The only genuine film suit photos I have been able to find are the following two – one of which I had to blow up and increase the brightness to be able to see it more clearly. These images are from behind the scenes photos, from memory the spine is never actually seen in the film.
The first step was to make a template. In Photoshop I brought in the above images and various other images I got from the net, then pieced together a 2D image. It is worth noting that I fell in to a trap early in the suit build by relying on pictures from other makers suits, as they were very inaccurate. I did find some photos of the spine piece from other makers, but when I compare them to the above images, they are not correct. So as per my personal rule, I now only use genuine images of the film suit as reference.
After many many hours of patching images together, I made some paper prints of half the piece (it can be flipped to get the symmetry. From the paper templates I was able to resize them and reprint them until I was happy with the size and shape.
I had to chop the paper templates up and tape them in slightly different shapes to work accurately. I replicated all the changes in Photoshop then enlarged the templates by 10% to allow for latex shrinkage and printed the final templates. I then traced around them on to a sheet of 4.75mm thick hardboard, flipping them to get the other side symmetrical.
I trimmed them out with a jigsaw.
Before spending the time power filing them down to shape, I have used carving tools to shape the grooves etc. so that if I screw one up, I can trace and cut out another piece.
I then trimmed them with the power file down to the right shape and gave them a coat of primer.
Once primed, it’s easy to see the bits that need more sanding, filling or smoothing out.
Then another clean coat of primer and I glued the pieces down to a board glued to another board and boxed it in to get it ready to mould in silicone. To hold the boards flat together until the glue dries, I use any weights I have available.
Boxed up with MDF wood and painted with primer, ready to mould in silicone.
Filled with mould making silicone to make a silicone negative.