The mining transport turned mobile town - The Sandcrawler
Words: Scott Blackburn Images: Ralph McQuarrie & Star Wars
Composed to: Frank Turner - The Third Three Years
Once there was a mining company, the Corellia Mining Corporation, who struck upon what is perhaps the ultimate design for a large scale mining transport, in case you ever needed one. This design came in the form of the Sandcrawler. These colossal beasts of burden were just the thing for the Corporation's planned large-scale mining excavations on Tatooine. That is at least until the Corellia Corporation suddenly withdrew from the desert planet, leaving their monstrous machines behind.
When they were first built the Sandcrawlers were the ideal machine for the job at hand, they could go anywhere, carry two months worth of fuel and supplies for a full crew, and carry and sort materials on the go. What got in the way however was Tatooine. The harsh desert planet took its toll on the crews, in spite of their fortress-like vessels. This was coupled with the regular attacks by Tusken Raiders and added up to make mining operations difficult, dangerous and costly. Funnily enough you don't see many miners going Rambo with a big machine gun so they were pretty easy pickings.
As it happened the crawlers were also built just as it was found that much of the planet's more valuable resources were actually on the surface all along, which seems a little short-sighted of a company that made its money from mining. This meant that shuffling around in the dark underground made little sense and the roving behemoths were rendered just a little bit useless. This twinned with the difficulty caused the Corporation to bleed money and finally withdraw from the planet altogether, lacking the funds to bring their machines back with them.
Left alone in the desert it wasn't long before the tiny, cloaked Jawas began to take an interest. Given the Jawas relative size, in fact looking an awful lot like little-people in cloaks, the Sandcrawlers were large enough to act as roving towns for entire clans. What was once mining equipment became grabbers for scrap metal, sorting machines to pick out valuables, and furnaces for melting. Allowing the Jawas to essentially become the galaxy's first scrap metal merchants, though with huge mobile towns rather than a battered Transit with a flatbed and a horn.
Now the tiny scavengers were able to rove the desert collecting scrap, old droids and whatever they could melt or sell. In the process proving how functional and adaptable the Sandcrawler was after all as a desert-crossing machine. In essence the Jawas do still use them as mining vehicles, only for scraps on the surface instead. So thanks to the Jawas we now have categorical proof that the Sandcrawler is the best fit for any of your planetary mining needs, you know, for when you want to visit Mars and roll about collecting droids. Not that that would make NASA very happy.