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Buzz Rickson MA-1 William Gibson Collection in Slender Review

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by Gancho, Jun 4, 2012.

  1. Gancho

    Gancho One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    237
    Location:
    Hamburg, Germany
    Hi everybody,

    I´ve been in the read only mode for a year. Got a new job, new town and a lot of work. If have seen a lot of brilliant jackets and other stuff in your fabulous threads here.


    I hope that I will have soon the time to comment and to publish my new acquisitions. Here is a one that I have to show you outright.

    The Buzz Rickson Nylon jackets have always been a mythos to me. Only heard about them, but never seen one. Three weeks ago I had have a business date in Berlin. Before driving home I visited Burg & Schild, the only german dealer offering Buzz Rickson.

    The jacket come direct into my eyes. I was fascinated at once. The BR MA-1 is more heavy and stiff as I thought. No to compare with a leather jacket. But in comparing with the cheap repros of the MA-1, it is a real difference. The nylon is very durable and heavy. The making of the jacket is absolute fantastic. When I slide inside I felt in love!!!

    The William Gibson MA-1 was available in two cuts. A Mil-Spec. full cut and a slender cut. This is the slender one. The jacket is a real rarity so I´m very lucky to pic one.

    Here are some impressions:

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    The lining is absolute perfect.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Thanks for watching,

    Gancho
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2012
  2. Cole

    Cole One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    173
    Location:
    Germany
    Very nice jacket and perfect fit. :eusa_clap

    I have never been into the Nylon jackets, but this one looks realy good.
     
  3. Seb Lucas

    Seb Lucas I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    5,597
    Location:
    Australia
    The slim cut looks great. I wonder how much better it is made to an Alpha. Is the Dupont nylon used by both?
     
  4. TM

    TM A-List Customer

    Messages:
    309
    Location:
    California Central Coast
    For a full appreciation of this jacket one must read "Pattern Recognition" by William Gibson. A rather haunting novel with very little going on - but with amazing atmosphere and a certain fixation with clothing.

    Tony
     
  5. too much coffee

    too much coffee Practically Family

    Messages:
    912
    Location:
    Not too far from Spokane, WA
    Looks very good on you Gancho. Right up there with your Aero A-2.

    Regards,
    coffee
     
  6. Gancho

    Gancho One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    237
    Location:
    Hamburg, Germany
    Thanks for your kind words!

    The novel from Gibson is on my list and I hope that it will be a interessing one.

    @Cole: I saw the thread about your A2. Sorry that it is too roomy. Sometimes it took several jackets to find the right one. It took me 5 Cafe Racers to get the one really fits me like I wished.

    Have a nice day,

    Gancho
     
  7. Cole

    Cole One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    173
    Location:
    Germany
    No worries, the replacement jacket arrived about 2 weeks ago and this time they nailed the fit. :cool:
     
  8. bretron

    bretron Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,345
    Location:
    NW
    I'm a big fan of this jacket, having owned the 10th anniversary model myself (which is practically indistinguishable lest the tag). This thing is built like titanium nails. It's stiff, heavy and could withstand WWIII! IMO there is absolutely no comparison between this and an Alpha (maybe excluding the early "Replica" series).

    Unfortunately, the fit of mine was too tight in the arm holes, and rather than pitting it out I decided to let it go...

    Congrats on a fantastic fit of a superb MA-1!!
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2012
  9. Joel Shapiro

    Joel Shapiro One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,661
    Great fit. Beautiful jacket. Enjoy.
     
  10. Edward

    Edward Bartender

    Messages:
    19,255
    Location:
    London, UK
    I have no experience with the current Alpha line, but my nylon jackets are: Alpha Replica B15C, Alpha Vintage L2A, and Buzz Rickson B15C-MOD. The nylon used across all is pretty good. The L2A is nice. As far as I can make out, the overall vibe of the jacket is "right" (hard to go wrong - it's basically a very simply nylon windbreaker), though as was the case with the Vintage series, it doesn't have military spec labelling inside, it has an extraneous Alpha brand tag on the sleeve pocket, and it is the "wrong" blue colour - much lighter than the navy hue it should be. Still a nice jacket, though. I would love to have one in the darker colour - there's something wonderful about that shade of blue in period photos of USAF pilots in their nylons (fnar), but this one cost me around GBP40; the Buzz Rickson version goes for GBP400. The BR is stunning, but I just cannot justify the cost for what it is.

    Turning to the B15s.... mine obvious differ in the nature of the collar, but otherwise, can directly be compared. I have read that the Buzz nylon is much more the "correct" article, though to be honest I can't find much difference between the fabrics used in the outer shell of each jacket. The Alpha has a Schovill "paperclip" type zipper, while the Buzz goes with a Crown. The Crown looks more rugged, though I can't say that I've felt any real difference in operation. I understand both zip types to have been in use in the relevant period. Inner lining is equally indistinguishable across the two. The filling behind the lining in the Buzz is, according to the spec, 100% wool, while the Alpha Replica Series is a mix of wool-polyester. I believe this accounts for the Buzz feeling that little bit 'stiffer' and perceptibly (though not to any degree that matters) heavier. Fit-wise, the Buzz is definitely a slightly neater cut. I'm not sure you'd really notice much difference at all to look at me wearing it, but on the inside looking out, it does feel a little better of a fit. Can't really see anything in it with them both laid out flat, so it may well be that the stiffer inner insulation in the Buzz has more to do with this than anything else, but I do know that the Japanese makers have a reputation for somewhat neater cuts. Never had the opportunity to examine an original in person, so I can't comment on fit of these as compared to the real thing on me. Knits on both are perfectly adequate. Seem to be a bit more "purply" in direct sunlight on the Alpha than on the Buzz, but nothing to scare the horses. Equally robust on both. Overall, I'd say the Buzz just has a slight feel of edging ahead. That said, my Buzz cost me GBP150+/-, used (but mint), while the Alpha was GBP70 NOS (including a hefty shipping cost from the US, and a few quid in import taxes). If Alpha were to put out a nylon jacket of this quality today (the Replica Series - and I wish they would, I'd love one of the B15-D spec jackets they also did....) at around GBP150 or so (which seems feasible to me, given the regular price for the run of the mill modern Alpha civilian equivalent is about half that, possibly partly due to different costs in terms of labour (the Replica Series were made in the USA (don't know about the components, but they were assembled at least into garments in the US), which must have cost more than the current production line jackets which are, I believe, made in China).... Well, if they could do that, they could, IMO, be a serious competitor to Buzz Rickson, given that they really are IME quite close. That said, I don't imagine it will happen unless something in popular culture comes along that gives the nylon jackets the icon status of the likes of the A2.

    None of this is to take away from how great the Buzz jackets are, though; I'll certainly keep bidding on those in my size as they come up on eBay, hoping for a great bargain. I would love to have a whole rail of all the B15 variants one day... (the 15, A, B, C, D & C& D-MODs, along with one of the first generation MA1s...). The Alphas are certainly worth considering, though, if you don't have the budget for a Buzz and if you can find one in your size. Specifically the Alpha Replica Series from the early 90s, though.
     
  11. Gancho

    Gancho One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    237
    Location:
    Hamburg, Germany
    Thank you Edward, for this detailed information about the differeces of nylon jackets. I'm aswell a big fan of them. The difference in the nylon's are very little. I handle the Buzz L-2A with a 3/1 nylon and the MA-1 with the 2/2 nylon, unfortunatelly not at the same time, but the difference was very very small. So, I think the Alpha could not be far away from the Buzz, and for the prize the Alpha is the winner. My Buzz was not a bargin, but I love the snug fit that only the Williams MA-1 offers.

    I own a CWU 45 in Nomex (shown on my avatar) and that is a real difference to the civil CWU's of Alpha. The Nomex is much stiffer and heavier than the "normal" nylon.

    Olli
     
  12. Edward

    Edward Bartender

    Messages:
    19,255
    Location:
    London, UK
    Is the Nomex a variant of Nylon? For some reason I had it in my head it was a different type of cloth (similar to Nylon, but different in some respect), but my interest in the jackets really stops circa 1957 with the first MA1, so I've never really read anything much about the later stuff. I think I recall reading the big difference was the Nomex was engineered to be a bit more fireproof?
     
  13. Dr H

    Dr H One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,734
    Location:
    Somerset, UK
    Time for Polymer Chemistry 101... ;-)
    Yes, simply both Nylon and Nomex (both trade names) are polyamides. Nylon is also a family names (there are many Nylons: Nylon 6.6, Nylon 6.10, etc depending on the component parts/composition. Nomex (and Kevlar) are aromatic polyamides containing carbon rings in the polymer chains. Nylons are more typically aliphatic in nature (generally don't contain rings). In Nomex, the ratio of carbon to hydrogen is higher than in Nylons so this aids their higher heat stability/flame retardance/greater strength, etc.
    School's out...
     

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