Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: Group Gifts of Male and Female Akeruka Bento, Bakes on Mesh Heads Until January 3rd, 2022!

I have decided to once again break my vow to take a monthlong vacation from blogging to report on two new group gifts by Akeruka! If you join the [AK} Heads News & Support group for only L$150, you can pick up one or both of the W34 women’s head and the M18 men’s head for free! (Remind me to have a little chat with the Akeruka people about the boring and utterly unimaginative names for their line of Bento, Bakes on Mesh-compatible mesh heads. They sound like automotive parts or motor oil!)

I always tell people to subscribe to the [AK} Heads News & Support group and stay subscribed, because Akeruka makes free group gifts available on a regular basis. In fact, if you had joined the Akeruka store group for L$150 four years ago, you would have been able to pick up no less than 14 male and female heads, which works out to only L$11 per head! Surely one of the greatest deals on the grid, in my opinion. So listen to Auntie Ryan: join the group and stay in the group! 😉

Here’s what the vendor panel looks like in the store; there are three delivery buttons located directly underneath it. Just hit a button and select Deliver in the blue pop-up menu which appears in the upper right-hand corner of your SL viewer screen.

I tested the W34 head (sigh—that NAME!) with the Elvira skin by 7 Deadly S[k]ins, in the fudge skin tone. This is the version with eyebrows; I did find that any skins I tested on these heads looked a little weird around the eyebrow area, but you can always play around with the eyebrow shape in your outfit to get a more pleasing result if you are using a BoM skin with eyebrows. In the image below, I used the eyebrow shape and head/body shape included in the package, without any adjustments to the sliders, pairing this head with the dollarbie Meshbody Classic female mesh body, which of course has a Bakes on Mesh option.

An interesting thing to note about both these heads is that they come in two versions: one using the standard Second Life UV map, and a second one using the LeLutka Evolution UV map, so that LeLutka Evolution skins look better! Akeruka got permission from LeLutka to do this, and I think it’s a very smart move. However, please note that you will not be able to use LeLutka Evo X skins on these heads.

Below I used the browless version of the Elvira skin, and added some high-definition eyebrows using the Akeruka HUD. I am rather dissatisfied with the built-in eyebrow options for the W34 head; the HUD appears to be identical between the male and female heads, and both of the two eyebrow options look a bit mannish to me. This problem is easily fixed by buying more feminine-looking eyebrows elsewhere. I am a big, big fan of the HUD options to blend, resize, and move these eyebrows, however!

In the men’s skin store, located directly across the street from the women’s skin store, just inside the entrance you can find the vendor panel for the Akeruka M18 Bento, Bakes on Mesh-compatible male mesh head. Here’s what the vendor panel looks like; it has three delivery buttons located underneath it.

Again, the M18 package does not include any skin, but you should be able to make this head work with most Bakes on Mesh male skins. As with the W34 head, there are two versions of this mesh head: one with the standard Second Life UV, and one with the LeLutka Evolution UV. These heads do not work with LeLutka Evolution X skins, however. The package includes rigged, unrigged, and system eyes, teeth, braces, piercings, tattoos, a facelight, and a high-definition beard option with its own separate HUD:

I tested out the M18 head with an eyebrow-less dollarbie skin from BROX, using the included eyebrow and head/body shape, and electing to use the high-definition eyebrows in the Akeruka HUD:

If you hit the FX button on the Akeruka HUD, you can select a feature which adds lines and wrinkles to whatever Bakes on Mesh skin you are wearing, for a more mature look (there are 8 different skin tones to match whatever skin you’re wearing). The high-definition eyebrows tab only offers blonde, brown and black as options, but hit the eyedropper button and you can tint the eyebrows grey—or any other colour you wish! In fact, you can tint just about everything on this head.

And since the HUDs appear to be identical between the male and female heads, you also get all the makeup options: eyelashes, eyeliner, and lipstick! So this is a great head to use for your metrosexual or drag queen avatar! Of course, supplemental trips to Dotty’s Secret drag queen makeup store in Second Life will be required—gotta keep that mug looking fresh, dahling!

The M18 and W34 heads will only be available until January 3rd, 2022, so don’t delay in picking up this fantastic deal for your avatar! Here’s your taxi to Akeruka.

Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: Another L$1 Male Head from Akeruka!

Akeruka has, as expected, followed up their anniversary group gift of the W21 women’s mesh head with a similarly fabulous offering for the gentlemen! The M09 male mesh head is available from now until July 15th, 2021 at the Akeruka main store (SLURL):

Remember that you’ll have to join the [AK} Heads News & Support group for L$150 to obtain this group gift; just pay the vendor a single Linden dollar and the M09 head is yours!

This head does not come with any skin, so I paired it the dollarbie Meshbody Classic male mesh body, and applied a couple of Bakes on Mesh skins I had in my inventory.

The first skin is the pale Delphinus skin from Altamura (adding the high-definition eyebrows from the HUD for the head):

For a darker tone of skin, I chose a free BoM tanned skin I picked up from BROX:

I’m quite pleased with this second look! This is a very handsome Bento, Bakes on Mesh male head, and I’m certain you will be quite happy with it as well.

Remember, it’s only available until July 15th, 2021, and then it’s gone. Happy freebie shopping!

Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: Another L$1 Female Head from Akeruka!

Akeruka has been giving away freebie or dollarbie Bento mesh heads (both male and female models) twice a year for the past few years. (In fact, if you had joined the [AK] Heads News & Support group for L$150 three years ago, you would have picked up no less than ten male and female fully-featured, fully-adjustable Bento mesh heads by now—which works out to only L$15 per head! Exceptional bargain.)

Well, Akeruka has announced yet another dollarbie Bento, Bakes on Mesh-compatible head as a group gift. Just teleport to the Akeruka store (here’s the SLURL), and pay one of the array of vendor panels one Linden dollar, and the W21 gift head is yours!

Here is what the W21 head looks like, with the included eyes, paired with the Kalhene Anya body and using one of the Bakes on Mesh skins in the Kalhene package (the Akeruka W21 head does not come with any skin):

The included HUD has a great many options, including the ability to set a range of full-face motion-capture animations (you can select more than one at a time):

This is a truly beautiful, fully-featured Bento, Bakes on Mesh head at a stellar price: L$1 if you are already a member of the Akeruka [AK} Heads News & Support group, and L$151 if you aren’t (the group costs only L$150 to join). The W21 head is only available until June 30th, 2021, so don’t delay!

UPDATED! Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: The M02 Bento, Bakes on Mesh Male Head from Akeruka

In my All-in-One Guide to Freebies in Second Life, I wrote:

Akeruka has been giving away freebie or dollarbie Bento mesh heads (both male and female models) twice a year for the past couple of years. If you had joined the [AK] Heads News & Support group for L$150 two years ago, you would have picked up no less than nine fully-featured, fully-adjustable Bento mesh heads by now—which works out to less than L$20 per head! A truly outstanding bargain! So join the Akeruka group and watch the notices for the next announcement.

Actually, 150 divided by 9 works out to about 17 Linden dollars per head. Well, today Akeruka announced yet another group gift, a Bento, Bakes on Mesh-compatible head for male avatars called M02, so that makes it ten heads in total, or L$15 per head!

The M02 vendor panel in the Akeruka store

The old saying goes that you should never look a gift horse in the mouth. So I really have no business complaining about an inexpensive mesh head. But I also happen to write a blog giving out advice on the best high-quality freebies in Second Life, so with that in mind, I am going to give a review of the Akeruka M02 head.

I hate it. Why?

Well, to test it out, I paired it with the dollarbie Meshbody Classic male mesh body, which also supports Bakes on Mesh when that it enabled in the included HUD.

From a distance, the head looks fine (I used an BoM skin I already had in my inventory, as no skins are included with this head, like the previous Akeruka group gift of the W08 female mesh head):

But it’s when you scroll in for a closeup that problems in the craftsmanship of this head start to appear. To start, the included eyelashes in the HUD are rather problematic; all four options are too feminine-looking for a male avatar for my personal taste (eyelashes have tended to be a problem area on most of the Akeruka head group gifts).

But that’s not the worst part about this head. Take a good look at the area of the brows where the red arrows are pointing in the following picture:

Here’s another angle to give you a better view of what’s going on:

No, you eyes do not deceive you—the brow area actually covers part of the upper eyelashes! Even worse, I was unable to make any adjustments to the head sliders on this Bento mesh head to correct the problem. You are stuck with the prominent, Neanderthal brow on this male avatar head, which will doubtless interfere with any eyelashes you choose, whether you like it or not! Yes, it’s extremely picky of me, but I am very picky about my freebies!

So I regret that I cannot recommend this particular group gift (although I have certainly enjoyed and appreciated all previous nine heads, and used them successfully on various alts). And, in light of the excellent, free Alain male mesh head group gift from LeLutka that is being offered this Christmas, I certainly can’t recommend you join the Akeruka group for L$150 just for this group gift, and pay a Linden dollar for the M02 head. It’s just not worth the L$151, even though that is significantly cheaper than a regularly-priced Catwa head or its equivalent.

The M02 head is available at the Akeruka store until December 31st, 2020.

P.S. I’ve also received a few complaints about the recent W08 female mesh head group gift. One commenter weighted in with this opinion:

Tried it on, to me not the best looking head! looks better only with the face light on and I don’t do face lights. To me [it] looks very manly. Would love to know how you got it looking like you did because I tried and got no way close to that look. Not my cup of tea, sorry!

Actually, while I was playing around with the sliders, I also thought it was a rather odd-shaped female head, very tall and rather thin-faced by default, and I found I had to squash the W08 head a fair bit, then adjust the chin, to get the images I used for that blogpost.

I had to squash the W08 head quite a bit to get this look, and it’s still a somewhat tall, thin face…this is not a head for you if you want a rounder face!

When Akeruka started giving away dollarbie group gifts of male and female Bento heads, about three years ago, they were pretty much the only vendor that was doing it, so at that time, it was well worth spending the L$150 to join the Akeruka group, as I have said up top.

But in 2020, now that brands such as Catwa, Genus Project, LOGO, and now LeLutka have given away beautiful, fully-featured, high-quality free male and female Bento mesh heads, the game has changed somewhat. Akeruka seems to be just a little bit off on the design of their most recent line of heads, both male and female, and I just thought you should know about the problems I encountered, up front, before you spend any money—even if it is only L$151!

UPDATE Dec. 19th, 2020: This morning, a thought got me out of bed to try something: that perhaps I should just turn the eyelashes on the M02 head off completely. I think the HUD was a multi-purpose, unisex one, so perhaps that would do the trick?

Nope. There is no such thing as “default eyelashes'”. So your only possible option, for a head with such a pronounced, protruding brow, is to find some extremely short male eyelashes…and even then, live with the fact that the brow will cover part of them, anyway. And my eyelashless avatar looks like he survived a kitchen fire 😉

And yes, in the harsh light of morning, I do full well realize that this is yet another one of my infamously cranky blogposts. Sorry, Akeruka!

SECOND UPDATE December 19th, 2020, 8:36 p.m.: Well, after a couple of commenters suggested that I make some adjustments to the eyebrow shape, I pulled the eyebrow thickness slider all the way to the narrowest possible eyebrows, and I finally got a somewhat more aesthetically pleasing look (not 100% perfect, but a damn sight better than before).

But frankly, I am still not that crazy about this head. I feel that the completely free LeLutka Alain head is, by far, the far better head of the two male mesh heads that are available as group gifts this holiday season. Sorry, Akeruka!