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Hercules Leather co. Buco PJ-27

Messages
17,254
Location
Chicago
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A rekindled love of the crosszip!


Apologies for the long post but I think if you’re interested in one, it’s worth the time (or just skip to the pics, LOL). I’ve been after a pj-27 repop for quite awhile. Didn’t want to go whole hog on a LW (who I believe is the only other maker regularly producing this pattern). I noticed Hercules jackets on eBay right around the time Guppy mentioned them here. As soon as Tony posted in the merchants section I began the email barrage begging to get a Buco made (even if he wasn’t 100% ready). He obliged. I sent him some measurements but no hide or liner specs.


My first impressions are quite good but there is room for improvement. I’ll try to make this review organized so that it might serve as a good reference point for somebody considering a Hercules jacket. Since they aren’t a known entity I’ll try to address all the stuff I consider when buying a new jacket.


Construction:

I’ve looked the jacket over. And over. And over again. The stitching is clean, tight and straight. Pocket piping is pretty, snaps all align, all the zips are Talon and function perfectly. Pocket bags are tight cotton drill and the epaulettes are well built. I have no complaints here.


Pattern:

My jacket is a size 44”. I did give Tony a host of measurements but I don’t know how much deviation from stock those numbers had on the build. The lengths and widths are good. My only gripe here is the sleeve diameter from the elbow to wrist. It’s entirely too wide. The sleeves are two panel and they need to be more tapered south of the elbow. Even when zipped I can pass my hand through the cuff.


The action back is fantastic and there is no restriction in movement. Honestly, in this regard it wears like a Carhartt Detroit jacket. The problem is the elastic that holds the AB in place is too thin/weak. You can see this pretty clearly in the shot of the back. It needs a 3” band and I suspect this is sporting a 1” band.


Lapels, pocket placement, epaulettes and back design all good. Arm holes are not excessively high or low. No bat winging. Slight back dip at the hem. Snap alongside main zip is nice. Eyelets in the chest pocket flap would go a long way toward authenticity.


Materials:

When the jacket was complete Tony wrote and told me that this hide was lighter than what he typically uses. Y’all know I’m a heavy leather guy (sigh). I’d say this comparable with Vic or z-150. Maybe even a bit lighter than both. Jacket weighs around 5lbs. I’m calling it 2.75oz 1mm chrome tanned cow.

The hide itself has a good amount of character. Some very grainy and some very smooth areas. It’s got a decent amount of shine to it but I suspect it will dull quickly with wear. It seems dyed through. No tea core effect for this hide. It’ll be black forever.

The body is lined with a thin gray blanket type wool which I absolutely love. I wish the sleeves had it too. Sleeves are lined with a nylon. Super easy to put on but also contributes to the sleeves feeling too wide at the forearm and wrist.

The jacket drapes right out of the box. No break-in beyond the surface finish required. Delightfully easy to wear.

The label tag is super simple. No size #. No frills. Tony said he wants to change that but I rather like it. Has an austere quality to it.

Zippers are all talon. #5 closes her up and the pockets and sleeve are Talon chain type. Love the chains on the pockets. I’d put the main zip #5’s on the cuffs. The chains look cool but when fully closed they are annoying and will surely get caught in something and break.


Overall impression:

The jacket immediately feels like a vintage jacket. The hide, hardware and the appearance in general just feels vintage. For the price point ($335 no customs fee, shipped) these jackets occupy an interesting place in this market. It’s a solid, well built jacket, offered a price point that will reach a larger audience than the heavy hitters we see regularly around here.

I’d like to do another one, where I inject my personal choices into the product. I didn’t push my opinions this go round. At the end of the day, while it may not be an Aero or an LW, it can surely hang in my closet alongside either one without shame. I know Tony is still in the development stage, I think he’s off to a helluva good start. Enough chatter! Here are the pics, sorry they are a bit grainy. More to come in the jacket o’ the day thread.

Fit:
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AbbaDatDeHat

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,699
Not having a cross zip is a crime against my soul. I feel a Sherpa trucker like binge coming on. Sorry bank account. LOL.
Excellent write-up Tony. You did the maker right. The jacket looks great in the pics.
I was thinking, man that maker must be very confident building you a jacket cause you would be how shall we say, particular. Lol
I’ll bet he was sweating bullets.
I’d buy based on your review and for the $, no brainer. I suspect he will be very busy starting NOW!
B
 
Messages
17,254
Location
Chicago
Excellent write-up Tony. You did the maker right. The jacket looks great in the pics.
I was thinking, man that maker must be very confident building you a jacket cause you would be how shall we say, particular. Lol
I’ll bet he was sweating bullets.
I’d buy based on your review and for the $, no brainer. I suspect he will be very busy starting NOW!
B
LOL! True! But aren’t we all? Once you’ve been initiated around here, there’s no going back. There are still some kinks that need to be worked out but I agree, for the price point it’s a no brainer!
 
Messages
10,427
Thanks for taking the time Ton.

Any idea when they will be totally up and running? Looks like excellent quality for the price. Heck, from the fit pics it looks like much more quality for that price.
 

Will Zach

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,519
Location
SoFlo
Amazing that this leather has so much character out of the box. I certainly admire ton312 for having the balls to badger Tony into building this jacket while in development stage and Tony to have the confidence to do it. I only hope that once Hercules website is up an running, those Loungers that sent Tony emails first expressing interest will have DIBS! Not too crazy about repeat of GW wait times once word gets out.
 
Messages
17,254
Location
Chicago
Thanks for taking the time Ton.

Any idea when they will be totally up and running? Looks like excellent quality for the price. Heck, from the fit pics it looks like much more quality for that price.
I’m not sure. I think sourcing the hides might be the trickiest part. I hope he’s up soon too. I want back in!
 

Gamma68

One Too Many
Messages
1,930
Location
Detroit, MI
The PJ-27 has such a cool design. The jacket looks great on you! Thanks for the detailed review. Good to know there are quality affordable options for new jackets based on classic designs.
 

Imuricecreamman

One Too Many
Messages
1,566
Really cool to see this jacket With custom measurements. Usually something looks off With the vintage ones, but this is a really cool jacket design when the fit is right. The leather could probably be heavier, but looks really good and seems to aid the fit out of the box as it looks comfy and none restrictive. Job well done!
 

Carlos840

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,944
Location
London
Great review!
I have to say that after seeing the eBay pictures i wasn't expecting such positive review from a fellow leather jacket aficionado.
The front looks great, but there is something weird going on in the back, it looks like it is giving you droopy lats...
But overall it looks great for the money!
 
Last edited:
Messages
17,254
Location
Chicago
Great review!
I have to say that after seeing the eBay pictures i wasn't expecting such positive review from a fellow leather jacket aficionado.
I have to say the front looks great, but there is something weird going on in the back, it looks like it is giving you droopy lats...
But i have to say overall it looks great for the money!
Yeah that’s where the elastic needs to be stronger. It’s just not strong enough to pull the AB back into place.
 
Messages
16,534
Simply fantastic jacket. Seems as good as any other I've seen in this or similar style and it's got more of that vintage vibe than most. Absolutely love it.

Gotta say, I honestly like it more than that Vanson. Maybe it's just the leather or something, not sure what but it just looks better.

It does need stronger AB elastic, though, maybe even two (I think Vanson's model A has two elastic bands to hold the AB in) but that's not much of an issue.
Chain pull on a sleeve zip looks cool as well.

I really can't find anything off with this jacket!
 

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