Advice on repro ANJ4/M444/M445?

Discussion in 'Repros' started by daw, May 4, 2016.

  1. daw

    daw Member

    Messages:
    77
    Folks,

    I'm very keen on getting one of these jackets (ANJ-4 vs M444 vs M445), trying to make up my mind which one and from where. I like the look of all of them but wonder if any of you can help me to make my decision.

    One of my main concerns is sizing; I'm 6'2", wear a 36" shirt sleeve. I fit comfortably into a "modern" 46L in the A2 and G1 lines, with a length in back of 27-28" collar seam to bottom. I wonder how these other sheepskin jackets are supposed to fit in terms of length? Same length as an A2 or G1? Longer? Shorter? I understand the ANJ-4 is meant to be a little shorter than the M444, but looking for practical advice so I don't get something too short.

    I also think the fleece is shorter in the M444 compared to the others; are the M445 and ANJ-4 comparable in terms of thickness? I'm in Minnesota, so can easily justify a thicker fleece for a good part of the year. And yet I think some of the sheepskin jackets look really too full for my tastes, for example the Irvin.

    The brand I'm most seriously entertaining right now is flightjacket.com. Any strong opinions as to the quality there? I gather they use a thicker fleece for the M444, more than would be found in other brands.

    Wonder if John or some of the other authorities would chime in with their thoughts before I take the plunge.

    Thanks for any help you can give.

    Dennis
     
  2. John Lever

    John Lever Moderator

    Messages:
    6,256
    Location:
    Southern England
    Hi Dennis,
    I have owned several of these jackets over a 20 year period, originals and repro' s.
    My first observation is that sadly you just missed the repro company that made all the Navy sheepskins and Anj4. Real McCoy's New Zealand ceased trading last year. The current choices would be Aero, Eastman and Lost Worlds for the Anj4. Aero make the short and long zip version and would probably do a certain amount of customisation. They also use regular sheepskin not the Broken Grain that Eastman use that seems to be generally unpopular.
    I think Goodwear and Flight Jacket.com are the only ones making the M444, though Gary Eastman did say that they were planning to produce them, but that was several years ago now.
    As you pointed out the M444 has the shortest fleece it also shares the full length zip with the m445. In my experience this is seldom well executed so collar fastening can be troublesome. The collar strap on the Anj4 and m445a is superior from a purely practical view. The diamond arm patches on the other jackets do look very stylish though. The length of the jackets is similar throughout in repros with perhaps the Anj4 being slightly shorter. One down side of the Anj4 are the horsehide cuffs (some contracts were sheepskin) These can rub the backs of the hands though Ken Calder told me they were worn rolled back.

    Have you considered Willis and Geiger ? They were a WW2 contractor and made jackets up to ten years or so ago. Quality can be patchy but it might be a good place to start. They come up quite often on ebay as m444 and m445 versions. Try one of those then go from there if you want a bench mark jacket from a premier company costing three times as much. As you are in the States Lost Worlds might be a long term deal. They are pricey when available but are very good.
     
    ButteMT61 likes this.
  3. Roughwear

    Roughwear Well-Known Member

    This is such a thorough answer John! I would try Goodwear. John Chapman's fleece jackets are superb and very accurate repros. It is worth contacting John as he sometimes sale jackets at affordable prices.
     
    ButteMT61 likes this.
  4. daw

    daw Member

    Messages:
    77
    I think I came to the right place...
    Thanks for the input, guys!

    Dennis
     
  5. daw

    daw Member

    Messages:
    77
    Sorry to harp on the length thing, but would you pick a length the same as what you wear in a G1 or A2?

    Dennis
     
  6. John Lever

    John Lever Moderator

    Messages:
    6,256
    Location:
    Southern England
    Just choose the size you need the length should be fine.
     
  7. daw

    daw Member

    Messages:
    77
    I do love the look of the Aero ANJ-4. Anyone from the US have any idea about the import charges that might apply on import of a sheepskin jacket from the UK?

    Dennis
     
  8. bseal

    bseal Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,768
    Location:
    Benicia, CA
    $59-74 bucks for import, but you're worth it.

    John (GW) is 2 + years out, if you can't wait, US Authentic can get a jacket out to you within a couple of weeks.

    BTW, the UK moderator occasionally sells some of his wares, so keep a nose to the ground.
     
  9. daw

    daw Member

    Messages:
    77
    Many thanks you guys for your input. Will be sure to post when I score one of these great jackets!

    Dennis
     
  10. airfrogusmc

    airfrogusmc Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,805
    Heres my US Authentic custom. Not 100% authentic but has the feel and a great jacket. Kind of a AN6553 (one piece back and ANJ4 windflap)
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    Zip puller(thanks Clark) and buttons replace
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  11. John Lever

    John Lever Moderator

    Messages:
    6,256
    Location:
    Southern England
    Love the snaps/metal buttons
     
  12. daw

    daw Member

    Messages:
    77
    US Authentic makes a nice looking coat.

    What do you think of the short zipper+2 button arrangement? I'm inclining towards the Aero ANJ-4 but not sure whether to get the long or short zipper. I'm guessing the short zipper lets you loosen the coat while sitting so one can keep the zipper done up?

    Dennis
     
  13. airfrogusmc

    airfrogusmc Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,805
    Yes, it's great for when you are in the car driving. You just unbutton the bottom to buttons and it keeps the jacket from creeping up like it does with FL zippers. I think thats why they did it on some M445s

    Good thing about US Authentic was when I bought it it was right at a grand and it took like 2 weeks t get it and it was custom.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2016
  14. John Lever

    John Lever Moderator

    Messages:
    6,256
    Location:
    Southern England
    Bevan (Bristolherc) has a new size 44 m444 RMNZ for sale.
     
  15. daw

    daw Member

    Messages:
    77
    Guys,

    I've pretty much settled on ordering the Aero ANJ-4 with the short zipper. I prefer the brown oil pull horsehide trim over the seal trim.
    What do you think of that trim versus the seal? I suspect the seal is more true to the originals but I'm not sure. Also, just an afterthought, I wonder what people think of the Simmons-bilt ANJ-4 (though I think I prefer the look of the Aero)?

    Thanks,
    Dennis
     
  16. John Lever

    John Lever Moderator

    Messages:
    6,256
    Location:
    Southern England
    I wouldn't go for oil pull. Opt for seal Vincenza or seal jerky horse.
     
    ButteMT61 likes this.
  17. airfrogusmc

    airfrogusmc Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,805
    Aero makes wonderful jackets. I think you'll really like it. I think John gave you very good advice.
     
  18. John Lever

    John Lever Moderator

    Messages:
    6,256
    Location:
    Southern England
    I am sure you will get a beautifully made jacket that will last a lifetime. Aero is using really great sheepskins so your jacket will be really comfortable.
     
  19. daw

    daw Member

    Messages:
    77
    Don't consider the Simmons-bilt ANJ-4? They look pretty nice too. I see they're pretty much the same cost as the Aero, maybe $100 less here in the US. The color I saw looked a little more "flashy", less understated than the Aero.

    Dennis
     
  20. bristolherc

    bristolherc Member

    Messages:
    329
    Now residing with its very pleased new owner in Minnesota.......

    Bevan
     

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