Monday 4 June 2012

SB6 Space suit - full breakdown

A little while ago costume designer Louise Page told us the background story to the recurring space suit worn by David Tennant during a number of his adventures.

It first appeared in 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) 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 they are not out of the reach of the more persistent Tenth Doctor fan who are willing to track them down on eBay or as remaindered stock.

Several costume fans have been able to do just that and have proudly worn their suits at a number of conventions.

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.

These can be a bit tricky to make yourself, but there is a reliable seller on who has patches for sale. The results can be very professional and much less hassle.

The patches are US$12 a piece.

Sanctuary Base 6
Chest Patch by
Timelord Leatherworks

Sanctuary Base 6
Sleeve Patch
Timelord Leatherworks

Best of luck!
Thanks to Daniel Pawlik for some additional info and double checking, and to the cosplayers wearing their suits!


  1. The BOD climbing harness doesn't come with shoulder straps, do you have any ideas for a substitute?

    1. The shoulder straps from the harness were made from the harness that originally came with the space toys suit. It's a series of 1" black nylon tube webbing, not the plain flat stuff, and some clip buckles and sliders. You can find all the correct stuff on the web with a bit of work.

  2. this is amazing! I'd love to make mine but the helmet's the most difficult thing for me and I have really low budget for all this... I'm using recycled stuff (except for the orange jumpsuit haha) but yours is FANTASTIC!

  3. Worth mentioning that I spoke to Space Toys today, and they told me that the suits arent as made to order as you'd like to think. The patches come pre-applied and the pouches are already on the legs.

  4. So the welding mask does not come with the bits on top that stick up, how did you construct those?

  5. I'm creating my own Sanctuary Base suit but am doing it on the cheep. I expect to keep the whole thing under $100. Where did you get the rubber gasket that connects the helmet to the suit? I've looked all over and can't find anything like that. Here is where I'll be blogging about my creation.

  6. Do you have a tutorial of how you achieved the final look? Like all the little additions and whatnot? :)