One of the craziest ways a villain can keep their base hidden is to keep it moving constantly around the country. Of course, there's no way your typical Elaborate Underground Base
will fit into the average mobile home, (unless it's bigger on the inside than the outside
) but rather than compromise and throw away the Shark Pool
, the villain will put his base in an overly large truck or train.
Typically, this vehicle is armour plated and two or three lanes wide, and as a result can just careen straight down the middle of the road/railway ignoring low bridges, other cars and especially the dreaded toll booth
— there's almost always a scene of the toll-booth and a few other cars exploding spectacularly
as they drive through. The vehicles are also much faster than their real-life equivalents — the lorries that carry fully-furnished buildings can barely make twenty five miles per hour, on straight, clear roads with police escorts. This of course gets even sillier if the villain does not
scrimp on the size of his mobile base, resulting in mountain-sized machinery zipping about.
had several plans on the drawing board that would have been Defictionalizations
of this trope. Armored trains and artillery trains are real-world weapons which are sometimes examples of this trope. Armored trains were thought to be obsolete after WWI, but the Polish-Soviet War
proved that they were still viable, and both the Nazis and the Soviets used them in WWII. Artillery trains are about as old as railroading, and remain viable weapons to this day; they were last used in the Croatian War of Independence, during the Yugoslav Wars
This trope is for land vehicles only. For bases hidden in boats or flying vehicles, see Cool Boat
, Cool Airship
, and Cool Spaceship
. Mercurial Base
is a subtrope dealing with bases on extremely hot planets. Military Mashup Machine
often overlaps with this, since a Base on Wheels
is just a turret or three away from being a Land Battleship
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- The girls from Bakuretsu Tenshi live and run their business in one of such trucks.
- Landships of Combat Mecha Xabungle are Exactly What It Says on the Tin - a full scale land battleships carrying around companies of Walker Machines and Iron Gear type landships can transform into giant Walker Machins themselves, turning into Base on Legs.
- The Excel♥Saga episode "Bowling Girls" features the a massive tractor trailer owned by the bowling terrorist organisation which goes straight through a toll booth, but which apparently has no bearing on the story.
- The Gundam Meta-Verse loves this trope with all its heart it seems like almost every timeline must have at least one absurd rolling base/battleship examples include:
- The Universal Century line includes the "Big Tray" class and the Zeon equivalents the "Gallop" and "Dabude" classes, but all of these pale before the grand champion and perhaps most insane of all examples in UC the "Adrastea" class yes it's a giant motorcycle land battleship.
- In fact, the Zanscare Empire from Victory Gundam has several giant motorcycle ships, and one of their plans is the Earth Sweep Operation, which involves metaphorically bulldozing the planet with these ships and their mecha teams.
- The After War Timeline has too many to easily list though of special note though are the "Trieste" class Amphibious Land battleship which unable to decide if it wanted to be a Cool Ship or Base on Wheels just split the difference, and the "Bandaal" class mobile land fortress!
- The SEED Timeline meanwhile brings us the "Lesseps" class.
- SD Gundam Force gives us Tenchijo, a castle on giant tank treads. And on each tower is a different weapon; a giant hammer, mace, claw, and spinning blades.
- Overman King Gainer features a city on wheels, functioning as a base and living space for both the heroes and the entire population of the city that was mobilized. The enemies have control of the railroads, so quick transit of their forces makes a mobile base necessary for the Exodus.
- Revolutionary Girl Utena - Movie only. The castle is on wheels big enough to crush cars, and they try to do exactly that.
- Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann features a Base On Legs, the Dai-Gurren.
- The Batomys from Valkyria Chronicles.
- Anime example: Zoids has mobile bases for the titular mechs to travel in. They are themselves giant Zoids, and therefore animal shaped. Team Liger travels in a giant snail, the bad guys use a flying sperm whale, and the standard cargo hauler is the pillbug-shaped Gustaff.
- The mobile command centers from Code Geass certainly fit the bill, until they are eventually replaced with flying equivalents. The Chinese still use the Longdan bases into the Second Season, however, along with their Ha'tak cruisers]] Da Longdan upgrade.
- Robot Carnival features a massive robotic carnival on treads rolling over a desert, which due to malfunctions is now blowing up everything it comes near.
- Anime version of Soul Eater gives us a Awesome versions of this. Death City on Legs!. Best yet, it's on the side of the protagonists, and is controlled by a Cloud Cuckoolander, Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass, Anthropomorphic Personification of Death. Eye-Poke Attack indeed!
- Even better; this example was set up early, with Dr Stein pointing out that the only way for Shinigami-sama to chase the Big Bad would be if Death City grew legs and started walking, lampshading the ludicrousness of such a thought and safely making sure no-one would assume that it could, in fact, happen.
- The Fugaku, the mobile sea fortress of Chosakabe Motochika from Sengoku Basara is revealed in one episode to be capable of traveling on land as well as water. It becomes a completely land-based base on wheels when Mori assumes control of it
- Strikeforce: Morituri had its heroes roll around the country on a train-headquarters fighting alien invaders, after their mountain base was destroyed in a nuclear bombardment.
- Part of the "future" ElfQuest story "The Rebels" takes place in a large complex on a Mercury-type planet that has an incredibly hot day side and a cold dark side. The base runs on rails laid around the planet's equator in order to stay on the dark side as the planet slowly rotates. Lucky there aren't any saboteurs on board, eh?
- In a Punisher / Ghost Rider team-up, the duo fought drug dealers who had a giant mobile base called The Roaring Island, which is made from different vehicles (cars, trucks, a tank etc.) linking up together.
- Live Free Or Die Hard features an improbably big hacking center packed into a shipping container on the back of a tractor trailer. They do at least make it a little sensible, as the container is able to expand and contract to reasonable sizes to make it inconspicuous in city areas.
- GoldenEye features the missile train, which while not that big, makes up for it in armor, length and sheer implausibly over-the-top goodness. Since the train was filmed in the UK and is a converted BR one, it's actually slightly too narrow due to a wider gauge of railway in the former USSR.
- The mobile base for KITT in Knight Rider is a big truck. Notice that it seems to have some TARDIS technology applied, as it is bigger in the inside than in the outside. The Mythbusters proved it is possible to drive into a semi that's traveling at freeway speeds.
- Naruto - The Big Bad in the second movie had one of these, in addition to a number of World War 2 style warships. Needless to say they actually managed to looked out of place even in the Schizo Tech the series runs on.
- The Speed Racer movie had Cruncher Block hanging out in the well-furnished (complete with piranha tank) back of a big red truck. This is possibly a Shout-Out to the Mammoth Car from the original cartoon, which blurred the line between Cool Car and Cool Train.
- From Star Wars IV: A New Hope, the sandcrawlers that the Jawas tooled around in were bases on tracks. To a lesser extent, the Imperial AT-ATs. They were basically large troop-carrying assault guns, but various depictions showed them being capable of carrying speeders similar to the ones seen in Return of the Jedi.
- Ultraviolet includes a semi-truck apparently containing a spacious office, a two-story minimalist apartment, a supercomputer, a (literal) Hyperspace Armoury and sufficient equipment to fix the protagonist's motorcyccle. However, there is sufficient other usage of TARDIS technology that is one of the least jarring things about the film.
- The Big Bad's military-style semi in Warlords of the 21st Century a.k.a Battletruck.
- The Exxon Valdez is the boat version for the Deacon in Waterworld.
- In the Disney adaptation of John Carter Zodanga is reinvented as a mobile city dragging itself across the surface of Barsoom by dozens of giant shovels strip-mining the planet as it goes.
- In Universal Soldier, the titular soldiers are based in a large expanding shipping container on the back of a semi. Originally a non-villanous example, as it is part of an experimental US military program. Later on, though, it gets taken over by the Big Bad.
- Damnation Alley features the LandMaster, a 12-wheeled amphibious APC which was a real working vehicle built for the film and is easily the best thing in the movie. It made several other appearances on screen before being bought by a private collector, but still makes the occasional appearance at California car shows.
- The titular vehicle of The Big Bus, the nuclear-powered bus "Cyclops", was a 32-wheel double-decker articulated bus with 110 passengers, a bowling alley, a swimming pool, and many other luxury features for its non-stop cross-country journey.
- The Wind on Fire books had the rival cities Ombaraka and Omchaka. These were driven by sails, and whenever they crossed paths they would attack each other by launching smaller 'land-sailers' at each other like torpedoes. Most of these intercept and destroy each other; actually scoring a hit on the other city is quite rare.
- Diana Wynne Jones's Howl's Moving Castle has the titular castle. In the book, how it moves is not explained, other than a demon does it. It's just a regular ol' castle that's made of irregular blocks of black stone, radiates chill and wanders across the landscape. In the anime, it looks a steampunk version of Baba Yaga's chicken hut, with mechanical eyes and mouth and four chicken legs it walks around on.
- Ironically the house is smaller inside than outside. The large castle is fake and just contains a moving door that is a portal to a normal house (normal apart from the magic door). In the anime the house is in some sense inside the steam punk castle so there you can look out of a window to the moving landscape.
- Half the premise of Philip Reeve's Mortal Engines.
- While most of the mobile cities and towns move on giant wheels or treads, there are floating cities and even an airborne one. In fact, those who live in mobile cities think of people living in static cities as barbaric and backward. After all, it's only natural for cities to move across the landscape eating smaller cities and towns to survive.
- The Thrawn Trilogy - A non-villainous example is Nomad City from the Star Wars Expanded Universe. It's a very large old ship carried by a large number of captured AT-ATs, so it's sort of a base on legs. That's because it's a Mercurial Base— a mining station on a slow-turning planet very close to its hot sun, which would melt if left on the day side - as eventually happens once it is immobilized by an attack.
- The X-Wing Series has Ysanne Isard's Lusankya, a very Cool Starship. It's a Super Star Destroyer, sister ship to Executor, but until it rises from where it's been buried under a city, the New Republic knows it only as a rumored secret prison where captured Rebels are tortured and turned into Manchurian Agents. It's big enough to do that and have a largish prison, whose population has no clue that they're not in a cave somewhere. After pulling free of the surface and causing mass death in the process, Lusankya becomes a sort of Base On Engines.
- The city is actually Coruscant, the capital of the New Republic, and a City Planet, and the Lusankya was actually buried upside down! Given that Coruscant is the most densely-populated place in the entire galaxy, how it was buried and kept a secret is a mystery. Two possibilities were suggested in-universe: that Emperor Palpatine used his mastery of The Dark Side to wipe everybody's memory of it, or he just had all of the billion-plus witnesses killed.
- Patrick Tilley's Amtrak Wars novels, set a long time After the End, feature the Amtrak Federation, fighting an expansionist war out of Texas using giant "wagon-trains" that act as bases for troops and aircraft carriers for fleets of microlights. They're called the Amtrak Federation because they live in underground cities that were originally nuclear bunkers, connected by the "rail garrison" trains mentioned above, running on the Amtrak rail network. Truth in Television: The wagon trains are based on the Overland Train concept tested by the U.S. Army.
- In Iain Banks' Consider Phlebas, the protagonist explores a military command bunker left behind by an extinct species that consisted of a nuclear-powered subway train, the theory being that by constantly moving around through a system of underground rail tunnels the enemy wouldn't be able to target it effectively with atomic weapons. It seems to have worked, to a degree, considering the system remains intact long after the war that killed off the species. However, it turns out they managed to make themselves extinct through biological warfare, making the whole grand set-up ultimately pointless.
- The Inverted World - There was a very strange version of this in Christopher Priest's novel. A city moved slowly along on rails, which the inhabitants of the city were constantly busy building ahead of it and dismantling behind it, and rather than having motors driving wheels it used winches and cables to slide along. The city was forced to keep moving because the geometry of space was distorted, with the world "ahead" and "behind" them stretched into uninhabitable proportions and the safe zone of "normal" space was gradually moving relative to the surface of the planet. The city had to keep up.
- Absolution Gap, the last part of Alastair Reynolds' Revelation Space trilogy, has sections set on a moon where a whole religion has sprung up that involves giant mobile cathedrals constantly doing circuits of the moon without stopping. It Makes Sense in Context (though there is far too much context to go into here).
Live Action TV
- ARK II had the good guys rolling around an After the End landscape in a mobile home/lab/storehouse of Lost Technology.
- Power Rangers S.P.D.: SPD HQ is revealed about ten episodes in to be one of these, transforming into a sort of tank formation. Around the midpoint of the series we find it to be capable of intercontinental travel. It also turns into a giant robot, but that's a different trope.
- Power Rangers Ninja Storm had a small mobile base in a tractor-trailer. It wasn't their real base with all their stuff, but it came in handy on several occasions.
- Power Rangers Zeo had a recreation vehicle that served as a base of operations for Rita Repulsa and Lord Zedd.
- Engine Sentai Go-onger has an RV called the Ginjiro-go. It's surprisingly roomy.
- The Wild Wild West had a train (complete with a steam locomotive) filled with gadgets and spy-equipment, as an operating base for the heroes.
- The 80s Knight Rider series had a truck which KITT would periodically drive into for repairs and upgrades.
- UNIT has an HQ on wheels that is featured in the Doctor Who episodes "The Sontaran Stratagem" and "The Poison Sky".
- The Sand Miner in "Robots of Death" is probably big enough to qualify as well.
- Jim Rockford on The Rockford Files both lived in and worked out of a old, dilapidated mobile home, which usually remained parked on a Malibu beach, but on a few occasions, when he needed to skip town in a hurry, he hitched his trailer up (with the help of his retired trucker dad) and took home with him.
- The music video for "Army of Me" by Björk features a tractor trailer so large that the wheels themselves are taller than most people.
- Eberron has Argonth, which patrols the border of Breland. Though it's not on wheels so much as it hovers. Argonth has sister-fortresses, but one was destroyed during the Last War, and the other is only known to exist, not what its name is or what Breland actually does with the fortress.
- In Warhammer 40,000, we have:
- Titans are base, cathedral, and killing machine all in one, all on legs.
- Super-heavy tanks such as Baneblades. When a tank is so big that firing all weapons on the damn thing can only be described as a broadside, you have a base on wheels.
- The monastery-fortresses of the Iron Hands space marines are literally (massive, massive) Bases on Wheels.
- An let's not forget the Necron's Monoliths. Which are less Bases on Wheels and more mobile floating (and teleporting) tombs of death and destruction.
- And the Imperial Leviathan which is a giant mobile command center on wheels
- The Capitol Imperialis. Essentially it's a huge troop carrier, exept that instead of infantry, it carries companies of tanks. Also works as a mobile command center and is armed with something called a "Doomsday Cannon"
- The Chaos airbases in Dan Abnett's Double Eagle are over a mile long, and mobile.
- And the 'Spike' from Necropolis, a kilometer tall tracked spire mounting a normally spacecraft based weapon capable of cutting a Fortress in half
- There's also the Squats, a now abandoned faction that specialised in this trope. Land Trains, the Colossus, the Cyclops...
- And the role-playing games in the setting give us Ambulon, the wandering city (well, that's a city-sized Base On Legs, but close enough), and the hive-ships of Zayth, which are tracked megalopoli carrying ridiculous amounts of (occasionally starship-scaled) weaponry, used to battle other hive-ships for resources
- Dungeons & Dragons 3E Great Wheel cosmology has the Crawling City in Gehenna, the capital city for the fiendish Yuggoloths
- The demon prince (and Patron of Gnolls) Yeenoghu has a palace on rollers that is endlessly dragged around his domain by hordes of slaves.
- The Dragon Magazine description of Baba Yaga's Dancing Hut fits this trope, probably more so than the original Russian myth, because the cottage on chicken legs is really a Pocket Dimension on chicken legs.
- The d20 worldbook Dragon Mech has entire societies living in Humongous Mecha, from two man human powered walkers through 50 foot high clockwork or steam powered ones up to city-mechs carrying thousands of people and fleets of the smaller mechs.
- In Rifts the Coalition States have the Firestorm Mobile Fortress.
- Kenner's Megaforce toyline was based around gigantic vehicles, with almost all of them qualifying for Base on Wheels status. The biggest examples were the V-Rocs Thorhammer, a massive wheeled ballistic missile launcher with a skyscraper-sized missile, and the Triax Goliath, a crawler that could unfold into an entire frontline base.
- During the late 80s and early 90s, G.I. Joe had a whole series of these; probably the most well-known was the Defiant space shuttle launch complex, and there was also the Rolling Thunder mobile ballistic missile launcher and GI Joe's aptly named Mobile Command Centre.
- James Bond: Everything or Nothing features both the tractor trailer and train variants of this trope: early in the game, you have to board a train (an homage to the one from GoldenEye) which is so large that it has to straddle two separate tracks). Later, Jaws transports the nanotech to New Orleans in a tractor trailer so tall that it ploughs straight through other traffic and, of course, a toll booth.
- The Eagleland and Dirty Communist 'recyclers' and factories in Battlezone are basically giant hovering... factories. They can fly around, deploy on a geyser, crap out a couple units and pack up and move along.
- The G-1 Mobile Bases from Code Geass are a fairly typical example.
- GDI's MARV, which eats entire Tiberium fields at a time, has enough space for a platoon of infantry to garrission inside, and is armed with three gigantic
railgunssonic shockwave shell cannons.
- There's also the MCV, which is basically a vehicle that can transform into a Construction Yard and then build bases. It can also pack up and leave when needed.
- The Empire of the Rising Sun in Red Alert 3 have enormous ocean fortresses that maintain and house entire armies by themselves, in addition to significant defenses. You attack or defend one of these things depending on which campaign you play.
- In C&C4, each player has a "crawler"; a giant walker, tank, or airship (depending on class) that has production facilities for units (and base defenses for the defense class), plus a ton of weapons on it. Meanwhile, base building has been mostly removed.
- The Firestorm expansion to Tiberian Sun introduced mobile factories. They serve as a war factory after being deployed, and can be packed up again to move to another location.
- In Dragon Quest Heroes Rocket Slime, the magitek tanks used in tank battles are mostly castles built on top of NASA crawlers. Each one has two floors and a fairly substantial interior volume.
- Drone Tactics has one of these. It's a giant robotic snail with a cannon hidden under a hatch in its shell, which justifies the use of this trope all by itself.
- Too bad the Snail practically dies in one hit in later levels, and the cannon it uses hardly dents the enemy hp, though you can buy upgrades to mitigate this.
- Enemy Territory Quake Wars features a relatively small example, the MCP. It's a base/missile silo on tank tracks, and not too much harder to kill than most vehicles.
- Fallout 3 has the Enclave's Mobile Base Crawler, a treaded vehicle spanning 3 floors and is large enough to house a mainframe, a complete barracks, an armory, and even a radar dish to activate a weapons sattelite.
- And probably, as this is the Fallout universe after all, a nuclear reactor powering all this. Of course, this 'verse has nuke reactors powering cars, so that's not necessarily that remarkable.
- Front Mission has the Chinese Tianlei Mobile Fortress. Yes, Exactly What It Says on the Tin, housing many wanzers, helis, and home to the enigmatic Imaginary Number special forces. Depending on your scenario, you either try to take it down, or defend it.
- Gaiden Game Gun Hazard features Galeon, a pretty much textbook example of the Base on Wheels. It's also bigger inside than it is outside. Galeon hurtles around the desert at a pretty impressive pace given it's size (presumably relying on the frequent sandstorms to cover it's tracks) and is protected by numerous gun turrets. It also houses a small army of enemy wanzers, of course.
- The British faction in Company of Heroes has mobile H Qs (Bedfords with extra seats for the commanders). They can be moved anywhere, sometimes even at an incredible speed, but in return, the British cannot promote civilian buildings to H Qs unlike every other faction.
- Featured in the Halo 3 multiplayer map "Sandtrap" are two vehicles officially called "Behemoth-class Troop Tansport", colloquially known as "Elephants". While small examples of the Base On Wheels trope, they are the largest pilotable vehicles in the game. They also on default map settings come equipped with two detachable Gatling gun turrets and one fixed turret. They can also hold up to three ATV or two "Warthog" jeeps. In the universe of the game, they were designed for troop transport and vehicle recovery and feature large cranes, and an upper and lower deck. Though, in a few fan-made multiplayer modes, they are used as mobile flag-bases in Capture the Flag games.
- Amusingly, you can actually flip one over, though it is very hard to do. Even more amusingly, you can then go to flip it back over, leading to a prompt; "Press RB to... Wait, what? How did you do that?"
- Halo4 takes it up to eleven with the new Mammoth, which dwarfs the Elephant (while also moving considerably faster than its slow-as-molasses little predecessor), can comfortably hold two or three Warthogs along with plenty of soldiers & guns, has top-mounted rocket turrets, and has a mini-MAC as its primary armament, capable of one-shotting Phantoms and (according to its specs) hitting targets in orbit. Basically, the Mammoth is the UNSC's answer to the Covenant's Scarab.
- Haze has a land aircraft carrier as Mantel's base of operations, though given talk of the setting change and the obvious difference in detail between the upper and lower sections, it was probably originally supposed to be an ordinary carrier.
- The Grindery in Lunar: The Silver Star is a giant castle that doubles as an even-more giant tank, and it's one of the Magic Emperor's favorite killing devices.
- Marvel Ultimate Alliance featured the Omega Base, a giant military research station on tracks operated by S.H.I.E.L.D. The only plot reason it was on tracks was to have the villains hijack it and send it towards an hydroelectric dam.
- The mission before involved the Helicarriers prompting Spiderman to wonder why they didn't add a tunnel to Japan to the extravagant waste two such vehicles would produce.
- Most Terran Buildings in StarCraft are mobile, though they fly rather than moving on the ground and have to land to produce units.
- In early press releases for StarCraft II it was stated that the Terran's "Thor" unit would be built by SCVs like buildings, making it kind of a base on legs. But that idea was eventually scrapped and instead it is built by factories like every other land vehicle.
- Then there's also the joke unit Terra-Tron, which is quite literally a base on legs. (It's formed by combining every building in the base into a giant robot.)
- Supreme Commander has the Fatboy experimental unit. It's as large as several city blocks and can quickly produce most ground units while (not) firing away with its twelve gauss cannons, two riot guns, four railguns and torpedo launcher.
- Transarctica casts you as the commander of a Cool Train-Base in an ice-covered After the End world. As you expand your train, it will come to include everything from troop transports, luxury-cars for spies, heavy weapons for anti-train combat, a huge drill on the front, and of course the Mammoth transport cars. No, not some kind of tank or mech called a Mammoth, literal, woolly, betrunked Mammoths, used as beasts of burden.
- Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey - Your main base of operations is practically a Base on Wheels. It's capable of flying, but mostly it rolls around on its huge wheels, so it qualifies more for this trope than Cool Airship. It's got sickbays, laboratories, and all sorts of other doo-dads necessary for analyzing world-destroying vortexes.
- Most likely what the Train would be in Red Dead Redemption if it was present in Multiplayer.
- In Mega Man Zero 4, La Résistance uses a convoy of moving vans as a mobile base when they need to make a long trip away from their usual base.
- In Garden Gnome Carnage, the player controls an apartment building mounted on wheels.
- The Echidna (basically, a Batomys mk.2) in Valkyria Chronicles III. Always That One Boss whenever it appears.
- The final boss of Spy Hunter 2 for the Playstation 2.
- The final boss of Serious Sam 2 is Mental's headquarters, Mental Institution, a gigantic moving pyramid complete with cannons (that shoot depleted uranium projectiles), rocket turrets, fireball launchers, and hangars that deploy fleets of Fatso Fighters and Seagull Bombers.
- Non-militarized example: Kerbal Space Program allows you to build some rather large vehicles. Almost any surface-based craft can be a Base On Wheels if it has both rover wheels and a crew pod or habitation unit of some kind.
- Mission 5 of Mercs culminates in a Battleship Raid with an armored train.
- Invader Zim - Zim's house becomes a Base On Wheels when GIR becomes the computer AI.
- Metalocalypse: Dethklok's tour bus qualifies as one of these. It takes up the entire road and has a large lavishly furnished room inside with both a hot tub and a two story tall fireplace with a balcony across it.
- The Technodrome in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Powering the Technodrome was frequently a sub-plot to the enemy's motives and it spent a lot of the series stuck in inconvenient places.
- Metroplex, the Transformer who doubles as a massive mobile city.
- Also, Trypticon, who is less a Base On Wheels and more a Base On Legs, as he transforms from a city into a giant robot dinosaur. note
- Megatron's constant energy-stealing in Transformers: Robots In Disguise wasn't so he could power his doomsday base so he could destroy the Autobots, but simply so he could keep it moving around so the Autobots wouldn't find it. One wonders why he bothered with it in the first place.
- The Big Bad of Wakfu has one. Guess what it's shaped like. Come on, guess what the time guy's fortress is shaped like◊.
- A typical example of an armed train would be the German setup for hauling the giant Krupp K5 280mm railway guns; each battery had three trains. The staff train would comprise around 34 cars including two locomotives, the whole train being over twelve hundred feet long and including a field kitchen, flatbed cars for vehicles, AA guns, an equipment car, generators, and even a mobile workshop. The gun trains were a little shy of a thousand feet long and had 23 or 24 cars including two locomotives, and included the K5 guns themselves, cranes and parts to build turntables for the guns to be mounted on, three boxcars of ammunition and more AA guns. The shorter gun train had two boxcars dedicated to the battery's armourer, the longer an extra passenger car and a wagon of food.
- Projekt NM was a "mobile coastal battery" consisting of three Tiger tanks with their turrets mounted on a giant I-beam girder frame with a false wooden building on top, with the whole thing placed on top of their hulls which would drive the bizarre contraption around. It never got off the drawing boards.
- Those Wacky Nazis had plans to create versions of their heavy railway guns that ran on tank treads; the one the came closest to actually happening involved the 210-ton Krupp K5 guns, of which there were 25 by the end of the war. The plan was to replace the two rail cars with modified King Tiger hulls. Far more ridiculous was a similar plan to make a self-propelled variant of the 1,400-ton Schwerer Gustav ultragun, which was supposedly on the drawing boards when Albert Speer found out and made the engineers involved go and work on something sensible.
- On a smaller scale, Hitler's first headquarters was a train. It was fifteen cars long and required two engines working in tandem. Part of the reason Hitler initially opted for a train was that if France decided to attack the German border during the invasion of Poland, they could quickly transfer the command staff to the west.
- Perhaps the ultimate Base on Wheels would have been the "Midgard-Schlange," a proposal made by German designers in the 1930s for a 60,000 ton armoured train the better part of two thousand feet long, which would run on tank treads and could drill underground or run on the bottom of the sea. It would supposedly have been used to drill under fortifications and set huge explosive charges to destroy them. The project never seems to have passed the "asking for funding" stage, though it says a lot about Nazi Germany that this was due to lack of resources and manpower rather than, say, because it was an utterly fucking ridiculous idea.
- Armoured trains were used by the Russians and Germans during the Second World War to deter vehicles and infantry from attacking vital rail lines; they had purpose-built armoured wagons and sometimes armoured locomotives, and their armament included machine guns, AA guns in armoured enclosures, artillery guns, and even surplus tank turrets. The armoured trains only got bigger, stronger and meaner as the war went on; perhaps the ultimate example was when the Allies found three Panzerjäger-Triebwagen wagons (51-53) in a German factory after the war ended, each essentially being a heavily armoured mobile bunker equipped with a pair of Panzer IV turrets.
- While the missile train in GoldenEye might have been over the top, the concept of a missile train is one based on Real Life:
- The earliest examples were the German prototypes for a train-launched A4 (ie V2) missile. These were extensively tested but ultimately abandoned after it became clear Allied air superiority would make them unworkable. Most V2 missiles were still moved from the factory to their launch sites by train, however.
- In the USA, the LGM-118A Peacekeeper, initially known as the "MX missile", was proposed to be deployed by a "rail garrison" system whereby 25 trains, each with two missiles (up to 10 warheads), would use the national railroad system to conceal themselves. When the Cold War ended, this was deemed too expensive and the missiles were stuck in silos.
- 56 RT-23 Molodets/SS-24 "Scalpel" Soviet and later Russian missiles were rail-based. A typical set of missile launch trains were comprised of two locomotives, followed by generating power car, command car, two support cars, and three missile launch vehicles, with a total of nine-car train set. All of them are reportedly now decommissioned.
- The world's heaviest truck is the Liebherr T282B mining truck, a giant dump truck 50 feet long, 26 feet tall and 22 feet wide, weighing in at 224 tons empty and with a maximum operating weight of 653 tons. With 3,650 horsepower from an 11.5 ton engine, this monstrosity can still manage a respectable 40 miles per hour.
- Since at least the Apollo era, NASA has relied on one of two diesel-electric Crawler-Transporters, several stories in height, to transport the vehicle assembly from the Assembly building to the launch pad; these are the largest self-propelled vehicles in the world, weighing 2,400 tons. They require their own path that is 7 feet thick (largely due to having a tiny tread area relative to their size) and move at a top speed of two miles per hour, though they can only manage one with a shuttle on top.
- Bucket-wheel excavators are the largest mobile objects on Earth, though they cannot move under their own power and require an external generator to supply electricity. The biggest, Bagger 293, requires 17 megawatts of power and weighs in at 14,200 tons - almost 50% heavier than a Ticonderoga-class cruiser; in one day, either Bagger excavator can strip enough material to fill 2,400 coal wagons. They only move at 0.4 miles per hour, but their ground pressure is just 24.8 PSI: that's significantly less than a car.
- The French "Bulldozer King," Edmond Nussbaumer, has built a three-story, 200 ton home on top of an enormous bulldozer. It even has a 360 degree rotating platform.
- Though not usually military, some people do live out of their vehicles for significant periods of time, or even indefinitely. Their standards of living tend to vary, depending on the size and quality of the vehicle.
- While tiny by the standards of the trope at just 20 to 30 tonnes, the Kharkovchanka◊ series◊ of snow vehicles were truly houses on tracks◊, having facilities for sleeping, eating, bathing and toilets. The Soviets built them in the early 1960s using T-54 tank running gear for Antarctic exploration◊.
- There are documented reports of Chinese rulers building massive wooden fortresses that would float and could be dragged up rivers. Instead of having to find raw materials and build the fortifications on site, the fortress could just be moored and was instantly ready for service, being no more vulnerable than a regular wooden fort.
- A number of very mundane versions exist, where a largish vehicle such as a truck, van, or bus is equipped as a mobile command center. Armored military vehicles meant to be mobile command units may include a fake gun to make it harder for the enemy to single them out in combat, the space used to support the weapon and its ammo being used instead for communications equipment and sensors.
- Even more mundane is the fact that many stationary bases can be made entirely out of "containerized" buildings. Field kitchens, latrines, showers, command posts, etc. that are designed to be folded up into a shipping container for easy deployment, although many of these have to be rendered stationary to serve their designed purposenote .
- While discussing the mundane side of this trope, Its worth mentioning that large airplanes can act as mobile command centers and troop/ vehicle carriers. They don't need to land in order to give orders but some have features that will let them become temporary command centers on the ground (the ability to easily take power from an external source or antennas that normally couldn't be extended during flight). The later version is technically a base on wheels because airplanes have wheels (duh) and can be wheeled around to cover minor distances (for major distances they can simply fly).
- The Mongols were famous for having these. During their quest for world conquest in the 13th century, several Mongol gers would be mounted with gigantic wheels and towed by draft animals across vast terrain and served as a mobile base of operations.