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Vanson Padded CXL Commando


I'll Lock Up
I have been trying to write the full story of how i ended up getting this jacket made for a couple hours, but i don't seem to be able to write anything interresting right now.
Still, i really wanted to post pics of this jacket, she is a beauty and i know you guys will enjoy it.

Basically, last year i picked up a used X150 Commando in the classifieds, one thing led to another and before i knew it i had a second one on order, and then as you do on TFL, i bought a third one before the second one was even in production...

Yesterday was a crappy day, had my dad's funeral at 1pm...
As i arrived back home around 3pm i noticed a cardboard box had been thrown over my fence and was waiting in the middle of the yard, soaked, in the pouring rain. "Great i thought, now i also have to deal with a F'up jacket!"
Thankfully the jacket had been double bagged inside and it was perfectly dry.

So, here is the one that started it all, the regular (X-150):


The second i picked up this jacket i started thinking about a padded version and called Constantine at Vanson to get the ball rolling.
My dream was to have a padded CXL version made, with a few mods. My vision was a combination of the Commando, the LaBrea and the padded Buco J-81.
Planning it was great, Constantine is awesome, he got me in touch with Theresa, the lady who designed the Commando pattern and together we designed my dream commando live on Facetime, it was amazing!

A few months later, a CXL version appeard on eBay, i hit BIN as fast as my mouse allowed it, and still have no regrets getting the CXL version, if you find one get it!:

The Gold Standard:



Now, here is the one that arrived yesterday, the "Ultimate Commando"





It is basically i regular Commando with these mods:

CXL leather + Gold rayon lining.
-1" in body length front and back
tighten wrists circumference 2" getting rid of the weird flared wrists
chrome snap caps on lapels, no snap caps on collar
brass zippers (regular main zip, no double pull)
double stitch D pocket
add mutton collar, black collar snaps
add commando padding (the padding on the shoulders is inspired by the J-81)
add leather lined gun pocket
delete handwarmer pocket and ticket pocket.
no plastic stiffener in kidney pannel

IMO the jacket came out great, the stitching is great, the leather is great, i really like the mutton collar, it goes much lower in the neck than other collars i have, it really makes a difference. All in all i really have nothing bad to say about this jacket.
The only negative is that it took a year to deliver instead of the planned three months, but i can only blame Covid for that.
The fact that i had a part in designing it, that it came out so nice, and the fact that it was delivered to me on this day really makes it a special jacket to me... Because of it, a crappy day ended with a smile.

Interrestingly the leather is really different from my Gold standard.
The CXL on my GS has a super thin top coat, you can see the brown clearly through the black, it barely has any grain but it is rough and scratchy to the touch. That isn't the case on the Ultimate, it is much blacker, there is barely any brown showing through, it is shiny and smooth, much waxier, much grainier.
I had heard tha some makers were complaing about poor consistency at Horween, and i have to say that the fact that both these jackets were made from leather coming from a single batch is a bit shocking.
They really did a good job matching the hides...

Here are pics of both to compare:



And to finish, fit pics, the Gold Standard first, the Ultimate Second:







Edit: here is the original review i wrote about the commando:

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Practically Family
So sorry for your loss! It’s been 5 years since I lost my dad to cancer and still to this day it brings tears to my eyes when someone tells me they lost their father. I feel for you man.

Your jacket though, as always, is absolutely stellar! I know it will be one that stands out to you in your collection.


Call Me a Cab
My condolences..

This jacket though. Wow. Aside from all other changes, going shorter was just the perfect call. The absurd length of the Commando is what stopped me from getting one. Proportions look so much better on your new one! Congratulations!


One Too Many
Beautiful jackets, and very cool to get to work with the folks behind the scenes. Glad you could have such a nice and long-awaited surprise on such a hard day.


Practically Family
Sorry for your loss Carlos.

The jacket looks great. I've always thought if my Model E had padding it would be even better than it is.


I'll Lock Up
I sent the pics to Constantine more or less at the same time i posted this, here is his answer:

"I'm so glad it made it there dry and in 1 piece ! The jacket looks absolutely amazing!
You nailed it with the wrist measurements, fit suits you perfectly!

Thanks for your kind words on the work we did.
Theresa made the pattern and supervised the making process from A-Z.
I have attached the printout report of the List of people that worked on your jacket.

As far as stitching goes Sincha pretty much stitched the the whole jacket, Alex Finished it (collar, bottom hem and sleeves). Those two are the best of the best. They are both on our IG page. They made a post about Alex just this morning and Sincha was featured on an IG post from October 29, 2020. probably 6 or 7 rows down on the Vanson IG.

Denise silva stitched your lining, Alan is our cutter, Gerrie operates the clicker presses (small die-cut parts), Carlos and Doug do all the heavy work that is to turn the jacket inside out and pre-finish. Cynthia inspects the shell and the lining before they get stitched together. Luciano is the one that operates all snaping machines and hardware. He also cuts the linings sometimes. Abbie is our Final QC person and she reads our complex order descriptions ad makes sure everything was done right.

Now on the Leather. This Horween batch was ordered by Christian of Left Field. Buying bulk can be a little complicated and I think Horween shipped skins from Various batches. Alan always tries to match the skins the best he can. I remember selecting the skins with him. Those were the 2 best looking remaining ones. He was unsure if he would be able to cut the entire jacket out of the selected ones, but he managed to exclude all imperfections and keep the best pieces matching.

I hope you enjoy this jackets for many years to come. It is a great honor for us that you appreciate what we do and I really enjoy sharing all the info I can about the making process !



And the instagram posts in question:



Honestly, if you ever want a custom Vanson give Constantine a call, he is great.
And thanks to everybody at Vanson who had something to do with this jacket.


One Too Many
Wow man what an incredible jacket and great story! Posts like this are the reason i come to fdl. And sorry to hear about your father.


One Too Many
Sending love to you man. Can’t imagine how hard that was.

I hope this jacket gives you a smile. It’s fantastic I love both the GS and your custom.

I have this to say about Vanson. In my opinion they are the best of the best. No, they don’t have all the leathers, they don’t have the details of some of the Japanese makers. They don’t have the heritage of a langlitz. There are great options below their price and tons of good ones above. I simply mean they give you exactly what you pay for everyone. The best value per dollar I can think of. You get Vanson and you’re getting exactly what you think you should be for your dollars. As we all know now they’ve had a lot of trouble with their tanneries over the last few years. So anyone who hasn’t gotten what they wanted in terms of leather quality that is why. Not their fault and I look forward to them getting everything back on track. They also have some of the most friendly and helpful employees. I’ve spoken to Constantine several times and always a class act. I mean what other company would give you every single detail and employee name of your jackets production? Like Field Leathers cause it’s just him haha. But I can’t say enough for them. Is better out there? Like I said yeah. But at a certain point your extra dollars have a diminishing return. They are tops of value per dollar. Great design Carlos, Great Job Vanson.
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I'll Lock Up
Carlos - as many others have indicated, deeply sorry for your loss. Hope are able to take time to grieve/process.

Sure do like this whole progression of your jackets! Great to see some good news here.

Also great to see the instagram photos of the Vanson staff!

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