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Base on Wheels

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Artist's impression of Technodrome and Turtle, Not Drawn to Scale.
One of the ways a group 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 this can make their base less of a sitting duck and allows for strategic considerations (particularly regarding mobilizing units).

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. 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.

Nazi Germany 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 World War I, but the Polish-Soviet War proved that they were still viable, and both the Nazis and the Soviets used them in World War II. 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 Starship. 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. See Clown-Car Base for when the outward size is more reasonable than its contents. For this trope's much bigger cousin, see Mobile City.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The Spade Kingdom in Black Clover has giant mobile fortresses built to cross Strong Magic Regions, one of which is named Candelo, that runs off exhausting Low Stagers of their mana.
  • Code Geass: The mobile command centers 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 cruisers Da Longdan upgrade.
  • Excel♡Saga: "Bowling Girls" features 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.
  • Gundam 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 Mobile Suit 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.
  • In One Piece, Capone "Gang" Bege doesn't have one, he is one. His Devil fruit power turned his body into a pocket dimension in shape of a medieval castle, into which he promptly packed large amount of men and weaponry. His common tactics include standing still while small cannon ports open on his chest and fire a barrage that enlarges to normal-sized cannonballs once it leaves the small radius around him or opening a large gate from the middle of his chest from which emerges a full-out cavalry charge.
  • Sengoku Basara: The Fugaku, the mobile sea fortress of Chosakabe Motochika, is revealed in one episode of the anime 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.
  • The Speed Racer episode "The Mammoth Car" has Cruncher Block hanging out in the well-furnished (complete with piranha tank) back of the titular car, essentially a big red truck.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann features a Base on Legs, the Dai-Gurren.
  • Transformers: Robots in Disguise: Megatron's constant energy-stealing isn't so he can power his doomsday base so he can destroy the Autobots, but simply so he can keep it moving around so the Autobots won't find it. One wonders why he bothers with it in the first place.
  • Transformers: Scramble City: The eponymous Scramble City is a giant battle fortress that wheels into battle during the climax shortly before transforming into Metroplex.
  • Xabungle: Landships are full-scale land battleships carrying around companies of Walker Machines and Iron Gear type landships can transform into giant Walker Machines themselves, turning into Base on Legs.
  • 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.

    Asian Animation 
  • In Guardian Fairy Michel, the good guys have Sitel, and the bad guys have their flying castle. All the better to chase each other around the world with.

    Comic Books 
  • Black Moon Chronicles: Wismerhill buys a traveling castle from the dwarf masters to use in his next campaigns. The dwarfs even shaved off half the price since the lord who originally commissioned it had spontaneously died.
  • ElfQuest: Part of "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?
  • New Gods (in particular, the early Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen run) features the Mountain of Judgement, a mobile home for the Hairies, a bunch of genetically modified young humans (and since it was the early '70s, they all have long hair, hence the name). The Mountain was supposedly converted from an old NASA missile crawler and had been seriously souped up by the super-intelligent Hairies and a good dose of Kirby Tech. It spends its time roaring around (at extremely high speeds — none of this 1 mph nonsense) the Zoomway, a private... well, miles-long racetrack is the only equivalent that comes to mind, giving off SFX of all sorts to discourage any curiosity on the part of the local commune of bikers in the Wild Area. The Mountain's outer shell made it look like some kind of giant monster on wheels, which helped add to the mystery surrounding it.
  • The Punisher: In Punisher War Journal issues #29-30, the Punisher and Ghost Rider fight drug dealers who have a giant mobile base called the Roaring Island, which is made from different vehicles (cars, trucks, a tank etc.) linked up together.
  • Strikeforce: Morituri has its heroes roll around the country on a train-headquarters fighting alien invaders, after their mountain base is destroyed in a nuclear bombardment.
  • The Transformers: Windblade has the lost colony of Velocitron. The planet is dangerously close to its sun, so to avoid the daytime side's temperatures and radiation, all their cities are on massive wheels and move continuously ahead of the dawn.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Ant-Man and the Wasp, Hank Pym has a base on two wheels. Which is enough when it's shrunken down to the size of a suitcase.
  • The Big Bus: The titular vehicle, the nuclear-powered bus "Cyclops", is 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.
  • Damnation Alley features the LandMaster, a twelve-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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Star Wars:
    • In A New Hope, the sandcrawlers that the Jawas tool around in are bases on tracks. To a lesser extent, the Imperial AT-ATs, which are 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.
    • Solo has Dryden Vos headquarters in his luxury yacht of a ship.
  • Ultraviolet (2006) 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 motorcycle. However, there is sufficient other usage of TARDIS technology that is one of the least jarring things about the film.
  • In Universal Soldier (1992), the eponymous 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.

  • Amtrak Wars, set a long time After the End, features 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.
  • The Belgariad: Taken to extremes in the backstory, as detailed in the prequel book Belgarath the Sorcerer. The Big Bad Torak is so determined to maintain his Orcus on His Throne status under any circumstances that he has his people build him an entire castle on wheels, pulled by a thousand oxen guided by a similar number of slaves.
  • Coffin Princess Chaika: The April, the huge magical semi that serves as a mobile base for Gilette Corps.
  • 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 Dreamside Road:
    • The Solar Saver crawler is this, offering living space for many, as the massive energy-harvesting vehicle travels between scattered communities, post-societal collapse.
    • The Aesir itself is another example, as it’s both the transportation and home of the protagonists.
  • 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. (When Sophie first climbs aboard it's described as a very rough ride, suggesting it slides just barely above the ground and bounces against and over everything in its way.) 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 mostly fake and physically unreachable and just contains an external door which leads to Howl's real residence, a small house. (When Howl "moves", he takes the new dwelling and front door and adapts its surfaces and interior space to overlap his home's, resulting in his slightly changed dwelling now occupying an additional location. Presumably, this method makes his location hard to divine.) In the anime, the house is in some sense inside the steampunk castle, so there you can look out of a window to the moving landscape.
  • The Lost World (1995): The expedition team to Isla Sorna utilizes a modified Fleetwood RV (called the "Challenger Trailers" on the novel) as a mobile expedition lab and base, with such things as integral motion detectors, tear gas launchers, a wireless connections to the computer systems that are still active on the ruined InGen labs on the island and a highly reinforced frame that can withstand a wide variety of punishment (up to and including dinosaur attacks). The Trailers and their integral devices see some more use on the novel, including the rear trailer (which was the main supply carrier) surviving the T-Rex attack that wrecks the whole vehicle on the film and being used by the characters as a temporary shelter.
  • Rebuild World: Carol has one of these that she lends to Akira. As a camper built with enough armor and weapons to survive in the Death World wasteland, it's essentially an Awesome Personnel Carrier/camper hybrid. Akira and a few others take refuge in it after a 50 billion aurum bounty is placed on his head by Chloe.
  • Revelation Space Series: Absolution Gap 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.
  • 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. 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.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Ark II has the good guys rolling around an After the End landscape in a mobile home/lab/storehouse of Lost Technology.
  • Arrow: In "Genesis", ARGUS headquarters is a container on the back of a tractor-trailer being driven around Star City so HIVE can't find it. Unfortunately, the Evil Plan of the week involves letting ARGUS take a Play-Along Prisoner so they can do just that.
  • Borgia: Cesare Borgia has one made designed and built by Leonardo Da Vinci himself, a large carriage equipped with racks for his weapons and maps, and a large bed upon which he is frequently seen with a wide variety of women. He keeps it all throughout his military campaigns across France and Italy through several years in the third season Time Skip episodes.
  • Doctor Who:
  • Get Smart: Parodied in "Leadside" when the villain of the week uses one to avoid a CONTROL dragnet. Unfortunately, there are a couple of problems: a) he's in a wheelchair, so he keeps rolling back and forth every time they start and stop at the traffic lights, and b) if he's briefing his minions in the back, Who Is Driving?
  • Knight Rider has a truck which KITT periodically drives into for repairs and upgrades.
  • NCIS: Los Angeles: A downplayed and heroic example is shown with a mobile NCIS team that uses what is essentially a tricked-out semi.
  • Power Rangers/Super Sentai:
    • 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. The same obviously applies to parent show Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger.
    • 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, after the Machine Empire chased them out of their actual base.
    • Engine Sentai Go-onger has an RV called the Ginjiro-go. It's surprisingly roomy.
  • The final two episodes of The Prisoner (1967) involve a more downplayed one of these: a comfortable lounge built into the back of a big truck. This is ultimately how Number Six and a few others escape from The Village. There's even a scene of Numbers Two and Forty-Eight dancing to The Four Lads' "Dem Bones" in the back while Six drives.
  • Jim Rockford of The Rockford Files both lives in and works out of an old, dilapidated mobile home which usually remains parked on a Malibu beach, but on a few occasions, when he needs to skip town in a hurry, he hitches his trailer up (with the help of his retired trucker dad) and takes home with him.
  • In Trapper John, M.D., Dr. "Gonzo" Gates lives in a motorhome in the hospital parking lot.
  • The Wild Wild West: The Wanderer, the private train of James West and Artemus Gordon. The duo's weapons, gadgets and disguises are stored in it.

    Music Videos 
  • The music video for "Army of Me" by Björk features a tractor trailer so large that the wheels themselves are taller than most people.

    Tabletop Games 
  • All Quiet On The Martian Front: The best weapon against the invaders forces on the American Front has been the Land Ironclads, massive steam-powered destroyers built onto treads.
  • BattleTech has the Rattler MKII Anti-Aerospace Mobile Fortress, operated by the Word of Blake and rebuilt from old Star League era MKI models. On a significantly smaller but much more widely used level, there's the Mobile Command Vehicle, which is a large armored vehicle built to allow a commanding officer to coordinate and direct troops across long distances. They're largely unarmed, though, so they typically require an escort of infantry or ground vehicles for defense against headhunter units.
  • Cyberpunk v3.0 has Road Cities that (somehow) came around after biker gangs became extremely popular, with campers and caravans eventually being traded for this trope. The faction in-game is known as the Rolling State.
  • In DragonMech and the similarly themed Doomstriders from Bastion Press, some of the largest of those giant walkers are cities with feet.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The 3E Great Wheel cosmology has a number of examples, including:
      • 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.
    • 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.
  • The LAW agency from Obsidian Age Of Judgement has two types. The first is the Precinct. It's 40 feet wide and 120 long, there are 6 armoured police cars and over 30 officers inside and it houses offices, a detox lab, an advanced sensor suite, 10 holding cells and a large armoury. The Precinct is also heavily armoured and packs a lot of autocannons, caught between the Precinct's weaponry and the troops within, most enemies end up getting slaughtered against it. The second is the even more powerful Executioner, of which there are only 4. The Executioner dwarfs the Precinct, coming in at 150 feet long and 50 wide. It carries 10 of the cars that the Precinct has and has a crew of over 45 officers. Inside there twenty living quarters, a detox lab and a science lab, 5 holding cells plus 1 extra-large cell for holding gigantic demons, a gym room and a galley. The Executioners are nearly invincible being extremely well-armoured and armed to the teeth, and in almost a century of service, they have successfully destroyed or driven off every demon encounter — including those by demons the size of mountains.
  • Pathfinder: A couple of Bases on Legs exist across the setting:
    • Baba Yaga's Dancing Hut, much like its D&D incarnation, is a Pocket Dimension inside a hut walking around on chicken legs, and serves as Baba Yaga's personal sanctum and retreat.
    • Stone and wood colossi are enormous constructs capable of alternating between a humanoid, ambulatory form and a purely building-based one — an armored keep in the case of stone colossi and a mansion in the case of wood colossi. Wood colossi need to expel their residents when switching to humanoid form, but stone colossi can still be inhabited as normal while roaming around.
  • Rifts: The Coalition States have the Firestorm Mobile Fortress.
  • Rocket Age has Red-Blue Chanari caravans. These are huge structures, ten meters long, eight wide and six high, designed to cross the deserts of Mars. Moved by the combines muscle power of four bull ulodonts inside the base of the structure, the entire thing weighs hundreds of pounds and uses six gigantic stone wheels for stability. The entire thing is essentially an armed Bamboo Technology sand crawler.
  • Star Wars d6: One of the land vehicles used by the Galactic Empire is a mobile, tracked command vehicle. While lightly armed, it had strong shields and heavy armor but was not meant to enter battle.
  • Warhammer: The Dark Elves have the Black Arks, pieces of land turned into sea fortresses that can hold a full army.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • 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.
    • The Necrons' Monoliths are less Bases on Wheels and more mobile floating (and teleporting) tombs of death and destruction.
    • The Imperial Leviathan is a giant mobile command center on wheels.
    • The Capitol Imperialis is essentially a huge troop carrier, except 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.
    • The "Spike" from Necropolis, a kilometer-tall tracked spire mounting a normally spacecraft-based weapon capable of cutting a Fortress in half.
    • In their early portrayals, the Squats specialized in this trope. Land Trains, the Colossus, the Cyclops...
    • Some Kultists of Speed are so attached to their vehicles that they never leave them, opting instead to outfit them with sleeping hammocks, caged Squigs for food, and bunks for Gretchin oilers and fixits so that they can live in their beloved rides full-time, alongside tarpaulins with which to convert them into tents on those occasions where they do need to stop.

  • G.I. Joe:
    • During the late 1980s and early '90s, the franchise 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.
    • G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra also got a mobile version of the Pit (the Joes' underground base) in the toyline and videogame.
  • LEGO has the theme Nexo Knights, in which the Fortrex set is essentially this.
  • 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.
  • Transformers:
    • Any and all "cityformers" are colossi who turn into Transformer-scaled cities or fortresses, though scale in Transformers has traditionally been utterly screwed. Their ranks include Metroplex, Trypticon, Fortress Maximus, Scorponok, Overlord...
    • 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 
    • On a smaller level, the trailer for the original Optimus Prime toy transformed into a mobile repair bay and base. It could even hold one or two vehicles inside, depending on their size.

    Video Games 
  • Assassin's Creed: Almost every entry in the series features at least one main base where the assassins Brotherhood keeps their arsenal, armors, coordinates their members and trains their recruits — in Assassin's Creed Syndicate, rather than use a building, the Frye twins take over an enemy gang's private train as their base of operations. "Bertha" serves as a hideout, living quarters, even letting the player upgrade their gang and collect tax money from within. It also runs around London of course.
  • An update to Astroneer allowed you to place building modules on rovers. Due to this, it is now possible to use a train of Large Rovers to host a fully functional medium base on wheels.
  • Battlezone (1998): The Eagleland and Dirty Communist "Recyclers" and factories 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 sequel switches the Recycler to tracked propulsion and allows it to deploy anywhere flat, but makes deployment permanent; it can't pack-up mid-mission.
  • Civilization: Beyond Earth: The Rising Tide DLC introduces aquatic cities. These cities are able to slowly move to an unoccupied adjacent hex after a certain project is completed. This is also how they claim territory (unlike land cities, which use culture). The North Sea Alliance specializes in these kinds of cities.
  • Command & Conquer has the Mobile Construction Vehicle, a vehicle that can go basically anywhere, immediately deploy into a Construction Yard, and then build up bases. Depending on game, mode and options,note  it can sometimes also pack up and leave when needed.
    • Command & Conquer: Tiberium Wars: GDI's MARV, which eats entire Tiberium fields at a time, has enough space for a platoon of infantry to garrison inside, and is armed with three gigantic railgunssonic shockwave shell cannons.
    • Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3:
      • The Empire of the Rising Sun 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.
      • Every faction uses MCV's, which are now enormous vehicles that can pack up and leave at any time if needed, with the added benefit of being so big they can run over tanks.
      • The Empire uses nanocores that unfold into production buildings (and as a last-ditch defense, count as vehicles so they can run over infantry). It lets them expand much faster than the other factions (who need to construct an outpost via a Prospector/Sputnik near a mine before they can set up a refinery there) but also makes them vulnerable as defenses also need to be transported there.
    • In Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight, 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 Command & Conquer: 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.
    • The Yuri's Revenge expansion for Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 applies the same idea to mining with Yuri's "Slave Miner", a vehicle that — rather than gathering ore itself and returning it to a refinery like the other factions — deploys itself near a patch of ore and sends out slaves to mine it. The individual slaves carry much less ore than the other miners can, but the turnaround between heading out, mining, and returning their payload to the refinery to be processed is much shorter, especially since the refinery can just be relocated to a fresh patch of ore after mining an area clear, especially allowing for fast cash when they can find the more valuable gems.
  • Commando (Capcom): Mission 5 of Mercs culminates in a Battleship Raid with an armored train.
  • Company of Heroes: The British faction has mobile HQs (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 HQs unlike every other faction.
  • Destiny: The Cabal make use of Imperial Land Tanks, gigantic mobile fortresses/headquarters on tank tracks, although we don’t get to see one moving until Destiny 2. In both games, one serves as the location of a Strike (assassination with extreme prejudice) targeting a prominent Cabal officer. While the tank stays parked in the first game, in the second it starts up soon after you board, and navigating its churning drive mechanisms is the focus of a jumping puzzle.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • EXTRAPOWER: Attack of Darkforce: The Jaeger 2, the Awesome Personnel Carrier for the SPICA mercenary group and, later, for the player characters as well. An APC with a comfortably large command center, space for research and medicine, and its plating and missiles make it a powerful presence on the battlefield. It can even transport troops.
  • 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 satellite. And probably, as this is the Fallout universe, a nuclear reactor powering all this. Of course, this 'verse has nuke reactors powering cars, so that's not necessarily that remarkable. Though theoretically mobile, it doesn't ever leave the air force base it's stationed at.
  • In FAR: Lone Sails, the protagonist uses a vaguely whale-like wheeled vehicle to cross the dry seabed, later in the game they briefly board and activate a much larger multilegged one to get to the final area.
  • Fortress Saga AFK has the hero Louis owning a Steampunk bastion on four mechanized legs, powered by a sentient seed of the World Tree. For defense, it has a massive cannon and several ports for heroes to attack from. The fort can be extended and newer models earned, including one that's the Sydney Opera House hovering on Magitek rockets. As a true base, it can house a sauna, cannery, forge, arcane workshop, et cetera.
  • Front Mission 3 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. The Gaiden Game Front Mission: 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 its size (presumably relying on the frequent sandstorms to cover its tracks) and is protected by numerous gun turrets. It also houses a small army of enemy Wanzers, of course.
  • In Garden Gnome Carnage, the player controls an apartment building mounted on wheels.
  • Halo:
    • Halo 3: Featured in the multiplayer map "Sandtrap" are two vehicles officially called "Behemoth-class Troop Transports", colloquially known as "Elephants". While small examples of the Base On Wheels trope, they are the largest pilotable vehicles in the game. On default map settings, they 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-universe, they were designed for troop transport and vehicle recovery, featuring large cranes and an upper and lower deck. However, 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?"
    • In Halo Wars, the Elephant is a pretty literal base on wheels, since you can use it to spew out a never-ending stream of infantry.
    • Halo 4 takes it up to eleven with the 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.
    • The 2022 Halo Encyclopedia gave us the Draugr, a Covenant Land Battleship that is the size of real-world cruisers that hovers. Moreover, it gave us specific details on the Harvester and Kraken which are even bigger walking landships that dwarfs some spaceships from other Sci-Fi universes in scale.
  • 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.
  • In Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak, the Northern Coalition uses Mobile Factory carriers that look like nothing so much as aircraft carriers on wheels, acting like the Mothership in the original Homeworld games. While the Kiith Gaalsien have carriers that hover.
  • 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.
  • 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 features the Omega Base, a giant military research station on tracks operated by S.H.I.E.L.D. The only plot reason it's on tracks is to have the villains hijack it and send it towards a hydroelectric dam. The mission before involves the Helicarriers, prompting Spider-Man to wonder why they don't add a tunnel to Japan to the extravagant waste two such vehicles would produce.
  • In MechWarrior 3, a Mobile Field Base often tags along with your lance of BattleMechs which has the capacity to repair them on the field, but is slow and unarmed. The MFB was slated to appear in MechWarrior: Living Legends but never made it in due to a legal row.
  • 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.
  • Path of Exile 2's Act II has a hub city made of a loosely-interconnected caravan colony, which is actively moving while you explore it.
  • Roaming Fortress has the human empire of Mantopia defeated by goblin hordes. Since they can't win against the goblin numbers, the humans are taking back their lands by putting a fortress on the back of a dinosaur-like beast of burden. Both fortress and beast can be replaced with newer versions that are more durable and hold more soldiers. Incapable of melee, the "roaming fortress" is protected by the troops who range from guys lobbing spears and archers to cannons and wizards with magic wands.
  • Unlike all other gangs in Saints Row 2, the Sons of Samedi don't have a hideout. Instead, the General runs his drug empire out of an armored limousine that is constantly on the move to minimize the chance of an attack.
  • Serious Sam II: The final boss 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.
  • 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.
  • StarCraft:
    • Most Terran buildings 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 Terrans' "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.
  • Super Star Wars has a level based on the Jawa sandcrawler from A New Hope... which is much bigger on the inside and has acquired lava pits, complete with a monster living in them.
  • 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. It needs the torpedoes because it's amphibious, simply driving along the sea floor. It also projects a massive Deflector Shield which protects any nearby units. However it doesn't technically count as a "base" as such, as it's completely unmanned; like all units other than the ACU (and SCUs) it's an entirely AI-controlled unit slaved to the army commander inside the ACU.
  • 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.
  • UFO: After Blank: UFO: Aftershock has the Laputa base, as well as its airborne variant, the Flying Fortress.
  • In Universe at War, the Heirarchy utilizes a pair of huge Spider Tanks, the Habitat and Assembly Walkers, as their production "structures". They can be equipped with Mook Makers to produce an army, or some More Dakka to act as assault units. Their nerdy cousin, the Science Walker, constitutes as one of their superweapons when properly modded, able to launch a devastating Radiation Cascade. It can also deploy Mind Control Devices in Infantry or Vehicle flavours, or sensor arrays.
  • Valkyria Chronicles: Maximillian's ultimate weapon, the Marmota superheavy terrestrial dreadnought, which acts as the final boss fight for the game.

    Western Animation 
  • Invader Zim: Zim's house becomes a Base on Wheels when GIR becomes the computer AI.
  • Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors has the Battle Base, which is part of Herc Stormsailor's space barge the Pride of the Skies II.
  • Metalocalypse: Dethklok's tour bus 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.
  • In Star Wars Rebels, the Ghost crew find three old Clone Troopers (Rex, Wolffe, and Gregor) living in an old Republic AT-TE on Seelos, a "base on legs" variation of this trope.
  • The Technodrome in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987). Powering it is frequently a sub-plot to the enemy's motives, and it spends a lot of the series stuck in inconvenient places.
  • Thomas & Friends: Stefano the Super Cruiser from "Digs & Discoveries" is a Cool Boat and a Cool Car all in one, as he can move in the water and drive on land, and he can carry vehicles both on his deck and inside his hull.
  • Uncle Grandpa and his friends live in an RV that takes them to whomever needs his help (usually crashing into their house). It's Bigger on the Inside and has portals to other dimensions.
  • The Big Bad of Wakfu has one. Since his power is Time Stands Still, his fortress is shaped like a giant clock on spider legs.

    Real Life 
  • Due to the diverse requirements of simultaneously organizing an army and fighting a war on multiple fronts, Leon Trotsky famously utilized one of these (the Revvoyensovet) as a mobile command center staffed with an elite guard during the Russian Civil War, moving from front to front in order to take local command, shore up morale, and ensure local organization and structures were in place to support the Red Army.
  • 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 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.
    • Well, the two most advanced Soviet battletrains boasted that, and then a few Katyusha rocket launchers.
    • An armored train proper would constitute about a third of the total unit, with the rest being the actual mobile maintenance and quartering facility.
    • There was also that little matter of the battle between the trains Ilya Muromets and Adolph Hitler.
    • The Soviets resurrected their armoured trains in the '60s to guard their border against Chinese with Chopper Support. The new versions sported 23 mm quad turrets and carried several T-62 tanks to chase the fleeing enemy down away from the track.
    • The local conflicts in Yugoslavia and Chechnya caused armored trains to reappear once again.
  • 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 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.
    • This is the basic principle behind an RV (or motorhome, caravan, etc.), especially if towing or carrying other vehicles such as a car or bicycle. Get around in the smaller vehicle during the day, return at night to your secure campsite with refrigerator, microwave, TV, air conditioning, and bed that isn't on the ground.
  • 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.
    • Rather unexpectedly, the wagonlike layout of first Kharkovchankas, initially selected for the ease of the engine maintenance from the inside of the heated cabin, turned out to be impractical. Because of the rather cramped space inside the engines turned out to be difficult to reach to fix and maintain, they ran too hot, as the small engine compartment made the proper cooling difficult, and they released the diesel fumes into the living spaces to boot. This is why the second series moved the engine outside, under the more traditional hood, where it turned out much easier to fix and cool, at the expense of the necessity to leave the vehicle to do so.
  • 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 are stationary bases 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 purpose.
  • 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.
  • Possibly the simplest form of this trope would be a vehicle equipped with a radio or other communications equipment (such as a police car or a military truck). While this is rather limited in terms of how much you can base out of a single vehicle (capacity: A handful of people and a few hundred pounds of cargo for a typical car), if you use multiple vehicles in a convoy, then you effectively have this trope for as long as they travel together.
  • The President of the United States has custom-built aircraft Boeing VC-25, the one commonly perceived as "Air Force One" and Boeing E-4 to serve as flying command posts for the nation's military.


Video Example(s):


Mobile Construction Vehicle

Heavily-armored, self-powered production vehicles used to push the front lines.

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Main / BaseOnWheels

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