Greetings everyone, Build Monkey here and today I’m bringing you a Necromunda special.
The Ash Wastes of Necromunda are a harsh and unforgiving landscape, where only the toughest can succeed and the lucky are able to survive. Anyone would be considered to be crazy to live there, but many do and even thrive. And one such group who take life in such a barren landscape in their stride, are the Ironhead Squat Prospectors.
You can play this gang with either the full Necromunda: Ash Wastes “Mad Max” style gameplay, complete with settlements, armoured cars and great big trucks, or you can build your gang for standard Necromunda: Underhive gameplay. With this in mind, for the purposes of this article I’ll be covering the Ironhead Squats as a gang designed for Underhive campaign gameplay.
How the Squats officially came to be is unknown, but it is a well-known fact that they have walked and worked the surface of Necromunda for more than 10,000 years, since the first days of the Imperium settling it as a Hive world. As a race of architects, engineers and crafters their skills were, and still are, unparalleled, making them perfect for the building of the great Hive cities. If not for the Squats, it is likely Necromunda would not have prospered during its founding… But that was many thousand years ago now, and while most across the world no longer know it is the Squats who built most of their world, they do know them as the “Ironhead Squats” who roam the wastes in massive caravans akin to cities on wheels, travelling from mining site to mining site to take advantage of more than 10,000 years of pollution that they can sell to the great Clan Houses.
Though they are typically nomadic in their lifestyle, to the Ironhead Squat Prospector, the Clan is everything. They travel in tight-knit family crews throughout the Ash Wastes, but have also been known to venture into the Underhive itself and build their own enclaves amongst the rest of the population.
Each gang is made up of a Charter Master who represents the gang Leader, at least one Drill Master who is the gangs Champion, Drill-Kyn who are your gang's Gangers, and Diggers, who are the greenhorns of the Ironhead Squats as its Juves. They also have access to a Vartijan Exo-Driller, which is the Brute of the gang.
If you were playing the Ash Wastes, you would also have access to the Gearhead, who is classed as Crew for this gang. This member is your driver and is only available for Ash Wastes gameplay, so I won’t be including this gang member in this article. If you would like more information about the Garhead however, you can find it on page 36 of the Book of the Outlands.
The Leader of your gang and a well-seasoned veteran well over 100 years old, chosen by the Charter Lord of the Ironhead Squat Prospectors for proving themselves worthy, and being honoured by having their name be added to the great Mining Charter, which is nothing short of an artefact granted to the first Squats to set foot on the surface of Necromunda by the Imperium itself. So with this level of status, you’d expect them to be pretty good, and looking at the statline you’d be correct.
With an eye-watering Ballistic Skill and Weapon Skill of +3, the Charter Master is going to be somewhat of a beast on the battlefield whatever you decide to arm him with. Not only this, he has a Toughness of 4. And 3 Wounds. So this guy isn’t going down easy, or fast, and as I’ve found in gameplay with the Charter Master he is basically a tiny bi-pedal tank able to laugh off most attacks against him. (He’s also, like the rest of the Squats, very… Well, “Squat”. So most knee-high partial-cover for other gangs is pretty much just full-cover for these guys, which is convenient.)
The only thing that lets him down is his speed (he does only have little legs after all). A Movement of 4” is incredibly restricting when most other gangs have members who can manage a Movement 5”. So you’ll need to play very tactical to get your Charter Master where you want well-ahead of time, otherwise you could find yourself stuck out in the open. Which, while he is tanky, it isn’t the place you want to be.
The Gang Champion and right hand of the Charter Master, these guys are there to make sure things run smoothly and keep the rest of the clan workers in line. They’re not as seasoned as the Charter Master, but their statline is still pretty impressive.
They boast the same Movement, Strength, Toughness and Ballistic Skill as the Charter Master, but their Weapon Skill is less to behold at only +4. So I feel these guys, while not bad at Close Combat fighting, are just better suited to Range Combat. This also means though, that they don’t have to worry about being slow because if you can shoot your enemy from the other side of the battlefield, then you don’t need to worry about getting close enough to take them out.
Drill-Kyn are the Gangers of the Ironhead Squats, and each is a loyal working member of the clan who follow their Charter Master wherever they may lead. They don’t have the decades-worth of experience that their Charter Master or Drill Master may have, but they carry a lot of weight behind them.
Statwise, they have the same Movement 4”, Strength 3 and Toughness 4 as the Charter Master and Drill Master, but they only have a Ballistic Skill and Weapon Skill of 4+. They also only have 1 Wound, so although they are tanky with that Toughness 4, if that’s stripped away then they are going Out of Action. But getting through that Toughness score is already going to be an endeavour for your opponents, because some other gangs won’t have the clout to deal with that so easily. So, swings and roundabouts?
These guys are the Juves of the Ironhead Squat Prospectors, and are pretty much the definition of greenhorn in every shape and form. They’re the youngest members of the Mining Clans so they don’t have the level of experience the others have, and it shows.
Immediately the stat that sticks out is that Movement 5”. That in itself is incredible because every other member of this gang is slow… But the 5’s keep coming, which isn’t so good. The Diggers have a Weapon Skill and Ballistic Skills of 5+, so you could give them even a basic Weapon, but they’ll struggle to make most shots or miss Melee attacks entirely. So yes, they may be speedy, but if they can’t hit their targets from Range or do anything substantial once they’ve run up to their enemy with whatever mining tools you’ve given them, then they’re just going to end up being little more than a tanky damage sponge with that Toughness rating of 4… They are only 35 credits though, so they are cheap to field. But they’re generally just not very good, which is disappointing…
Still, a Squat’s gotta start somewhere to get good in the first place I suppose.
The Vartijan Exo-Driller is the Brute of the Ironhead Squat Prospectors. It’s sort of like a mini Dreadnought that stomps around a mining site, dealing with the most stubborn of deposits.
The Vartijan Exo-Driller moves at the same speed as most of the rest of the gang, and its Weapon and Ballistic Skills match those of the Drill Master, so with this in mind it seems more suited to Range attacks. But it also boasts a Strength of 4, alongside a decent Toughness of 5. So yes it can shoot, but it can also hit very hard, and tank most attacks against it as well. It comes with a Vartijan Heavy Flamer as standard, but if you wish you can swap it out for a Vartijan Heavy Bolter for an additional 50 credits instead. But most interestingly, it has a very nice little Special Rule called Guard Exosuit, which means that if you are playing a scenario where sentries are being deployed, you can deploy the Vartijan Exo-Driller as an additional sentry as well regardless of Crew Selection, even if this takes your total gang size above the maximum number available. Nice.
As with every gang in Necromunda, the Ironhead Squat Prospectors have their own gang-specific set of skills called the Wisdom of the Ancients. They’re all based around the nature of kinship, stubbornness and boosting the number of credits you can earn, and overall they’re not too bad and they could be very useful during late-game campaign play. But only the Drill Master and Gearhead can have them as a Primary Skill, and even then, only the Drill Master can take it right from the moment of creation, so they don’t seem to be entirely worth it. Yes an extra shot with a Chem Weapon could be useful, or not being subjected to the Knockback trait sounds like a good idea, but there are better options available in the standard gang skill lists.
If you’d like to read these skills for yourself in detail then you can find them on page 102 of the Book of the Outlands.
Each box of Ironhead Squat Prospectors comes with enough parts to build yourself a gang of 8. Sadly there are no upgrade kits available, so you’re very restricted in what you are able to do with them, but it still has a decent number of weapon options. Unfortunately though… They all look more or less the same. Yes there are plenty of weapons, but there isn’t very much variety. The Squats themselves are all also very similar in their posing as well, which can make things a little more confusing when trying to build a gang.
A way around this though is to give each model its own individual colour scheme or other way to identify them, because from my own experience, running a full 8 man gang that all look like mini Sontarans in mining helmets makes things extremely difficult for me as a player and for my opponent...
As a gang, I feel that there is a lot of potential in the Ironhead Squat Prospectors. They’re a very tough tanky bunch who when they hit, they hit very hard indeed. The only thing that may make things a struggle is that low Movement speed of 4”, because that can be incredibly debilitating when facing much faster gangs such as the Escher and the Van Saar. It forces you somewhat to have to think several steps further ahead than you usually would when making any kind of Movement action, and sometimes time is not on your side to give you those extra steps. I feel this is a very high-risk high-reward gang, but if you can manage it and manage it well, then you’re more than set.