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Blouson USAAF Type B3

Eastman Leather Clothing

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The original design:
Standardised as the 'Type B-3' on May 8th 1934, its design was principally inspired by the British 'Irvin' flying jacket, which had recently been put into service with the RAF.

It would be the standard issue 'Heavy Zone' flight jacket for the next 10 years, being superseded by the ANJ-4 in 1944.

It went through a number of subtle spec changes during its period of service, the most noticeable being the colour of the outer finish; The very first B-3s had no outer dye finish at all, and were issued in their natural, naked white nap state. However, this was soon found to be inadequate, with the realization that some form of protective finish was needed. A Russet brown, hand applied polyacrylate top dye was subsequently introduced. This produced a mottled appearance due to the dye having a translucent quality and method of application. (Our reproduction of the Rough Wear contract 17756 B-3 is an example of these earlier hand dyed jackets).

By late '42 the shade had been changed again, this time to a much darker brown, and with a greater degree of opacity. This ensured improved serviceability, and lent the garment a more uniform appearance. This darker (Seal Brown) shade became the standard colour for all USAAF shearling garments from then on.

By this time the US was well and truly at war, and so the B-3 (along with all other wartime materiel) was being produced in ever greater numbers. Consequently, this is the version that is most commonly seen in photos and as surviving examples today - it is the most typical version of the B-3.

Original examples are highly sought after collector items now. More than 70 years from its conception the B-3 is still in high demand. Its hip length 'boxy' design made it popular not only with the aircrews of WWII, but also the trendy civilian after the war; the intrepid flyer look was as desirable then as it is now - without doubt a design classic.

Our reproduction:
We have been reproducing this famous style for more than 25 years, and we feel sure our model is the most authentic available. However, we are always striving to make improvements or release alternative models if possible. In this regard we are pleased to announce the introduction of our new and amazing 'broken grain', hand dyed sheepkin on our Eastman 1943 Model B-3.

A characteristic of the wartime jackets is that the skins often had a rugged, broken grain character to their leather. To match this type of character these days is very difficult due to the fact the most of the leather industry has been striving to produce more slick and uniform skins over the decades as this is generally what the market demands. Going back to more traditional methods to produce these authentic finishes is always a struggle.

However, as we have done with our 'War Horse'® Horsehide, we have now been able to do with our sheepskin. The outcome has been amazing! Using traditional hand dye and treatment methods of the skins we have recreated that true matte, rugged, broken grain appearance and handle, that is so typical seen on original USAAF shearling garments.

Although spray dying was utilised during the war, it is evident after inspecting many original examples that hand dying was still being used on most of the USAAF sheepskin even after they went to the darker Seal Brown shade. This method of dye application, along with the other necessary pre-treatments of the skin is what gives this finish that amazing authentic WWII look.

The sheepskin material itself is of North American origin. There are many breeds of sheep throughout the world, each having their own wool characteristic, so it is essential that we use a fleece derived from the same breed that was used originally, so as to ensure complete authenticity. This soft sheepskin encases the body, ensuring maximum body warmth retention.

The Eastman B-3 is of course finished out with every other authentic detail that is necessary to make this garment 100% authentic:

  • War Horse® Horsehide trim for all leather facings and seam tapings
  • Authentic USAAF mil-spec custom made buckles to collar and side straps
  • Authentic USAAF mil-spec matte black press-studs to collar
  • Correct woven rayon USAAF spec label
  • And last but by no means least, our coveted and incredibly authentic Crown® zip to front

    There is a choice of 2 shades of brown for the horsehide facings on this model: Seal or Russet. By going to the link at the top of this page you will be able to view the full picture gallery of this product and see the two shades illustrated. Accordingly in the drop-down-size-selection menu you will be able to make your choice of the shade facings there.

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