The Maka-Eekai L4000 Transport was a space transport design made by Gallofree Yards.
The Maka-Eekai L4000 Transport was among the largest transports ever built for the independent freighter market. Although bulk freighters were often much more massive, the Maka-Eekai was still designed to be operated by a single independent captain, rather than a large corporation, well connected cartels, or a government. Though two-thirds the size of Gallofree Yards' GR-75 medium transport, the Maka-Eekai had less than 10% of the cargo capacity due to its focus on comfort and maneuverability rather than just storage space. The hope was that wealthy independent merchants would pay a premium to haul their loads in comfort and style.
The design program that produced this model began in the later days of the Old Republic, and the first model rolled off the line just as The Clone Wars began in earnest. As a result, sales were poor, prompting the manufacturer to cut the price considerably. Although this tactic did boost sales, the financial hit sustained by Gallofree Yards was considerable, and the manufacturer never truly recovered. No further production runs were attempted, and though the Maka-Eekai was a common sight in the years shortly after the Clone Wars, a few years after the Battle of Yavin most were gone. Because they shared many components with larger transports, most Maka-Eekai were eventually scrapped for parts to repair larger ships that had ten times the cargo capacity.
Most Maka-Eekai were configured primarily as cargo haulers, with room for only a few passengers but hundreds of tons of cargo. It was possible to convert cargo space into roomy accommodations, at the rate of 10 tons of cargo per additional passenger (to a max of 40 passengers). Many Maka-Eekai were produced with different cargo/passenger mixes as standard stock options at no additional cost. Of course, most of this tonnage went to stowage for six months of food for an additional person as well as more life support equipment, living facilities, and galley space. People stored in cargo space for only a very short trip, refugees for example, didn't take up anything close to 10 tons. Several of the Maka-Eekai were later used during the rise of the Empire period as smuggler ships, with at least one, the Uhumele, having a run-in with an Imperial contingent.
The only armament in a stock Maka-Eekai was the two double laser cannons mounted in turrets on either side of the ship. However, a common addition was a set of linked laser cannons in a ball turret found at the end of a gun boom. The boom doubled as a stabilizing fin, swinging to the back of the ship for both landing and lightspeed travel but projecting below the ship for normal space travel. Access to the ball turret was through a tunnel running the length of the gun boom, a maneuver most easily accomplished in zero gravity. Because it was aimed at an independent market, the Maka-Eekai used a surprising amount of space for targeting computers, maneuvering thrusters, and sensors, making even the stock versions far more combat ready than their rotund appearance would suggest.
A notable vessel of this class, the Uhumele, was used by a band of smugglers shortly after the end of the Clone Wars. They had several run-ins with famous figures of the time, including Sith Lord Darth Vader.
Behind the scenes
According to Jason Fry's endnotes for The Essential Guide to Warfare, the L4000 transport escaping pursuing Imperial forces in one of the artwork in the book was intended to be the Uhumele, and it was based on the iconic shot of the Millennium Falcon escaping from pursuing Imperial forces at Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back.
- Star Wars: Dark Times: The Path to Nowhere (First appearance)
- Star Wars: Dark Times: Parallels
- Star Wars: Dark Times: Vector
- Dark Times: Blue Harvest, Part 1 (In flashback(s))
- Dark Times 15
- Dark Times 16
- Dark Times 17
- Dark Times—Out of the Wilderness 1
- The Force Unleashed Campaign Guide (First identified as Maka-Eekai L4000 transport)
- The Essential Guide to Warfare
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia (Under "Uhumele")