The first problem is that the Squat profile has no match in the current roster of 40K armies. Setting aside their low speed (they moved 3” per turn instead of the standard 4”), 2nd edition Squats were Toughness 4 and BS3 with armor 6. Their leadership was high, at 10.
Fifth Edition armies don’t cover this profile very well. Space Marines have T4 and a good Ld, but also a BS of 4 and, or course, armor 3. And the Witch Hunters are totally wrong, with their T3 and armor 3. Of our Imperial options, the Imperial Guard seem to be the closest fit. They have the right BS and armor, but the wrong Ld and toughness. The difference is huge – not only are you wounding the Squats more easily than you should, but they’re running away more easily.
|...and these boys ain't runnin'.|
So where is the nascent Squat army hiding, if not in the Guard codex or anywhere else in the Imperial stable? If we have to look outside the Imperium, then let’s turn the Heresy-meter to 11 and look at the Orks.
There are a few immediate problems with using the Ork Codex to represent Squats, so let’s address them first.
Orks, of course, have their abysmal BS of 2. Squats pride themselves on their gunnery, so this is a problem. Orks also have a Ld of 7, which hardly represents the steadfast Squats. And players generally consider Orks to be a close combat army. Despite their speed, this doesn’t line up with the Squat backstory.
But these problems have solutions – or at least some wrinkles that mitigate the issues.
The Ork Ld of 7 is out of step with the traditional view of Squats, but this disregards the power of Mob Rule. Large Ork mobs are famously hard to stop. The Orks keep coming at you because they feel safe in numbers, but you could just as easily see this as stubborn Squats refusing to run in the face of danger.
Finally, can Squats work if they are using a close combat army? Fortunately, Orks don’t have to charge in, so neither do the Squats. Anyone who has faced a shooty Ork army, filled with Lootas and shoota boyz, can tell you that these armies work.
From here the correlations roll: Lootas become Thunderers, Koptas become Gyrocopters, warbuggies become trikes, (bikes stay bikes, nicely), The warboss is now a warlord, and his ever-present nobz become the Hearthguard. Put them in Mega-armor and viola!, you have exo-armor. Perhaps the Shokk Attak Gun becomes artillery, with the 2-wound Mek becoming a 2-man crew. Squats have plenty of techno-savvy, justifying the use of such varied Ork machines as dreads, kans, and stormboy jump-packs.
If I had some Squat models left, and if I wasn't already in possession of a sizable Ork force, I would be sorely tempted...