I may install free versions of MBAM & MBAE -- would these two kinda sorta take the place of HitmanPro and Hitman Alert?
Not really since they work differently and the free version of MBAM does not include any real-time protection so it essentially becomes a standalone scanner. MBAE is an action level security application (behavior based) that runs in the background as a standard Windows Service and protects against, the malicious action of exploiting software vulnerabilities, blocks zero-day exploits that target browser and application vulnerabilities, blocks exploit kits and defends against drive-by download attacks.
HitmanPro.Alert checks browser integrity and alerts users when malware has intruded the browser. HitmanPro.Alert runs as a service and warns if the browser has been compromised and is unsafe to use for online banking or shopping. The alert will not block the malware
itself from installing since the program is not designed to be an anti-virus or anti-malware tool. If suspicious behavior is detected, HitmanPro.Alert's CryptoGuard will block it
...including the encryption of files. CryptoGuard is actually the name of the kernel driver component installed by HitmanPro.Alert that mitigates a crypto-ransomware attack...it is a filter driver which monitors the file system and looks for suspicious file operations at the file system level. When suspicious behavior is detected, the process's ability to rename, write or delete files is blocked and an Alert is presented to warn the user. So even while ransomware is active, CryptoGuard protects all documents and files
on the computer and will block crypto attacks
against them. To remove the malware infection, you have to download and run HitManPro or another anti-malware scanner.
Malwarebytes Anti-Ransomware Beta could be used as a temporary alternative but at some point it is supposed to be incorporated into MBAM.
You might want to check out Bitdefender Anti-Ransomware (Crypto-Ransomware Vaccine)
Bitdefender Anti-Ransomware (released in March 2016) is the vendor's new vaccine tool which is supposed to protect against known and possible future versions of crypto ransomware families by exploiting flaws in their spreading methods...it is an outgrowth of the Cryptowall vaccine program which was discontinued.