- "Do you think they'll melt us down?"
- ―C-3PO, to R2-D2, after being taken captive aboard a sandcrawler
Sandcrawlers were huge mobile fortresses which could be seen on the deserts of Tatooine, used by the Jawas as their transport and shelter. They were equipped with a magnetic suction tube for sucking droids and scrap into the cargo hold. They were equipped with cargo holds, scrap processing facilities and quarters for crew and passengers. They were large enough to fit an entire Jawa clan.
Sandcrawlers were large mobile fortresses used by Jawa scavengers on the desert planet of Tatooine. The vehicles drove on large treaded wheels and functioned as transportation for scavengers, as well as shelter from the harsh desert environment. Sandcrawlers were tall and mostly rectangular, but with a triangular front that held its cockpit. Sandcrawlers were used as part of Jawa scavenging operations and contained large cargo holds capable of holding 1,500 droids at a time. Magnetic suction tubes allowed the Jawas to quickly suck droids and pieces of scrap into the holds. Inside the Sandcrawler the reactor melts the scrap metal and droids.
Sandcrawlers were in distinctive use long ago during a mining boom on Tatooine. Shortly after it was discovered that the most valuable minerals were found on the surface, deeming the use of sandcrawlers unnecessary. Since then they have been abandoned, and were eventually picked up by the Jawas to use as mobile bases.
Sandcrawlers were in use on Tatooine during the Clone Wars and the Galactic Civil War. Shortly before the Battle of Geonosis, Jedi Padawan Anakin Skywalker encountered a convoy of sandcrawlers while searching for the Tusken Raiders who kidnapped his mother. The Jawas operating the sandcrawlers were able to point him towards the Tusken Raider camp.
Twenty two years later, shortly before the Battle of Yavin, protocol droid C-3PO and astromech droid R2-D2 escaped a battle between the Rebel Alliance and the Galactic Empire in orbit of Tatooine. After their escape pod crashed in the desert, the droids went in separate directions before they were both captured by Jawas. The two were brought aboard a sandcrawler, and the Jawas put them up for sale at the Lars moisture farm. Owen Lars and his nephew, Luke Skywalker, originally agreed to purchase Threepio and R5-D4, but R5's motivator exploded. Lars and Skywalker ultimately purchased Artoo, along with Threepio.
The next day, the Empire—the droids carried stolen plans to the Death Star, the Empire's deep space mobile battle station—traced the droids to the Jawas. The Empire learned that the Lars' had purchased the droids, and Imperial forces proceeded to kill the Jawas and damage the sandcrawler by making it appear as if Tusken Raiders had attacked the vehicle. The carnage was later discovered by Skywalker, the droids, and Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi, who cremated the Jawas' bodies.
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