Savlar Chem Dogs
"The army you've got is never the army you want."
- – The Seventy Maxims of Maximally Effective Mercenaries
- – Chem Doggo
Savlar Chem Dogs are a penal legion of the Imperium's hardest criminals that the Adeptus Arbites are able to catch, arm and ship off to some God-Emperor-forsaken battlefield and told to capture that hill!
Savlar was once a mining colony, a toxic wasteland that was of little use to the Imperium except for the mineral deposits that dotted the surface of its moons. In order to get workers to the planet it was made a penal colony after Adeptus Terra found it wasn't meeting its quota for the Imperial Tithe. This introduction of penal labour made the planet meet its quota and then some, supplying three civilised worlds and two Forge Worlds, however the high mortality rate in the poisonous mines soon caused agitation with the inmates of the prison-planet.
When the Third War For Armageddon started, the magistrate in charge of Savlar, Judge Callister, found that he had a force of millions of murderous nutjobs threatening to riot, as well as an easy way of getting rid of them. Even the prisoners agreed that dying on a war-torn battlefield for the glory of the Emprah was a step up from dying in the mines of Savlar's moons. To this end, the Judge gave two instructions to the Dogs to keep their loyalty: that they'd be allowed to keep anything they find on the battlefield and that if they broke the law again they'd be sent back to Savlar.
While under-equipped, they more than make up for it by stealing from any other Imperial regiments stationed near them during campaigns. They are largely known for wearing rebreathers attached to crude canisters on their back and ragged clothing. The canisters more than often are filled with combat drugs of some sort, so they're basically huffing paint all the time. Amusingly, commissars and overcommand figures allow them to continue doing it, mainly because stimm withdrawl for a Savlar isn't so much cold turkey as go on a murderous rampage.
Chem-dogs were introduced as one of the guard regiments taking part in the 3rd War of Armageddon, particularly the 14th in Warzone Infernous. The other regiment explicitly mentioned in the fluff are the 71st who took part in the ill-fated campaign of the chlorine-swamps of Goru.
Older editions had them with Commissars (someone is needed to shoot them in the back in case the convicts get ideas), Ogryns (perhaps the only creatures comfortable around the Dogs), Chem-Beasts (Mutated-looking steeds native to Savlar) and chem-inhalers.
Pig Iron Productions do some good respirator heads and chunky backpacks. Alternatively, Victoria Miniatures do a variety of Gas-masked Heads and Bald heads with Gas-masks as well as a range of chem-tank backpacks. Anvil Industries has some Armour Plates, and Victoria Miniatures is back with groin guards that could be used to create a "thrown-together" look for the armour of your guardsmen.
Cadian Guardsmen could be used for the base, or Catachan Guardsmen depending on the armoured-to-buff ratio you want your models to look. House Orlock is another solid option.
Chem-chan, who really needs more protection in war zones.