New Aerial Star A2, Incredible Steerhide, Great Cut, I Love It!

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by tomsk, Jul 4, 2014.

  1. tomsk

    tomsk New in Town

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    I was encouraged over at the VLJ forum to post a review of my newly arrived Aerial Star A2 for all you Fedora-donning chaps. Hope you enjoy...

    Quick note...I've been buying repro A2s and posting on boards since 1996 but this is my FIRST EVER jacket 'mugshot' :eek: I feel that Chris at Aerial Star has been such a congenial and helpful chap that his excellent wares deserve at least a humble 'fit' photo (2 in fact!) Also I'm lacking detail pics as I couldn't get good shots in the light conditions additional high quality pics are available on the Aerial Star website here: http://aerialstar.com/photo-gallery-model-7301.htm

    I've colour coded my review so that the more rambling and verbose comparisons are in green and the basic gist is in standard text.

    I received the jacket in mid-June, it was much quicker in the post than expected due to the rare fluke of not getting any customs charges...a good start! The price is $569.97 spread over 3 payments of $189.99 AFTER you receive the jacket. This is unusual and I'm not sure how long it will last but I like that Chris sees the best in people and it's clearly a big plus point.

    Leather

    The jacket is made from semi-aniline seal brown steerhide. It has a light surface finish that will age very nicely. It's a good thick hide but with excellent pliability and just a bit of appropriate stiffness. I really really really like this leather! To put it in context I have owned a number of ELC jackets between 1996 and 2012 and this is thicker but not as stiff as almost all of those and this is a good thing as I find the stiff slightly boardiness of some of the ELC hides can lead to excessive splitting of the leather at sewn stress points such as collar points and pocket flaps edges during manufacture. I never ever see this on originals to this extent either that I have seen or pics of others. The Aerial Star doesn't suffer from this at all.
    The colour is a really attractive and quite light for a seal brown, somewhere between classic russet and seal colours. I think it puts it right in the WWII spectrum, I hope you agree.

    Workmanship

    Unbelievably good across the board. The stitching is very tight and very very well executed. I would say it is overall superior to Eastman and Aero. Both of those are very good but I've had a number of send-back issues from both due to manufacturing glitches. I've given this one the evil eye for at least three weeks and I can't find anything even remotely suspect with the sewing which is really pleasing. The thread is poly-core with cotton surround (like Aero) which is not historically accurate but it certainly looks the job. I couldn't actually tell whether it was cotton or not and had to ask Chris. It's a reasonable answer to the strength v accuracy conundrum

    Lining

    The lining is actually a brushed cotton twill which differs from all or certainly most wartime A2s which are plain weave. It is pleasantly soft though and I should think as hard wearing as a plain weave. I can't foresee any issues at least.
    The collar press studs (small ring type, as per some wartime contracts) are concealed beneath the lining as per Monarch and Poughkeepsie contract A2s. I had one loose press stud I decided to re-seat with a punch tool I got from Ebay. I've done this with 3 or 4 A2s - no biggy.

    Knits

    Excellent, A+, top marks etc. The knits are really really good and the dual density weave looks bang on. Far less fuzzy that Eastman knits can be. Good mid-brown colour too. No colour choice is offered but that doesn't bother me personally.

    Zip

    The Zip is a brass Riri and is tad chunkier than a WWII A2 zip. From a practical point of view it's a really nice zip. Very smooth and with a high quality cotton tape in a pleasing tan colour that contrasts nicely with the steerhide and lining. Not an accurate WWII variation but a good zip.

    Label

    Civilian style label, made of nice fabric that seems period correct though I can't tell if it's rayon, taffeta or a more modern synthetic. It doesn't feel modern though and it's appropriate for the jacket.

    Fit

    Foe reference I am a nudge over 6'0" and actually measure 48 round the chest (more on that in a second, I know what you're thinking!)

    Okay, the big moment nobody's been waiting for :D Yes it's a bit snug but I'm running a half-marathon in September and the weight has started a downward trajectory that I hope will continue for another 2 stone or so.
    That being said I can get away with it...just...though this stock size 46 will look a bit more relaxed in a few months.

    *IMPORTANT POINT ALERT* Two really important points in fact are, firstly, that the shoulders line up perfectly, possibly the best I've had in terms of fit and the second point is that the sleeves have an inset seam like a Star or Monarch A2 making them feel really quite smart and suit-like. They also don't ride up when I lift my arms out which is really quite a plus for me. The arms are actually possibly a tad long but I'm going to wait until I get it wet and it wrinkles up before I make a judgement. There's not much in it and if I get another I probably wouldn't bother asking for shorter sleeves.
    The measurements are as follows:

    Label size 46
    Pit-Pit: 25.25"
    Back between Shoulders: 19.5"
    Back length: 27"
    Sleeve..............I forgot to measure the sleeves, sorry! :eek: Having previously said they're possibly long AND having 3 weeks to measure them is a bit stupid.

    Here are the pics of the fit. It's not very fair on Aerial Star because I'm a fatty BUT look at the line of those shoulders, no droop whatsoever!
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Smithy

    Smithy I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    5,137
    Location:
    Norway
    Saw this over at VLJ. It really is a corker of a civie A-2. Aerial Star deserve to sell a lot of these.

    Good review as well.
     
  3. theundeadkennedy

    theundeadkennedy One of the Regulars

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    181
    Location:
    Alaska
    I like it! Very clean, crisp look to it. Knit options would be nice though.
     
  4. Thanks for a great review. Jacket looks excellent. Fit is perfect. Sleeves will ride-up some. Body looks good. I've dealt with Chris and he's a really nice guy and easy to work with. I've also handled that steer and it's excellent quality. Chris told me the supplier sells the same leather to the US army. It's terrific stuff. I have my eye on the 7303 with slash pockets. Wonderful jacket and you should wear it in good health.
     
  5. Fanch

    Fanch I'll Lock Up

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  6. Sloan1874

    Sloan1874 I'll Lock Up

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    Yep, I think they just decided to end their FL association - it seemed to have finished on good terms. Glad to see they're still going, as their civvy A-2s are really nice.
     
  7. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    21,800
    Location:
    London, UK
    THey didn't make much impact here, no - underservedly so, in my opinion. I suspect they fell between two stools for folks in these parts, being a very militaryesque style, but not shooting for period accuracy to the military spec. To my mind, they're actually far more accurate to the sort of military-inspired jacket that the average civilian would have found available to them in the post-war years. I've got half an eye on them - if ever I go in the direction of something A2ish again, the AS model with the slash pockets is a definite contender.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2014
  8. nick123

    nick123 I'll Lock Up

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    Chris was also working on a half belt type the last time I talked to him.
     
  9. Part of the issue is the lack of options, especially for the lining. A plain brown cotton lining is okay for a military-issue A-2, but civilian jacket owners still prefer something spicier (and warmer).
     
  10. Worf

    Worf I'll Lock Up

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    Nice jacket thanks for the write up. I enjoyed it a lot.

    Worf
     
  11. schitzo

    schitzo Suspended

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    that is a splendid review sir and I in particular appreciated the colour coding! They're definitely worth consideration and talk of a halfbelt - especially at those pricers - is very interesting
     
  12. Seb Lucas

    Seb Lucas I'll Lock Up

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    That's exactly how I feel. I think the slash pocket version is pretty cool looking even though I'm not a big fan of knits. Tempting. Half-belt? Hmmm... stop me before i buy again!
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2014
  13. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    21,800
    Location:
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    Talk of a halfbelt excites me less - the market's not exactly short of folks supplying those already. Of course, if they could fit it into the mid-range price gap, getting a mid-century style half belt civilian jacket out there for Schott-type money (at least Schott-type money in the US - most Schott jackets over here seem to sell for in the region of GBP150 up on the US prices, new) would be nice to see in the market. Bound to be a fair few folks who can't quite stretch to the Aero et al price band who would bite on that.
     
  14. samo

    samo One of the Regulars

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    Location:
    Slovenia
    The best looking A2 ever seen, period.:eusa_clap
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2014
  15. tomsk

    tomsk New in Town

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    :eek: Well I do feel I cut a dash for a big fella, thanks :eek:
     
  16. nick123

    nick123 I'll Lock Up

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    I talked to Chris a few days ago. Looks like he's going all out and introducing a few more models (different pocket setups) of his flight jacket, and would like some feedback here on what you guys would like to see.
     
  17. nick123

    nick123 I'll Lock Up

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    Get that Photoshop going!
     
  18. Seb Lucas

    Seb Lucas I'll Lock Up

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    A solid half-belt for under $600 would be great.
     
  19. schitzo

    schitzo Suspended

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    at the moment they only have steerhide, correct? In which case I'd like to see them get hold of some goat. Shouldn't be too difficult I wouldn't have thought
     
  20. nick123

    nick123 I'll Lock Up

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    I think they only carry steerhide.
     

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