AAF Insignia

GO TO...

ACME DEPOT


Type A-2 Page
 Introduction
 History
 Details, Part 1
 Details, Part 2
 Details, Part 3
 Originals
 Reproductions
 Bibliography
 A-2 P.A.Q.


8AF Insignia

Reproductions

A-2 logo

(This section may get a bit more editorial in nature, but I take that as my prerogative. The opinions voiced are opinions only, they belong solely to me, and you may take them or leave them as you like.)

A good rule of thumb in seeking a true-to-the-original A-2 replica is a familiar one: you get what you pay for. Expect to pay in the vicinity of US$500 to $1700 for a good one, and even in that range expect to find varying levels of authenticity in the smaller details as previously described. In seeking a new jacket one must decide upon the degree of authenticity which will satisfy them. One thing is for certain and that is that there will be a broad range from which to choose.

Many sources will make grand claims about authenticity but they may not hold up when judged against real A-2 jackets. Some transgressions of authenticity such as handwarmer pockets, are clear and obvious, while others such as materials, construction, or fit can be more subjective and subtle. Studying original jackets, or photos of jackets, or period photos of jackets being worn can help with making this distinction. Then, try on a jacket, look in the mirror, and decide if it looks like 1942.

Where does one look for an really good A-2 copy? Not in a department store. Mail order is about the only way. Does that mean that you are taking your chances with fit and satisfaction? Yes, it does. Is it worth it when you find just what you are looking for? Yes, it is.

A good place to start looking for a jacket source is in some aviation and warbird magazines such as Aviation History, Flight Journal, Smithsonian Air&Space, Air Classics, etc. (Also see the jackets links page on this site).

Write to the vendors for catalogs or call them up. Some of them will even send you leather and material samples to check out. Also, if you attend militaria shows or gun shows or if you are just cruising the mall and you see someone wearing a jacket that looks good, ask them where they got it and what they think of it.

Eastman Leather Clothing

Eastman Leather Clothing in Devon, England, makes their own label A-2 as well as high authenticity copies of original maker jackets such as Rough Wear, Star Sportswear, and Cable Raincoat. U.S. and Canadian sales of Eastman products are handled solely by History Preservation Associates (HPA).

Eastman publishes a large (9.5" x 13.5") full color catalog that is nothing short of a must-have. Sure, it's a sales piece, but it's 110 pages with dozens of period photos, examples of original jackets and other gear, and detail close-ups similar to those I have provided on this site. There is also a historical section devoted to Rough Wear Clothing with some precious tidbits. It costs a few dollars, but to me it is easily worth many times that for the reference photos and lots of information you won't find elsewhere.

[HPA is also a source for high quality original artifacts (based on availability), that is, rare and desirable items such as jackets, gear, and real crush caps. They don't deal in your basic items like uniform pieces or insignia, though.]

Real McCoy's

Real McCoy's is a Japanese owned firm based in New Zealand. McCoy's makes high authenticity A-2 copies of original makers including Rough Wear, Dubow Monarch, and Werber contracts. The spec labels they make are also quite accurate, including the integrated size on the Dubow 27798 contract label.

The Real McCoy's Japan unit is operational again after a brief absence from the scene. Their catalog is traditionally much more extensive compared to the New Zealand unit, but their goods are harder to acquire.

Flight Suits

Flight Suits produces several A-2 configurations and they are also a government contractor. One of their A-2's is called a Historical A-2. Flight Suits offers this model in a number of combinations of hide (horsehide, goatskin), color (russet brown, mahogany), and collar (with or without collar stand). The jacket is cut to a more modern pattern but otherwise retains many of the characteristics of original A-2's, and the quality of materials and construction is very high. While not competing at the extreme level of authenticity offered by the aforementioned makers, the Flight Suits Historical A-2 is a strong product at a more moderate price level.

FlightJacket.com

FlightJacket.com is an economically priced alternative to the premium reproductions. (Previously sold under the name U.S. Authentic)

Bradley Associates

I have learned that Colonel Bradley has passed away, and his business has been closed. (10 October 2004)

Aero Leather Company

The Aero Leather Company ,a trade name for the Transatlantic Clothing Company in Scotland, has taken on the name of the original Aero Leather Clothing Company and manufactures Aero A-2 reproductions and many other military and recreational leather jackets.

Goodwear Leather Coat Company

The Goodwear Leather Coat Company, established in 2007, is a newcomer to the premium A-2 reproduction scene. This made-to-order U.S. maker applies an emphasis on detailed research toward highly accurate reproductions of many orginal makers. Some of their models are adorned with copies of original maker labels while others have house labels to match their unmistakable original maker jacket characteristics.

Bill Kelso Mfg. Co.

Bill Kelso Mfg. Co., produces very nicely detailed original maker copies of the A-2, M-422, M-422A, and more.

Diamond Clothing Co., Inc.

The Diamond Clothing Co., from the same source as the crush cap repro maker Diamond Cap Co. offers a number of authentic original maker A-2 jacket repros in off-the-rack sizing and construction, and also offers a sampling of crush caps and motorcycle jackets.

Others

There is one other relatively well-known maker of ostensibly high quality A-2 reproductions which at one time was accounted for on this page. I have chosen to no longer list them, however, due to the nature of my personal experiences with them.

There are many other makers of A-2 style jackets out there as well and the best advice for making a serious purchase is to learn all you can, know what you want, and don't settle for less.


An interesting source of information and photographs of reproductions of A-2's and other flight jackets is the Japanese published "Flight Jacket Brand Catalog." This annual catalog is a combination of advertising, photo layouts of repro jackets, and historical coverage. A large number of manufacturers and their products are represented in one volume for convenient comparison. While the catalog is published in Japanese for the market in Japan, the maker names do appear in English and the photos speak for themselves.

A source in the U.S. for purchasing the "Flight Jacket Brand Catalog" is the Sasuga Japanese Bookstore in Cambridge, Mass. They are on the Web at www.sasugabooks.com.


Several readers have written with an interest in acquiring a modern style A-2 jacket as is issued today. Here are some online sources for these:


Accessorize Your A-2

War Whistles produces copies of English made WWI and WWII military whistles, including the well-known Acme Thunderer. Great for adding a ditch whistle to your jacket.

Fading into the background. 26 June 2006.

The following links are to pages which have detailed evaluations of reproduction jackets and a page of jacket measurements submitted by readers.

Many people over the years have found these evaluations and measurements to be very useful and helpful in selecting a jacket that would best suit their interests. But over these same years I have had experienced a diminishing passion for pursuing jackets to evaluate and for keeping up with new or evolving repros. I have not done a new evaluation in over three years. The reality is, I'm done. But rather than delete these pages entirely from the site, I am leaving them here in the background solely as historical reference.


Previous page Previous page


[Type A-2 Page | Introduction | History | Details | Originals | Repros | Bibliography | A-2 P.A.Q.]

[Acme Depot]  [E-mail: jackets-at-acmedepot.com (replace -at- with @)]

Copyright © 1995-2015 Marc D. Weinshenker. All rights reserved.