Painting my A1 Admiral jacket - a walk through.

Discussion in 'Repros' started by Persimmon, May 10, 2018.

  1. Persimmon

    Persimmon Well-Known Member

    Nottingham England

    The jacket is not a stitch by stitch copy of any one type of jacket.

    Rather I look at it more as a loose sort of tribute to the brave chaps who fought in the skies on both Allied and Axis sides but with a focus on one group in the USAAF and one plane in particular.

    In this coffee shop day and age it almost seems that everyman and his dog are wearing A2 / Bomber jackets ( mind you some of the dog’s “mall” bomber jackets don’t look half bad !! )

    I love the uniqueness of the A1 style of jacket.
    And I guess having a painted version makes it that much more unique.

    There are pictures around as had been mentioned of A1 style jackets being patched and painted in some form so it’s not to over the top.
    And it’s all fun after all.

    I like to think of some “ww1 retread” officer wearing one as he ran his squadron/ group ( perhaps a Jimmy Doolittle character ; perhaps even a ‘Harvey Stobalt’ from 12 o clock high, etc ).

    “ I think I got a piece of one up there....... Our’s or theirs Harvey “

    Most senior personnel were expected to ( and most chose to ) fly on the missions. Some had their own planes.
    This chap was old school. Liked his old jacket and flew the missions and his character and appearance with his painted jacket made his pilots and their crew’s feel he was one of them.

    Or ......

    Just for a change in a mental brain wave, I thought why not !!
    Last edited: May 12, 2018
    B-Man2, bseal and ties70 like this.
  2. Persimmon

    Persimmon Well-Known Member

    Nottingham England
    The 511th bomb squadron was one of four squadrons within the 351st bomb group.
    Their bomb group marking was the J in a triangle.

    However to further identify planes and squadrons they added an additional marking / colour bands.
    I understand it was a diagonal stripe.

    In August 1944 this became a full size diagonal stripe and in red.



    Prior to that it was often added to the J triangle as per the jacket in a smaller size. See the pictures below -



  3. MikeyB-17

    MikeyB-17 Well-Known Member

    Cornwall, UK
    Aah, gotcha.
  4. johnwayne

    johnwayne Well-Known Member

    In saying 'an A1 wouldn't have had such artwork' I was really referring to the actual artwork itself ie it's Bomb group/ WW11 style more commonly associated with A2's where indeed Alan has taken his inspiration from, rather than if an A1 would have been painted as I'm well aware of images such as Dr H's input. Like I said, a really nice job and personally I do like painted jackets, Alan's in particular is a nice personal nod to those heroes back then and, Alan's frame/stature illustrates the A1 style very well.
    bseal likes this.
  5. dujardin

    dujardin Well-Known Member

    splendid jacket with a splendid artwork


    Ties is the right man at the right place
  6. ties70

    ties70 Well-Known Member

    Hamburg / Germany
    Hi Guys,

    apparently there is not much for me to add here.
    You have seen all the pictures...
    You have heard all the details... Thanks to Alan for taking the time to describe the whole process, and thereby making it visible why painting jackets takes as long as it takes.

    Putting paint on leather is just the easy and fast part.
    Getting all the details right BEFORE brushing the first stroke, that's what is taking time.

    One might be better off with a "You get what you pay for" - attitude, but for me it´s different: You have to keep in mind that you can screw up an otherwise totally perfect leather jacket, cherished by its wearer, no matter how much he paid for it, if it's a GW or a "mall" jacket. With a pretty close circle of people around here, showing off their stuff, failure or second best work can never be an option!

    One example is the evolution of the correct letter fonts. As Alan mentioned, I used CANTERBURY as a base. It was one of the traditional OLD ENGLISH fonts but slightly different. Changing it was a hand job, with white and black ink, to get closer to the original Archi Ball design:


    Overall, it was my pleasure and privilege to paint the jacket for Alan.
    He had been patient, even after I had made "hot" him with new photos every other day...he never rushed, but just let me do the work in my own pace.

    Thanks for all the kind words from you other guys!!

    Best regards,

  7. Persimmon

    Persimmon Well-Known Member

    Nottingham England
    Further update on this.
    Got the exact and official answer.

    I found online a oral discussion with Clinton Ball dated 7th October 1977.
    He was discussing amongst other things the naming issues with the 511th with the majority of the planes featuring the Ball name.

    The interviewer though asked him about the 511th insignia and about that yellow flash above the Triangle J.

    It was painted onto the plane’s by the ground crew for the crews to shine a flashlight at night to easily identify their specific planes without having to read numbers on the tail/ side.
    bseal likes this.

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