I took some time this morning to design a better actuator for the faceplate, based on suggestions from my anonymous engineering benefactor. I have the motors now and he has the gears, We have some bench testing to do then fabricate it. This morning he and I fabricated new hinges of aircraft-grade aluminium.
We've done the maths on the torque required under this new system, which equals a much less powerful motor. No gearbox required now.
All we have to do is regulate speed with either a resistor or PCB control. We'll work that out in the bench-testing phase.