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!

Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: Akeruka Releases a New Group Gift—A Female Bento, Bakes on Mesh Head, But Only from December 10th to 27th, 2020!

Akeruka was known for its semi-regular group gifts of both male and female Bento mesh heads. All you had to do was join the [AK] Heads News & Support group for L$150, and keep your eyes peeled for announcements. 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 nine fully-featured, fully-adjustable Bento mesh heads by now before today’s announcement—which works out to less than L$20 per head! Now that’s what I call a deal!

Well, Akeruka has just announced that there is a new, tenth group gift, a Bento, Bakes on Mesh compatible female head now available for only L$1: the Akeruka Advanced Head W08 (Version 3.0). (I wish they would give them names rather than designations like “W08”; it makes it sound like a brand of motor oil 😉 …)

Here’s the SLURL to take you to the vendor panels in the women’s section of the Akeruka store. Just right-click and pay one of the three panels underneath the large poster which say Server 1, Server 2, or Server 3, pay one Linden dollar, and receive your group gift! Even if you have to join the [AK] Heads News & Support group for the first time to pick up this gift, paying L$151 in total is still a bargain!

Here’s what you get in the package:

The package includes a starter shape and eyebrows shaper, the head itself, with separate teeth, eyes, and neck fixes, plus a main HUD, an animations HUD, a separate HUD to control the teeth, and an Omega HUD. There’s even a face light included!

Please note that, unlike previous Akeruka group gifts, this is intended to be a Bakes on Mesh head, so there are no skins or skin appliers included in this package.

I went and located the Bakes on Mesh skins that came with the Akeruka group gift just previous to this one, the [AK Advanced] Bento Head V2.6 Limited Edition head, and tried those on this new head. This is skin tone 5 of the Limited Edition head skins, on the new W08 head, with zero adjustments to the default body shape and eyebrow shaper included in the package:

The eyebrows do need a bit of adjusting, but overall this is a very pleasing look! You can control the colour of the included mesh eyes using the main HUD (there are also separate left and right unrigged eyes included in the package).

Here’s the complete final look. I paired the W08 head with the Altamura Juliet body (which requires an Omega system kit and a separate Bakes on Mesh applier to be BoM compatible). I used the eyeliner and lipstick settings in the included HUD.

All in all, I am very pleased with this head! If you are already a member of the Akeruka group, spending that extra Linden dollar and picking up this latest group gift is a no-brainer!

Obviously, the Bento head wars in Second Life have changed the situation from when Akeruka first began giving out group gifts three years ago. Since then, we have quite a few releases of free mesh heads, from the likes of Catwa, Genus Project, and now LeLutka! So you could be forgiven for thinking “why spend L$151 on this head, when I have free ones from other big-name brands already?”.

However, I still think this is a beautiful head, and you may want to plunk down your hard-earned Lindens and pick this one up anyways! It’s still a great deal, in my opinion.