Display Board 2021: “Circus of sLAUGHTER”

At long last, a full post sharing the culmination of my year of Warhammer painting: A display board I call “The Circus of sLAUGHTER” featuring Emperor’s Children Chaos Space Marine models. It was an ambitious project that garnered lots of praise from fellow hobbyists and won me a couple of small accolades.

This project essentially starts after finishing my 2020 display board. I wondered how I could exceed that board. It would have LED’s because that has become my signature. But to go bigger, I wanted a display screen, and a motorized component. 

My iScream truck. The “Sweet Tooth” clown motif kind of inspired the rest of the Circus/clown display board

The idea for the board started by accident: I finished my heavily converted “I Scream” truck/Rhino that was supposed to resemble Sweet Tooth from the Twisted Metal video games. Many commented that a clown-themed army would be a different kind of horrifying. The idea grew from there.

I started with the idea of representing different typical characters from a Circus. There should be clowns, a ringleader, strong man, bearded lady, stunt riders, and other general “freaks”. Originally I thought it would be best represented as a Creations of Bile Chaos Space Marine army.

Many of the models followed:

The balloons quickly became a thematic element. They are “Dollhouse Balloons” I purchased from Amazon.

It was the bikes that inspired the centerpiece of the circus. In classic circuses, there could be people doing crazy stunts riding on horses or even motorcycles in more modern iterations. Looking at pictures of motorcycle show performances, they seem to circle the centre ring. That inspired me to motorize a turntable for the bikes, while leaving the centerpiece static.

There wasn’t any such turntable I could find, so I designed and built my own! I used a Lazy Susan swivel, steel pie pan, motor, and a lot of patience to rig something up. It took a few tries, but I’m very proud of the effect.

To finish the effect, I drew inspiration from a couple of these circus images. In particular, the fabric tent of the toy circus suggested a great way to tie it all together. I ordered a striped piece of fabric and hand sewed it into the right shape. I never expected I’d break out a needle and thread to sew something for Warhammer!

The board also features a speaker system that plays the traditional Circus song “Entrance of the Gladiators”. The lights go through a sequence or colours and can be remotely controlled. 

On the upper level, there is a space for a display screen. I painted a digital photo display frame that I found at a thrift store, and programmed it with images of my circus. The display needs to be plugged in to work. I tried to make it work with an external battery, but the battery would only last a few minutes. So, I made an alternative insert in case I’m in a place without a nearby plug.

With “static” screen replacement

I also have a little speech “The Ringleader” Deamon Prince might bark: “Ladies and Gentlemen, Mortals and Immortals, Daemons or All Ages!

May I have your UNDIVIDED attention!?

We proudly bring to you the greatest show, this side of the Great Rift: The Circus of sLAUGHTER!
Be amazed by feats of strength and speed! 

This much CHAOS could drive you mad! We will overwhelm your senses to give you excessive PLEASURE! After all, laughter is the best medicine. Or was it slaughter? Well, you can’t spell slaughter without laughter!

We’ve got acrobats on bikers! A strongman carrying a motorcycle. A bearded daemonette with crab claws. Duinclaw, an ACTUAL Giant Crab balancing on a ball! Clowns, and Zombie Daemon Clowns and Mutant Murder Clowns!

And Balloons! Oh, so many balloons! 

Coming for you soon! Whether you like it or not!”

I brought this board and army to The Stud or Snotling Tournament in Toronto in October 2021. I was honoured to be awarded with 3rd place for best painted. 

I also entered it into the “Golden Poxling Halloween Painting Competition. It was honoured it was named a finalist in the “Make Me Laugh” category. October 24, 2021 https://www.instagram.com/p/CVar300tUAr/

And finally, I entered it into the annual Armies on Parade at the Heartland Warhammer store, my local Games Workshop. I was honoured that it took Gold in the best of Warhammer 40,000 category.

Now, how do I top this next year?