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Seb Lucas

I'll Lock Up
Messages
7,562
Location
Australia
Given your small size I would pay particular attention to the sizing and cut of the A2. Most modern ones, even in small sizes, are cut for oversized people and have very wide shoulders and lots of spare room around the torso. They can look pretty bad.

For instance, in my size, which is usually a 42, I have found a 38 or 40 a better fit in modern mass produced A2's just to keep the jacket trim.

US Authentic are sized pretty large. When I looked at a 42 a couple of years ago is was at least a size too big for me.

You need to establish what your shoulder width, your armpit to armpit, sleeve length and back length are. Do this by measuring a jacket that fits well.

If you can establish this you will save yourself hundreds of dollars over the years.

You probably only need 17 inches in the shoulder width. Cockpit USA, for instance don't go narrower than 19 inches.
 

Big J

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,961
Location
Japan

Roger K.

New in Town
Messages
20
Location
Las Vegas, Nevada
Hello all,
I'm somewhat new to the whole leather jacket and flight jacket world and subsequently need some help. I currently own a Cooper/US Wings Flying Tigers commemorative jacket in Seal Brown. What I'm looking for is a lighter shade, not necessarily a Russet but more of a ww2 coloration in an A2. Not necessarily too light but something like the pictures below. At the moment cost is a factor (I'm a high school student), so I'm primarily looking at something used and relatively cheap (100-250-300 USD range). If you all could point me in the right direction it would really be helpful. (I'm looking for a 36r)

Below are some links from the Cockpit USA website of jackets that I really like, but as I said, are out of my price range. I'd really like to something similar. Also, if anyone is getting rid of any A2s here on this site, I might be interested in buying some.

Thank you

https://www.cockpitusa.com/men/a-2-flight-jackets/40th-anniversary-a-2-flight-jacket

https://www.cockpitusa.com/men/a-2-flight-jackets/40th-anniversary-bottoms-up-a-2-pinup-jacket

I have a Cooper A2, a Schott A2, as well as an Avirex Top Gun G-1 and Avirex G-2. Avirex are sold now under the "Cockpit" name. The A2s I find fit a little short on the waist. My favorite that I wear most of the time is the G-2, which Cockpit now calls the Mod Raiders Jacket. It is lighter in color than the picture shows and is a very thick but soft antiqued lambskin. It is more of a casual look than the A2 but the thing is rugged and looks unlike any other jacket. If you want a good deal you can find them on ebay as an Avirex G2, but be careful, if they look too light brown they were probably cleaned incorrectly and can't be fixed. They have a loose fit like a G-1 and allow you good movement without binding anywhere. Happy hunting!
 

kliffjumper123

Familiar Face
Messages
58
Oh, sorry, I missed the part where you said you were a 36R. The cut of a Japanese Buzz Rickson's should be fine.
Try keeping an eye on this search and see if something you like appears at a bargain price, they often do.

Buzz Rickson's;
https://auctions.yahoo.co.jp/search...aq=3&oq=バズリクソンズ+a-2&ei=UTF-8&auccat=0&fixed=0

Or maybe a Real McCoys;
https://auctions.yahoo.co.jp/search...oy+a-2+36&aq=-1&oq=&ei=UTF-8&auccat=0&fixed=0

Thank you for your help.
 

kliffjumper123

Familiar Face
Messages
58
I have a Cooper A2, a Schott A2, as well as an Avirex Top Gun G-1 and Avirex G-2. Avirex are sold now under the "Cockpit" name. The A2s I find fit a little short on the waist. My favorite that I wear most of the time is the G-2, which Cockpit now calls the Mod Raiders Jacket. It is lighter in color than the picture shows and is a very thick but soft antiqued lambskin. It is more of a casual look than the A2 but the thing is rugged and looks unlike any other jacket. If you want a good deal you can find them on ebay as an Avirex G2, but be careful, if they look too light brown they were probably cleaned incorrectly and can't be fixed. They have a loose fit like a G-1 and allow you good movement without binding anywhere. Happy hunting!

Thanks for the advice. What are your thoughts on the quality between the three brands in general?
 

kliffjumper123

Familiar Face
Messages
58
Given your small size I would pay particular attention to the sizing and cut of the A2. Most modern ones, even in small sizes, are cut for oversized people and have very wide shoulders and lots of spare room around the torso. They can look pretty bad.

For instance, in my size, which is usually a 42, I have found a 38 or 40 a better fit in modern mass produced A2's just to keep the jacket trim.

US Authentic are sized pretty large. When I looked at a 42 a couple of years ago is was at least a size too big for me.

You need to establish what your shoulder width, your armpit to armpit, sleeve length and back length are. Do this by measuring a jacket that fits well.

If you can establish this you will save yourself hundreds of dollars over the years.

You probably only need 17 inches in the shoulder width. Cockpit USA, for instance don't go narrower than 19 inches.

Thanks for the insight. I myself was contemplating a US Authentic, but its good to know that their sizing is a little different. My 38r from Cooper/US Wings fits ok but is a lot more like the modern and more oversized cut.
 

kliffjumper123

Familiar Face
Messages
58
Oh, sorry, I missed the part where you said you were a 36R. The cut of a Japanese Buzz Rickson's should be fine.
Try keeping an eye on this search and see if something you like appears at a bargain price, they often do.

Buzz Rickson's;
https://auctions.yahoo.co.jp/search...aq=3&oq=バズリクソンズ+a-2&ei=UTF-8&auccat=0&fixed=0

Or maybe a Real McCoys;
https://auctions.yahoo.co.jp/search...oy+a-2+36&aq=-1&oq=&ei=UTF-8&auccat=0&fixed=0

Just out of curiosity, do the jackets of Japanese brands tend to be of a different cut than those of say, an American or Western brand since the body types tend to be different?
 

Seb Lucas

I'll Lock Up
Messages
7,562
Location
Australia
Thanks for the insight. I myself was contemplating a US Authentic, but its good to know that their sizing is a little different. My 38r from Cooper/US Wings fits ok but is a lot more like the modern and more over sized cut.

US Wings A2 jackets (made by Schott) are baggy. I would imagine it would be a struggle to find a trim fit in a 36. The old Coopers, which have a very strange and baggy fit too, were not made by Schott. US Wings bought Cooper some years ago but there is no real connection between the current produict and the old Cooper A2's that divide peoples opinion.

It's also the case that over years Avirex and Cooper did make adjustments to their patterns. Some fit trimmer and better than others.
 

Big J

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,961
Location
Japan
@kliffjumper123,
I've handled BR and RMC A-2s, and it's my belief that they are cut accurately to WW2 issue jackets.
US Wings, US Authentic, Avirex, Cooper, all of these cheaper jackets, are all 'baggy' like current issue A-2 jackets.
The quality of leather and construction of BR and RMC was streets ahead my Cooper A-2s as well. Really nice leather.
 

Seb Lucas

I'll Lock Up
Messages
7,562
Location
Australia
The Schott is definitely the best quality but they are all very good. The Cooper A2 is the most authentic overall, but yet the Avirex is still my favorite!

Really? Neither Cooper nor Avirex are made any more and they went through various iterations, some poorly made and shapeless. No one would ever call the Cooper accurate although there were a 2-3 years where the pattern was reasonable. The Schott A2 of today is a very lumpy pattern, tight in the shoulders and baggy in the stomach area.

The quality of all entry level A2's is very similar - the variations in poly lining and knits (Cooper knits were pretty bad) are up to your subjective taste. Of the jackets the OP mentions, only US Authentic do a semi accurate 100% cotton lining and 100% wool knits, making it probably the best made of the entry level jackets.
 

Roger K.

New in Town
Messages
20
Location
Las Vegas, Nevada
I believe Cooper manufactured the military issued A-2 in 1942 and then again from 1988 - 1998. Avirex issued them briefly in 1988 and then from 1999 until the Berry Amendment put an end to them in 2006 because the goatskin was imported from Pakistan. Avirex used the Cooper updated designed pattern after 2000. That's not to say that every model they made was up to par but they didn't just simply make replicas for civilians...they were producing the real deal for the Air Force. In any case what matters is what you're comfortable in and my favorite is by no means an authentic model (Avirex G-2). I'm not an expert in the field however and never claimed to be...just like leather jackets.
 

Seb Lucas

I'll Lock Up
Messages
7,562
Location
Australia
Neil Cooper's A2 jackets of the 1980's had nothing to do with the Cooper jackets issued during the war. The original Cooper company was Neil's grandfather's and closed down. Neil was trading on the family name but basically started his enterprise from sctatch in the 1970's before selling off to US Wings.

Some companies, like Orchard and Saddlery produced new A2's for military use in recent decades. They did not use original A2 patterns and most are pretty poor and baggy patterns with additional seams and fabric.

This has been the whole problem with off the rack A2's for the past 40 years. Most are inadequate, baggy jackets with synthetic linings and knits. Just finding shoulders that aren't a stupidly wide 21 inches across or more is a challenge.

There are the odd issue amongst them that are trimmer for some reason and these have been noted here before. But really it seems to me that if you want a decent fitting A2 you generally have to buy an Aero at least.
 

kliffjumper123

Familiar Face
Messages
58
Neil Cooper's A2 jackets of the 1980's had nothing to do with the Cooper jackets issued during the war. The original Cooper company was Neil's grandfather's and closed down. Neil was trading on the family name but basically started his enterprise from sctatch in the 1970's before selling off to US Wings.

Some companies, like Orchard and Saddlery produced new A2's for military use in recent decades. They did not use original A2 patterns and most are pretty poor and baggy patterns with additional seams and fabric.

This has been the whole problem with off the rack A2's for the past 40 years. Most are inadequate, baggy jackets with synthetic linings and knits. Just finding shoulders that aren't a stupidly wide 21 inches across or more is a challenge.

There are the odd issue amongst them that are trimmer for some reason and these have been noted here before. But really it seems to me that if you want a decent fitting A2 you generally have to buy an Aero at least.

I for some reason always thought Cooper was sold to Avirex (Cockpit USA). Just a quick question in regards to Cooper and US Wings, I have a jacket that is tagged as a US Wings with the Coopers Sportswear tag right underneath (this is the Flying Tigers Commemorative one). I was wondering when that jacket would have been made as it was purchased on Ebay a few months ago. The cut itself of the jacket is similar to the re-introduction cut of the A2.
 

Technonut

Practically Family
Messages
853
Location
West "By Gawd" Virginia
Just out of curiosity, do the jackets of Japanese brands tend to be of a different cut than those of say, an American or Western brand since the body types tend to be different?

The most authentic wartime A-2 cut / details I've found in an 'inexpensive' A-2, after many years of owning various makers ranging from bottom-rung to Good Wears, has to be given to the Morgan Productions 'Morgan Memphis Belle' in horsehide. The jacket was authorized by the late Col. R.K. Morgan (Pilot of the Memphis Belle), his Wife, Linda Morgan, and sourced from Nakata Shoten (A large army-surplus store in Japan).

For a bit over $400.00 USD, one gets an authentic patterned, well-constructed jacket. The horsehide used is quite thick (I wouldn't want thicker in an A-2), and quickly creases / shows grain with wear. The knits are nothing to write home about, and the liner is indeed a 65 / 35 cotton / poly-blend, but you know what?, I like the cut, fit, and look so much on the Morgan, that I find myself grabbing it to wear instead of my Good Wear Rough Wear 27752 in Shinki HH at times.... :eek: The cotton/poly-blend lining will still breathe, and also be more friendly to cleaning / stain removal than the A-2's original 100% cotton.

Other little details such as 'proper' epaulet placement straight across the shoulder, and not rolled-over towards the front (as found on US Authentic, and others), high arm-holes, good sleeve circumference / forearm taper, pocket placement / spacing, scalloped pocket flaps, repro double-marked Talon zipper pull, etc.. are present on the Morgan. Sizes up to 46 are showing as available here (don't let the poor quality pics fool you):

http://buyee.jp/rakuten/detail/captaintoms:10001879

Better pics of the jacket, but no larger sizes here:

https://global.rakuten.com/en/store/auc-swat/item/10000815/

Measurements up to size 42 (not sure why the 44-46 are omitted) :

MEMPHIS BELLE TYPE a-2 WW2 DK.png


Here's a few pics:

DSCF0326.JPG

DSCF0330.JPG
DSCF0315.JPG
DSCF0332.JPG
DSCF0466.JPG
DSCF0464.JPG
DSCF0319.JPG
 
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Harris HTM

One Too Many
Messages
1,835
Location
R'lyeh
in an 'inexpensive' A-2, after many years of owning various makers ranging from bottom-rung to Good Wears
Based on your experience with "inexpensive" A-2's, which one do you think is the best regarding quality? I'm also interested in getting a less expensive leather jacket, preferably an A-2) (wish I could afford another Aero) and I've been looking to different alternatives, I'd chose for quality over historic accuracy.
 

Technonut

Practically Family
Messages
853
Location
West "By Gawd" Virginia
Based on your experience with "inexpensive" A-2's, which one do you think is the best regarding quality? I'm also interested in getting a less expensive leather jacket, preferably an A-2) (wish I could afford another Aero) and I've been looking to different alternatives, I'd chose for quality over historic accuracy.

If you're just wanting the best quality over historic detailing in an A-2 at an 'inexpensive' price, IMO, the US Authentic is difficult to beat. In comparison, MUCH better than offerings from Legendary USA, Cockpit, etc.. I tried a Legendary USA Warhawk before, and found the jacket to indeed be made in the USA, but constructed from veiny South American horsehide of inconsistent thickness... returned it, and received another just about the same.. :(:mad: Same kind of story with multiple other 'less than premium' makers over the past 25 years or so. I was always satisfied with the overall quality and construction offered by US Authentic, but personally cannot live with the incorrect historic details, particularly the epaulet positioning.

I will take a Morgan Memphis Belle A-2 any day of the week now (and I have twice already ;)), as the horsehide / pattern is great, and most of the important (to me) historic detailing is present.

EDIT: The AVI Bronco looks to be a great alternative, but I have not personally owned one to comment on the quality.... But will soon! :D:cool:
 
Last edited:

Harris HTM

One Too Many
Messages
1,835
Location
R'lyeh
If you're just wanting the best quality over historic detailing in an A-2 at an 'inexpensive' price, IMO, the US Authentic is difficult to beat. In comparison, MUCH better than offerings from Legendary USA, Cockpit, etc.. I tried a Legendary USA Warhawk before, and found the jacket to indeed be made in the USA, but constructed from veiny South American horsehide of inconsistent thickness... returned it, and received another just about the same.. :(:mad: Same kind story with multiple other 'less than premium' makers over the past 25 years or so. I was always satisfied with the overall quality and construction offered by US Authentic, but personally cannot live with the incorrect historic details, particularly the epaulet positioning.

I see, thanks for your reply!
Living in Europe narrows down some of my options though (shipping costs + 21% of the total price as import tax + standard custom costs).
I thought that the Legendary USA leather jackets were made by Schott, probably I got it wrong?
This Morgan A-2 you posted looks really nice.
 

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