Yes, you read it right, I am now the proud owner of an Avirex A-2. I have, like most of us, had a laugh at Avirex and their preposterous 'nose art' , escape map linings, handwarmer pockets and gigantic mall-jacket fit. I had read, however, that back in the distant past before they started catering to the fashion crowd, they once produced a half-reasonable A-2. Thus when Aero had a clear-out of their basement and Ken put this up for sale, an obviously very old Avirex A-2, for fifty quid, I decided to take a punt at it. I sold my last A-2 a few years ago, and have kind of missed having one, but a decent repro was beyond the budget at present. I didn't really have high hopes - for starters it was advertised as a size 46. I am usually a fairly large 42, although I have got away with bigger sizes in the past, and as we all know manufacturers' sizes can vary. I also did not really expect to be blown away by its accuracy, but it was a spur of the moment purchase, and I guess I was hoping for the best. I reckoned that for fifty quid it was worth a go. I was, however, already planning to see if I could come to some arrangement with Aero if it didn't work out, I've been fancying one of their Harris Tweed caps for a long time, for instance. Well the box arrived, with some trepidation I opened it, and was immediately pleasantly surprised. For a start, the hide is fantastic. Colour is a kind of caramel russet. Impossible to tell for sure, I know, but I would be surprised if it's not horse. It has the thin, supple but tough feel of horse, with the close grain and smooth feel. I don't think it's steer, and if it's lamb it's the toughest lamb I've ever seen. It's also got fantastic patina. It's had a hard life, as the paint marks on the back testify, and it's obviously a pretty old example - several of the metal fittings have verdigris on them like you see on originals. I reckon your average man in the street would struggle to tell it from a WWII jacket. It also appears to be all original, no knits or zip appear to have been replaced. It has a one-piece back, construction seems to be reasonably authentic, with a decent collar hook and ring snaps like you see on some originals. Snaps at the collar are not covered with the (mustard-coloured, nylon) lining. The hanger is a proper WWII style strip, not a loop poking out of the collar seam. Zip is an interesting old YKK, of a type I haven't seen before, of correct size and in real brass and not the horrible 'antique' stuff, which is a pet hate of mine. Knits are a bit hairy and probably not 100% wool, but they're in reasonable nick. My biggest gripe is the pockets, the corners of which are too curved, as you often see on civilian A-2's. I can tell you one thing, it sure isn't a 46, despite what the label says. It fits my size 42 frame pretty darn well - my first impression was that it was too short, but it sits below my belt and, although I would prefer a smidge more length, when zipped up it's perfectly OK. So it's staying. It's nice to have an A-2 back in my arsenal. OK it's no Goodwear, but for fifty quid I'm not complaining. Ken reckons the paint will come off, but I think I need a bit more of a tutorial before I attempt it, although I'd like to. So there you go, they said Avirex once produced decent A-2's, and they were right.