Owners / experience RMC MA-1 jackets and comparison to BR and Alpha Indistries

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by Robbie79, Dec 5, 2020.

  1. Robbie79

    Robbie79 One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,393
    Hello fellow loungers!

    I‘ve been wanting a high end quality MA-1 jacket for a while and I really wonder if there are many owners of such a flight jacket here on TFL and what their experience with brands like RMC or BR is? Do they really offer the best quality and is the nylon Material developed by RMC really the best? My favorite is the RMC MA-1 Lion Uniform Decal grey but I‘m torn if it’s worth to spend so much money for a RMC jacket if it can have a much cheaper one from Alpha Industies? I haven’t had an opportunity to try one on and won’t have an opportunity in the near future as stores are too far away.
    Stored close to my home like Stuff, Dreist or Kentaurus don’t have MA-1 jackets...
    Thanks very much in advance for your input and help!

    Kind regards
    Robbie
     
  2. dannyk

    dannyk One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,269
    F
    From my very limited knowledge over the last few days as I just took the plunge into the B-15 game and all
    The same makers also make the MA-1. From everything I stumbled
    Upon it seems BR and RMC make the most accurate and authentic copies. While Alpha makes mostly commercial/fashion these days. But they do the same job. They will keep you just as warm and dry. They aren’t somehow substantially different in terms of the job they do. They just happen to be much more accurate to the era. So it’s a matter of whether you want that or not. For me it didn’t matter. I generally enjoy the basic B-15 look. And I wanted a jacket I could wear for spring/fall and then throw on a hoodie under for winter. Although I also have a much heavier winter specific jacket. If you’re a military/history guy then I would go for RMC. If you’re going to make that price jump out of the Alpha realm and pay hundreds then might as well go all the way and get the so called best.
     
    Robbie79 likes this.
  3. Blackadder

    Blackadder Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,668
    Location:
    China
    I don't own a BR MA-1 but I have a RM, a MASH clothing and an Alpha MA-1, a TM L-2 and a RM L-2A.
    One significant difference between current Alpha (since the late 70s and 80s?) on one hand and RM, BR on the other is the inner lining. Both RM and BR only reproduce the older wool pile lined MA-1. The Alpha with the synthetic lining is lighter and thinner but still very warm. RM and BR are bulkier.
    The Nylon 66 that RM claims to have recreated has a characteristic that I doubt is relevant to many. That is the Nylon 66 supposedly turns red when exposed to sunlight for a long period. It is the "original colour" and that effect that is the selling point.
    RM and BR seem to place emphasis on recreating that nylon 66 with the original grey green colour which has the same sunburn effect.
    There are of course as mentioned above by dannyk the difference in details like repro or deadstock talon and conmar zippers, pure wool knit etc.
     
    dannyk and Robbie79 like this.
  4. Robbie79

    Robbie79 One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,393
    @dannyk @Blackadder First of all thanks a lot for sharing your experience /knowledge (especially @Blackadder as you own a lot of them). If I understand you correctly the Nylon 66 is not significantly better than the so called flight nylon (Alpha Industries). Of course the liner and zippers are different. The grey Alpha in question costs 229€ and the grey RMC almost 900€. If the overall quality of Alpha Industries is not much worse I would tend to this one. I don’t pay too much attention to historical details in this case to be honest with you but I want a high quality jacket. Not sure if it would make sense to search for a second hand RMC. Anyway thanks again for your help guys!
     
  5. Seank

    Seank One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    189
    I own a BR William Gibson mA-1 and can attest to its build quality. It is superb.
     
    Robbie79 and dannyk like this.
  6. dannyk

    dannyk One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,269
    I would add I would expect BR and RMC to also have better stitching (but better is relative) by which I mean possibly more stitches per inch and laser straight. And of course as I already stated historical accuracy in not only look but things like hardware as mentioned zippers and buttons etc...they won’t have any functional difference for the most part. So yeah BR and RMC will absolutely look authentic and be the prettier jacket. No argument there. I bet Cockpit also make a version. Haven’t checked on this model but I would bet they do. They are a steps between what Alpha is now and then BR/RMC. They do a medium range for lack of a better term. More accurate than Alpha but don’t use as high of quality materials as BR/RMC. They *might* (again might cause haven’t checked on this jacket specifically) be a nice middle ground. For me as I said I’m not a huge military/history person. I like the general aesthetic of the B-15. And I needed a jacket for that weather/temp range. If you’re after the general look and just want a solid jacket that gets the job done then Alpha is for you. Cockpit probably a middle ground. Then BR/RMC if you want all the details.
     
    Robbie79 likes this.
  7. Blackadder

    Blackadder Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,668
    Location:
    China
    If you have little interest in accuracy and vintage look, then Alpha would be a good choice. Other repro companies even the knockoff Bronson focus a little bit more on the accuracy and the look.
    Accuracy
    Apart from the hardware, there are also different models of MA-1. While some like the earlier model with the oxygen mask tab others like the reversible late model with orange linings. Alpha only offers copy of the late model.
    Look
    The thinner synthetic inner linings of an Alpha would have a slimmer look and not the vintage puffed look you see on old pilot photos.
    Weight
    The inner linings of BR and RM are thicker and heavier while the Alpha is comparatively flimsy with the synthetic. Some people do prefer things to be heavier be it watches, jeans, jackets or even shoes.
    No I don't think the Nylon 66 is better in the sense that it is more durable with higher resistance to wear and tear. While I don't have the respective tensil strength of the nylon threads for comparison, I don't believe the Alpha nylon would be easier to tear apart from normal wear.
    I don't own a Bronson MA-1 but some people on the VLJ seem to like it. Perhaps you can take a look.
    Oh don't count on laser accurate stitching on RM nylon jackets.
     
    dannyk and Robbie79 like this.
  8. Harris HTM

    Harris HTM One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,067
    Location:
    the Netherlands
    I own a 1992 made in the US Alpha MA-1 Ground Crew, a 2012 made in China Alpha MA-1 (orange lining), a 90's Replica Series Alpha B-15D(mod) and a Bronson B-15C(mod).
    If you go for Alpha: stay clear from their current offerings. Try to find a Replica series, or maybe a Vintage series (somewhere between the Replica and normal ones).
    The Bronson is exceptionally well made. People at the VLJ forum compare it with the Buzz Ricksons. I have never come across a BR, but the Alpha Replica series is considered to be very close to the originals, and the Bronson is not that far-away from the Replica.
    Let me know if you need any photo's.
     
    Robbie79 likes this.
  9. Harris HTM

    Harris HTM One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,067
    Location:
    the Netherlands
    I forgot to mention: the 1992 and 2012 Alpha's have polyester fill material. The 1992 is better made, the 2012 is not that bad, but worse than the US made I had in the mid 90's.
    The Replica series has a blanket type wool/poly fill. Heavier but warmer.
    the Bronson has also a wool/poly fill, heavy and exceptionally warm, but much stiffer than the Replica (could be that it is brand new though).
     
    dannyk likes this.
  10. Blackadder

    Blackadder Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,668
    Location:
    China
    Depending on where you live, a good condition second hand would not be a bad choice. There is another Japanese brand called Pherrow's which make pretty decent Japanese repro as well. As said, if you don't want a puffed looking MA-1, forget the Japanese repro.
    e.g. this BR Lion Uniform seems a pretty good deal.
    https://page.auctions.yahoo.co.jp/jp/auction/c867602273
    https://auctions.yahoo.co.jp/search/search?auccat=&tab_ex=commerce&ei=utf-8&aq=-1&oq=&sc_i=&exflg=1&p=Buzz+rickson's+ma-1&x=0&y=0
    https://auctions.yahoo.co.jp/search/search?auccat=&tab_ex=commerce&ei=utf-8&aq=0&oq=フェローズ&sc_i=&p=フェローズ+ma-1
     
  11. dannyk

    dannyk One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,269
    The few Bronson owners around here seem to love them for the money. I want to get a B-15C from them but they don’t currently sell that model with the fur collar. If they ever do I will be purchasing one.
     
  12. Blackadder

    Blackadder Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,668
    Location:
    China
    Robbie79 and dannyk like this.
  13. Harris HTM

    Harris HTM One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,067
    Location:
    the Netherlands
    Robbie79 and dannyk like this.
  14. Peter Mackin

    Peter Mackin Practically Family

    Messages:
    716
    Location:
    glasgow
    A word about bronson.I don’t know if they currently do a ma-1,but I have some experience with their B10 jacket,after purchasing it I immediately put my buzz rickson William Gibson b10 in the classifieds,,the bronson was better in every department.so much so that I have ordered their b9 parka,after sending a alpha N3b back to military 1st as it was complete junk.
     
    MoFo, Robbie79, dannyk and 1 other person like this.
  15. Blackadder

    Blackadder Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,668
    Location:
    China
    You need a proxy and I am not sure how much you would save given your country's tariff and sales tax. I buy from them all the time because I live in a city with zero import tariff and no sales tax except on petrol, alcohol and tobacco.
     
    Robbie79 and Harris HTM like this.
  16. Harris HTM

    Harris HTM One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,067
    Location:
    the Netherlands
    I actually ordered a MA-1 during their Black Friday offers. 88 euros. Anxiously awaiting now!
     
    Robbie79, dannyk and Peter Mackin like this.
  17. Harris HTM

    Harris HTM One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,067
    Location:
    the Netherlands
    I see, thanks!
     
    Robbie79 likes this.
  18. Blackadder

    Blackadder Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,668
    Location:
    China
    Interesting. I have never handled one of Bronson's jacket even though I can get them indirectly from their head office without going thru Taobao or any shopping website.
     
    Robbie79 and Peter Mackin like this.
  19. s4rmark

    s4rmark One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    125
    Location:
    Kent
    I have three Bronson jackets , MA-1, B-15a and a B-15c .pound for pound they are tremendous value and IMO the equal to Buzz in terms of build quality.
     
    MoFo, Robbie79, Harris HTM and 2 others like this.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.