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Advice on repro ANJ4/M444/M445?

daw

Active Member
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
 

John Lever

Moderator
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.
 

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.
 

daw

Active Member
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
 

daw

Active Member
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
 

bseal

Well-Known Member
$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.
 

daw

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

Dennis
 

airfrogusmc

Well-Known Member
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)














Zip puller(thanks Clark) and buttons replace










 

daw

Active Member
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
 

airfrogusmc

Well-Known Member
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.
 
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daw

Active Member
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
 

John Lever

Moderator
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.
 

daw

Active Member
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
 
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