Repro Buyer's Guide

mulceber

Well-Known Member
In a discussion on another thread, @stanier had a really good suggestion about something that's missing from VLJ - a buyer's guide to give newbies (and veterans who are exploring a new area of the hobby) suggestions of where the best deals are to be had. The aim is to focus on products that are top tier (or near top tier) in terms of accuracy, but very reasonable in their pricing. Maybe this thread could be stickied?

I'm no expert on this, so I've put the ones I know of (either from personal experience or word of mouth) and would like to get other people to chip in with what they think are the best deals in this hobby. I stuck to USAAF, because that's where I'm strongest, but Navy, RAF, anything would be good.

Also, when you post a suggestion, could you post a link with it, as well as your assessment of why it's so good?

(apologies if the write ups for these contain information that's common knowledge to most people here - it is written for the benefit of newbies after all)

A-2 Jackets
Platon's J.A. Dubow Mfg. - basically a Bill Kelso jacket at half the price, without any customization options. Waits can be in the range of several months and communication is spotty, but the results have been great - on par with their more expensive cousin in terms of both workmanship and quality of materials.
Five Star Doniger - At present, the Doniger is the best bang for your buck in terms of accuracy. Shawn's other A-2 options are improving as well, but Doniger is still the best value of accuracy vs. price (assuming you like the Doniger collar). Some have complained about the leather having a persistent odor, and others have said that the leather is fine, but not in the same league as other top-tier jackets, but the workmanship has received rave reviews and Shawn's courtesy and wonderful customer service have never been questioned. They also offer custom sizing.
AVI Leather Bronco - a solid budget option, and it still has its fans. Some of the older ones are a great value, and if you can pick one up for cheap, so much the better.

Shearling
Five Star B-3 and D-1 (and soon B-6?) - At the time of writing, no one actually has received one of these yet, so this may need to be updated later, but Five Star's new shearling looks fantastic, and Shawn has been very accommodating about amending the pattern based on feedback from the community here. See the entry on the Five Star Doniger for more on the company's merits.
Bronson B-6 - they look great and I've heard that on Taobao they run for about half the price that's listed on their website? That puts them down in about the same price range as a Five Star shearling jacket, assuming their sizing works for you.

Cloth Jackets
Bronson or Bob Dong B-10 - Really good value from both these companies. Bob Dong jackets are currently selling for a lot on Amazon, but you can frequently find better deals (and occasionally great deals) on eBay. Sizing is usually small, so if you're above a 40, you may really struggle to find one that fits. Bronson, at least, has promised to start stocking larger sizes, but so far have not.
Bob Dong B-15A - see previous for the merits of BD.
At The Front Tanker Jacket - the fleece lining isn't really accurate, but some actually prefer it over an itchy wool lining. I know them by reputation to be very comfortable and the price is hard to beat.
Pike Brothers B-10, N1 Deck Jacket, Tanker jacket, A-2 Deck Jacket - Pike Bros is a bit of a step up in price from the previous two, but is a step up in quality as well. Definitely worth a look.

Related Gear
Soldier of Fortune (UK) AN 6505-1 Aviator's Kit Bag - better than Eastman's, and a little over a quarter of the price.
Bronson C-2 Cardigan - I confess, I don't know what this sweater is an alternative to, but it's a pretty good value and reviews have been good.
USAAF Helmet bag by Five Star or Bronson - Shawn doesn't list this on his website yet, but they are available.
 
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CBI

Well-Known Member
Yikes, this has tried before and it has gotten ugly...............eveyone want their favorites and starts arguing what should/should not be on the list. Hopefully this can be done with good vibes. it IS a good idea.

My repro jacket buying guide tip...........save your money and run as far away from this hobby as possible! Yes, tongue in cheek...........sort of.................
 

B-Man2

Well-Known Member
Yikes, this has tried before and it has gotten ugly...............eveyone want their favorites and starts arguing what should/should not be on the list. Hopefully this can be done with good vibes. it IS a good idea.

My repro jacket buying guide tip...........save your money and run as far away from this hobby as possible! Yes, tongue in cheek...........sort of.................
John
Interesting comments and I know that you are cutting back from this hobby, but if you don’t mind me asking, what was it that got you to this point? Anything specific or just a desire to move on and stop the financial bleeding that sometimes over takes our better judgemental abilities ;)
 
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Pilot

Well-Known Member
Missing the real prime ( also £€¥€ wise) global players... Goodwear, The Real McCoys, BK, Buzz, Aero, LW, ELC...
If only budget repro makers, then please dont forget, Avirex, Pike, GB, Debrander, etc...
Talking about crapola a long list of others for sure available...
 

mulceber

Well-Known Member
Yeah, for the purposes of this list we’re talking good budget repros. I like the mid-tier suggestions.
 

Pilot

Well-Known Member
Yeah, for the purposes of this list we’re talking good budget repros. Avirex is a good suggestion.
Pike for cotton jackets as well...far better quality than the PRC models...and AVI the starter of those budget A-2’s...( already forgotten and buried as it looks like) .
 

Spitfireace

Well-Known Member
Yikes, this has tried before and it has gotten ugly...............eveyone want their favorites and starts arguing what should/should not be on the list. Hopefully this can be done with good vibes. it IS a good idea.

My repro jacket buying guide tip...........save your money and run as far away from this hobby as possible! Yes, tongue in cheek...........sort of.................
Reminds me of Monty Python ... RUN AWAY RUN AWAY!
 

mulceber

Well-Known Member
I don't recall one, but I've only been here a year-ish. We could very easily combine the two lists, or the mods could delete whichever one is less useful.
 

dinomartino1

Well-Known Member
I thought we had something similar... With the sites.

Not too long ago?
A2's only and dated now.

 
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ausreenactor

Well-Known Member
A2's only and dated now.

I knew it was a ripper and very detailed.... Had to be you!
 

mulceber

Well-Known Member
A2's only and dated now.

Still, very useful. I'd either forgotten about that or never saw it. Thanks!
 

stanier

Well-Known Member
My original thought when I commented earlier was just about having a sort of forum bargains list, updated periodically. All the information is here, it would just take weeks to read it. Certainly my comment wasn't intended to suggest a detail by detail comparison of high end makers or personal preference oranything like it. Just the undisputed bargains. If someone was new or wanted to know where to get the best value kit bag etc and about to waste their money on some dead end kit it might help to be pointed to Platon's Dubow or Five Star or SoF.
 
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