Tuesday 19 March 2013

Tenth Doctor’s SB6 Space suit -
full breakdown

So, it looks like the Eleventh Doctor is raiding his wardrobe, and digging out his old Sanctuary Base Space Suit.

For those not familiar with the suit, it first appeared in series two’s episodes The Impossible Planet and The Satan Pit as part of the equipment at Sanctuary Base Six; the idea of a space suit returned (abet remade and a slightly different colour) in 42; before making a final appearance in The Waters Of Mars.

Design © Peter McKinstry
The suit may look to be custom designed, but Doctor Who is made on a limited budget and if anything can be sourced as pre-existing pieces, it will be – and this suit is a prime example.

All of the accessories such as gloves, boots, harness and base of the helmet were all widely available at the time of production for a reasonable price.

Annoyingly they are now pretty much discontinued, but are not out of the reach of the more persistent Doctor Who fan who is willing to track them down on eBay or as remaindered stock.

The orange suit itself came from a company in the US who make replica space exploration suits and equipment.

Based closely on the suits worn by the Space Shuttle pilots, they are still available to this day, and costs $545 for a standard version, or $875 for a deluxe version.
A word of warning though, the photo looks great on the website, but they are made to order and are poorly made. Louise Page had to remake hers from scratch using it as a pattern, and several buyers since have found the suits to be made too baggy or with the utility packs on the legs the wrong way round. Read more here - dw_cosplay - space suit guide

As I have already mentioned, the rest of the items are now discontinued, but here is a quick guide to what to look for.

Photo by Scott Sebring

The helmet is constructed around a Scott Tornado T/Procap Headtop welding mask.


The gloves are by Extremities.
In The Satan Pit they were Ice Gloves; and in Waters Of Mars they were Winter Gauntlets.


The harness is a Bod Climbing Harness by Black Diamond.


These are snowboarding boots.
In The Satan Pit they were Salomon F20 Fusion boots. The Waters of Mars boots remain unidentified.

Finally, to give your suit a touch of authenticity, you’ll need to make the SB6 patches and decals, though it is unclear as yet if the suit Matt wears has the same detailing.

These can be a bit tricky to make yourself, but there a number of online sellers out there making the patches for sale.

The results can be very professional and much less hassle.

The patches are in the region of US$15 a piece.

I had found out the full story of the SB6 Space Suit from Tenth Doctor costume designer Louise Page.

Here is the interview she kindly gave me, telling the background story to how the suits were made and assembled.

Thanks to Kevin Coppa for giving the interview clips the polished look, and enormous thanks to Louise Page for sharing her memories of dressing the Tenth Doctor with us all

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