Navy Sheepskins

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by Chief, Jul 1, 2016.

  1. Chief

    Chief New in Town

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Redmond, Oregon
    Hello all, I am new to the lounge although I have been prowling for years. I am sure that this may have been asked before but I am going to ask the experts. I am interested in Navy sheepskin jackets. From my research it seems as if the M445 is the heavier version and the M444 is the lighter version. Is this somewhat correct? My second question is... does anyone make a quality repro? I have looked at LW, Eastmans and Aero and they do not seem to. RM seems to have discontinued the M445 they had made at one time. Are these jackets not as popular? I like the diamond cut pattern on the sleeves. All I ever see is B3's, Irvins and ANJ4 jackets. All of which are superb. I am a retired Navy Chief and am trying to keep it in the family so to speak! I do have a Langlitz Leather G1 replica. It is incredible although not accurate like some of the makers I listed above. But the quality is awesome to say the least. I will try and figure out posting some pictures soon. Lastly, I am 5'9 and weigh 195. I am fairly muscular as I am a avid weight lifter. Do any of the jacket makers make jackets more custom to fit? I tend to find jackets that fit me through the shoulders but end up being baggy around my waist. One of the reasons I had Langlitz make me a G1 style jacket custom fit. Ok thanks all.
    Chief
     
  2. John Lever

    John Lever One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,523
    Location:
    Southern England
    The Navy sheepskins are my favourite so stylish, practical and understated.
    Real McCoys New Zealand made the best repros but sadly at the moment are no longer in business. Real McCoys Japan make an m444 but it is over the top with tasteless patches of Micky Mouse. Willis and Geiger m444 and m445 come up on ebay quite often. Quality is variable though, materials are not top notch and the zip is wrong. Aero have made m445's in the past and could probably be persuaded to made on for you.
     
  3. Chief

    Chief New in Town

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Redmond, Oregon
    Thank you for the replies. I have seen some info on the internet that Eastman plans to produce a M444. Can anyone confirm? I am curious why none of the popular makers offer the M445 or M444. I will take a look at Aero. Are they easy to communicate with? I suppose that would be through email. Thanks again!
    Chief
     
  4. Chief

    Chief New in Town

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Redmond, Oregon
  5. devilish

    devilish A-List Customer

    Messages:
    473
    Location:
    Devon
    The reasons that these jackets aren't commonly available are 1: Not as well known and therefor smaller demand and 2: They are some of the most complex patterns of any WWII jackets to replicate. There might be a lack of originals around to copy as well?
    Good Wear will of course make an absolutely top quality repro but it will be a long wait (almost 2 years) but worth it in my opinion. As for cost, I would guess somewhere around $1800?
     
  6. HPA Rep

    HPA Rep Vendor

    Messages:
    855
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Yes, ELC plans to offer an M-444 and we will stock it when available, but it's not known when this will happen; last ELC said to me was the authentic skins were presenting an issue in sourcing and ELC will not settle for less.

    Devilish answered your question well as to why the USN styles aren't typically offered vs. those of the AAF; the same is true even for the AAF AN-J-4, which is not a style that compares in popularity to the AAF B-3. The USN was largely engaged in an air war in warm climates in WWII, and they possessed fewer aviators vs. the AAF, so the public will simply be less familiar with USN jacket styles, plus the ETO was the big league of aerial warfare, getting the lion's share of coverage in publications, film, TV, etc., thus the public wants what they know and see. AN-J-4's show up in smaller numbers and later in the war for the AAF, thus they just aren't the classic the B-3 is, and this logic also trickles down to the USN styles of sheepskin jackets. Fans of these styles have limited options, unfortunately, but demand will always drive availability and supply.

    I anxiously await stocking here ELC's M-444, which I have confidence will be worth the long wait. Until then, you should review other options unless you have a longer-term vision.
     
  7. Chief

    Chief New in Town

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Redmond, Oregon
    I surmised as much. I actually do like the AAF versions also. I actually served in the Army National Guard for 4 years as a M1A1 Tanker (Armour) and do love the B3 versions. heck I even like the RAF Irvin. I like them all but tend to lean towards Navy versions as I was in the Navy for the majority of my military career. I never served in aviation but always had an eye for leather flight jackets. One clarifying question. Is the M445 version the thicker of the Navy flight jackets? and comparable to a B3, ANJ4 and Irvin? It seems the M444 is similar to the AAF B6, being thinner fleece and not as heavy as a M445? As for my Langlitz civilian version of a G1, I love wearing a roll neck sweater under it in the cold months. I have always wanted a thick sheepskin jacket though. I tried to get Langlitz to try and make me a M445 but they did not want to do that so I bought their version of the G1. It was not cheap as it cost almost $1100 bucks by the time I was done! Thanks again guys!
     
  8. HPA Rep

    HPA Rep Vendor

    Messages:
    855
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Yes, Chief, the M-444 was made of 1/4"-depth sheepskin (and never thicker), matching that of the AAF B-6, and the M-445's were thicker and heavier, intended to be worn in the colder conditions the AAF reserved for the B-3.
     
  9. Peacoat

    Peacoat Bartender Bartender

    Messages:
    5,075
    Location:
    South of Nashville
    Take a look around Aero's website. If you see something you want to order, go through Wade and Carrie. They have a lot of experience and will send you a fit jacket. They take about 90% of the worry out of the custom order process.

    And, welcome to the Forum. PC.
     
  10. Chief

    Chief New in Town

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Redmond, Oregon
    Ok well thanks for the replies! I am waiting to see ELC's M444 when it comes out. I am sure that it will be awesome. Is there any plans for a M445? That would be really nice and both would be rare reproductions to say the least. Are there any good websights that have history on the Navy sheepskins? I have searched but info seems limited. I would be curious as to the units and theaters that those Sailors and Marines served in. Although I served in blue water Navy on the mighty USS Missouri and then in brown water Navy in Units like Inshore Boat Unit 13, Amphibious Construction Batallion 1 (Sea Bees) I always loved the WWII styles. Thanks Felllas!
     
  11. thor

    thor One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,889
    Location:
    NYC, NY
  12. rocketeer

    rocketeer Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,612
    Location:
    England
    Might just be wrongly listed, it is describes as a reproduction B3 and being the last one, also made by Good Wear and sized at both 40 and 42.
    Yes I also reckon an original :) Bit of a fish mash listing really, will probably get revised or taken off.
     
    thor likes this.

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