I figured to celebrate the fact there's 2 new awesome Ork plastic sprues coming out (Deff Dred and Killa Kans) I'd go a bit Mek-tastic on this article while I have a spare few minutes.
So basically, the first question is why take a Mek? - An even better question would be why would you NOT take a Mek?
They are ultimately, a support HQ, as opposed to the direct in-your-face combat threat of a Warboss. They allow you to free up a Heavy Support choice in the form of a Deff Dred, but also let you access 2 pretty cool pieces of kit in the Kustom Force Field and the Shokk Attack gun.
The Mek is pretty decent in close combat, although he is effectively just a standard Nob, so don't expect him to be going toe to toe with the big hitters, but he can add a fair punch in a unit of Burnas, Shoota Boyz or Lootas.
First off, lets look at each piece of Wargear the Mek can take, then look at how to use him in a list.
The standard loadout every Big Mek should be toting is 'Eavy Armour, Bosspole and Cybork body, same as your Warboss (minus the Attack squig). After this, it depends what you need the fella to do...
Kustom Force Field
Without a doubt, the best 50pts you will ever spend in an Ork army list. Cover save to all your foot slogging Orks, and obscured targets to all your vehicles, within 6" of the Mek, which the distance extends from the Hull of a vehicle he is travelling in. So using a Battlewagon helps a lot!
Big Mek Rorshark - Slugga, Choppa, Kustom Force Field
I've lost count of how many times this pieces of wargear has saved my 100+pt Deff Dred or Wagon being destroyed by a stray Lascannon or Melta gun. Or how many times I've enjoy a footslogging squad of boyz shrugging off Bolter fire thanks to this.
Shokk Attakk Gun
Some people swear by this, and personally I've only ever really used it in Apocalypse games, it's way too hit and miss for any kind of competitive gaming... but for fun games it's really fun... there's nothing more enjoyable than watching a Big Mek fly across a Battlefield and assault a unit of Terminators that have just deepstriked the previous turn.
Big Mek Lugnutz - Shokk Attack Gun
At 60pts though, meaning your Mek is just over 100pts, I can see him being useful with a Squad of Lootas or with a lucky shot on a group of Terminators etc. Also, some of the double rolls are quite funny and worth it in a game for that.
Now this is the only non-Powerklaw armour ignoring CCW the Orks get, and I really, really like Burnas... maybe it's something to do with playing with Fire...
Big Mek Gubbinz - Burna
You get the option for a standard flamer, or a Power weapon striking at the same time as Space marines. I've found however, whilst he's quite useful like this... this is the sort of build that requires him somewhere with a Nob in the unit to add with the Power Klaw attacks. There've been times when the Burnas he's with get assaulted by a Dreadnaught and that's it then. Game over man!
Kustom Mega Blasta
Finally, the last piece of unique HQ wargear the Big Mek can have is a Kustom Mega Blasta, which is a souped up Assault Plasma gun, but personally with rubbish Ork ballistic skill and the option to be used as a Power weapon, I'd have the Burna any day of the week.
Big Mek Trognutz - Kustom Mega Blasta, Power Klaw
This guy I've also given a Power Klaw to, so basically, he's kitted up for smashing Terminators or heavy infantry. Which is helpful in a unit with low combat capabilities such as Lootas... or even Grotz!
Where to put your Mek?
So yeah, once you know what you want to give the Mek, where's the best place for him to go?
I like to generally ensure he's armed with a Kustom Force Field and sat in a Vehicle, giving a big 6" radius from the hull of the vehicle to my footsloggers, Walkers or Trukkz nearby.
Back him up inside either with 19 Shootaboyz, or 15 Burna Boyz, shooting and flaming as they go, with the ability to either dish out a mega-ton of shooting (the Shootaboyz) or drive-by flaming / power weapon frenzy. If I'm sticking him with the Burna boyz, I'll tend to give him a Power Klaw just to stop some Dreadnaught Tar-pit and special characters having their way with you.
I also always use him to give me access to a Troop deff Dred, meaning I can then take 2 Battlewagons AND a unit of 3 Killa Kanz. And on top of that, he can attempt to repair any vehicles that do manage to get damaged, so pretty snazzy.
So I think I've covered a fair bit of the best ideas for Wargear - there's other items that can be discussed, such as Mega Armour, Warbike etc. but I feel they're all a bit too orientated to the Warboss as opposed to the Mek. I'd have liked to have seen some benefit to the Mek being in Mega Armour (such as being able to take extra arms or weapons) but y'know... you work with what you have.
Any questions or feedback, then gimme a shout! :)