Jothrom Industrial Manipulators moved into the vehicle production market due to an excess of enthusiasm and a feeling that people were mounting Jothrom manipulators on vehicles too small to really get the best out of their capabilities. Thus they decided that they would use their engineering experience to build a decent vehicle that would be a really useful workhorse.
The Jothrom ‘All Purpose Carrier’ was rugged, dependable, had plenty of power and was a very capable vehicle. Built to the same exacting standards as their other products it was entirely reliable and remarkably expensive. On a world with more traffic regulations and where the Baastruk had not been developed it might have sold. But on Caldoom it was just too expensive. Everybody admired it, praised its reliability, and went off and bought a second-hand Baastruk.
Jothrom’s salvation came when one of their board members, Timor Jordkin, was at a meeting with some senior officers of the Iron Legion. They commented that they were pondering acquiring some ‘lower tech’ APCs, that wouldn’t be expected to operate in toxic or corrosive environments. It was even hinted that the Legion liked the idea of supporting a local Caldoom company. It was at that point that Timor spotted potential salvation for the company. There were well over a hundred of their All Purpose Carriers sitting in a yard waiting for buyers. He did a back of a napkin calculation for adding armour, and then and there, gave the Iron Legion a quote.
The legion trialled one of the vehicles that had been given the initial armour kit and were impressed. They suggested modifications, so that some might have a turret, the ability to add weapons pods, even sponsons. In a fit of wild enthusiasm Timor Jordkin claimed that all these things were possible. (Most technical problems are readily soluble in adequate money). The Iron Legion ordered three hundred and production was ramped up.
The Jothrom ‘All Purpose Carrier’, now the Jothrom Armoured Personnel Carrier, was a success. It was solid enough to take the sort of battering soldiers can give equipment. It had originally been somewhat overpowered, so the addition of applied armour served only to quieten it down a bit. The Iron Legion were happy.
Given some of the contracts the Legion had; ‘community policing’ did lead to their APCs getting damaged. After discussion, a deal was done. Jothrom’s continued production (at a comparatively low level) so that they could send fifty or so new vehicles a year to the Legion. The Legion would send back to Jothrom the battered vehicles being replaced. Jothrom would service, and even rebuild, the old vehicles and would then look for a market. At this point, the vehicles, even with the extra armour still fitted, were available at a price which was comfortably lower than that of a new civilian model. Added to this was the fact that these vehicles had Iron Legion approval. Grelfarl immediately bought fifty, ‘for load hauling in dangerous terrain.’ This successfully ensured that the off-word auditors never noticed that the Caldoom arm of the company had purchased armoured personnel carriers. Should an auditor in point of fact arrive on the planet, Grelfarl executives used three techniques, sometimes simultaneously. One was to hide the vehicles. The second technique was to have a couple of genuine civilian models available, and these, with care, good timing, and a selection of stencils and some quick drying paint, could pass for at least a score.
The third was to ensure that the auditor was suitably entertained and passed their time on Caldoom in a drink or drug fuelled haze. Still, Jothrom APCs serve in comparatively small numbers (rarely more than fifty or so) with Grelfarl. Some have been captured by Bretag and have been incorporated into their forces, along with a handful they purchased direct. Others have found their way into ‘civilian’ hands. All in all, a comparatively successful project. That being said, Jothrom are always ready to discuss sales to interested parties.
Note that the troops using it have never been happy with the name Jothrom Armoured Personnel Carrier and merely call them ‘slabs’ or ‘the Slab’.