What Price Glory replica A-2 review

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by Doctor Strange, Feb 17, 2019.

  1. Doctor Strange

    Doctor Strange I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    4,709
    Location:
    Hudson Valley, NY
    Let me start with the summary I'd planned to end with:

    If you're looking for a bargain knockabout WWII-style A-2... or if you're looking for a budget A-2 to paint the back... or if you want a gift for family and friends who admire your expensive repro A-2s… and who won't even notice any difference, this jacket is something to consider!

    http://onlinemilitaria.com/products/6787-US-A-2-LEATHER-FLIGHT-JACKET-2018-RUN/

    Now that I'm retired and blazing through my savings, my days of spending $500+ on leather jackets are pretty much over. But since I own and have been impressed with a number of WPG jackets, I was curious about this A-2, which has gotten great reviews for the impossibly low price of $155. (To put this in perspective, the first real WWII replica A-2 I ever bought - a Bradley Associates for my dad, an Air Corps vet - cost $199 way back in 2001... and it wasn't close to this level of pseudo-accuracy.)

    And since I don't currently have a seal brown A-2 (just a russet Good Wear and a black Gibson & Barnes) - not since I sold my old US Authentic some years back - I figured this was a birthday present that I could afford to get myself!

    This is indeed a seemingly impossibly nice jacket for the price. No, of course it doesn't compare with the premium-maker repros. It's a generic replica, not a reproduction. But it is comparable with plenty of mid-range jackets that cost two and three times as much. On to the details...

    Materials and construction

    It's very dark seal goatskin, closer to black than brown. (See the dappled sunlight pics.) This is the thinnest and lightest goatskin I've ever seen; it's all evenly pebble-grained with no blemishes, flexes like goatskin, and is, yes, buttery soft. In terms of its drape and hand, it actually seems more like lambskin than goatskin. This jacket weighs A LOT less than my G&B goatskin A-2. No break-in is required, it feels like wearing a soft cotton windbreaker.

    The knits are a tight wool blend, a bit denser than usual, but they look like they will stand up to lots of wear. The lining is a cotton blend that's a little smoother to the touch than all-cotton linings I've seen, but that's okay too. It's a good color and feels like it will wear well. The zipper is an antiqued brass-finish YKK that is the correct (small) size. The ring snaps on the collar and pockets, and throat latch hardware, are all fine. One bit of odd hardware are the underarm grommets, which are larger than usual, see the picture.

    Construction is mostly accurate - one-piece back, two-piece sleeves, collar stand, no zipper facings, nicely shaped pocket flaps and collar, no handwarmer pockets, and all the seams are solidly sewn. The one major thing missing that any proper replica/repro should have is a spec label. But hey, that's an interior detail nobody but us cares about.

    It has an off-spec large inside pocket... but I consider that a feature rather than a bug!

    There is one very familiar error: the epaulets and shoulder seams are a little too far forward, falling off the shoulder rather than riding atop. See the side-view pic.

    There are long creases on the outside of the arms, and one side of the collar has some unfortunate creases, due to the folded plastic-bagged packaging and the thin hide. See the side-view pic. I'm working on smoothing out the collar, and I hope the arm creases will eventually fade with wear.

    Sizing and fit

    I am a widebody - 5'8", 200 lbs., 42 waist with even wider gut overhang - and I typically wear 46/XL and 48/XXL jackets. Almost any off-the-rack jacket I buy will be too long in body length and sleeves, and wider in the shoulders and chest than I need, because with me, it's always about fitting around my big gut. I often need 2 or 3 inches taken off the sleeves on jackets that don't have knits.

    I got the XXL, which claimed a 26" pit-to-pit measurement and didn't specify any other dimensions... but all the reviews said it's a trim fit and you should size up. The sizing reminds me a lot of my old US Authentic: it's trim but long. As you will see in the pics, as usual for me, the body length and shoulder width are a bit big: an XL would have no doubt fit me better in these areas... but I probably couldn't zip it over my waist/gut. (Hey, I have other custom jackets that fit me perfectly, and I'd always rather have it be too big than too small.)

    Anyway, my own measurements on the XXL are:

    Pit-to-pit - 25.5"
    Shoulders - 21.5"
    Back (top of collar to bottom of waistband) - 29.5"
    Sleeve (shoulder seam to end of wristlet) - 27"
    Front (top of zip to bottom of waistband) - 24.5"
    Waistband across at bottom - 19"

    The pictures at WPG's page are very good at showing the jacket, but I did a few of my own...

    WPGa2open.jpg WPGa2halfzipped.jpg WPGa2back.jpg WPGa2side.jpg WPGa2Pocket+leather.jpg WPGa2zip.jpg WPGa2grommet.jpg WPGa2sleeve.jpg

    Anyway, it's darn impressive for just $155. And with its lighter goatskin, it will make a nice "summer weight" A-2 for times when horsehide or thicker goatskin is too much. I'm definitely looking forward to wearing it when spring arrives!
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2019
  2. TXFlyGuy

    TXFlyGuy Practically Family

    Messages:
    969
    Location:
    Texas
    That looks very nice, based on your photos. At that price, a real bargain for sure. The fit looks pretty good also.
    A perfect candidate for patching / painting.
    Wear it in good health!
     
  3. CBI

    CBI One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,128
    Location:
    USA
    Thanks for the review. WPG can be surprisingly good sometimes. One of my all-time favorite jacket purchases was their Irvin. It was a GREAT jacket for the money and I ended up enjoying it more than my much more accurate/authentic ELC Irvin. Alas, my WPG is too large for me and I just sold it. I see so many folks including me buying high end repros and selling them for a myriad of reasons. I wonder if its not best to buy a cheap repro, see if it gets worn a lot and after maybe a year or two, upgrade. I'll bet 3/4 of potential high-end jacket purchasers would pass on an upgrade.....oh, the money saved!
     
    belfastboy, davyjones007 and Edward like this.
  4. Edward

    Edward Bartender

    Messages:
    19,865
    Location:
    London, UK
    Nice review. I remember these being raved about around ten years ago when they first did them, then subsequent batches receiving less enthusiasm. Sounds like they've picked them up again. The way you describe the goathide makes me think of a Wested Raiders I have in goat, which has exactly that hand: feels much lighter than my goat Aeros, almost like lamb, but has proven to have the durability of goat. It's certainly glorious stuff for Summer: if this is too hot for ya, pretty muh any jacket is going to be a no go.
     
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  5. Doctor Strange

    Doctor Strange I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    4,709
    Location:
    Hudson Valley, NY
    Edward...

    I'll have you know that in considering this purchase, I spent a long time trying to decide if I wanted to get this WPG A-2... or spend a hundred dollars more and get a Wested Raiders in goatskin!

    I seriously love my lambskin Raiders jacket, and have long wanted to get another in sturdier goatskin. (I haven't bought a goatskin jacket since my G&B M-422A circa 2005, and I've been jonesing for one! Goatskin is such an outstanding leather.) Anyway, I decided to go for the A-2 (hey, my dad was a sergeant in the Air Corps), and told myself that if it was a disappointment, I'd return it and get the Raiders. Alas, I like this A-2 too much for that!

    But someday...
     
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  6. Seb Lucas

    Seb Lucas I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    6,031
    Location:
    Australia
    Nice write up. At 29.5 inches in length, it's longer than my car coat and I am six two. I wonder what a size medium measures. Does the lining look strong or is it thin?

    Edit: I just checked the size medium on their site which fits like a 42 - it's 26.5 inches long which works for me but the sleeves are only 24.5 inches, about 2 inches too short. Shoulders are 19 inches which is good too.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2019
    davyjones007 likes this.
  7. Doctor Strange

    Doctor Strange I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    4,709
    Location:
    Hudson Valley, NY
    I'm not sure that that size chart, which appears in the catalog entry for the previous iteration of these jackets, applies to the 2018 build. The XXL numbers don't entirely match up with my own measurements. But if those are the correct sizes, it would appear that the XL would likely fit me better, if a bit snug at the waist/gut.

    I said above that the cut of the WPG A-2 is "trim but long, like my old US Authentic". I found this pic of the US A when I first got it in 2002 - note that the body length is indeed similarly long:

    MSGUSAhorse.JPG
    It was a size 44, which was strange, because it was actually sized larger than my G&B 46... and it's G&B who have the reputation of their jackets having a "modern, very oversize fit". I live near US A's "factory" and went in person, and tried on their A-2s myself with Shaul, and their 46 was HUGE on me.

    But hey, that was 2002, I wouldn't make any assumptions about today's US A or G&B products based on my experiences.
     
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  8. Edward

    Edward Bartender

    Messages:
    19,865
    Location:
    London, UK
    I think it was your own review, way back ,that got me to consider Wested... I certainly wouldn't badmouth their lamb (it's appeal for a leather jacket that was to be worn in North African heat making Raiders is obvious!), but I'm just a bit too clumsy for something fragile. If you ever do fancy spending the money on the Wested as well, I would consider the justification being the lack of knits in the heat.... I certainly found when I wore mine in the heat of India and China that the lack of knits really helped airflow. The one thing I might do differently "next time" would be to have the sleeves lined in cotton to make it more breathable....

    Goat really is a great skin. I was always a fan of hefty hides having cut my leather teeth on eighties bike jackets, but I'm really a big fan of goat nowadays.
     
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  9. Doctor Strange

    Doctor Strange I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    4,709
    Location:
    Hudson Valley, NY
    The Raiders jacket is a very flattering and practical design. Mine's got the all-cotton lining, which does make it wearable in slightly warmer weather, along with the open sleeves and waist. And lambskin, for all its alleged faults, is a great "summer-weight" leather. (Yes, it is more fragile, I once tore mine... and Wested repaired it FOR FREE. You guys already know my "Christmas miracle" story.)

    In an era when (for example) off-the-rack Schott jackets are going for $700, $800, I think Wested's stuff is a great value, especially because they do very reasonable customizations. Not all of us can wear standard sizes! On my last Schott jacket, a 2XL 654, I had to have the sleeves taken up almost three inches (and give up half the sleeve zips), another $40 on top of what I paid. That hurts.

    Rather than another Raiders, I've considered asking Wested to custom-build (in terms of sizing and sleeve length, cotton lining, goatskin, details) one of their other film jackets for me - maybe the Wolverine X-Men Days of Future Past, or the James Bond Skyfall, or the Captain America The First Avenger - all interesting designs. Maybe someday.

    A couple of years ago, I got my son one of their lambskin blouson jackets (it was only around $140 at the time), and it's a nice jacket that's held up to regular wear just fine:
    WestedLambskinBlouson.jpg
    Anyway, I think we agree that Wested provides some good products at lower price points, especially at a time when leather jacket prices seem to be going up at lightspeed!
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2019
    davyjones007, Edward and bn1966 like this.
  10. pjman

    pjman Familiar Face

    Messages:
    53
    Location:
    Biloxi
     
  11. pjman

    pjman Familiar Face

    Messages:
    53
    Location:
    Biloxi
    I bought a WPG A-2 about five years ago, and I agree - for $150, you won't find a better jacket. I don't think WPG gets the credit they deserve for making a great generic A-2 for a very affordable price. What Price Glory A-2.JPG
     
  12. Kennyz

    Kennyz New in Town

    Messages:
    21
    Thanks for the review Doctor Strange. Looks to be a good jacket, and a real bargain at the price!

    Ken
     
    davyjones007 likes this.

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