So my recent 'Exodite field guide' seemed to go over well, especially the mentions of the 'Imperial Forestry Service'. Indeed, way back when I started this blog & I first mentioned them here, they seemed to get a favorable response (as they also do locally). However, aside from Ranger Smith himself and their infamous rhino, they've never been painted. Last night I started to remedy that. I also gave Ranger smith a quick touch up & inking to match the Foresters better. I hope to get the last two painted this evening.
On the table top, they're used as Ordo Hereticus allies (the easy explanation is that they're a guise of the Inquisition). 'Ranger Smith' is the guy with what looks like an LMG. He's used as an elite level Inquisitor with a stormbolter, though if points are tight just a regular bolter. Frag & Krak rounds out his equipment. The other guys are 'Foresters' (Inquisitorial Storm Troopers or warriors in a retinue, again when points are tight). They're anything but a powerhouse unit, rather just a fun little addition to my games.
Fluff-wise, I've never written anything down but when asked, I have a basic outline on them that goes something like this:
The Imperial Forestry Service is often deployed in small teams to newly colonized 'frontier' worlds to assess the local flora for its exploitation via tithes to the Imperium. They tend to be well trained, equipped (note the stowage all over the rhino), and armed as they're basically 'on their own' when traveling into a world's hinterlands. Kinda like an Arbitrator team, just with a heavy 'outdoor survivalist' bent. On a newly claimed world, Forestry Service teams are often the first Imperial operatives rural communities will encounter (and such encounters are frequently hostile).
Their dispatch orders are meted out via the Administratum and as such, mistakes in deployment are not unknown (nor infrequent). IFS teams have been deployed to desert worlds, ice worlds, hive/forge worlds (far from the Imperial 'frontier'). Indeed, gas masks were added to their TO&E after teams were continuously deployed to Necromunda's ash wastes for more than a century due to an Administratum typo. Even if they're sent to a temperate planet, having no landing craft of their own they're at the mercy of the Imperial Navy. So they might be dropped into desert/arctic conditions requiring them to cross continents before finding anything of exploitable value (assuming they survive such crossings).
Or something like that, it varies here and there.
In short, the Imperial Forestry Service was a good idea that's underfunded and generally has been squandered by the Administratum's typically apathetic & monolithic structure (hence the Forestry Service's obscurity).