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Article by Jay Smith
We push quality before anything else and so far its working.
Enter to win merchandise.




When you think about a model airplane, and more specifically, the components needed to complete the model, the spinner may not be at the top of your list. The radio system and power plant will typically come to mind first; however, as you progress through your list of supplies, most aircraft will require a spinner to provide that finished look.

Going beyond the look of your spinner, Tru-Turn, a division of ROMCO Manufacturing, stakes its reputation on providing quality, precision spinners for electric-, gas-, and glow-powered aircraft.

Although Tru-Turn began in 1985, it can trace its story back even further through Bob Obenberger, the owner. Bob’s father was an aircraft design engineer and loved airplanes of all sizes. That love was passed on to Bob in the 1950s when he first saw model airplanes at school. A trip with his father to the local hobby shop was all it took for the pair to begin flying CL.

Modeling took a backseat when Bob was in high school and put his focus into hot rods and dating. After high school, Bob joined the military and lacked the time to enjoy building and flying models until the 1970s when he saw his first proportional radio and decided he had to have one. From there he began building RC models and joined a club.

In 1975, Bob and his father started ROMCO Manufacturing, Inc. The company produced precision-machined parts for the aerospace and oil tool industry. In the early 1980s, business had slowed because of a downturn in the oil industry.

In 1985, Bob looked to his hobby for a new business venture and dabbled with making spinners from bar stock aluminum. Using the expertise and equipment available at ROMCO, the company designed a cone and determined a way that the inside and outside could simultaneously be cut.

The spinners they crafted came out lightweight and precise. Bob determined that there may be a market for it if he could get modelers to look beyond the product’s price and appreciate its quality. The spinners were individually produced using high-quality materials, which made the cost significantly higher than other commercially available spinners.

Full of enthusiasm, Bob went to the Toledo Expo in 1985 to show his spinners to the masses. Unable to get a booth, he walked the show floor and talked with exhibitors and attendees. Many were indeed impressed with what they saw, especially the Pylon Racing and FAI crowd.

Bob shared that one notable Scale modeler whom he admired showed interest in the product until he heard the price. The man replied, “A spinner is a spinner and they are ten bucks!”

In 1986, the spinners went into full production with 2-, 2.5-, and 3-inch sizes available. The family determined a name after much discussion in the shop. Everyone also had a hand in designing the logo. Several sketches found their way onto the shop bulletin board until they settled on one that represented their products.

Bob explained that Tru-Turn was built upon customer service and quality, providing a money-back guarantee from a company headed by a fellow modeler who was knowledgeable and readily available to answer questions.

That same year, Bob went to the Nats at Lake Charles, Louisiana. He took several spinners and gave some to the contestants so they could try the product and provide feedback. He also had a booth at the Toledo Expo that year and took out an ad in Model Airplane News. After that he told me that “the phones started ringing off the hook and haven’t stopped since.”

Horizon Hobby was the first and largest distributor to support Tru-Turn. Sig, Ace R/C, Great Planes, and several other companies began to come online in the late 1980s.

In 1989, Bob’s father passed away. He had always been highly supportive of the business and was able to see it take off. He was immensely proud of what they accomplished.

In the early-to-mid 1990s, Tru-Turn began designing spinners in several new shapes and sizes. Important releases such as the FAI spinner suggested by Ivan Christianson and the P-51 and AT-6 variants hit the market with widespread approval. Today Tru-Turn has approximately 15 shapes of spinners that range in size from 1 inch to the 61/2-inch ultimate spinner made from 45 pounds of aluminum!

Knowing that the company is willing to expand its product line, I inquired of Bob how he determines what new products to produce. “You watch the requests that come in and watch what some of the kit manufacturers and engine manufacturers are doing,” he said. “Wherever the market is going, that is where we will be.”

After a new spinner design has been determined, it takes between six and eight weeks until the offering is put into production, thanks to the in-house work. Tru-Turn spinners are 100% made in the US. Sourcing the raw materials, production, and anodizing, if requested, all happen in the US.

When purchasing a Tru-Turn spinner you receive a product that is consistently manufactured to the same specifications. A backplate purchased today will fit a spinner made several years ago. The flexibility comes with the ability to select an adapter for nearly any production RC engine. Beyond that, special slots or modifications can also be incorporated.

Ultimately, Bob lets the quality of the spinners speak for itself and avoids flashy advertising or dropping names of notable modelers who use his products. “I would rather you buy my product because it is what you want,” he told me.

At the end of our call, I asked Bob what he was most proud of. He responded with, “Customer service. When I walk around at events, people tell me they love the product. We want to maintain quality control and understand how important it is that the customer receives a quality product. We push quality before anything else and so far it is working.”

—Jay Smith
jays@modelaircraft.org



Win Merchandise from Model Aviation and Tru-Turn

For an opportunity to win the grand prize, a $200 gift certificate and a Tru-Turn ball cap, or one of five $35 gift certificates and a ball cap, submit your answer to the following question: Where are Tru-Turn Spinners manufactured? You can find the answer on the company’s website.

To submit your entry via email, send your answer, full name, postal address, and telephone number to MA Editor-in-Chief Jay Smith. Please include “About Us” in the subject line. To enter via postal mail, send the preceding information to MA at AMA, to Jay Smith’s attention. Readers can also enter using the form below.

Entries will be accepted through September 30, 2013. Six winners will be selected on or before October 4, 2013. One entry per person is allowed. Those that are lost, late, misdirected, garbled, or incomplete for any reason will be ineligible.

This contest is open to legal residents of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and US military members with APO/FPO addresses. AMA employees are ineligible.

The winner will be selected in a random drawing from among all eligible entries with the correct answer by an Academy employee or employees. The winner will be notified by telephone or email and his or her name and state of residence will be published in a future issue of MA and posted on the AMA website.

1 comments

When ordering, Amanda and I exchanged several e-mails it ensure that I received the right product, with the right adapters. It was perfect!
I won't hesitate for a second to do business with these folks again!
Good by forever cheap plastic wannabe spinners!

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