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Buzz Rickson's B-2...a pictorial review of an endangered species!

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by JanSolo, Sep 20, 2011.

  1. Hello everybody,

    Today I’d like to post a little pictorial review of my Buzz Rickson’s B2. Since these are quite rare and good pictures are hard to find especially on non-Japanese sites I’ve decided to take a couple of detail shots to give you an impression of how a BR is constructed.

    First of all I want to thank Original Flight Jackets Germany for ordering a jacket they normally wouldn’t carry in their product range. Also I have to thank Rob Brace of Eastman Leather for being very helpful. He never got tired to answer any question I had regarding the fit/details of the jacket. Last but not least special thanks go out to John Lever who sparked the interest in the BR version of this rare flight jacket.

    The jacket:



    The B-2 is a reproduction of a flight jacket that only saw a short military service. The B-2 entered the Army Airforce at some point in the 1930s long before the US became involved in WWII


    However it was soon superseded by the much warmer all-sheepskin jackets that were much more suitable for the freezing temperatures in high altitude bombers.

    I can see why this decision was made. The B-2 is without doubt a warm jacket due to the wool/silk pile lining but it never gets near the degree of insulation you can expect from a B-3, Irvin or M-445.
    At the time it probably was more complicated and more expensive to make than a sheepskin jacket

    As you would expect, the Buzz replica is very well made with perfect seams and great attention to detail.

    Here are some key features and observations:

    • Shell is made from semi-aniline seal horsehide which is nice and thick with a good weight behind it. But it’s also surprisingly pliable and perfectly wearable right out of the box. The jacket is substantial but not ridiculously heavy. Interesting to see that the hide comes from Europe:


    • The lining is greyish-brown moquette which is a type of blanket cloth which looks and feels very much like “Teddy Bear” fur.


    Warp is black wool, weft is grey-brown three-ply silk which is trimmed and combed to create a fur-like surface.


    • The collar is very thick, soft and amazingly plushy with a very interesting olive hue which is impossible to capture with my auto focus camera.



    I know it’s sheepskin but the collar looks and feels so dense and soft that it could easily be mistaken for some other animal.

    • All zippers are heavy duty “Hookless” repros with a complicated stopper box assembly.


    I have to say that the main zipper looks very “old school” almost like a museum piece. All parts that could suffer from premature wear are covered with sheet metal- a fact that I really like.

    • The jacket fits much better than I expected it would . The fit can be compared to an alpaca lined Aero Café Racer. Not sure if such a combination exists but the fit is definitely similar. Trim and long sleeves, narrow arm holes, slim body, and bike style cuffs. Of course it lacks a bi-swing back and various bits and pieces but all in all the B-2 reminds me of a very warm fur collared Café Racer. Here's a view of the 2-piece back. Please note that the horizontal seam just keeps the heavy lining from sagging. There is no separate yoke:

  2. Some more shots with that strange looking Westphalian:




  3. ButteMT61

    ButteMT61 I'll Lock Up

    Wow Jan, that's gorgeous! Thanks for the review and pics - a real lovely and unique jacket! And just in time for fall :)
    How long did that take to get made?
  4. Edward

    Edward Bartender

    Rufus, who used to post here (his job keeps him too busy for forums these days) has one of these, so I saw it in person a couple of years ago. Absolutely stunning jacket. In some ways I prefer it to the B3. I would adore to have one of these myself, just never quite had the cash to hand....

    It's a real shame, IMO, that Aero don't give the B2 a go, I think they could make a gorgeous version.
  5. Joel Shapiro

    Joel Shapiro One Too Many

    Great jacket. Is Buzz still making it? I can't find it on HPA's site.
  6. Jan,
    Great review, very well considered remarks and excellent photos. Lets hope you get some cooler weather soon so you can wear it and enjoy it.
    I have the same jacket and it looks like mine has a slightly more russet hue to the horsehide, but this could be the photos/white balance. Also some of the earlier BR jackets had collar buckles rather than the buttons and loop closure.
  7. Phantomfixer

    Phantomfixer Practically Family

    Last edited: Sep 20, 2011
  8. Metatron

    Metatron One Too Many

    Epic! Trying to wipe the stupid grin off my face as I look at the photos. Looks like German flight suit design might have been influenced by these, or that they at least share some features, including the cafe racer 'collar stand' and zipped sleeves.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2011
  9. eckhartus

    eckhartus Familiar Face

    Magnificent jacket. I hope I can buy to myself it one day:eusa_clap
  10. Thanks everybody! I'm sure that BR is still making the B-2 but it doesn't seem to be a popular jacket. Eastman and HPA have both dropped this particular model for some unknown reasons. Maybe it has something to do with the Japanese grading. My jacket is a 40 and I currently have a 38.5 inch chest measured over a t-shirt. Size 44 is the biggest size you can get in a B-2 therefore all true chest sizes above 42 inches would be excluded from this model. Maybe this does partly explain why the jacket is not a strong seller...
  11. And then there's the price ....
  12. True!
  13. WhiskeyTangoFox

    WhiskeyTangoFox One of the Regulars

    Jan is absolutely right. These Buzz Rickson's B-2 jackets are really fantastic. I'm almost ready to pull mine out of the closet for the third year now that the weather turned cooler. They are comfortable right out of the box and they just keep looking better year after year.

    The nice thing about the B-2 is that it has a wide range of comfortable temperatures (at least for me). It's good in cool autumn rain and when the cold winter wind starts biting, the collar goes up and covers most of my face and I'm ready to go.

    Congratulations on a fine jacket, Jan. You will definitely get a lot of use out of it.


  14. Edward

    Edward Bartender

    Jan, I'd say it's partly that, but a lot more to do with the fact that these jackets were never really that widely issued, damn few and far between have survived (one original did surface in pictures on the Lounge recently), they weren't worn during the war, and so unlike the B3/A2/Irvin/whatever, a generation of kids haven't grown up with romanticised images of B2s being worn....
  15. ButteMT61

    ButteMT61 I'll Lock Up

    The unique nature is a plus to me. It's like riding a Triumph instead of a Honda :)
  16. Fly Boy

    Fly Boy One of the Regulars

    I'd love to own one of these as well - Not going to happen at present unfortunately, which means I'll be stuck trying to find one second hand in a year or so! :eusa_doh:
  17. Thanks again fellas!

    you are absolutely right about the lack of WWII aura. The B-2 really is a good looking and well made jacket with lots of useful features...it just happened to enter service a decade too early!

    I'm sure that Aero could bring it back to life if they wanted to. The BR version doesn't display any degree of workmanship Aero couldn't duplicate. The B-2 is not rocket science.

    Just out of curiosity I've already found a German company that manufactures woven and knitted moquette fabrics made from natural materials like wool, silk, cotton and mohair. Steiff and Kösener use them for the highest quality line of cuddly toys. So you know it's quality...

    This German fellow here is made from 100% mohair with virgin wool warp. That stuff would be ideal for a B-2 lining, although it will be expensive:

  18. Fifty150

    Fifty150 A-List Customer

    You're pretty cute too. ;):eusa_clap;)
  19. ButteMT61

    ButteMT61 I'll Lock Up

    lol !
  20. alfyman

    alfyman One of the Regulars

    This Jacket is Very Nice, Fits you very well, Thank you

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