Cyberman Costume - a detailed look

As a long standing Dr Who fan, the Cyberman were always one of my favourite characters, and one that surprisingly has had little exposure in the series over its 40+ years. My first vague recollection  of them was in "The Invasion" in the last 60's, however given my age at the time I don't know if I actually saw the series or just thought I did.

Anyway it was some six years before they emerged again, in 1974's "Revenge of the Cybermen" and the introduction of Colour and slightly effeminate voicing did little to overcome a restrictive special effects budget. Fast forward twenty-two years and in 2006 we learned that at last the BBC was going to REALLY do the Cyberman - and we were in for a treat!

The 2006 suits were designed by Martin Rezard, Neill Gorton and the Dr Who Art Department - and just 10 full suits were produced by Neill and the guys at Millennium FX.  A number of designs were discussed before a version was produced that everyone was happy with. The key thing here was producing in 3D something that would look as effective (and "work") as a two-dimensional drawing.

Above and below are a couple of designs as they tried to take the original concept (effectively a very sixties design) into the 21st Century.

So the next step was for Martin and Neill to produce 3D clay maquettes of the designs they were looking at, so the programme makers could provide their input. Apparently much of the look, including the slimness of the face was a specific wish of Russell T Davies.

Here's an interesting shot of one of the original maquettes, with a finished Cyberman Helmet in the background. Only  one side of the maquettes were made to save time. If they needed a shot of the full thing they could just Photoshop the two halves together! This one above was the version where they looked at extending the tubes into the jaw area.

So with the final design agreed, all that was left was for Neill and his team at Millennium to make them! In the past, Sci-Fi costume designs which featured a metal look were either chromed (e.g. C-3PO from Star Wars), or were merely fiberglass painted silver. In order to ge the "brushed" metal look, Neill and his team instead used the cold cast method where real aluminium powder is added to polyester resin, which is then added to the mould (and subsequently backed with fiberglass). The ration of real aluminium powder to the resin is 1.5 to 1 so certainly by weight there's a lot of metal in it.

So working from the top down, we'll look at the constituent parts

Here's the "oil tear" helmet used in both shows, for more pics of this check out the comparison page, where its photo'd side by side with one of the recent "replicas". Between the head and neck is a silver-coloured rubber section which ensures the performers neck is covered.

Next the chest section, which has the two main parts and then the three ab plates (only two showing on this one). These ab plates are quite thin and probably prone to damage. The areas around the inside of the arms holes have a silver-coloured foam insert to ensure that when worn there aren't any gaps showing.

Below a close up of the Cybus industries Logo. Millennium FX had a great idea of taking a pull from this, extending the tri-points and using it as a stand for their excellent recent replicas.

Next a close up of the back section. The two halves clip together using the same clips as the helmet. In order to get out a thin rod needs  to be poked into the holes to release the clip and thus open it up.

Here's the "undersuit", which is made up from a single black unitard (Stormtrooper type) with the foam detailing sewn onto it. The foam had silver pigment added to it to help it blend in with the rest of the design.

Below a close up of the arm, again with the foam rubber at the joint

...and the thick rubber gloves, which were usually seen as a clenched fist.

Next up the "groin section (not sure what else to call it). I presume the clip on the arse connects to the back section above it (should have asked really). Behind this you can see the LEG section (thanks Roughneckone!).

Here are two shots of the legs, from the front and back. Looking at the rear section you'll notice an additional section glued onto it. This was an addition to the original design which as included after they realised  that the performers wouldn't be able to get their feet inside. Anyone who's glued their thigh pieces together on Stormtrooper armour will know this problem well!

The Boots were just ordinary walking boots with the fiberglass sections and silver "sock" parts fitted on top. In addition a new sole was added to them by MFX.

 

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