All posts by KeptainKayak

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

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?

Chaos Stunt BikeRs

One of the favourite elements of my new display board is a big unit of Chaos Bikes. They are in a variety of trick poses. But, even more interesting is that they MOVE! 

I literally built the new display board to feature these bikes. The turntable is made up from a lazy Susan, steel pie pan, and a little motor.

The bikes themselves are heavily converted and customized. There are two bikes doing wheelies. One is doing a stoppie. Another is a Greater Possessed on a bike. Another is sitting on the handlebars facing forward. One biker is sitting side-saddle. The unit champion is another Greater Possessed on bike and his head has LED lights and he is holding balloons.

My two favourites are the biker doing a handstand, and the biker riding backwards. The backwards rider was particularly interesting because he would have blocked the bike combi-bolter, so he’s holding a storm bolter in his hand instead.

When I field the unit, I also include the heavily-converted Motor tricycle. That one has the rock band and in-game acts as a bike with an Icon of Excess.

I equipped them all with astartes chainswords to maximize their volume of attacks. But, that occupies all their free hands. I was advised to equip the unit with 3 meltaguns (2 meltaguns and a Combi-melta). To model the meltaguns, I installed them on the front of the bikes between the combi-bolter and I think it looks pretty sharp!

Mobile Circus Tents: Converted Dreadclaw Drop Pods

If you don’t want to come to the circus, the CIRCUS WILL COME FOR YOU!!

I converted two “loyalist” drop pods into Dreadclaw Drop Pods. And the colour scheme thematically fits with my circus/clown-themed army: They are painted to resemble circus tents! Imagine units of murderous clowns streaming out of these drop pods when they descend into combat!

I was advised to get some Dreadclaw Drop Pods. They are handy for protecting relatively fragile Chaos Space Marine units or a Contemptor Dreadnought from early shooting. And then these pods can zip around the board getting objectives, flying over enemies effectively “bombing” them, or ramming into enemy models. 

There are several guides online for converting standard drop pods into Dreadclaws. I used this one.

I bought some second-hand drop pods, broke them apart, trimmed the “legs” as suggested, and then put them back together. I did have to adjust the trims a little, and even file off some detail so they would fit upside-down. 

I’m quite happy with the colour scheme. I decided I wanted to mimic the striped walls of a circus tent. I used a “poor man’s airbrush” technique: I blocked out the stripes using painting tape and used different colours of rattle-can spray paint. Spraying like this made for really crisp lines, and even colouring on these big, flat, surfaces.

As with most of my models, I wanted to add LEDs. Instead of wiring everything myself, I got a little lazy and bought small strings of LED Christmas lights from a dollar store. I have 5 lights coming out of the bottom, and as many as I could shove into the top. I used some clear kitchen caulking as a medium to unify the upper beam a bit. I meant to avoid soldering, but the battery case didn’t fit in the drop pod, so I cut it off and soldered in a smaller battery holder. 

Apparently, tournament rules are that the “doors” or “petals” of drop pods must remain in the closed position. I have glued 4 of the 5 doors closed. The 5th can open so I can replace the battery and flip the on/off switch.

And I liked the first one so much, I decided to build a second with the OPPOSITE colour pattern. The second has white legs instead. 

Murder Clowns

Presenting a unit I call “The Murder Clowns.” Heavily converted from Corpse Grinder Cult models from the Necromunda Dark Uprising box. I plan to run them as melee-oriented Noise Marines. I also replaced some of their heads with daemonette heads for a more Slaanesh-like vibe.

I started building these models to be cultists for my circus/clown-themed Emperor’s Children army. They look intimidating and dangerous. I noticed that the bigger guys are much bigger than cultists; they are almost Astartes-sized! In fact, they looked a little silly on 25mm bases. So, I decided to really make them into Astartes: I added Chaos Space Marine backpacks, shoulder pads and pistols to make them more Space Marine-like, and placed them on 32mm Necromunda bases.

Champion of the “Murder Clowns” Noise Marines Squad. His red hood with white stripe is a reference to Space Marine Sergeant Helmets. The base model is a Chaos Sorcerer from an AoS Warshrine Kit.

The unit Champion is quite different. I started with the Chaos Sorcerer from the AoS Chaos Warshrine kit. I gave him a chainsword, Corpse Grinder cult head, Chaos Space Marine backpack and shoulder pads, and a balloon. I’m calling the ring around his head an Icon of Excess. His hood is red with a white stripe; it’s a kind of tongue-in-cheek reference to the veteran sergeant helmets of Codex Astartes compliant loyalist Space Marine Chapters. I gave him a plasma pistol to take advantage of the “Music of the Apocalypse” rule.

I like the vivid colour scheme that I gave them. The pink is consistent with the rest of my Emperor’s Children army. I really like that the green/yellow around their “hair” really pops. The green is layered from several colours: Ushabti Bone, then Dorn Yellow, then Tessaract Glow, and finished with a wash of Biel-Tan Green.

Their faces have glowing green eyes and bloody smiles. These models would make great Khorne Bezerkers, but unfortunately, all units in an Emperor’s Children army must have mark of Slaanesh. So, I’m saying they are Noise Marines with Chainswords. In an Emperor’s Children army, Noise Marines are troops. And for only 2 points per model more than basic Chaos Space Marines, they gain 1 Attack each, and the Music of the Apocalypse ability.

Magnetic Carrying Case

I’m finally going to play a game of Warhammer again, my first in almost a year. I decided I needed a better model carrying option than throwing them in a box full of bubble wrap, especially since I have Chaos models with lots of spikey bits. Many of my models already have magnets on their bases because I want them to stick to my display board. So, I decided to modify a box to carry the models.

It was a pretty simple assembly of things from Wal-Mart:

  • -A 14L plastic case
  • -9 x 13” carbon steel cookie sheet
  • -Gorilla Glue
  • -Tin shears
Some assembly required

I’ve used this plastic case for years and it fits nicely on my cart. I might even get another one.

It’s really important that the sheet be steel. If it’s aluminum magnets won’t work on it. I usually use sheet steel from a hardware store for the flat surfaces on my display board, but I found this is actually quite a bit cheaper.

Snip snip

I trimmed the cookie sheet so that it will fit inside the bin. Make sure you wear gloves when handling cut steel because the edges can get really sharp.

Cut down to size

After making sure the pan fits, I covered the bottom in gorilla glue, put a weight on it and left it overnight. 

Afterwards, voila! A carrying case with a steel base for holding models with magnets!

My Emperor’s Children army in the magnetized carrying case

Here’s a picture of my Emperor’s Children army for my game on Saturday. There are 50PL or about 1100 points!

The “Fabulous” Fabius Bile

I’m working on a Circus-themed display board to enter in Armies on Parade 2021. I’ve already made a “Ringleader”  Daemon Prince and Greater Possessed “Strongman”. And a rock band of musicians on motor-tricycle recently

Thematically and rules-wise, I thought the most appropriate “Patron” for this freak show would be Fabius Bile. But, if he was going to be the high-rolling man-in-charge, I thought he’d need more swag. So, throw in a dapper hat with a feather and bling up his “Rod of Torment” and now he looks just a bit more flamboyant. Hence, the “Fabulous” epitaph.

Bile himself has many epitaphs: Chem-master, Manflayer, Clonelord, Primogenitor. He was formerly an Apothecary of the Emperor’s Children Legion, but has since struck out on his own, pushing the boundaries of science and magi-tech to create vile monstrosities, diseases, and other atrocities. It’s a wonder he hasn’t been elevated to Daemon Prince yet.

The “Fabulous” Fabius Bile with Surgeon Acolyte

Along with Bile is his Surgeon Acolyte removing the gene-seed from a fallen Loyalist Astartes. It’s an Imperial Fist, because I had lots of Imperial Fists transfers.

YOINK the Gene-seed, by Surgeon Acolyte

Warp Talons with Balloons

Based on this article by Goonhammer, I decided I wanted some Warp Talons in my Creations of Bile list: They would be fast, hit with a bucketload of attacks, have boosted strength, and re-roll to wound. Unfortunately, they’d also be relatively fragile. In keeping with the rest of my models for this army, balloons would continue the circus-theme. 

I bought the balloons on Amazon. They are listed as “dollhouse balloons”. They make the models a bit unbalanced, but adding the magnets strategically in the bases adds some counterweight.

I’m Mary Poppins Y’all (source)

The balloons make it almost look as if they are being lifted aloft by the balloons, almost in a Mary Poppins sort of way. 

I’m definitely not modelling for advantage. In fact, because they seem more visible I’m probably modelling for disadvantage. But, rule of cool, right?

There is a lovely dichotomy and irony between these flying armoured daemon-infested superhumans with viscous talons, and the relative playfulness of the primary-coloured balloons. The contrast makes it even more delicious.

Converted Motor-tricycle with Icon and Female Chaos Space Marine Rock Band

I started this project as an entry for 28 Mag’s Female Space Marine project painting competition. It started like many other entries where people just put female heads on Space Marine bodies. It spiraled into this…

I’m working on a Circus-themed display board to enter in Armies on Parade 2021. I’ve already made a “Ringleader”  Daemon Prince and Greater Possessed “Strongman.” I am working on a full squad of 9 Chaos Space Marine bikes where the riders will be in outlandish trick poses. I decided one of them should have an Icon, which buffs the unit sort of like a Bard in DnD lore. Then I thought: “How can I make this over-the-top excessive and impractical?’ I thought back to my previous musician models, and thought up this design as a sort of cross between Mad Max and a Space Marine Attack Bike. Then, it just seemed an even more excessive step to have it with a female crew.

It started as a pile of bits

The tricycle itself is a massive hodge-podge kitbash of parts: At its base is obviously a Chaos Space Marine bike, plus an extra wheel from another bike. The additional frame parts are from the AoS Chaos Warshrine bits that didn’t get into “Blinky.” There is a lot of random sprue bits and green stuff holding it together. The Icon at the back is an Endless Spell. And the speakers are from Alternative Armies

The riders are made up of some unusual parts too. The Drum Kit is also from Alternative Armies. The drummer’s head is a Drukari (Dark Eldar) and her ponytail is from a Sister of Silence. The guitars are green stuff casts of the new Noise Marine’s guitar. The driver and right guitarists’ heads are from Female Barbarian Dwarf models for Dungeons and Dragons. The left guitarists head was made for a model I designed in Hero Forge to resemble my daughter with pigtails and a smirk. It was 3D printed by Anthony at Token Resistance.

The infantry models can all be removed from the model: There are steel washers embedded in the surface of the model and the musicians have magnets in their feet.

Lens flares are awesome!

As with many of my models, it has LED’s. The eyes of the “Icon” have flickering blue LED’s and it’s mouth has a rapidly colour-changing LED. The battery is in the base and the switch is on the back.


From a lore point of view, I know GW says that there aren’t any female Space Marines because the gene seed is incompatible with women. But, there are a few parties in the Warhammer 40k universe that can tinker with the genetics and laws of nature. Belarus Cawl comes to mind with his Primaries tech-heresy. So does Fabius Bile. I was planning on running this army as Creations of Bile, so if anyone has made Female Space Marines, Bile might be one of them. I guess they wouldn’t exactly be just Emperor’s Children any more; more specifically they’d be Emperor’s Daughters!

Riding into battle along with a unit of other Chaos Space Marine Bikes

Greater Possessed Conversion “Flex”

I have picked up a few Greater Possessed models pretty cheap. They come with the Shadowspear box set, and I guess people wanted other parts from the box. 

I’m working on a Chaos Space Marines: Creations of Bile army right now. This list will have a squad of 8-9 bikes. I thought it would be fitting to have a Greater Possessed carrying a bike instead of riding it.

This new army will be circus-themed. I posted the Daemon Prince “Ringleader” recently. This character is essentially supposed to represent the circus “strongman”.

A typical circus strongman

The pose was inspired by photos I’ve been seeing of people holding up their bikes. I don’t really understand this trend, or what they’re trying to say, but it does convey a certain level of power.

The conversion itself was a lot of work. I chopped the arms and right leg off of the Greater Possessed model. I used a lot of green stuff to reposition the right leg into more of a standing pose rather than its running pose. The arms are from the Chaos Sorcerer that comes with the AoS Chaos Warshrine. I put pins in the arm and used some green stuff to fill in the gaps. 

As with many of my models, it has LED’s. This time it has light-up eyes. I drilled the eyes out and drilled a hole in the back for the LED to fit. The battery and switch are on the base.

The colour scheme follows the pink paint scheme of the Daemon Prince for this army. I tried foregoing the Fulgrim Pink base before the Magos Purple contrast. I think it would look slightly better with the pink below. I’m particularly proud of the shading on the muscles on the arms. Really makes it pop I feel.

The base features an Aeldari (Eldar) Guardian getting stomped on, probably about to get smashed by the bike. I painted it the colours of the Lyanden craftworld because the yellow seemed to contrast best with the green base and pink of the character.

I’m pretty proud of how this model turned out. I think I’ll call him “Flex.”

Tabletop-wise, he’s not a great unit for points. He can hit okay, but I could get 2 Terminators for the points. His real value is his aura that gives +1 strength to units of the same Legion and chaos daemonic mark. So, he’ll buff the already boosted melee strength of my Creations of Bile Warp Talons, Mutilators, Possessed, Daemon Princes, and Obliterators of the same legion and mark. I’m dithering between Nurgle, Slaanesh, and Khorne for the mark on all my CSM Daemon units, and leaning towards Khorne right now.

So, do you even lift, bro!?

Circus Daemon prince “The Ringleader”

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!
Be amazed by feats of strength and speed! 

This much CHAOS could drive you mad! This show will CHANGE you, just as planned! We will overwhelm your senses to give you excessive PLEASURE! You’ll be so ANGRY that it has to end!  You’ll laugh until you’re SICK!
After all, laughter is the best medicine. Or was it slaughter? Well, you can’t spell slaughter without laughter!

Presenting a new Chaos Space Marine Daemon Prince with Wings. I’m thinking of calling it “The Ringleader”. It will be a central part of my new circus-themed army and display board. It is a continuation of the ideas started with the Ice Cream Truck and Undead Zombie Daemon Clown Poxwalkers

An obviously distinctive feature is its top hat. I made it using some plasticard, a piece of heat shrink, and a bit of green stuff. Its bow tie is also made of plasticard. 

Image of Daemon Prince focusing on Top Hat and Bow Tie

As with many of my models, I incorporated electronics. This Daemon Prince’s eyes light up from a flickering green LED installed in its head. I used clear silicon kitchen caulking as a diffusing medium for the light. There is a switch on the back of the base, and a battery in the base. 

Daemon Prince’s Warp Bolter with a “bang” gun flag.

I’m particularly proud of the “bang” gun in its left hand. The gun is an Ogryn ripper gun that represents its Warp Bolter. The bang gun with a flag is a classic prank, so I thought it was a nice way to add some levity to the model. 

I’m also particularly proud of its wings. I tried doing a wet-blend gradient between Fulgrim Pink and Genestealer Purple. It has a wash of Magos Purple contrast, and then it’s topped off with Green Stuff World’s Red Goblin Colour Shift Paint. 

Image showing my attempt at gradient in the Daemon Prince’s wings.

And the balloons… I love the balloons. I think most of the characters in this army will have balloons. I found these on Amazon. They are described as “Dollhouse Balloons.”

Daemon Prince with Wings: “The Ringleader”

I’m planning on running “The Ringleader” as an HQ in a Creations of Bile Chaos Space Marine Army, so it will have +1 strength and +1” movement. I will probably use the Supreme Creation: Prime Test Subject stratagem to give it +1 toughness and an additional +1 strength. It has a Hellforged Sword sheathed on his side, which will be hitting at strength 9. I’m also planning to give it the Living Carapace relic which improves his armour save to 2+ and allows it to regain 1 lost wound per turn. 

I posted a work-in-progress picture and someone mentioned that it reminded him of Rakdos. In the Magic the Gathering (MTG) and Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) lore, he is worshiped by chaotic cultists who emulate gruesome performance art. A chaotic circus? Sounds about right!