UPDATE June 11th, 2020: The Kalhene Ariadna mesh body has just updated to version 2.0, with alpha layer support (SL Marketplace link). It now has a HUD with alpha cuts and skin shininess levels, addressing many of my most serious concerns about the product as outlined in my original blogpost below.
UPDATE June 14th, 2020: There’s a new version 2.1 of the Kalhene Ariadna mesh body! More details can be found at the very end of this blogpost.
UPDATE June 21st, 2020: The Kalhene Ariadna mesh body has been updated to version 2.3! Here’s a link to a new blogpost with all the details, including some pictures of the Ariadna mesh body paired with a couple of recent group gifts of Bento mesh heads from The Genus Project and Catwa.
UPDATE June 25th, 2020: The free Kalhene Ariadna female mesh body has been removed from the SL Marketplace, after Linden Lab received a DMCA complaint. More information is available here.
Somebody on the Freebie Queens SL Discord posted about a new Bakes-on-Mesh compatible, Bento full-body (i.e. head and body) female mesh avatar called Ariadna, from a company called Kalhene, which is available for free on the SL Marketplace.
Here is what the Kalhene Ariadna avatar looks like right out of the box, with the default body slider settings (the shape is included, as is the hair and the bathing suit). As you can see, the HUD is very basic and does not include alpha sections, but it does allow you change the colour of the nails (two lengths, long and short), the hairstyle (you can turn the bangs off or on), and the basic wardrobe that comes with this body: dress, swimsuit, bikini, shirt and leggings (there are options for stockings and pantyhose, too).
After a fair bit of tweaking with the body sliders (I left the default face slider settings alone, they were good as they were), here are the results. The body comes in two versions, flat-footed and high-heeled, and this is the latter, wearing one of the included Bakes on Mesh skins and included system eyes in a honey colour. The high-heeled shoes and strapless minidress are part of the basic starter wardrobe included in the package.
This body comes with a female AO which does not animate the hands, plus a separate facial animator, plus a separate animator for the Bento hands. Instead of the latter, I just used the hands AO that came with the freebie Altamura mesh bodies, my standard go-to hand animator. (The Altamura one gives me three different cycles of animations to choose from, and they work flawlessly with this body. The one that comes with Ariadna basically just clenches and unclenches her fists.)
The Ariadna body comes with four Bakes-on-Mesh skins in pale (as shown above), medium, sunkissed, and dark skin tones, but of course this body takes any BoM skin. I tested out a skin that I already had in my inventory, called Elvira in the maple skin tone (a free Advent gift from last Christmas at 7 Deadly S[k]ins), and swapped out the included system eyes for the brown ones from the Bitsy starter Second Life avatar, and let me tell you, she looks gorgeous! This is by far the most pleasing result I have gotten out of all the freebie Bakes-on-Mesh full-body avatars I have test driven so far.
According to the SL Marketplace listing, the Kalhene Ariadna body is “compatible with most Maitreya clothes and shoes”, so I decided to test that out, too. And yes, I have found that she can wear shoes intended for Maitreya Lara mesh feet (both flat and high heels, but not mid-height heels). I find it a little weird to have to swap out the entire avatar just to change the feet height, instead of just clicking a setting on the HUD, but hey, it works. Your shoe options are limitless with this body.
But clothing is going to be a problem area. There are no alpha sections on the included HUD, and even worse, I found that the alphas that come included with many outfits simply did not work on this mesh avatar! Here’s an example of a Maitreya Lara dress that pretty much fits the Kalhene Ariadna body perfectly, the Novalee dress and scarf group gift from Hilly Haalan. Even on that, there are areas that poke through at the elbow and the underarm:
I did find one Maitreya Lara group gift from Hilly Haalan that fit without any problems: this Pam Valentine’s dress (no elbow or underarm problems here!). I have a feeling that the skimpier the Maitreya Lara outfit, the better it will probably work on the Ariadna body.
It’s a good thing that this body comes with a starter wardrobe, because it looks like you’ll be trying on and discarding Maitreya Lara-compatible outfits for a while until you find one or two that work. It’s such a shame, because this is a beautiful mesh head and body.
So, I can wholehearted recommend Ariadna if you are flat broke, because this free package includes absolutely everything you would need to get started, even the skin, eyes, hair, the animation overrides, and a basic capsule wardrobe! I mean, you don’t have to spend a single Linden dollar here, folks! She’s all ready to hit the beaches and the nightclubs, as is, right out of the box! But your clothing options may be limited.
Oh, and the packaging it comes in is rather cute, too, if that matters to you:
UPDATE June 8th, 2020: I forgot to mention one important thing about the Ariadna body: the head and the body can be worn separately! So if you find the Ariadna mesh body problematic, just replace it with any other Bakes-on-Mesh compatible body. In the following picture, I used the group gift of the Classic Meshbody with the Ariadna mesh head, wearing a Classic/TMP-compatible dress and high heels from my inventory:
Perfection! And the best part is, you can use the included Classic Mehbody HUD to select alpha sections, to wear just about any clothing with it! More information on this dollarbie group gift from Meshbody can be found here.
In fact, I am going to go out of my way to say that this is such a beautiful mesh head, that you should go get the Alhene Ariadna package, just for that! Seriously, with the advent of so many high-quality, Bento, Bakes on Mesh heads like this, shelling out L$5,000 or more for one of the pricier store brands of heads is starting to look like a much less attractive option!
UPDATE June 11th, 2020: As I mentioned in the red alert box up top, Kalhene has just released version 2.0 of the Ariadna body (SL Marketplace link). Here is a look at the two HUDs that are included, the original Clothes HUD and the new Bodymesh HUD:
Among the many new features on the Bodymesh HUD are:
- A selection of “thick” alpha cuts, plus the ability to alpha out the back, the entire upper body, and the entire lower body;
- Eight levels of skin glossiness (a definite improvement over the default glossy skin of version 1.0 of this body!);
- The ability to hide or show both the short and long fingernail options and the toenails, plus an expanded selection of 36 different nail colours and patterns;
- Three colours of pubic hair in three styles each (or you can turn it off completely);
- The stockings and tights options now come in black or white, and have an opacity setting (you can also remove them completely).
Also, I have tested and I can confirm that the alphas that come with clothing do now indeed work on this body!
So, a truly beautiful mesh Bento, Bakes-on-Mesh compatible head-and-body combination, at a price that can’t be beat—FREE!—has just gotten even better. You owe it to yourself to pick this fabulous freebie up as soon as possible! Remember the head and the body are two separate parts, so you can mix and match with other mesh bodies and heads you already own!
You can also expect an add-on market for shapes for this body (just keyword search for “Kalhene”). SL vlogger Naria Panthar has already released one for free, and has posted a video:
Cat Pink SL has also released a video about the Kalhene Ariadna body:
UPDATE June 14th, 2020: The creators of the Kalhene Ariadna body have updated it yet again, to version 2.1! Dagger Faulkwing posted the following message to the Freebie Queens SL Discord channel:
Ryan and all, Ariadna has updated again! I got v.2 and, when I tried setting up Maitreya footwear, found that you couldn’t adjust height off the ground using foot shapes. Sent creator a note and by the end of yesterday she’d sent me a Beta copy to test. Problem solved with that body and this morning I got v.2.1. from MarketPlace. This not only solves the foot shape problem, but adds a number of Show / Hide buttons to the Body HUD, including my favourite, Show / Hide Ears. This replaces ears with a smooth almost invisible patch and means I can wear my Elf ears with Ariadna!
Here’s a look at the new, updated HUDs:
Here is an avatar look I was able to pull together using the Ariadna body with the recent free gift of the Strong Face Bento head from the Genus Project (which is unfortunately no longer available):
This avatar is wearing:
Mesh Head, Mesh Eyes and Lipstick: Strong Face by the Genus Project (a free former group gift; the store is currently closed because of a DMCA filing)
Mesh Body, Dress, Thong, and Shoes: Ariadna by Kalhene (free from the SL Marketplace; this body comes with a complete starter wardrobe!)
Skin Applier: Mabeline in caramel from 7 Deadly S[k]ins (this is the current monthly free group gift, an Omega and Bakes on Mesh skin which comes in six different skin tones, and was designed for the Genus Strong series of heads). I joined the 7 Deadly S[k]ins store group during gone of their occasional free group join periods in the past. But I have good news! The store group now costs only L$7 to join over 7 days as part of their 7th Anniversary celebrations, so be sure to join now!
Hair: Rhea by Sintiklia (free gift through The Stay at Home Club). The long, wavy Rhea hair by Sintiklia comes in a full fatpack of colours, and includes a styling HUD to wear each side forward or back as you desire. The Rhea hairstyle package also includes two styles of bangs, which are separate attachments.
Animation Override: Lessie gift AO from GoldSquare (this was a free group gift; at the time I picked this up, it was free to join the GoldSquare group, but now it costs L$19 to join)
TOTAL COST FOR THIS ENTIRE AVATAR LOOK: FREE!
In summary, the Kalhene Ariadna full-body package is a truly beautiful Bento, Bakes on Mesh, Maitreya Lara-compatible mesh body with pretty much everything you need to get started, right out of the box! Go get this and try it out for yourself! I think you will also be impressed.