GW has given players all the pieces they need to bring great looking squats back to the tabletop.
For decades now, players have lamented the loss of 40K red-headed stepchild – the Squats. The only full army range to be ret-conned out of the game has been a sore sport for years. But all the ingredients for their triumphant return are now here.
Let’s take a quick lok back at the past and present of how the squats fit into the 40K universe.
Squats (Homo sapiens rotundus) were short, stocky and tough abhumans. Of all the abhuman types, they most closely resembled humans. Squats were the descendants of humans who colonised the worlds around the galactic core in the far distant past. These worlds are some of the oldest in the galaxy, formed when the laws of physics had yet to be stabilised.
The Squat ancestors were human colonists that reached the mineral rich worlds around the galactic core, during the time of the initial expansion beyond Earth’s own system, long before the emergence of the Emperor. The colonisation came at the right time, as Earth’s own mineral wealth was depleted. The worlds at the galactic core were rich in rare and unique minerals, but in terms of life were barren and unsuited for colonisation. These worlds are dark and bleak. Their gravity is great, usually two or three times that of Earth. Their atmospheres are either thin or non-existent. Even those planets with atmospheres are blasted by tremendous storms.
These planets became Mining Worlds. Colonists were forced to become self-sufficient, providing their own underground grown food. Due to the completely hostile nature of the surface the colonists formed underground societies. During the long isolation of the Age of Strife, the Squat race developed, evolving to suit their environment, becoming tougher, more resilient and physically shorter.
Some say the real history of the Squats begins in the Age of Strife when their worlds were cut off from Terra and the race developed, but their actual origins begin much earlier during the Dark Age of Technology, or as the Squats called it, the Age of Founding.
During the Great Crusade, they came under the notice of the Imperium of Man who learnt that they are a technologically advanced race that maintain cordial relations with several xeno cultures. They rarely enter the territory of mankind but by this era they maintained a clandestine mining installation at Tenebrae 9-50 with its existence not being widely known by the Imperium. Their once rarely sighted vessels began to be seen within increased frequency in the Ultima Segmentum in recent centuries. Imperial fleet strategists postulated the link for the increased Demiurg presence to expansion of the Tau Empire in the Eastern Fringe. There are three sightings of Demiurg among Tau and Kroot fleets around the Damocles Gulf. Some, however, believe that these activities are simply the result of Demiurg attempting to capitalize on the disruptions caused by the Tyranid hivefleets.
It is currently unknown if the Demiurg are full members of the Tau Empire, or allies, or mercenaries, but they are involved heavily in trading and economic relations with the Tau. They are said to be a race principally consisting of miners and traders.
The Demiurg appear to have no homeworld, or at least have abandoned it in favour of spacecraft. They are known to avoid Imperial space unless invited in, making them a very uncommon sight, and are described as defensively-hostile and non-militaristic, though the number of sightings in the Ultima Segmentum has increased over recent centuries.
The Demiurg are organised into “Brotherhoods”, though any further information on a Brotherhood is unknown, beyond the rumours from Rogue Traders that one Brotherhood is typically present upon a Bastion Class Vessel and two to three upon on a Stronghold Class Vessel. At least two brotherhoods, the Srry’Tok and Thurm, are known to have joined the Tau Empire.
Although the Demiurg normally live in enormous space-bound starhips, they are known to colonise worlds unusually abundant in minerals, such as the worlds of the Poretta system.
Classic Squats, circa 1980s
You have not one but two options for these fellows.
40K – Astra Militarum
This is the easier of the two options. Just kick up a list using the Astra Militarum codex. A heavy emphasis on infantry and bug industrial/heavy vehicles should do the trick. Luckily for you there are Superheavies and tanks aplenty to make this happen.
30K – Imperial Militia
Here is where you have some custom made Squat rules. Using the Imperial Militia army list found in Horus Heresy V – Tempest, you take the following two doctrines:
Abhuman Helots – This increases your model’s T by 1 and lowers their I by 1. They are said to represent the hardy labour classes of afflicted Imperial worlds. Sound familiar?
Survivors of the Dark Age – These high tech cultures have their armor saves increased by 1.The Advanced Weapon options give all their las-weapons +1S. Perfect for Squats.
Here is where it’s easy.
For your infantry, you have the new Kharadron Overlords. Their infantry looks the part. Just compare some of the standard walking models with some of the old models for comparison:
Original plastic Squats – 40K Rogue Trader
Demiurg – Concept art – GW
Now look at the new Karaphon Overlord infantry:
For conversions I would add in a mixture of Genestealer Cult mining weapons on the models with Genestealer Cult transports to represent the Industrial nature of the army:
Just waiting to be filled with pissed off Squats/Demiurg – and some industrial bits.
And you have the basis of an army! I think GW went out of their way with the Kharadron Overlords army to make the infantry techy enough to work in the Grimdark as well as the Age of Sigmar. I think the armored balloon ships are a bridge too far for the Grimdark, but the basic walking models work great.
You may even be able to get away with using the single “balloon infantry” as a grimdark replacement for the old squat bikers:
I fully expect to see full-conversion Squats/Demiurg armies showing up at tournaments in the next few months.
~I’m game for a modelling challenge – are you?