- May 18, 2009
- Reaction score
This is absolutely gorgeous!
My mother grew up on a farm in the Fens of East Anglia during the Second World War, and vividly remembers the sound of massed Boeing engines of the B-17 Flying Fortress bombers taking off.... and the far more worrying sounds of the damaged engines of the survivors as they laboured back hours later; the mis-fires, stuttering, the shattered fuselages and silent propellers, as well as the certain fact that not everyone who took off made it back....
The aircrew of the B-17s invariably wore their issue B3 jackets--utterly distinctive "Redskins" (named after the dye that was applied to the leather) that combined both beauty and function.... although only the latter quality was in anyone's minds when they were made. With their thick, warm sheepskin lining, the oversize collar that could be strapped up over the ears, providing warmth without limiting movement, deeply-cut armholes to facilitate movement and allow layering, and side-straps to ensure that the hem wouldn't catch on anything in the 'plane, these jackets were masterpieces of design.
You almost certainly won't be crewing a Fortress anytime soon--and most definitely won't be unfortunate enough to be crewing one in combat--but the beauty and design of these jackets has led to their enduring appeal, all the more so since they're far more readily adapted to contemporary civilian life than their RAF equivalent, the Irvin. (Another American design, by the way.)
I'm very pleased to have one to offer! Made by Calafate Aviation--a company whose reproduction B3 jackets sit two rungs below the masterpieces of Eastman, and one below their close rivals Aero, but most definitely above the jackets produced by Irvin Leathercraft, Avirex, and the like--this jacket is as close as you'll get to an original B3 without a four-figure outlay, or buying an original.
Cut from supple sheepskin in a browner hue that the originals this has the classic oversize collar and the two functional straps to bring it to a stand around your ears. It has the correct leather stripping throughout on the seams, including the reinforcing "V" on the sides near the adjuster belt straps. The fleece is thick and luxurious--and utterly functional. The interior label and present and correct, and the interior hang-strap is also present and undamaged. The jacket does have some minor cosmetic wear on the underside of one arm, as shown, and a very small seam rip (only about 1") under one arm at the armpit--a very easy fix, even for a local cobbler or leatherworker. It has the same cut and heft as an orignal, so no need to worry at all about layering, or fit! The main zip is a heavy duty YKK which operates beautifully fluidly; all of the other straps are rugged and fully functional. It does differ from the originals in one respect; it has a zip concealed under the collar for an optional hood (not included.)
This jacket is in Very Good/Excellent condition. This is a truly beautiful jacket! Calafates run between $250 and $650 used; I'm asking just $195, OR OFFER, boxed, shipped, and insured in the USA. International inquiries are welcome, with shipping at cost. And offers are VERY welcome!
This is tagged a M; I believe that it would fit a 40 - 42 best. Measurements:
Chest: 24 1/2 (remember, this is a sheepskin jacket, so this figure is higher than a cloth jacket, as it encompasses two layers of fleece!)
Sleeve: 36 1/2 (measured as a shirt)
Length: 28 3/4 (measured from the collar seam, not the edge when folded down).
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