Ask Phil: Surface mounted point motors

16 February 2021
Please could you advise on surface mounted point motors with ease of mounting and wiring. Also, how you can disguise the motors? Alan, by e-mail.

Having spent many hours crawling around under baseboards, I can certainly see the benefit of point motors mounted on top.

The simplest method of mounting a motor on top of the baseboard is to use one that clips on the side of the point. Hornby's R8243 is shown here, but Peco and Gaugemaster make the same sort of thing. The three wires are connected to a switch on your panel.

The downside of this is the motor is quite a visible lump beside each point. Some ballast around it will reduce the apparent size, but don't cover the motor as the stones will fall through those ventilation holes and jam it. Dry-brushing the plastic case with Humbrol 67 (Tank grey) will help too.

Sticking with the Hornby range, there is also R8423, a plastic base that allows the modeller to fit a standard Hornby motor on top of the baseboard. Peco makes an alternative, the PL-12 baseplate. Hornby's version is supplied with am attractive corrugated iron hut that clips over the top to hide the motor. Obviously, lots of identical huts dotted all over the layout would look a bit odd, but it provided me with some ideas for a project in the past.

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Bad planning saw me fit a point right over the top of a baseboard strengthener, leaving no option other than to put the motor on top. Worse, the motor would have to be right at the front of the layout, so I really needed to hide it!

A resin hut came to my rescue. Although there wasn't space for all of it, the motor fitted inside perfectly, and once I added a wall over the open end, it looked perfectly prototypical. Fortunately, the real railway used to be littered with tiny huts, providing us with plenty of opportunities for motor hiding.

Good luck with your new layout, and happy modelling.

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