"Da best shoota I eva made, dat iz. Loadza barrulz, so dat it's ded shooty. 'Sept dat wun, 'cos dat's da skorcha, dat's burny insted. Yeah, good an' propa. An' da bullitz is 'splosiv...dey goez boom inna fings wot you'z shootin.' An' dat button dere...dat's da best bit. Wot it duz, see, iz...iz...oh, zog. Nah, its nuffin' boss. Nah, you'z don't need ta see wot dat button duz...'onist. Don't push it!"
- — Last words of renowned Ork Mekboy Nazdakka Boomsnik
A Mekboy, (pl. Mekboyz) also known as a Mekaniak or more often simply as a Mek (also referred to as a Boilerboy in Feral Ork tribes), is a type of Ork Oddboy who build all the weapons, vehicles, and other advanced technology used by the Greenskins. Mekboyz are especially important to Ork Speed Freeks, as they maintain the prodigious amount of bikes and vehicles used by Ork warbands. Ork Meks go to war festooned in clanking, smoke-belching contraptions of their own design. These eccentric inventions confound friend and foe alike, as their purpose often remains a mystery until the big red button gets pushed. When triggered, a Mek's latest invention might fire blasts of energy that immolate swathes of the enemy, or project wobbling bubbles of gravitic force to protect nearby Boyz from harm. On the other hand, it might belch showers of sparks before engulfing its operator and everyone nearby in a roiling ball of flame. Yet occasional malfunctions are forgiven by the Orks, for even when a Mekboy's temperamental new wotsit does decide to explode, at least it gives the Boyz a good laugh.
Without Mekboyz, Orks would lack for light, power, transport, and even guns (they lack for sanitation regardless, but that's another story). Whenever an Ork needs something built, be it a shiny new Shoota or the Warboss' new ride, they go straight to the Meks. Furthermore, an Ork with teef to spare will take existing kit to the nearest Mek in the hope of having damage repaired, and maybe some kustomising done. It is a rare day that the customer gets what he asked for, but whatever the Mek turns out will normally be fairly flashy all the same.
The most important and skilled Mekboyz are known as "Big Meks," who lead groups of lesser Mekboyz armed with a wide variety of Greenskin kustom equipment and Kombi-weapons, sometimes including even full warbands or whole WAAAGHs! armed with a large amount of less-than-conventional Ork weaponry. A Big Mek's mastery of technology is unsurpassed amongst the Orkoid races and a Big Mek is often seen generating a "Kustom Force Field" around himself that protects his person and his creations. A Big Mek who becomes the leader of a Greenskin WAAAGH! will be known as a "Mek-Boss."
"Ere, pass me 'dat wossname, 'dat welda. Yeah, 'dat's 'da one. Now, watch 'dis!"
- — Last words of Golmak Spannabreaka, Mekboy
Orks grasp the rudiments of their technology on an instinctual level. How exactly this works remains largely a mystery, although some studies performed by the Imperial Magi Biologis suggest that this may be a result of the latent psychic potential possessed by all Greenskins. Whatever the case might be, whether Orks understand technology due to psychic powers, from hard-coded genetic memory, or simply by rote or inclination, every Ork in the galaxy can design, build, and maintain the basic weapons and vehicles used by their species. This general basic mechanical aptitude possessed by the Greenskins means each Boy in a mob can easily build and repair their own weapons, armour, and assorted wargear without having to rely on any kind of maintenance or supply infrastructure. In turn, this mobility and adaptability makes them an incredibly adaptable and frightfully efficient species. While all Orks can turn a spanner or swing a hammer to some degree, there is a group of mechanically inclined Greenskins called Mekboyz. These Orks show more than the usual basic understanding of building, jury-rigging, and bodging. Also colloquially called Mekaniaks, or simply Meks, Mekboyz are blessed with a greater ability to modify machinery than other Orks and a willingness to put these skills to use regardless of personal risks.
Strange amalgams of engineers and mad scientists, Mekboyz are the jovially imprecise craftsmen responsible for producing the bulk of Orkish wargear. They enjoy a privileged place in Orkish society thanks to their unique talent, and, along with other Oddboyz like Painboyz and Weirdboyz, make up an important part of any Warboss' retinue. Along with their mechanical and engineering prowess, Mekboyz also have a knack for assessing the nature, use, and value of a given piece of scrap or hardware at a glance. Thanks to their keen eye for, and discerning tastes in the industrial and mechanical detritus of the galaxy, they excel at using these salvaged and recycled materials to create the improbable devices clamoured for by Boyz, Nobz, and Warbosses alike.
As it is among Ork society at large, within the disparate ranks of Mekboyz, the bigger a Mek is, the more powerful he is. While it is difficult to categorize any parts of chaotic Orkish society, there are a few general divisions among Mekboyz, determined by size, cunning, and the amount of "kustom" bits and mechanical ephemera they possess. The most common (and therefore least potent) among these are the Mekboyz. These are the Meks who work by themselves or in small groups assisted by Gretchin, who operate in support of smaller Ork formations like mobs and warbands. As Mekboyz grow in size and experience, many become Big Meks. Big Meks command squads of lower-ranked Mekboyz and countless Gretchin in battle, and devise the more potent kinds of wargear fielded by Orks, such as Mega Armour and Kustom-blastas. Some of these Big Meks, occasionally called "Mek Bosses," become so powerful that they command entire warbands or Ork tribes and have thousands of Boyz at their command. Klanz run by Big Meks are more technology-oriented, and tend to have a higher than normal concentration of "kustom" gear and Kombi-weapons among the ranks. They also have more Cyborks and advanced war machines like Deff Dreads, Mega-Dreads, Stompas, and even the highly volatile and destructive Gargants, as well.
The tools of the Mek's trade -- his massive spanners, rivet guns, welders, cutting torches, hammers, and the like -- are crude and hand-made. Each one fits the calloused hand of their creator, and withstands his constant use and abuse. In their motor pools, workshops, and foundries, Meks gleefully toil away in a cloud of cigar smoke, oily mist, exhaust fumes, and fine metal dust, attended by a small army of Gretchin attendants tasked with fetching tools, holding parts, and applying lubricants and adhesives. In these clamourous and noisome environments, Mekboyz and their assistants churn out the countless Shootas, Sluggas, Stikkbombz, bits of armour, and other wargear required to feed the ravenous Ork war machine. Mekboyz are also constantly tinkering with and "kustomizin' " their wargear, and that of other Orks, to improve its performance. Mekboyz also create kustom weapons and vehicles for Warbosses, Nobz, and any Boy with enough teef to pay for their services. Some Mekboyz even exhibit a strong inclination toward invention, and from these demented minds have sprung some of the most terrifying and dangerous war machines (both to their enemies and their users) that the galaxy has ever seen.
Ork technology captured in battle and examined by the Adeptus Mechanicus defies all description and classification. Guided by each individual Mekboy's particular, for lack of a better term, "design vision," no two pieces of Ork equipment are alike. They show no signs of standardisation or mass production, and vary so widely in their construction, design, and make-up as to make each piece of equipment essentially unique. The only commonality among Ork technology is that, as far as any learned Magos of the Priesthood of Mars can determine, every Shoota, Trukk, Lobba, and suit of Mega Armour seems to be nothing more than a random collection of scrap parts, gubbins, and metal plates bashed together in random fashion that simply should not function as advanced technology. Somehow, the Orks' ramshackle vehicles run, their terrifyingly crude flyers stay in the air despite lacking any kind of aerodynamic qualities, and their weapons to fire chattering bursts of slugs or to disgorge gouts of flame, plasma, or other types of energy, despite being seemingly nothing more than collections of flammable junk. For this to work, however, a Mekboy must have an idea of what it is that he wants to build. He cannot simply build a basic item that resembles a firearm, and then dictate what kind of ammunition it fires or what effects it inflicts on its enemies at a whim. If, for example, a Mekboy needs to build a Plasma Pistol, he begins to construct what he imagines a Plasma Pistol to be. Sometime during this process (assuming that it is not cut short in an explosive fashion), it occasionally begins to function as such, even if Imperial scholars and Tech-adepts cannot determine how this occurred.
Orks also hold numerous related and seemingly bizarre beliefs regarding the importance of colour and how it affects their wargear. Perhaps the most well-known is the widespread belief, especially among Evil Sunz and members of the Kult of Speed, that "red onez go fasta." The fact that this actually seems to have any bearing on reality continues to confound the Adeptus Mechanicus. The beliefs and superstitions of the Orks, and the gestalt psychic phenomena that accompanies them, added to each Ork's ability to carry out basic construction and maintenance of his wargear, is one of the factors that makes the Greenskins so potent and successful as a species, despite their predisposition toward shortsighted violence.
Mekboyz are clever and fiendishly inventive, driven ever onward by their instincts to ceaselessly tinker with any and all machines in their general vicinity. Given how dangerous some of these strange items can be, Mekboyz and their insane inventions can cause considerable harm to anyone unfortunate enough to be nearby even if they are not directly engaged in battle. Mekboyz tend to be extremely focused on modifying the machines around them, even once combat breaks out around them. This distraction can make it easier for careful and enterprising Imperial troops to gain the initiative during battle with them. Mekboyz often lead from the middle of the pack, surrounded by warriors, strange machines, and various Grot assistants. Mekboyz often continue to tinker with their devices during battle, enhancing the weapons used by the Boyz who follow them even as shots fly from their barrels. As such, any Boyz in a formation led by a Mekboy are likely to have customised weapons. If directly threatened, Mekboyz often defend themselves with powerful melee attacks. Occasionally, Mekboyz equip bizarre and potent ranged weapons such as the fabled Shokk Attack Gun and wreak havoc upon anyone unfortunate enough to be in their line of sight when they decide to experiment with these terrifying devices.
- Mek Boss Orkimedes - Orkimedes is the mysterious Mekboss that serves the infamous Ork Warlord Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka and his Great WAAAGH!. Imperial scholars have been unable to identify this mysterious Ork technical genius whom they have dubbed "Orkimedes". Although he has not been identified, his handiwork has been reported many times during both Ork invasions of the Hive World of Armageddon. The combination of Orkimedes' technical innovations and Ghazghkull's visionary strategies have lent the Greenskins of the Great WAAAGH! an edge that those seeking to stop them have learnt to fear -- Tellyporta strikes. Many times, Ghazghkull has lured an enemy into attacking a seemingly vulnerable Ork warband, only to tellyport overwhelming numbers into the fray as the battle unfolds, turning the tide enormously in favour of the Greenkins. He is also responsible for creating heavily kustomised Gargants and Ork submersibles. As such, he is one of the most highly sought-out priority targets for assassination by the Imperium's Officio Assassinorum.
- Mek Boss Buzzgob - Mek Boss Buzzgob is an Ork Mek of rare genius who has risen to a position of power and influence, so much so that he now leads his own warband and has been given a planet with which to build new war machines. He serves the Ork Warlord Garaghak. It was Buzzgob's genius that attributed to Overlord Garaghak's rise as such a powerful Warlord. The Mek Boss oversaw the building of Garaghak's fleet, and designed and oversaw the building of his ever-growing horde of Battlewagons, Battle Fortresses and Stompas. Though he loves designing and making "stuff," he does not have the patience or the brain for good organisation. Instead he delegates to his two most trusted underlings, a pair of suspiciously clever Grots called Nitnuckle and Lunk.
- Big Mek Cogtoof - Cogtoof was an ambitious Ork Big Mek who wanted to capture the Space Hulk Starkrumpa. He made a deal with the Evil Sunz Speed Freek Warboss Jazgob and his Jet-Boyz, to help board the massive derelict vessel and cleanse it of Genestealers. The Orks managed to wipe out the majority of the creatures except for the Broodlord. Cogtoof offered the Ork who brought him the skull of the Genestealer Broodlord anything he wanted. While other Orks mobbed up to charge into the nest, Jazgob and his Boyz raced past them on their bikes, careening off corridor walls and leaving thick trails of exhaust in their wake. Jazgob personally killed the Broodlord, ramming it into the wall with his Warbike before scorching off its face, and claimed a fleet of kustom vehicles from Cogtoof as his reward.
- Big Mek Fragrak da Planetsmasha - In 977.M41, the Deathskulls Big Mek Fragrak da Planetsmasha vowed he would surpass all other Deathskulls by looting an entire world, jerry-rigging a combination of traktor beams, ramships and city-sized Rokkit Boosters to push the third moon of Taurabrax out of its orbit, directly onto a collision course with its parent world. The resultant catastrophe rendered all life on the thriving Imperial Hive World extinct, fracturing continents, boiling the oceans off into space and burning away the world's atmosphere, finally reducing Taurabrax to a drifting debris field. Satisfied with his work, Big Mek Planetsmasha took his pick of the choicest of these asteroids, adding thrusters, forcefields and ordnance arrays to turn them into a fleet of Roks with which to spread even more mayhem across the system.
- Big Mek Grabork - In 979.M41, Big Mek Grabork and his mob of Meks salvaged the Space Hulk Perpetual Misery from the depths of the void. Acting on instinct, Grabork and his Boyz set about pulling it apart and putting it back together into a new configuration, linking up dozens of voidship reactors and cannibalizing hundreds of Macro Cannons to create a gargantuan ship-based Shokk Attack Gun. Eager to try out his new weapon, the Big Mek attacked the world of Fratarn, raining petrified Snotlings down upon the planet from orbit. However, when the Snotlings ran out, Grabork started hurling Orks into the machine. Not liking the way things were going, one of Grabork's Meks turned the gun into reverse, sucking the entire world up into the Perpetual Misery. The resulting explosion obliterated the Hulk and the planet, and created an asteroid field a billion miles across.
- Big Mek Mogrok - Mogrok, known as Mogrok the Manger, is an infamous Big Mek of the Split-Grin Bad Moons tribe. It was at Mogrok's urging, who first convinced the Goffs Warlord Grukk Face-rippa to look beyond conquering one planet, and to launch his Red WAAAGH! into the stars. Big Mek Mogrok was a know-it-all git through and through. He was the kind of Ork who would rather build a giant war engine covered in Dakkaguns than run towards the foe pell-mell, getting shot to bits in the normal Greenskin manner. Though he has often been accused of "not being one of da Boyz," Mogrok is so good at creating big, impressive war machines that not even Grukk himself was dumb enough to refuse him a place in the upper echelons of the tribe. Though none of the would-be Ork Warlords of the WAAAGH! liked to admit it, Mogrok had been the power behind the throne for quite some time. Always close at hand, Mogrok made sure Grukk was attacking the best worlds and keeping the tribes in line. Filled with all kinds of technological inspiration, Mogrok always seems to have another trick in his bag of scrap, often pulling something out at the last minute to turn the tide in favour of Grukk and his Boyz. Following the apparent death of Grukk at the Battle of Sacred Mountain during their invasion of the Knight World of Alaric Prime, klanz under Grukk's rule slowly began to fragment as each Warboss vied for supremacy over the WAAAGH!. Mogrok's War of Kunnin’ was a new phase in the battle for Alaric Prime, and one characterised by dirty tricks and sneaky plans. The Big Mek Mogrok managed not only to unite the tribes but also to manipulate their bosses into doing his bidding. For much of this stage of the war, the Imperium was slow to react to the plans and plots of Mogrok and he visited terrible ruin upon them for their folly.
- Big Mek Noshdakka - As a long-time adherent of the Kult of Speed, Big Mek Noshdakka has spent his life inventing ever-faster vehicles, much to the delight of the Speed Freeks who congregate around the Mek. The Ordinatus he found on the world of Hervara, then, is something of a paradigm shift for Noshdakka. Despite the Big Mek’s “improvements”, the Ordinatus is a slow vehicle, yet its pure grandeur and the obvious “killiness” of the sonic cannon have driven Noshdakka to obsession. Noshdakka is as devoted to the Ordinatus as an Ork could possibly be, and is prepared to fight to the last to prevent anyone -- Ork or human -- from taking it away from him. Noshdakka’s title is apt, for he towers over the Mekaniaks and Boyz that attend his work, rivalling the fearsome Nobz in size. Noshdakka has extensive experience constructing outlandish weapons for the Lootas in the warband, and his own Kustom Mega-Blasta represents the pinnacle of his weapon-smithing expertise. Though extremely temperamental, when it works, the weapon is undeniably devastating. While Noshdakka is intelligent by Ork standards, his talents are more instinctive than learned, as with most Mekaniaks. Nevertheless, Noshdakka is cunning, and has access to the deadliest equipment in the Orks’ arsenal. Combined with his loyal cadres of Lootas, Speed Freeks, and highly expendable swarms of Gretchin, Noshdakka is a deadly and unpredictable opponent to even the best-prepared enemies.
- Big Mek Wurrzog - Big Mek Wurrzog has gathered a small warband around him and his workshop, located somewhere in the Slinnar Drift region of the Jericho Reach. Wurrzog has a fascination with the technology of the Tau Empire, and his band of Orks has made a number of raids against the Velk'han Sept. The Big Mek has, in fact, crafted a special "kustom" force field by looting one of the Tau Shield Drones and modifying it (often by applying various whacks with his wrench). He keeps the drone on a chained tether to keep its protection for himself. Wurrzog has somehow discovered the presence of a number of Deathwatch Watch Stations, and he is currently planning a particularly "kunning" raid to try and capture some of the Deathwatch's esoteric wargear for his own purposes.
- Mek Dagogg - Dagogg's cunning as a Mek could be seen in the terrible carnage he wrought as part of the Red WAAAGH! During the assault against the Obsidian Glaives Space Marine Chapter upon Obstiria, it was Dagogg who knocked the orbital defence platforms out of the sky by flinging them at each other using his Shokk Amplifier (though it promptly broke after this one exhibition of its awesome power). In the following ground battle, and with the aid of his Runtherd, Grabber, he was responsible for the nightmare that was "Snotling rain". Tragically there were only a handful of survivors on either side to tell the tale of Dagogg's cunning, and the Mek had to content himself with Grabber's vacant grins of approval instead of the widespread acclaim he felt he deserved.
Notable Mek Units
A Big Mek has to be both kunnin' and fixy to pilot a Morkanaut, and that goes double for Big Mek Mogrok's ladz. During the Red WAAAGH!, Mogrok gathered together some of his best Big Meks and unleashed them on the defenders of Alaric Prime by the most direct invasion vector he could devise.
- Rokstik Ironstitch - All Meks like to tinker with things, but Rokstik's enthusiasm includes himself. With the help of his Painboy, the Mek looted three of his four limbs from other Orks. His Morkanaut is similarly patchwork, its riot of colour evidence of many "donors".
- Gutmash Festork - Being a Big Mek is dangerous -- even if the enemy don't get you, your own machines might. Festork has "died" and been brought back more times than he can count (not that he can count particularly high); he now marks his Morkanaut's armour with his own "deaths" rather than his kills.
- Midgit Mogok - Suspiciously small for an Ork, Midgit is rumoured to have been built by Mogrok. Some Orks reckon he is a failed experiment to make a Morkanaut think for itself, while others reckon it was Mogrok trying to make another version of himself.
- Gitfink Hollowskull - Orks are natural looters and are always after bigger and better trophies. Gitfink has taken this to the extreme; anything he stomps ends up hanging from the hull of his Morkanaut. The collection of skulls, hull plates and other shiny stuff clanks and bangs whenever it moves, leaving his foes in no doubt that something big is coming for them.
- Codex: Armageddon (3rd Edition), pp. 6-8
- Codex: Orks (7th Edition), pp. 24, 26, 36, 59, 76, 84, 122-125
- Codex: Orks (4th Edition), pp. 11, 34
- Codex: Orks (3rd Edition), pg. 9
- Deathwatch: Mark of the Xenos (RPG), pg. 59
- Imperial Armour Volume Eight - Raid on Kastorel-Novem, pp. 19, 124-125
- Only War: Enemies of the Imperium (RPG), pp. 50-51
- Only War: Final Testament (RPG), pg. 143
- Red WAAAGH! Campaign Supplement (7th Edition), pp. 57, 66, 69, 73-75, 80, 101, 104, 112, 167
- Rogue Trader: Into the Storm (RPG), pp. 94-95
- Rogue Trader: Koronus Bestiary (RPG), pg. 76
- WAAAGH! Ghazgkull: A Codex Orks Supplement (7th Edition), pp. 36, 42, 51, 71, 81, 102, 106-107, 124-126, 136, 145, 166, 178, 201-202
- Dawn of War (PC Game)
- Dawn of War II - Retribution (PC Game)