made pretty easy in recent years with great plastic banners that take a lot of the hard work out of painting them. When I first started my Praetorian army a year or two afte their release I had paper banners and it was Union flags all the way. However when I revisited the army a couple of years before my long absence I moved towards proper Imperial Guard banners, and also away from paper banners. This was before the plastic banners were released and so my first inspiration was from the metal cadian command squad.
So now that I have returned to the hobby I wanted to pick up where I left of with regards to banners and try to make them a highlight of the army. The first one that I have now completed is the Rough Rider standard. The banner is taken from Empire Knights with the staff removed, holes drilled and a brass rod put in its place. The head of the standard is the Praetorian one (which all my banners will have) found on the metal standard bearer and the rope is green stuff around the top and the bits from the plastic Guard command sprue.
The next thing to consider was the reverse of the banner. Painting all of the things I mentioned above once was going to be tough enough, but twice and to get them the same! Too much work I reckon so I decided to have a simple striped reverse using more red to stay within the white, red, balck palette. A few more IVs and Aquilla thrown in and there you go! The whole thing was pencil drawn on first before being picked out in white (if in doubt paint over the lines or if you want to change it as it is easy to change with black again after). The white was given a few very thin coats to build up the colour before all the black was painted again, being careful to neaten all the edges ofthe white and get everything perfect. The black was then highlighted and other colours added over the white where needed. All in all it took about 4 hours from drawing on the banner to finishing painting.
As a sneak peak of what is to come the next banner I'm going to paint will be the Command HQ. The rectangle banners on the drawings above were for this banner and I was looking forward to having only one flat surface to contend with! Here is the model with an initial pencil banner drawn on...