US Army Air Force Decal - how to remove?

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by JB17COT, Aug 15, 2013.

  1. JB17COT

    JB17COT Familiar Face

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    Is there a way to remove the shoulder USAAF decal on an A-2?

    Thanks
     
  2. Doctor Damage

    Doctor Damage My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    Please don't do that if it's a WWII era vintage jacket.
     
  3. JB17COT

    JB17COT Familiar Face

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    No no, of course I wouldn't! It's an average repro.
     
  4. Doctor Damage

    Doctor Damage My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    Good! lol

    Speaking frankly, I think you're stuck with the decal until the jacket's been through many years of wear (decals are basically waterproof paint). Someone around here might have an effective cleaner or leather treatment, so I'm interested in seeing what responses you get over the next few days.
     
  5. Stand By

    Stand By One Too Many

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    1,737
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    Hello Cottus,
    I had an AAF decal on my ELC B-6 that I just didn't care for when the jacket showed up. I pondered on how to remove it too - and then I just decided to paint over it!
    I used artist acrylics and blended raw umber and black to various degrees and it covered the decal easily. I mottled it on so it picked up the subtle brown tones in the seal brown leather and the black toned it all down until it disappeared. Then I used matt varnish and a satin varnish in various degrees to match the satin gloss of the leather.
    By the time I was done, you had to really look - and know - to discern that anything had ever been there. The only tell-tale sign was a tiny variance in sheen in that one area ... and as the jacket had that naturally depending on the light source, it blended right in.
    So if you're at all artistically inclined, that's one way to remedy it.

    If not, then you could always ask an artist if they would be able to do this for you. Aero has one that does work for them. No harm in asking, eh?

    But that is if you want nothing there at all.
    Alternatively again, I'd suggest that perhaps you could get a really fine vintage AAF patch and have it sewn over the decal (just be sure to measure the decal and keep it in mind while you're hunting - so you cover all of it. Patch diameters did vary). They are all out there and are affordable too ...
    Or perhaps get one of the multi-piece leather repro ones with a nice leather border (like the pacific theatre) - or a painted and "aged" AAF patch (like the Mediterranean theatre)?
    Best of luck.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2013
  6. JB17COT

    JB17COT Familiar Face

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    Thanks Stand By, not sure I'd do a good job at the painting!! I do like the idea of getting a vintage patch though. Think I will go this route, if I'm really bothered with th decal....

    Cheers

    JB
     
  7. Stand By

    Stand By One Too Many

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    My pleasure.
    And here's one of my favourite websites for patches and he has a nice variety of AAF patches. I've bought a few from Dave and his service is great.
    http://militaryaviationartifacts.com/shoulder.htm
    And you could look up Snyders Treasures and Flying Tigers Antiques to look at more. Lots of choices! Good hunting.
     
  8. archbury918

    archbury918 One of the Regulars

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    Location:
    wisconsin
    Are you certain its truly a decal?
    If so, any hobby shop will have Solv-a-set. This is a liquid that is intended to "shrink" a decal to a model to adhere to rivets, etc on the surface of the model.
    It works magnificently as intended. It will also break up and dissolve the decal if reapplied. It's never harmed the paint underneath so I would assume it shouldn't harm the jacket's finish. Still, I'd test in an inconspicuous spot.

    The reason I ask if its a decal, is I've seen jackets by Eastman that actually use a silk-screening method. That's a whole nother animal.....
    Perhaps a brass brush used lightly?
     
  9. JB17COT

    JB17COT Familiar Face

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    Location:
    UK Richmond
    Thanks Archbury (I like the name by the way!), I don't know what type of decal it is yet as I haven't received the jacket. Will see how I feel about the decal once I get it... and try out (carefully) some of the options suggested. I do like Stand By's suggestion of the patch though (thinking I could put the 8th Air Force insignia) - especially if it's an original it would be great! I need to measure the size etc.. though as the decal has the USSAF insignia and it says Army Air Forces under so might be hard to cover it all up with a patch....

    Thanks
     
  10. archbury918

    archbury918 One of the Regulars

    Messages:
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    Location:
    wisconsin
    JB, thanks for the notice of the SN. I've loved that film since I was a kid. It's been my "handle" now for years.

    As for the decal, I collect militaria and also do Living History presentations for the public. It's been a long standing debate amongst my fellow historians for the use of the decal. Mainly, none of us has ever seen a period photo in theatre with the QM applied insignia. There is actually a bounty we've collected for the one that can show definitive proof of its use overseas. Thats where my 'purist' attitude resides.

    That aside, I recently acquired an ELC Cable Rainwear A-2 in goatskin. Gary no longer produces it in the correct contract spec and uses HH now. The jacket must be at least 8yrs old. It came with the AAF insignia applied. Its a very heavy applied silk screen. It's very well done and after the many years of wear, shows little 'cracking'
    Because of the jacket's age and wear, I find the light blue disc actually enhances the now slightly mottled russet finish. This jacket was made before Eastman started using their labels in the pocket and could easily pass for an original.
    It has an NOS talon zip (the contract called for Kwik), but with QM refurbishment it could be accepted as correct period as also the application of the 'wing and star' on the shoulder.

    Since I really don't use the jacket for my impressions, I've come to embrace the look and uniqueness.
    You may find the same!

    Cheers!
    Archbury
     
  11. JB17COT

    JB17COT Familiar Face

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    Location:
    UK Richmond
    Thanks Archbury, I saw your warbirds link which looks pretty impressive! Not sure if there’s anything like this in the UK but would love to join one, eventually.

    With regards to your comment about decals, there’s a picture I saw of an original A2 (you probably know the website already): http://www.acmedepot.com/a2jacket/a2images/star_decal.jpg

    It’s the Star Sportswear Mfg. Co. on this page: http://www.acmedepot.com/a2jacket/a2detail2a.html

    I have no idea where the jacket comes from though and if it was actually used in any theatre but perhaps something to ask the owner of the website…

    Cheers
     
  12. archbury918

    archbury918 One of the Regulars

    Messages:
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    Location:
    wisconsin
    JB, thanks for the compliment. I have the distinct advantage of being on staff for the EAA Warbirds.
    Our annual airshow, Airventure, just held it's 60th airshow in nearby Oshkosh, WI. That venue permits the incredible opportunity to set up our 'camp' right amidst scores of WWII fighter aircraft. There is nothing like living for over a week in period tentage waking to the sound of a Merlin turning over!

    I usually go to Duxford for your show (as a Yank in the RAF Eagle Squadron), but the authorities over there don't embrace us as well as we are here.
    I have some friends and unit links to Brits doing USAAF impressions if you'd like them.
    After all, you have the envious position of having all of those airfields scattered about your beautiful country.

    As for the Star A-2, I'm glad you found the Acme site. Although a bit dated now, its still relevant. That jacket is a prime example of QM reissue. It clearly shows the overdye of seal brown over the original russet hide. The wing and star is the military's version of 'inspected' after its refurbishment.

    Archbury
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2013
  13. JB17COT

    JB17COT Familiar Face

    Messages:
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    Location:
    UK Richmond
    There are a couple of good shows and events here definitely. I don’t have much time to attend unfortunately… shame as you said there are so many airfields around the UK! I’ve started following Sally B a bit – when she’s not too far from where I live. I still haven’t been inside but will make the time. Perhaps once I’ve got my new A-2! http://www.sallyb.org.uk/

    You must’ve have seen her as Duxford I guess? Good on you for showing up as a Yank in the RAF Eagle Squadron! On that note, I’m French and I have a great uncle (he was my grandmother’s cousin – on my Dad’s side) who escaped from France in 1940 after the defeat and went on to fight in the Free French RAF squadron ‘Ile de France’ until 1945. He flew Spitfires and was shot down a few weeks before the end of the war over Germany – luckily managed to land in a field but was captured and spent a few days in a POW camp!! His brother also escaped from France around 1940 and flew in a Free French fighter squadron in North Africa first and then in France (once liberated). He flew Hurricanes at first and then P-47’s, he was in the ‘Ardennes’ Squadron. There was a third brother who also escaped! He was a paratrooper in the Free French Army. Think he was dropped over France during the D-day period. I actually have a picture of all 3 of them (see on this link). On the far left, the P-47 pilot wears an A-2! http://dmassart.servhome.org/trois_freres.html

    Sorry I got carried away and off subject but thought you’d be interested… these men have saved the honour of France and I’m proud they are part of my family.

    Cheers

    JB
     
  14. archbury918

    archbury918 One of the Regulars

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    Location:
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    JB, no worries about going off topic.
    I'm a USAF/Army vet myself. My father was in the ETO and recalled into Korea as well.
    He landed in the 2nd wave on Omaha Beach in Easy Red sector. I try to return there as often as I can.
    I've turned my childhood interest into an amateur historian status.

    I've bookmarked your link if you don't mind. Although I don't speak French (fortunately, my girlfriend is fluent), I truly enjoy going over there to speak with the few remaining of that generation there.

    Here is a link to a UK forum that may assist you in getting more involved.

    http://www.usaaf.co.uk/forum/





    Cheers..
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2013
  15. JB17COT

    JB17COT Familiar Face

    Messages:
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    Location:
    UK Richmond
    Impressive about your Dad, you must be proud! No problem about the bookmark, my pleasure. Happy to hear you go there every year too.

    Thanks for the link, looks great I'll register shortly!
     
  16. Stand By

    Stand By One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,737
    Location:
    Canada
    Well, I'd say that it'd be better to cover the AAF decal with an AAF patch - as the AAF emblem was traditionally worn on the left sleeve and an 8th AF patch would go on the right sleeve - but, that being said, there were the occasional anomalies and these were sometimes reversed, but it's certainly not usual.
    As for covering the Army Air Forces lettering: I've seen the odd A2 jacket (in past Buzz Ricksons catalogues, if memory serves) where a patch partially obscures these letters, so that may work ... depends how you like the look. Me? Not so much.
    I had this issue when I decided to replace my repro bullion patches (from ELC) that I originally had on my ELC RW B3 - I wanted to upgrade to some nice originals, so I went hunting online and found some really nice vintage English theatre made ones (at Military Aviation Artifacts) - the 8th AF patch being one of cotton threads on silk, and the AAF patch being of cotton threads on wool:

    8thAFpatch-before.jpg 8thAFpatch.jpg patches.jpg .

    Alas, the AAF one didn't quite cover the existing stitch holes (drat!) - but I loved the patches as a pair (double drat!).
    So I decided to get around this by having a leather border for them created in russet horsehide (I had an extra sample piece from ages ago).
    Of course, this would require a little artistic license as these borders were very common in the Pacific Theatre of Operations and not the European, but still, I think they look the part and they do solve the problem of those unfortunate stitch holes.
    This modification was done for me by Will and Edith - formerly of Aero, now at AL.

    So all I'm saying is, if you find that certain patch that speaks to you for whatever reason and you really want for your A2, and if it's not quite the diameter you need, it needn't necessarily stop you from having it.
     
  17. archbury918

    archbury918 One of the Regulars

    Messages:
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    Location:
    wisconsin
    Beautiful patches! (I've always had a soft spot for the 'stubby wing'). They look good on the jacket as well.
    I'm impressed at the ELC B-3 too!

    I note the 'rank flaps' are sewn down and box stitched.....is that your work as well?
     
  18. Stand By

    Stand By One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,737
    Location:
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    Thanks Archbury!

    I wanted an early style "stubby" 8th AF wing as it's appropriate to the earlier model of B3 that the RW is.

    And no, the box-stitching was Will's idea.
    When the jacket was ordered (about 2006-ish), I asked ELC to put on their bullion patches - and bullion rank. But as time went by, I felt increasingly uncomfortable about wearing rank I hadn't earned and I removed them - and that left stitch holes too.
    And so, years later when the jacket was with AL for the excellent leather repair they did to the collar (as detailed in a different thread), I asked Amanda if they had any suggestions at all as to what to do about those errant stitch marks on the epaulettes ... and Will suggested the box stitching - and it looks amazing IMO! A great save !
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2013
  19. archbury918

    archbury918 One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    223
    Location:
    wisconsin
    I've got a few repro B-3's that over time have had that flap curl on me. Looking quite sloppy too I might add..
    Period photos show that to be commonplace. The couple of originals I have used a much thicker piece of leather.

    The jackets are nice enough (an expensive as well!), that I wear them regularly. I think your photo just gave me the answer to what I was wondering on how to deal with it!

    It appears tho as if the flaps were shifted slightly forward from original placement. I'm guessing its not perceptible when worn?

    @JB, I think that border is just the ticket should you decide to cover the decal.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2013
  20. Stand By

    Stand By One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,737
    Location:
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    No, nothing was moved in the modification - the square-shaped rank had been removed and that left the square of stitch-holes - and Edith ran cotton through them all again (don't ask me how!!!) and then connected the corners diagonally, forming an "X". Genius!
     

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