Jacket Evaluation: Real McCoy's (Japan) Rough Wear 27752 A-2(Filed: 9 June 2000)
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Maker: The Real McCoy's (Japan)
Model: Reproduction Rough Wear 27752 A-2, seal brown mustang hide, pigment finish
Size: 44 regular
Date of manufacture: April/May 2000
Date of evaluation: June 2000
Introductory NoteTo aid with the assessment of authenticity, an original Rough Wear 16159 contract was available along with many photo references of the original 27752 contract.
Fit/cut/proportionThis A-2 reproduction from Real McCoy's Japan is constructed with a pattern and proportions consistent with original wartime A-2 jackets, and the overall look of this jacket when worn is also consistent with original jackets.
For fit reference, I am 5'10", 180 lbs, wear a size 42 suit jacket off the rack, and take a 34" shirt sleeve. This size 44 Regular jacket is a comfortable fit for me when wearing an average weight shirt underneath, and there does appear to be some room for layering. The shoulder seams square up nicely at the edges of my shoulders. The sleeve length is proportional for the jacket as a whole, with the leather coming down to about an inch above the break in my wrist. As I stand with my arms at my side the knit cuffs are compressed as much as half way up into the sleeve (many people refer to this as "tunneling").
This example, while labeled size 44, fits as I would expect a true size 42 to fit, as I am a fairly consistent size 42. The measurements and fit of this jacket are also very close overall to the measurements and fit of the original Rough Wear 16159 contract size 42. I am going to assume that Rough Wear would not have altered their templates between the 16159 and 27752 contracts, so I am going to be confident of using the 16159 for comparison.
Hide[NOTE: More so than any other component of an A-2, the hide may vary from jacket to jacket and so not all of the observations from this one example will necessarily be consistent with other individual examples, nor will they be representative of the effects of time and wear.]
The leather is a combination chrome/vegetable tanned mustang hide with what McCoy's calls a "pigment finish." McCoy's says that this finish uses a comparatively finer ink, tends not to fade as much, and tends to be more durable than other finishes. As new, the finish has a shine to it which is not excessive but is greater than most other reproductions. The surface is mostly uniform over the whole of the jacket, with a fine grain structure which includes some areas of coarser wrinkling. With some flexing and handling there is additional wrinkling coming forth. While the graining structure is visible in the surface, the finish is heavy enough to soften the details and fine definition as compared to original A-2 hides.
The color is a very dark seal brown which is consistent with seal brown shades used by other reproduction makers, but to me is overly dark compared to original A-2's, except perhaps for some re-dyed examples. Photo references of the Rough Wear 27752 contract do indicate a relatively darker brown among wartime A-2's, but they are not as dark as this shade.
The thickness of the hide is consistent with original jackets, although it may be a bit thicker than the average. The leather also has a density to it such that jacket feels heavier than most and has a good deal of stiffness and resistance. This is really an observation and not a criticism, but it means that this jacket will take some time and effort to break in for comfort. It feels like a tough and durable jacket.
LiningThe color, weight, and feel of the lining is very authentic to the Rough Wear 16159. The weave pattern, upon close inspection, is not quite the same as originals (all of mine are about the same), although I've not yet seen a reproduction lining that was exactly the same as originals.
KnitsThe knits overall are good in color and weight compared to originals.
The cuff knits are about a quarter inch longer (2.75 inches) compared to originals on hand (2.5 inches), but this can vary on originals. The cuff knits do have the proper double weave but the upper coarser weave only extends downward at most a half inch, whereas at least three-quarter inches is more typical. So, most of the cuff length is the tapered tight weave.
ZipperThe zipper is a nickel Talon reproduction with the later unmarked bar on the puller and the early Talon marked stopper box. This is an unusual combination. The 27752 photo references on hand indicate this basic style of Talon zip but with the later unmarked stopper box.
The stopper box reproduction accuracy is very good, and it is the only one of this early style I've yet seen reproduced. The puller and slider box are reasonably accurate reproductions but are of a more matte finish compared to the shiny finish of originals.
Correct triangular reinforcement stitching is found at the bottom of each side of the zipper.
SnapsThe stud snaps are excellent and the best I have seen at reproducing the originals, particularly in the presence of the dimple in the pocket studs, a detail I haven't seen in others. The back of the snaps in the pocket are marked United Carr. The four sections of the female side of the collar snaps are marked with U, C, F, and C, presumably for United Carr Fastener Corp. These markings are consistent with originals.
The only real visual difference I can find from originals is on the female side of the pocket snap which has triangular indentations around the circumference, whereas the originals have circles.
Throat hookThe throat hook is a fine reproduction and has a particular detail -- the loop half on the right has a little bump in the center -- I have not seen on other reproductions. Original A-2's are seen to have either this style or the flat version. While the bump is a nice little detail to see, the Rough Wear photo references I have, including the 27752, all have the flat version.
StitchingThe thread used is a dark brown color. Photo examples I can find of the Rough Wear 27752 contract show olive drab thread, so the dark brown thread here seems to be a deviation.
Stitch counts measure out predominately at nine per inch with variations between eight and ten. This is finer than most originals which tend to be about eight.
Top stitching placement from seamThe top stitching placement, at about three-sixteenths inches from the seam, is more than the often seen one-eighth inch, but this wider spacing is proper for Rough Wear.
CollarThe collar is just a bit large in proportion to the jacket, both visually and by measurement. In width (the short dimension, from the top of the collar stand to the edge of the collar), the collar is from one-quarter to one-half inch greater than the original Rough Wear 16159 contract and about three-quarters inch greater in length (the long dimension). Specifically, the McCoy's width is from 3.0 to 3.25 inches while the original is about 2.75 inches. In length, the McCoy's is 17.75 inches vs 17.0 inches measured at the collar stand attachment.
Additionally, the collar points are too rounded for Rough Wear. They should be more pointed. The collar points measure 3-3/8 inches from the point of attachment, compared to 2-7/8 for the 16159. The angle of the collar points is reasonably correct for Rough Wear, measuring 65 degrees compared to 67 on the 16159.
The top-stitching around the edge of the collar on this example is fully a quarter-inch from the edge of the collar, whereas it should be about an eighth-inch. Many photos in the McCoy's catalog show proper stitching, so some manufacturing inconsistencies are apparent.
Consistent with Rough Wear A-2's, this jacket has a collar stand. The width of the collar stand is an appropriate 5/8 inches.
EpauletsThe epaulets are generally of the Rough Wear style but with some variations in size and stitching. Rough Wear epaulets tend to be relatively wide but the ones on this McCoy's example, while a little inconsistent from right to left, are a bit narrow by about one-eighth inch.
The twin stitch lines running on each side of the epaulet tend to be narrow on Rough Wear at about 3/16 inches, but here they are spaced at about 1/4 inch.
The box-stitching areas are square in shape as typical of Rough Wear, but are reduced in size due to the epaulet construction.
Wind flapThe width of the wind flap measures 1-3/8 inches.
SleevesThe sleeves are very consistent in shape to the original Rough Wear, but they taper a little less to the cuff attachment. The outside diameter of the leather where it meets the knit measures to be about 12 inches on the McCoy's and 11.5 inches on the Rough Wear 16159.
One other observation about the sleeves is that the bare seam (the one which is not top-stitched) tends to roll inward a bit. The reason for this seems to be related to the seam allowance inside standing straight up and not lying down to keep the seam flat. While some other reproductions have these seams glued down, the originals I inspected for comparison do not. The seams on the originals do lie flat and this may be due to the effects of time, whether they were originally glued or not. I'm really not sure if this an authenticity detail, but I noticed it and am pointing it out.
PocketsThe pockets are proper in stitching, placement, and mostly in pattern. The pocket flap shape is not quite representative of Rough Wear, being a bit too pointed in the center. The size of the pockets are just a bit smaller than those on the 16159 by one-quarter inch in each width and height, although the appearance is fine.
Hanger loopThe hanger loop is the typical box-stitched style.
TYPE A-2 DRAWING NO. 30-1415 CONTRACT NO. W535 AC-27752 ROUGH WEAR CLOTHING CO. MIDDLETOWN, PA. PROPERTY AIR FORCE U.S. ARMYThis is an excellent label with lettering size and style virtually identical to originals. The only apparent variation from originals is that the aspect ratio of the label (ratio of width to height) seems to be greater than originals, so it looks just the slightest bit elongated, but this is a minor point.
The size tab below the main label has the correct style numerals, but the size of the tab appears a bit large compared to original Rough Wear examples.
Pocket labelsUnder the left side of the right pocket flap is a white linen style label marked with NO and SIZE, typical of Rough Wear jackets, but no data is marked on the label. This label on the 16159 appears on the left side of the left pocket flap.
Centered under the left pocket flap is a woven label reading, "Reproduced by The Real McCoy's."
Inspector stampThere is no AN inspector stamp, although I would expect to find one in the lower front left corner of the lining, a typical placement in Rough Wear jackets.
Insignia stamp/transferNo AAF insignia stamps or transfers exist on this example.
Summary and overall impressionThe historical authenticity of this jacket is excellent in general although there are some small deviations relative to the original Rough Wear 27752. This degree of authenticity, in combination with the very high quality of materials and construction, clearly places the jacket among the leading A-2 reproductions.
As this particular McCoy's product comes from their Japan division and therefore bears a substantial price premium in most world markets, an obvious question is, is it worth the difference? Given an expected price of 160,000 Yen (or more depending on size), which translates to about 1500 US Dollars at the time of this writing, this question is indeed pertinent. Other reproductions of similar quality sell in the US for 525 to 575 US Dollars. In Japan, these same reproductions sell for 100,000 to 140,000 Yen, according to prices listed in the 2000 Flight Jacket Brand Catalog.
As nice a jacket as this McCoy's is, it would be very difficult to justify the cost in the US compared to the alternatives of similar character. The price comparison in Japan is closer, but the additional cost might remain difficult to rationalize on a purely comparative basis. I assume, however, that McCoy's Japan is well-established in the Japanese market and that their products are appropriately priced to sell.
For those readers unfamiliar with The Real McCoy's, they also have a separate division in New Zealand which markets a more limited but similar line of A-2 jackets to the US and other markets outside of Japan. The prices for the New Zealand jackets are more similar to those of the other makers of premium jacket reproductions.
For more informationSee the Real McCoy's Japan Web site at www.realmccoys.co.jp
Copyright © 2000 Marc D. Weinshenker. All rights reserved.