First Repro A-2

Discussion in 'Repros' started by Wright Field, Nov 29, 2017.

  1. Wright Field

    Wright Field New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Newbie here, but have read a lot on this site and others...

    I'm a longtime aviation history guy who's admired the A-2 jackets for years and has gone through a bunch of low-tier knockoffs. I'm finally in a situation where I can get a top-notch reproduction and have been looking at all the manufacturers recommended here. As of now, I'm leaning toward Eastman for the price and shipping time (I don't want to wait a year for full custom!) and am interested in the HLB Corp variant because of the look and the pre-war time period. Since this is sort of an oddity, I haven's seen much discussion of this one online. Any thoughts on the particular jacket?
    As my name might suggest, I'd also like to add the classic Wright Field arrowhead leather patch. Unfortunately none of the manufacturers offer it (surprising, given the popularity of the Doolittle Raid), but I see a few guys on here have made/ordered some, so I'll be looking into that, as well. I'm torn between the high-quality embossed sort and the more historically correct painted version. The look I'm going for is an interwar-period officer who was assigned to the Wright Field labs. Thoughts on patches or advice on having a local tailor sew that on?
    Any other advice for a first-timer?
     
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  2. CBI

    CBI Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,480
    Good ideas and thought into things. Yes, the Eastman HLB is a good idea. I also really like the Eastman Werber 1729 contract from 1933, even more of a pre-war vibe. Werber's fit really well and my guess a bit more of a forgiving fit than the HLB. Please consider NOT patching your jacket the first year. Enjoy it as is for a while. Patching really changes the value and look. You will find a patched jacket will be worn much less. Eastman is the way to go if you don't want to wait. If you decide on a Wright patch later, there are people here who can do the work. There are also some excellent eBay patch folks. For the patch, if you are going all out on an Eastman, try to get as accurate/period correct of a patch possible. If you are a US based person, work with Charles at HPA to get your Eastman. He can help with sizing. Since its your first high-end A-2, you might have to make a few tries to get the fit you like (some extra shipping costs maybe). Its going to have a very different fit/feel than the lower end stuff. Enjoy!
     
  3. Wright Field

    Wright Field New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Excellent advice! And yes, I am in the US. The ‘33 Werner’s was a close second for me. I just like the detailing and colors of the HLB a bit better.

    The fit is of course the biggest question mark for me. It’s the main reason I’m avoiding factory customizations like the name tags and worn-look. Do you know how the sleeve lengths run on the Eastman’s? They don’t really say. I pretty consistently wear a 40 short (32” sleeve) suit jacket so I’m hoping their 40 doesn’t have 34” sleeves.
    As for the patch, I’m pretty certain I’m going to end up with the patch and name tag, as that’s the look I’m trying to emulate. But I’m not in a rush to do so and will certainly get in some “clean” jacket wear time before modding it.
     
  4. B-Man2

    B-Man2 Active Member

    Messages:
    863
    Hello and Welcome to the forum!
    Good advise from CBI.....regarding patching your jacket. If you are going to use it for reenactments' then putting the patch on is ok.
    However, if its an everyday wearer you'll get more use out of it unpatched. (Just my experience and opinion, others may disagree).
    Also, if you decide that one day you might trade up or want to sell the jacket, no patched / no stitch holed jackets sell a lot easier.
    If were talking about early pre-war A2's, I also prefer the look of the Werber 1729 with the golden brown knits. But, if you like the HLB A2, then go for it...... that's why they make Vanilla and Chocolate, so you get to choose.
    When you have a moment check out the new members section and tell us about yourself so we can all say hi!
     
  5. Skip

    Skip Active Member

    Messages:
    849
    Location:
    Great Southern Land
    Hello Wright field, you certainly came to the right place. The guys above have pretty much spelt the patching scenario out, and seeing your in the US it shouldn't be too hard to find what you require to the level of detail you like for your budget. I started with a US Wings, and then found this forum, it went and I now have 6 decent end jackets so beware the bug it can bight hard. My only advice is really know your measurements, that way you can find a jacket and not have to sell it because you were off on one measurement. I learnt the hard way.

    I patched one of Diamond Daves Arco's (Aero's) with a bloodchit and front and shoulder patches to which I wear when I'm just out and about to cafes, driving, walking in the park, working on my car, etc Its a pretty beat up casual look, but we're pretty casual here in Oz. I tend to wear the non patched Werber to work and on more smart casual occasions, or just the same when mucking about (the only way to wear them in my opinion). Like they said above, you won't get your value back if you patch it in some instances but then who knows what the market will do

    I've had my Eastman 33 Werber, for just over a year now and absolutely love it, see the pics attached. I was going to go the size 40 but the chest would have been a bit blousy for my tastes as my personal preference for this Werber is slim fit, so I went with a 38 and extra long sleeves and back the. the photos will give you an idea of the fit, Im slim 6'3" 39 chest, so my jackets tend to be on the long side. I've included an email from Rob of Eastman that included the measurements, this may help you out to a degree, but by all means Eastman are very helpful with the measurements so by all means ask them.

    A-2 WERBER SIZE 40:

    ARMPIT TO ARMPIT: 57.2cm
    SHOULDER SEAM TO SEAM: 48cm
    SLEEVE LENGTH FROM SHOULDER SEAM TO END OF CUFF: 64cm
    BACK LENGTH FROM NAPE OF NECK SEAM TO BOTTOM OF WAISTBAND: 64
    FOR 'LONG' VERSION ADD 2.5cm TO BACK AND SLEEVE LENGTH
    FOR 'EXTRA LONG' VERSIONS ADD 4.0cm TO BACK AND SLEEVE LENGTH

    A-2 WERBER SIZE 38:

    ARMPIT TO ARMPIT: 54.5cm
    SHOULDER SEAM TO SEAM: 46cm
    SLEEVE LENGTH FROM SHOULDER SEAM TO END OF CUFF: 63cm
    BACK LENGTH FROM NAPE OF NECK SEAM TO BOTTOM OF WAISTBAND: 63
    FOR 'LONG' VERSION ADD 2.5cm TO BACK AND SLEEVE LENGTH
    FOR 'EXTRA LONG' VERSIONS ADD 4.0cm TO BACK AND SLEEVE LENGTH

    FullSizeRender-10.jpg
    FullSizeRender-9.jpg
    FullSizeRender-12.jpg
    FullSizeRender-11.jpg

     
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  6. Steve27752

    Steve27752 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,208
    Location:
    Berkshire, U.K.
    Welcome to the forum. Personally the only thing that I add to a jacket is a Nametag, a patch really changes the jacket.
     
  7. 2BM2K

    2BM2K Active Member

    Messages:
    190
    Location:
    Sussex
    History Preservation Associates have Product Measurements for Eastman A2 jackets on their website.
    Here are a couple of links;

    https://www.historypreservation.com...-jacket-werber-leather-coat-co-contract-1729/

    https://www.historypreservation.com...a-2-flying-jacket-hlb-corp-contract-37-3891p/


    From an historical point of view the HLB was produced in 1937 and the Werber in 1932/33. If you are
    interested in 1933 onwards then only the Werber will do. There are plenty of photo's from this period
    of airmen wearing Werber jackets.
     
  8. Smithy

    Smithy Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    947
    Location:
    Norway
    Welcome Wright Field, the chaps above have got you covered. Long time member here Roughwear (Andrew) has an HLB or used to if memory serves. If you have a poke around on here a search might turn up photos of his. Also, if you visit this page it has all the actual measurements of the standard sizes for ELC's HLB:

    https://www.historypreservation.com...a-2-flying-jacket-hlb-corp-contract-37-3891p/

    BTW Skip, love the pics of the Weber with the shorts, those made me smile and took me right back to Oz!


    EDIT: 2BM2K beat me to it with the measurement page link!
     
  9. s4rmark

    s4rmark Member

    Messages:
    77
    Location:
    Biggin hill
    Welcome to the forum , I would also look at the History preservation associates site. I found they’re measurements are pretty accurate when comparing them to my own eastman jackets.
     
  10. Silver Surfer

    Silver Surfer Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,002
    dont worry too much about the sleeve length [unless ya have t-rex arms], as the sleeves on new hh jackets tend to shrink up appx. 1/2"- + with usage. if you get a jacket and after 4 or 5 months ya feel the sleeves are still to long, you can always hot water them, thus taking an additional 1/2"-1" off of the length. with that written, i personally prefer longer sleeves for practicality sake....like when driving so that the sleeves dont ride up my fore arms. oh, and welcome to the abusement park,, wright.
     
  11. Wright Field

    Wright Field New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Thanks for all the responses! You’ve got me reconsidering the Werber 1729 for sure. Your photos make it look even better than the website.

    Given the sleeve lengths you mention, I can do a 38 or 40 and be ok. I generally like a slimmer fit, which has me leaning toward a 38, but my concern with the smaller size is fitting bulkier clothes, like a sweater, under it in the colder months (I live in Ohio). Plus my wife keeps feeding me excellent food, contributing to my middle-age spread!
     
  12. CBI

    CBI Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,480
    its always better to go with a little extra room. the slim fit thing gets overdone by "vintage fit" peeps. If you plan on wearing an A-2 when its noticeable cold, you will need something warm under it.
     
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  13. Grant

    Grant Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    899
    Don't give up on the HLB! It's a unique looking A-2 that wears and fades beautifully. Here's an pic of mine when I was considering sewing a patch on it. I live in the US and worked directly with Gary in asking for mis-matched hides (grainy/smooth) which he delivered in spades. I prefer a slimmer fit A-2, otherwise it starts looking like a run of the mill mall jac. If it'd cold out, I wear a trim fitting C-2 vest or 5 button combat sweater and I'm good to go.

    HLB.jpg
     
  14. Smithy

    Smithy Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    947
    Location:
    Norway
    Boy that really is a looker Grant.
     
  15. Grant

    Grant Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    899
    Thanks Smithy!
    Owe it all to Gary. He did a kick ass job picking out the hides.
     
  16. B-Man2

    B-Man2 Active Member

    Messages:
    863
    Grant;
    Great looking HBL!
    Now I'm confused!
    Always liked the Werber 1729, but your jacket looks super with the mis-matched hides.
    Good call on that one.

    Wright
    Have we confused you enough?;)
     
  17. Silver Surfer

    Silver Surfer Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,002
    hooha, thats some bitchn hlb, dr. g.
     
  18. Skip

    Skip Active Member

    Messages:
    849
    Location:
    Great Southern Land
    Smithy, Take it you mean the weRber and not the BBQ? Glad you understand, thats what I was born for to be a source of amusement for some folks ;), I did tell Meg's not to include the bare legs thinking that you lot would have taken them for a proper pair of jeans, but geez do you guys look at the detail. Mate, your lucky I put the shorts on o_O, it was nudging 30 and the humidity was like being in a sauna. Jacket days down here are over for half a year. Best to you and family mate.
     
    Smithy likes this.
  19. Smithy

    Smithy Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    947
    Location:
    Norway
    Freudian slip with the We(r)ber Skip, it's -7 here with a foot of snow, the barbie (Weber) is forlornly stuffed away in a corner of the garage and like your jackets not likely to see the light of day for 6 months at least.

    Keep cool mate and have a cold one or six for us in the frigid north!
     
    Skip likes this.
  20. Wright Field

    Wright Field New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Indeed you guys have me vacillating! I’ve been scrolling through the various pics on her and the Eastman and HPA and haven’t quite settled. I’m also digging through vintage photos. Unfortunately there’s not much in the way of color photos from that period for color comparison, though existing examples are helpful. I’ll let you know which way I go. I may wait until after Christmas since everything is crazy at the moment. Does HPA usually have these in hand?
     

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