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Best A-2 Jacket Reproduction?


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#1 WWII Parachutist

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Posted 09 February 2019 - 02:52 PM

Calling all A-2 experts out there!   What companies make the best quality and value WWII A-2 jacket reproductions out there? 

 

Eastman's are amazing, but I suspect I wouldn't wear it much for fear of damaging such an costly jacket.  There are lots of cheap ones from China for $100-$200, but I don't want a piece of junk.

 

SM Wholesale looked pretty good at a decent price. Quartermaster Inspector looked good from pictures, but they cut so many corners on other gear that I suspect this jacket will have issues as well. But, I'm not an A-2 expert, so that's why I'm asking you guys! Thoughts on the makers mentioned, as well as others?

 

 



#2 P-59A

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Posted 09 February 2019 - 04:21 PM

Bang for the buck is Cooper.



#3 rusl4

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Posted 09 February 2019 - 04:37 PM

Eastman all the way



#4 Doodlebewi

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Posted 09 February 2019 - 05:02 PM

Its definitely Eastman or go for a 1950s civilian copy

#5 P-59A

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Posted 09 February 2019 - 05:47 PM

 Eastman is a good jacket, but cost and quality were the issue. Cooper still makes the A-2 that is a good cut. It's good quality and you can find one for used one nice size for $100.00. Eastman's are way more.



#6 WWII Parachutist

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Posted 09 February 2019 - 09:20 PM

Thank you everyone for your advice and guidance, very much appreciated. I'm a parachute collector, so I'm looking for one to display with my AAF chutes and then for occasional wear. The Eastman is simply amazing - that might be overkill just to display the parachutes though. I might go all out on one though. 

 

Does cooper only make the goatskin and with the 50/50 poly-cotton liner? How are they as far as the detailing?

 

Joshua



#7 hbtcoveralls

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Posted 09 February 2019 - 10:02 PM

this is a new company from one of the makers of the well known Bill Kelso jackets

 

They've been well reviewed on the Vintage Leather Jacket forum and cost about 1/2 or less than the similar Eastman around 600 us shipped to your door

 

They're made in Greece and the only thing negative I've heard is that they take a while to order and arrive (months) and that they only make the Dubow pattern WWII A-2 in either russett or seal brown

 

https://jadubowmfg.com/



#8 P-59A

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Posted 10 February 2019 - 12:15 AM

This is me in my Cooper at an air show.

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  • B-17 Pilot 134.jpg

Edited by P-59A, 10 February 2019 - 12:17 AM.


#9 63 RECON

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Posted 10 February 2019 - 12:25 AM

Real McCoys The Few from Japan or Goodwear



#10 P-59A

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Posted 10 February 2019 - 01:06 AM

In this photo you see the Cooper A-2  I wore in the B-24 photo next to another Cooper A-2. To better match The period flight gear I darkened The Cooper A-2 to better match my gear. As you can see they come a lighter shade of brown.

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#11 Glidertrooper

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Posted 10 February 2019 - 01:49 AM

I have had and sold some Eastman gear and jackets (I'm in England so don't have the exchange / customs / shipping headache) and they are excellent ...BUT... don't particularly hold all that original sales ticket value on the secondary market. So try looking out for Eastman jackets on eBay or keep an eye out on the Classified section on the Eastman website - https://www.eastmanleather.com/classifieds.php 

 

Real McCoy's do make the simply beautiful jackets, but the price is eye-watering, well certainly here in the UK. I do love their non-leather repro military jackets though. Again, keep an eye out on the secondary market - here in the UK the UK distributor for Real McCoy's have their own secondary sale site - https://www.marrkt.com/uk/ - which I have bought Real McCoy's from and sometimes the jackets / gear they sell on there are clearly ex-shop-display stock (they have a small retail shop in Covent Garden London as well as their Superdenim mail order website business in York, Northern England) which are unworn and offered with a very reasonable mark down in price!

 

Marrkt also have Eastman, Buzz Rickson's and Aero Leather on offer, when they have the stock. There is a 'good' condition Eastman 'Pearl Harbour' A-2 size 44 on offer there right now for UK Sterling £650 versus £999.99 brand new from the Eastman website - https://www.marrkt.c...1218-ab-01.html - Marrkt tend to only offer gear in minimum 'good' condition, so you won't open the box and find you have been sold a complete beater.

 

 

P-59A love your patched up Cooper A-2 and the in-gear pic. Out of interest, what is the item strapped to your inside right leg in the pic??

 

Cheers......John



#12 P-59A

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Posted 10 February 2019 - 10:05 AM

John, That is a bail out oxygen bottle. Leather gear is associated with 42-43 and O-2 bailout bottles are seen in photo's from that time. Bail out bottles continued to be issued, but in later years they were worn in the pockets, strapped on a chute harness or stayed in the carry on gear bag. They were intended to be worn on the leg, but I have to say that location isn't very good for walking around. Yours David



#13 P-59A

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Posted 10 February 2019 - 10:32 AM

One more thing, I painted my jacket and chest patch's myself. I bought the wings, name tag and shoulder patch's on e-bay and painted some missing details on the shoulder patch's. I had a boot repair shop sew everything on. Out the door everything including the jacket cost me less than $200.00. Bang for the buck! Would I do that to an Eastman, Rickson or McCoy? Nope! I will roll the dice on the chances of me screwing up a hundred dollar jacket, but not a $700.00 jacket.


Edited by P-59A, 10 February 2019 - 10:33 AM.


#14 Glidertrooper

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Posted 10 February 2019 - 01:50 PM

Thanks for the info on the bailout bottle David. You did a great job on your A-2, which is very eye catching.

 

Nice thing about being in the UK is Eastman have told me they are happy to do any patch attachment work on their jackets for me, so I know they would mess it up like I might trying myself! To date I haven't had the heart to get any of my jackets patched up though, but I recently identified a B-26 Marauder Squadron that flew out of Andrews Field air base (formerly USAAF Station AAF-485) that was next to my old home town in England and would love to get a jacket patched to that 9th AF unit.

 

Cheers......John



#15 P-59A

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Posted 10 February 2019 - 02:51 PM

Thanks for the info on the bailout bottle David. You did a great job on your A-2, which is very eye catching.

 

Nice thing about being in the UK is Eastman have told me they are happy to do any patch attachment work on their jackets for me, so I know they would mess it up like I might trying myself! To date I haven't had the heart to get any of my jackets patched up though, but I recently identified a B-26 Marauder Squadron that flew out of Andrews Field air base (formerly USAAF Station AAF-485) that was next to my old home town in England and would love to get a jacket patched to that 9th AF unit.

 

Cheers......John

Well John, Like you I did my research first. I found a nose art photo of Chow Hound and copied the photo. I scaled the photo up and then printed on my printer. I drew 1 inch grids on the paper and transfered it to my jacket and then painted with Testors model paints. I did the same for the chest patch's after my research and painted them on leather from a scrap jacket.  Chowhound was with the 91st BG (H) 322 BS out of Bassingbourn England. Note all of the A-2's are darker than the guy on the far left.

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Edited by P-59A, 10 February 2019 - 02:53 PM.


#16 doyler

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Posted 10 February 2019 - 03:44 PM

I had a nice Cooper in a size 42 and tried to sell it here and no takers.It was cheap(around $60)

 

I know member Steve S hand makes bothe A2 and USN flight jackets.Dont know the cost but they are pieces of art.



#17 WWII Parachutist

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Posted 10 February 2019 - 09:37 PM

One more thing, I painted my jacket and chest patch's myself. I bought the wings, name tag and shoulder patch's on e-bay and painted some missing details on the shoulder patch's. I had a boot repair shop sew everything on. Out the door everything including the jacket cost me less than $200.00. Bang for the buck! Would I do that to an Eastman, Rickson or McCoy? Nope! I will roll the dice on the chances of me screwing up a hundred dollar jacket, but not a $700.00 jacket.

I love the personalization on your jacket  - superb!



#18 WWII Parachutist

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Posted 10 February 2019 - 09:40 PM

I do see both perspectives on the jackets...and I like them both.

 

I'm considering an Eastman for my display room, so everything is authentic, and then finding a Cooper for wearing around - so I can actually get work done in the parachute loft without fear of damaging it! 



#19 FNG

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 04:38 AM

If you're in Europe it's Eastman https://www.eastmanleather.com/ 
If you're in the USA it's Goodwear. http://www.goodwearleather.com/

Everything else is a poor imitation imo.



#20 P-59A

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 11:35 AM

If you're in Europe it's Eastman https://www.eastmanleather.com/ 
If you're in the USA it's Goodwear. http://www.goodwearleather.com/

Everything else is a poor imitation imo.

HAhahahaha $1,500.00 for a jacket? WOW! I'm sure they are very nice jackets, but I paid less for my B-24 pilots seat and my P-51 pilots seat put together! At least I sit on my B-24 seat every day. In Calif. I am only able to wear my jacket a dozen times a year, maybe. I never had anyone come up to me and tell me my jacket was a cheep fake, even at an air show. The vast majority of people have no idea what the difference between a $100.00 jacket and a $1,500.00 jacket is. IMHO



#21 phantomfixer

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 01:50 PM

HAhahahaha $1,500.00 for a jacket? WOW! I'm sure they are very nice jackets, but I paid less for my B-24 pilots seat and my P-51 pilots seat put together! At least I sit on my B-24 seat every day. In Calif. I am only able to wear my jacket a dozen times a year, maybe. I never had anyone come up to me and tell me my jacket was a cheep fake, even at an air show. The vast majority of people have no idea what the difference between a $100.00 jacket and a $1,500.00 jacket is. IMHO

 

 

so true about the public knowing the difference between A-2s/.....and a lot WWII vets love the Cooper/ Saddlery A-2s...soft goatskin and cheap...

 

Eastman patterns are great, but their hides vary from year to year...

Goodwear...really..8 month wait for a 1600 dollar jacket...they better have that thing in a week for that price

Kelso, never tried one

Lost Worlds...great hides good fit...love em

Gibson and Barnes  good midrange jackets

Flight jacket.com   good mid range but poor hardware

 

best bang for the buck IMO is Cooper/Saddlery...they are a WWII documented A2 jacket manufacturer, still in business...patterns are a bit off...still a decent jacket...try and find an early contract russet Saddlery ...



#22 monsoon

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Posted 07 March 2019 - 02:42 PM

Five Star Leather out of Pakistan is getting some traction over at the VLJ. Seems to be a good jacket at a decent price. 



#23 Scarecrow

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Posted 07 March 2019 - 06:50 PM



HAhahahaha $1,500.00 for a jacket? WOW! I'm sure they are very nice jackets, but I paid less for my B-24 pilots seat and my P-51 pilots seat put together! At least I sit on my B-24 seat every day. In Calif. I am only able to wear my jacket a dozen times a year, maybe. I never had anyone come up to me and tell me my jacket was a cheep fake, even at an air show. The vast majority of people have no idea what the difference between a $100.00 jacket and a $1,500.00 jacket is. IMHO

Have to agree with P-59A, for the best bang for your buck, Cooper jackets are a good product.  Not to put down Eastman, as there is no doubt that they make a great jacket.  It all comes down to it's intended use. For absolute authenticity then again it's Eastman.  I attend a couple of air shows a year, since I am a bit on the older side, portraying a fighter jockey is no longer authentically feasible, so I go for "older" pilot portrayals such as CNAC or Consairways/ATC Civilian branch.  Here are some pics of my A-2 jackets that I use.  The cost of 3 Eastman jackets would just be too cost prohibitive for something I might wear a couple of times a year.  The Snoopy jacket is a fantasy piece that I wear quite often as my 2 three year old granddaughters love Snoopy. As you can see from the photos I think Cooper does the trick.  Don't think I paid more then $75 (pre-painted) on Ebay for any of them.

resized_IMG_4009.jpg resized_IMG_4008.jpg



#24 Ronnie

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Posted 09 March 2019 - 06:36 PM

I have owned so many A2 jackets that I have lost count. I ordered leather samples from just about every company out there making A2’s. For my money there is none finer than the Eastman product.
Ronnie

#25 dmar836

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Posted 15 March 2019 - 03:47 PM

Best bet IMO is to wait for a used high-end replica on eBay. Many guys who buy low priced repros end up apologizing and making excuses for the little inaccuracies that inevitably become obvious. They don't have to make excuses but do as these just don't compare to originals or the detail of say a Goodwear. Some of the less expensive jackets - Coopers for example - stand out like a sore thumb to those who have and study originals. They aren't all bad - just not accurate next to a real A-2. A few will happen to fit better, lack the baggy look, and have hides that break in well but most are easily identified by pocket shape, collar fit, etc. I don't mean that to sound arrogant as some are reasonable representations and a 100% clone is not important to everyone. You have to decide what you want. For what some of the middle range jackets go for new(with questionable results based on currently available hides and the standard hardware they use) you can score on eBay a used Goodwear, Diamond Dave, or newer ELC. Just know that an older ELC may be a turd as they had early runs of really strange cuts and seamed to have a wide array of "custom" long or short sizing that certainly doesn't match the proportions of any original. Worse, they also had some stiff horse hides that didn't break in at all (had one - a Star Sportswear). These don't compare with some of their excellent modern stuff but you will pay a premium for those. Fair warning - If you find an old ELC "House A-2" with no specific contract on the label, they are very affordable, but beware - they might hang funny on your shoulders.

Among those who have collected repros it can become a holy grail search. Buying high end up front is rare but pretty much puts it all to rest.

JMO,

Dave


Edited by dmar836, 15 March 2019 - 03:52 PM.



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