Tag Archives: Hobby

Waaambulance: Converted Chaos Whirlwind

I have gotten a lot of great feedback about my “I Scream” truck converted Chaos Vehicle. It’s fun to bring to events and gets lots of great attention. I decided I needed another “nightmare fuel” vehicle to add to the roster. With the daemonic evil Ice Cream truck out of the way, I’m moving on to a zombie clown ambulance. But in this case, the ambulance isn’t coming to treat injuries; rather, it’s coming to cause wounds!

Many people have noted displeasure with the current Taurox / Taurox Prime model. It’s nice that Astra Militarum got something jeep-like, but the proportions never seemed quite right. But, the front looks truck-like, and needed a slightly bigger “back end.” I came up with the idea of bashing a Taurox with a Munitorum Armoured Container

From front to back: Ambulance Toy, Taurox Prime, and Munitorum Armoured Container

For size and proportion I bought this toy mini-ambulance from Wal-Mart. It also had flashing lights and sounds. After looking at it for a while, I decided I wanted to bring the lights and sound onto this vehicle too. 

I disassembled the ambulance toy, and decided to keep its base as the base of the kitbashed model. The base held the circuity, speaker and battery. I replaced its on-off switch with a momentary pushbutton from my stock. 

I carved out the front of the Taurox, and cut off its roof. And cut off the top of the passenger compartment from the ambulance toy. And kept about ⅔ of the Munitorum container. I stuck it all together with A LOT of green stuff. I kept the lights from the toy and mounted them on the top and the front. It still makes the siren sounds too. 

There are two infantry models in the cab of the vehicle. I started with two Poxwalker models. I particularly picked the one with the long coat, because painted white, he looks sort of like a demonic zombie doctor.

I put two thin strips of sheet steel on the roof. I repurposed the Taurox Prime rocket launchers to represent a Scorpius multi-launcher. Because they are magnetized, I can later remove the rockets and run this vehicle as a Rhino or something else.

Even though it was completed, I felt it looked too clean. I weathered it like crazy, smearing Typhus Corrosion technical paint everywhere, as well as liberal coatings of agrax earthshade and nuln oil. I let the washes pool to give a water-damage sort of look. I finished the model with some bright white edging. I feel that really makes the model pop.

Faceplate on grill of the vehicle. I even spelt “ambulance” backwards, they way it appears on road vehicles

I’m particularly proud of the faceplate on the front grill of the vehicle. I took the Taurox plate, and radically transformed it, so that the lions astride the skull looked more like tufts of hair. Its final result is to look like a clown face. I wrote “ambulance” .

The model was well-received at a tournament I bought it at. People got a kick out of it when the sirens and lights went off. It got a few nicknames, but I think I’m going to stick with the Waaambulance, an expression for when someone is whining unnecessarily.

I plan on running it as a Chaos Whirlwind Scorpius.

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?

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. 

Lord of Contagion Conversion: “Siegemaster Vorx”

I really, really enjoyed reading Chris Wraight’s “The Lords of Silence.” I enjoyed it so much that I wrote a book report about it.

I was particularly impressed by one of the characters, Vorx: Siegemaster of the XIV Legion, leader of the Lords of Silence warband of the Death Guard. He is pictured on the cover of the book, at the top. Vorx blurs the lines of good and evil, while being honourable, caring, polite and considerate. So, I decided to make a model for him.

Vorx as he appears on the cover of The Lords of Silence

I started with the model of Sergeant Lorenzo, he’s a Blood Angels Terminator from the Space Hulk box set. I filed off all the Blood Angel decor and re-modeled his arms. His left arm is a Power Fist that I took off of a Plague Marine.

As with many of my models, there are LED lights in this one. I followed Chris Buxey‘s method for light-up-eyes again. I think this is better than the “I Scream truck”. And in the centre of the base behind the Nurgling and in front of Vorx, there are 3 flickering LED’s in a wad of cotton to resemble a fire.

I’d like to think I paid a lot of attention to details from the book:

On the cover of the book, Vorx seems to be a Chaos Lord, wearing Power Armour (or Artificer Armour) based on having a backpack. But, he is armed with a Manreaper scythe he calls “Exact.” There are no rules to allow a Death Guard Chaos Lord to wield a Manreaper, but a Lord of Contagion may take a Manreaper. And, Vorx uses a teleporter at one point in the book, and from what I understand, the only Space Marines that can use teleporters are Terminators. So, this is why I decided to model Vorx as a Lord of Contagion which wears Terminator Armour.

Details from the book illustrated on the model

A Lord of Contagion with a Manreaper also takes an Orb of Dessication. I originally intended for Vorx to be holding his Orb of Dessication aloft in one hand, and his Manreaper in the other. But, I realized that the pose was quite similar to Abbadon. So, instead I decided to model Vorx wielding his scythe with both hands. The orb is that big glowing ball on his belt.

The scythe is a combination of a Kromlech Legionary Vibro Scythe and some sort of Dark Eldar staff. I connected them together using a piece of heat shrink I usually use for electronics. This is also my first attempt at non-metallic metal (NMM) which seems to be all the rage right now. I followed a method described in this video by Impending Duff. It is a wet-blend on the blades from Mornfang Brown to Cadian Fleshtone. To my pleasant surprise, Typhus corrosion is even darker than Mornfang Brown, so rather than using it for weathering, I used it to increase the gradient. And instead of weathering, I used Ryza Rust as another part of the gradient. I think the bright orange looks like “Power Rust” so I may use this technique a lot more.

Details of the book on pulpit, and non-metallic metal on the scythe blade

In Vorx’s personal holdings on Eletgibia, now better known as the Plague Planet, he maintains an untitled book with the names of everyone he has killed. It’s becoming an impossibility long book, and gaining potency as a relic with h each entry. Vorx spent 8 weeks writing in it on one visit during the book. I have modeled that book on the base of the model on a sort of pulpit. The book is a bit from the Kromlech set “Chaos Books of Damnation” and the pulpit is from an AoS Chaos Warshrine.

At several points in the book, Vorx dotes on a particular Nurgling or “Little Lord.” He pets it, and even takes it for care when it gets injured. I have modeled this particular Little Lord on the model’s base, seemingly writing in Vorx’s book. The Nurgling is also wearing a mask, in an ironic, counterintuitive nod to the times.

On the agri-planet of Najan, the Lord’s of Silence captures an Astra Militarum officer, Captain Dantine. Using some wicked sorcery, they remove his heart. Vorx keeps the still beating heart in a pouch on his waist. Dantine is still alive, with his heart removed from his body as some sort of Poxwalker or “Unchanged”. I have modeled the pouch holding Dantine’s heart on Vorx’s belt using an Astra Militarum pouch bit. The pouch has a little bit of blood pooling at the bottom.

I got the idea for the stairs he’s standing on from Warmaster Horus’ model from the Horus Heresy. The stairs are made of stacks of cork board.

My conversion of a Blood Angels Terminator into a Death Guard Lord of Contagion. He is modeled to represent Siegemaster Vorx from The Lords of Silence

Display Board: “Ritual to extend 2020”

After my modest success in 2018 with my “Sophie’s Garage” Display Board, I upped my game in 2019 with “Sophie’s Choice Rock Concert” Display Board. I entered that board into Armies on Parade at my local Games Workshop store and got “Best Themed Army” and 2nd Place overall. I wanted to go even bigger and better for 2020 and started planning immediately. The end result is not what I thought I’d have, but I’m quite happy with it.

2020 has been a complicated and memorable year, to say the least. I had been very focused on my two Loyalist armies: Imperial Fists and Astra Militarum. When the first COVID-19 lockdown hit home in March, I found myself not worrying about painting to play, but instead having the freedom to try something new. That’s when I started painting Death Guard models.

My 2020 Display Board: “Ritual to Extend 2020”

To match the bases I had been giving the Death Guard models, I decided it would be a more forest/nature-like environment. My two previous boards had been urban environments, so this was quite a departure for me. But, it was a nice opportunity to try something new.

Now, on the actual construction of the board. The base is actually a bamboo drawer organizer from Ikea. I wanted to have a variety of heights and different levels, so there are lots of boxes and platforms. All of the shapes are boxes from Dollarama that I have disassembled, cut and re-assembled as I needed. Once I had a layout I liked, I added the steel.

LED’s added to the upper platform.

It wouldn’t be one of my boards if it didn’t features lights. The lighting on this board was actually rather modest: Just two flickering green LED’s on the upper dias.

LED’s on the upper platform

There are a lot of practical elements to this board. First, it fits perfectly on the foldable cart that I bring to tournaments. I installed handles to make it easy to transport. And, every horizontal surface is clad in sheet steel, so that models with magnets in their bases stick to the board.

Early construction photo of my 2020 display board. The sheet steel is still quite visible.

I used an “ebony” wood stain to make it really dark. Then finished it with three coats of a shiny polyurethane.

Staining the board

The board has lots of corkboard for texture. And I used the bases of the trees from the Souldrain Forest kit.

I wanted to add some texture to the steel. I mixed sand, white glue, and water and intended to smear that over all the horizontal surfaces to mask the steel. I didn’t get the ratio quite right, so that sand started collecting into bands. That turned out to be a nice, rippling effect.

Adding texture

I used spray paint on most of the board. It’s like a poor man’s airbrush.
As you’d expect of me, there are lights on the top balcony flanking where the Great Unclean One would go.
The band is set up with their own little nook. I was planning to have them on top of the Land Raider, but didn’t have time to finish the stage properly. That Land Raider will get some more interesting treatment and I’ll share that soon.

After spraying some layers. I even managed to get a bit of gradient.

I had custom nameplate engraved for the board. It’s a brass plate reads:
“Ritual to extend 2020”
Nurgle Daemons / Death Guard
by Paul Radcliffe
The gentleman at the engraving store gave me the funniest looks when reviewing the order…It’s very tongue-in-cheek, but I think the Noctilith Crown, and instruments, and green waterfall and daemons running amok fit them theme of wanting this pandemic year to continue. And Chaos / Nurgle Daemons / Death Guard are supposed to be the “bad guys” right? So they’d have some sort of sinister plot like this!

Engraved plate for my 2020 Display Board

Another little touch was the adding of a leather banner. My neighbour has a leatherworking business and I commissioned her to laser-etch the Nurgle symbol into a piece of leather. I then weathered the heck out of it and hung it from the upper platform of the board.

Laser-etched leather banner by Springbok Craft Co

A definite focal point on this board is the Nocticlith Crown featured on the upper platform. I painted it to look more Nurgle-like and rusted. I like that the crown looks like some sort of malefic portal or stargate. To play on that, there is a plasma disk suspended in the middle of the ring. It’s actually supposed to be a belt buckle. It is hung on fishing line which very difficult to see.

Noctilith Crown terrain features on my 2020 Display board with a plasma disk suspended in the middle. I used fishing wire which is almost invisible.

There are a lot of great models and elements on this board. But I think one of my favourites is some Nurglings on the base of the Great Unclean One overseeing the “procession.” In a very ironic twist, these little daemons that serve the Daemon God of Disease and Decay, are wearing masks.

Even Nurglings wear masks in 2020, apparently.

The board features a few trees that also came from the Souldrain Forest kit. I painted them to look like cherry blossoms, because my wife loves cherry blossoms. She was less impressed with the tree that I converted to look more like a Feculent Gnarlmaw. They had magnets installed in their bases so they would attach to the steel sheets on the board.

Work in progress pictures of trees for the 2020 Display Board. The one on the left has a bit of an infection….

This display so features a sort of ragtag Nurgle Band dropping some sick beats:
-Spoilpox Scrivner on lead vocals
-Tallyman on guitar
-Sloppity Bilepiper on bagpipes
-Plaguebearer on drums
-Noxious Blightbringer on bells (naturally)
-Nurglings on French Horn, Trumpet, Flute, and Strings

Nurgle band dropping some “sick beats”

I wanted to exceed the Rock Concert from last year. The previous board had lights and sounds. So, to exceed that I decided to add RUNNING WATER! I bought a terrarium piece meant for lizards that has a built-in pump. This was always going to feature on the board. For the final product, I put green food colouring in the water. The effect is green water coming out of the glowing skull!

Picture of my 2020 display board, with glowing skull and running water featured on the left.

There was music too from a speaker in the display. It’s playing the Red Hot Chili Pipers‘ cover of “Highway to Hell”. Not Peppers, Pipers, as in the Celtic Rock Band that features bagpipes. It’s a nod to the Sloppily Bilepiper’s bagpipes.

My 2020 Display Board
My 2020 Display Board: Predominant in this picture are a lot of Nurglings, A Daemon Prince, Poxwalkers, Plague Marines, a Hellbrute, A Myphitic Blight Hauler, and a Land Raider
A view of the upper levels of the board featuring a Great Unclean One, Typhus, Malignant Plaguecaster, Lord of Contagion, and Foul Blightspawn.
My 2020 Display Board: A horde of Nurgle Daemons

The board regrettably win any prizes from Armies on Parade 2020. But, It did was featured on an article by Warhammer Community.

A picture of my 2020 Display Board that was featured in an article by Warhammer Community.

My Display Board “Sophie’s Garage”

This is my first post in a LONG time, but I think it was time to dust off this old blog. And I felt this was definitely worth sharing: My display board won two awards at my local Armies On Parade.



The story for this display board starts at my first tournament over two years ago. I showed up to my first tournament with no display board at all. At that tournament, I displayed my army in the plastic tub I brought it in.  I didn’t even know that display boards were at thing!

My “display board” from my first tournament in 2016

In 2017, I also attended the same Lords of War Tournament again: The 40k Classic. I had idea of using a a tool holder as some sort of castle. The castle was well-received.  I used the “game mat” from the 8th edition “First Strike” starter kit , and although it served is purpose, it was bit of a “cop out”. The castle had a digital photo frame that played “Imperial propaganda”, but someone said seeing the buttons broke the suspension of disbelief. And someone suggested the “castle” needed more detail.

My “display board” circa 2017.


The highlight of my 2018 was going to be the Astronomi-con event.  I liked that it emphasized the hobby elements rather than just competitive tournament play. The event had a lot of points for narrative and display, and thus, I needed to get going on a display board.

I started with this early prototype for a display board that folded into a case, and gave height.

Prototype for my 2018 display board

I enjoy playing with a lot of tanks, so I wanted my display board to have roads. My first thought was to have some sort of tunnel on the lower level. The lower level later became a garage, which seemed vehicle appropriate.

The prototype also had a sort of bridge, but that didn’t make it into the final design.

A lot of display boards are made from styrofoam, but I didn’t have a foam cutter, and I was told that spray paints would dissolve foam. And since I’m much more familiar with wood, I started with a big slap of 1/2″ thick MDF. I cut the pieces in the store using the circular saw, but my calculations didn’t account for the thickness. So I had to do some rougher cuts with a handsaw.

Assembled display board base

There was another piece I made to extend the lower level.

The board had hinges I took off of a dollar store box. The top was meant to fold over for nice transport. But, because of my imprecise cuts, it didn’t fit quite well. I later filled in the gaps in the build with wood filler.

The display board in its closed state. I later fixed the imperfections in the fitting with wood filler.

With the base built, it was time to start decorating and adding the theme. I added cork board as the roads. They have a kind of texture that already simulates asphalt. I made the “sidewalks” with plasticard, and then used a spray paint for the even texture. I did a thick coat of paint over the cork boards.

Painting the display board.

The MDF wood looked kind of cheap. I decided to try to stain the wood. I had NEVER done this before, but found that it produced a wonderfully rich-looking effect. It was a messy process, and I’m glad I wore gloves! And, the wood filler I used to cover the imperfections made it look like it was meant to be.

After adding a gel-coat stain. I think it looks really rich now!

As some of my readers know, I like to add a lot of electronics to my tanks. I wanted my display board to have some too. This board was going to feature a lot of lights. I also wanted the option to power it from a plug, which was a first for me. And, I added a fuse for the first time, because I didn’t want this board to catch on fire if I did something wrong.

Last thing to do was dress it up. I printed some photos of “diamond steel” for the floors of the garage. And then printed A LOT of “Imperial Propaganda” photos I found on the internet. I scaled them to guardsman size, and put them all over the board. The posters probably got a lot of attention at a recent tournament I went to. There was a sticker of Saint Celestine in a chibi-style by The Great Geraldo. And, I added some graffiti touches that were kind of meta-meme worthy like “Cadian Stands” and “Rowboat Girlyman”.

Propaganda posters abound!

So, why is it called Sophie’s Garage? The garage part should be obvious. And Sophie is what my wife and I are going to name our first daughter, who’s due in about a month.

Sophie’s Garage sign. And yes, that’s the 40th Birthday Grombrindal in the window brandishing a beer

Even though the model has nothing to do with the army, I really liked the work I did  on the 40th birthday White Dwarf Model (Grombrindal), so he seemed to make a nice cameo behind the glass.

When I was preparing my board a couple of nights before Armies On Parade, my wife noted that it looked kind of like a military parade for a fascist dictatorship. I thought that seemed thematically rather appropriate, considering that Warhammer 40k’s Imperium of Man could be considered quite dystopian.

Experimenting with the layout of models on my display board a few days before Armies On Parade

At the last minute, I printed out a couple of slips of paper that said: “Push the buttons. They light up and make sounds!” I think that may have been one of the most important additions, because people were apparently really impressed that my tanks had electronics in them.

I submitted my display board featuring A LOT of tanks to the Armies On Parade event at my local Games Workshop location at Heartland Town Centre.  My wife helped me set it up, and I liked the layout even more.

My display board as presented at Armies On Parade 2018


There were a lot of great entries. I was proud that I won two certificates:


With my wife and my display board after winning in the “Monsters and Machines” and “Best Themed Entry” categories of Armies on Parade 2018 at Games Workshop Heartland Town Centre

There were some really good entries, so I’m not surprised I didn’t win a medal. But winning two categories made me feel pretty happy with my work.

Winners from Armies on Parade 2018 at Games Workshop Heartland Town Centre


Only one year until the next Armies On Parade. Should I just tune up my board a little? Or something completely new?

I know my painting will probably never rival that of really good players; I need to keep with my strengths of electronics and tricks. Perhaps a board with a water feature? Like real water with a waterfall and an electronic water pump? And steam? And better use of the LED’s?

40k Classic Tournament Debrief

Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending my first tournament, the Lords of War 40k Classic.  I posted my list here. I will write detailed battle reports later, but this post will capture my initial thoughts.

In brief, I’ll just say I had a great time, and look forward the next one. It renewed my interest in the hobby, and has inspired me to continue playing.

Selfie at the Warhammer 40k classic, my first tournament
Selfie at the Warhammer 40k classic, my first tournament

The crowd was very friendly; mostly young, all white men. There were a couple POC among the tournament organizers, but mostly very white. Milling about before the tournament, people were friendly, and genuinely interested in the hobby and excited to talk about their armies and the game.  There was a variety of people from students to bank managers, many guys were married and some even had kids (this was their guys day out). The Legion that hosted us had ample parking and great Air Conditioning. I also liked the vibe that there was a bar downstairs and many people bought a beer and brought them up to sip during the tournament.

I played 4 games and thought I acquitted myself admirably: 2 wins and 2 losses. After one win I felt accomplished. The second win was a surprise and at that point there was nothing that was going to make this day bad. Well, I got massacred in the last game to an ultra-competitive player.

A few players complemented me on my Chimera/Rhino conversion combination thing. One guy was so excited that he took lots of pictures because he was going to “steal the hell out of this idea.” I was quite happy to oblige.

My Rhino/Chimera conversion that was well-received by many at the tournament
My Rhino/Chimera conversion that was well-received by many at the tournament


Tactics thoughts:

Oakenhawk was right about a lot of things:

Company Command Squads issuing their Senior Officer Orders of Ignore Cover or Bring It Down are devastating:  My CCS with 3 meltas was a monster-killing beast! It took down a Riptide, and one-shot killed a Vindicator!

Flamers were beautiful: There were a lot of cover-camping units, and the heavy flamers auto-hit and ignore cover. And in many cases, if the Chimera’s flamers didn’t work, there were more inside.

My vehicles are hard to kill: Surprisingly, my tanks all took a lot of beatings, but few lost hull points, and even fewer were destroyed. Having such quantity meant the damage was usually spread around.

Leman Russ Tanks were worth it: Each of my Leman Russ tanks were about 150 points, but I wouldn’t have traded them for anything else. They could move 6″ and fire everything with impunity, and unloading my Exterminator with lascannon and sponsor heavy bolters was my way of saying I wanted something to die! And the Demolisher’s  S10 AP2 large blast was the baseball bat I needed at times to batter tanks. And, their AV14 armour held up surprisingly well to most barrages. Keeping them facing the deadly threats helped, a lot!

The Wyvern is amazing! It became the highest priority target in my army in almost every game. My first opponent destroyed it in turn 1. After it decimated infantry squads in my 2nd and 3rd games, it was also their highest-priority target. That worked to my advantage in some ways because it drew their forces into a trap.
Long story short, twin-linked, 4 large blast barrage, re-rolling to wound was ridiculously good. I want another Wyvern!

Expendable guardsmen and expendable: The redundancy of that statement was quite on purpose. The blob squad of 20 guardsmen was kind of an afterthought for me, but proved to be valuable in a way I didn’t expect: Yes, the autocannons had a bit of a punch and drew attention, but I got an equal punch from my Taurox. This blob squad in cover was the first natural and obvious target for each of my enemies. The squad wasn’t worth much, but drew a lot of fire while my more dangerous units maneuvered. In the end, it didn’t bother me to lose them

Guardsmen in cover doing what the do best, distracting!
Guardsmen in cover doing what the do best, distracting!

Lessons Learned:

Finish off units: In my first game, I missed out on a lot of points because several units still had 2-3 models, or a vehicle had 1 hull point less. I should concentrate on destroying something and then move on. Part of the success in my second game was mopping up objective-claiming units, as exemplified in using my warlord’s Chimera to chase down a lone Kroot and heavy flamer it to death.

Don’t let the opponent set the terms: I made the mistake of waiting for my opponent to come to me in my first and last games, consequently I lost both games. In my second and third games I moved out of a bad deployment zone and outflanked my opponents.

Gets Hot Sucks: The S7 plasma didn’t have much impact on the game, probably because I was trying to keep my Warlord safe. And at one point, they both fried themselves on overwatch! Without some form of twin-linking or Preferred Enemy to mitigate 1’s, I don’t feel like it’s worth it.

Medic not worth it: The feel no pain (5+) granted by the medkit didn’t save one model in my command squad. Another plasma or a flamer (or two) would have been a much better investment.

Don’t fear Close Combat: Guard are pretty lousy at close combat, but in some cases, their numbers help out. The last daemon army I faced had a ridiculous cover save, but if I charged them instead I could have gotten bunch of blows in because of higher initiative and no overwatch.

Photo of the tournament underway
Photo of the tournament underway

Logistics thoughts:

A quantity-based, horde-like army is great in theory and practice, but not practical. Most armies at the tournament had less than 30 models. I had 75 infantry, 8 tanks, and a massive plane! I needed two containers to bring just 1500 points! And setting up and moving models is a drag too. I might as well have had old-school Warhammer Fantasy movement trays and square bases!

I need a display board. I discovered that this was a thing only a few days before the tournament. I almost bought a cafeteria-like tray from a dollar store right before the tournament, but decided to use my case as a makeshift display board. It didn’t work too well. And It would have been nice to display my army nicely.

My "display board" (i.e. one of my cases...
My “display board” (i.e. one of my cases…)

Several players shared their lists made with Army Builder which was really nice because it listed the stats and special rules of each model. I have never played against Tau or Chaos Daemons, and didn’t know their stats, so it was nice that they were there without me having to root through their codex. I’m thinking I’ll model my next list for sharing using the rules for Adepti-con as critera, and Army Builder lists from my opponents as templates.

There were chairs at the tables, and I should have sat more. My legs hurt by the end of the day.

Lunch at 2:15pm is a drag. I’m glad I brought snacks to get me through until then. I scooted out for lunch to get a KFC sandwich and I ate it much faster than I should have.

Tables are kind of crowded, so there isn’t really anywhere to put down your display case and/or codexes and such. In my first game there was an empty table beside us which was great, but in my last game we were in the middle of two other games and kinda stuck.


What’s next for me?

I want to join another tournament! I want to play more! It was all a good experience, and I like the honesty of paying to be there: Going to the store to play feels like I’m free-loading or something.

I think I need a display board. There were great ones at the tournament, and I’d like to have one that reflects me and my army. The scoring guide for Astronomi-con helps, but there are also SO many examples online of things that work too.  Maybe I can be crafty and make a display board that can also be a carrying case…

The most ridiculously awesome display board I've ever seen! Look at that plasma-webway portal thing! And it's base is a Millennium Falcon!
The most ridiculously awesome display board I’ve ever seen! Look at that plasma-webway portal thing! And it’s base is a Millennium Falcon!

I think I’m done painting Guard for a while I may paint one or two more melta infantry, but that would be it.  I have a lot of options: Inquisition, Arbites, Space Marines…
But I saw a Tempestus Scions army at the tournament and was intrigued. The Taurox Prime is pretty awesome…

Escher Juve with Flamer

I got this model from eBay quite a while ago. She’s from the Necromunda game, specifically the Escher all-female gang. She was labelled on the tab as “juve” which I assumed meant juvenile or young person.

Image of painted Escher Juve model from Lexicanum
Image of painted Escher Juve model from Lexicanum

I have very few female models in my army, so I felt compelled to add more.

Her original model has her holding some sort of autopistol. I decided I wanted to make her as useful and flexible as possible, so I wanted her armed so that she could be used as an Inquisitional Acolyte or a guards(wo)man. So that end, I decided to replace her autopistol with a flamer. I borrowed the flamer from a commissar model I haven’t finsihed yet, and Commissar’s can’t use flamer’s anyways, so this worked out nicely.

Escher Juve from Necromunda below, and a Commissar's flamer arm I will graft onto her
Escher Juve from Necromunda below, and a Commissar’s flamer arm I will graft onto her

I wanted to give her a paintjob similar to the rest of my guardsmen so she’d fit in. To that end, she has a black shirt (flakk jacket?), administratum grey pants, and her knee-high boots are black.


Finished model with flamer
Model with flamer almost finished


Female Guardsman or Inquisition Acolyte with flamer
Female Guardsman or Inquisition Acolyte with flamer


Female Guardsman or Inquisition Acolyte with flamer (back)
Female Guardsman or Inquisition Acolyte with flamer (back)

She’s also really tiny. Most guardsmen look similar in size to Space Marines, but they totally dwarf her.

Considering that guardsmen (and guardswomen) and Inquisitorial Acolytes have a ballistic skill of only 3, the auto-hit nature of template weapons is very appealing.

I’ll probably make sure to include her in my army for the upcoming tournament.

Warhammer FOMO

So, just last week I reported that I have about 150 models in my backlog to finish, BUT, I can’t help but feel like I want, or NEED to buy more! I feel like I have the typical millennial Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) for certain models, bundles, or even Armies!

Many months ago, I was immediately interested when I heard about the re-release of Lost Patrol. It’s a standalone game that is a nice gateway into Warhammer 40k, and comes with some Tyranid Genestealers and a squad of Space Marine Scouts. I could always use more Space Marine Scouts, which are a great unit in general.

Games Workshop’s Lost Patrol

The Genestealers in this box got me thinking though. If I had 11 Genestealers, could that be the start of a Tyranid army?! All of my models are human Imperials (Space Marines, Astra Militarum, Inquisition). Though it’s not unusual to think of humans of the Imperium fighting and killing each other, I feel like they need an enemy, a “bad guy” to fight. And a ruthless alien invasion seemed appropriate.

Start Collecting! Tyranids Boxed Set

That makes the Start Collecting: Tyranids box set seem so tempting. With the Genestealers as troops, the rest of this box fills out a pretty terrifying army. Making the Hive Tyrant as a Flying Monsterous Creature actually seems really awesome! It’s like a flying alien dragon!

Flying Hive Tyrant! Like a flying alien dragon!

After getting interested in Tyranids, I was looking at other neat things in their arsenal, and I happened upon the Tervigon. It constantly produces more units throughout the battle! This ugly mamma keeps producing more termigants as the battle progresses. That’s alien and terrifying! And tactically quite interesting…

Tyranid Tervigon that keeps producing units!

But, buying and building such Tyranids would be very financially and time-consuming. I mean, a whole new army…

But, the Start Collecting: Skiitarii box catches my eye too. Their like steampunk robots! What’s not to like!? The heavily mechanized nature of this box and army really suit my interests.

Start Collecting Skitarii box from Games Workshop

Or what about the Start Collecting Militarum Tempestus box! I’m actually rather fond of my current Taurox, and adding another to the fray for a mere 50 points sounds lovely. And the more I read about Tempestus Scions the more I want to field them. With the correct supplement, I could field a whole army of JUST scions in Taurox Primes. And the sprues come with enough parts for me to customize and upgrade quite a few of my guardsmen into Scions or “Stormtroopers” too.

Start Collecting Militarum Tempestus set!


But, no more buying until after I’ve cleared my backlog. Then I’ll head down one of these paths.. or another path. We’ll see what suits my fancy by then.

Custom Dwarf Techpriest and more!

Much of my Astra Militarum (Imperial Guard) army is mechanized, and that’s the way I like it. But keeping with the theme and fluff, having such a vehicle-heavy army, they would need quite a crew to maintain it. In come the Techpriest Engiseers! I mused openly about my lone techpriest in this post, but I thought it was time he had some support.

I considered buying the new Techpriest model, but I wasn’t too excited about it. I wanted something unique.

So, I got this  model from eBay of a Dwarf Runesmith. It’s for Warhammer Fantasy Battles, but the eyepiece makes him look rather steampunk already.

eBay image of Dwarf Runesmith I purchased
eBay image of Dwarf Runesmith I purchased

Dwarves in general are an interesting topic in Warhammer 40k. The Eldar are obvious proxies for fantasy elves (and by extension Dark Elves –> Dark Eldar). In earlier editions of Warhammer 40k there were references to Squats, the future equivalent of fantasy dwarves. But they weren’t well-received and aren’t supported in current literature. But, they technically do exist in the universe, and it would make sense that a Squat could go to Mars and become a vested tech-priest!


The image below shows a mechanized White Dwarf which I used as my inspiration.

Example White Dwarf Techpriest (image source)
Example White Dwarf Techpriest (image source)


Converting this model was part of the fun. I took a few servo-arms off of a Master of The Forge techmarine model I had, and another servo-arm off of a servitor I converted to hold a plasma cannon. I used all of those bits and a Vox-Caster backpack (and A LOT of super glue) to create a servo arm.

Next, I stole a power-axe from a techpriest to replace the dwarf’s axe.

Finally, there was a wrench hanging out of a backpack of a Chaos cultists in the Dark Vengeance set. So I carefully modelled that so it looks like he’s holding the wrench in a zealous mechanic kind of way.



Partially converted Dwarf Techpriest
Partially converted Dwarf Techpriest

In the end, with the white beard and red robes, he actually wound up looking a lot like Santa Claus.

Nearly final product Squat Techpriest Engiseer!
Nearly final product Squat Techpriest Engiseer!


Squat Techpriest Engiseer
Squat Techpriest Engiseer


Dwarf Techpriest Engiseer (back)
Dwarf Techpriest Engiseer (back)



But, he isn’t alone. I converted a Chaos Cultist from the Dark Vengeance set to another techpriest.

The process was very similar: I used a vox-caster for the backpack, the searchlight is off of a vehicle kit, and the servo-arm is a combination of a lot of bits.


Chaos Cultists converted to Techpriest Engiseer
Chaos Cultists converted to Techpriest Engiseer


Chaos Cultists converted to Techpriest Engiseer (side)
Chaos Cultists converted to Techpriest Engiseer (side)


Chaos Cultists converted to Techpriest Engiseer (other side)
Chaos Cultists converted to Techpriest Engiseer (other side)

He actually bears a striking resemblance to the Games Workshop Techpriest.

Chaos Cultists converted to techpriest (left), and stock Techpriest from Games Workshop (right)
Chaos Cultists converted to techpriest (left), and stock Techpriest from Games Workshop (right)


And, to round out their team, I finally finished the servitors.




Servitors (back)
Servitors (back)

Now, with a few servitors, they’re one big family:


Techpriests and servitors
Techpriests and servitors


Techpriests and servitors with the tanks they support
Techpriests and servitors with the tanks they support


I expect to use this unit quite happily in games. But, they also look really cool together just for display. The red really stands out against the grey of my army.