Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: Free and Inexpensive Male Skins for the Senra Blake Mesh Body

As I stated in my original review of the new, free Senra Blake male mesh body, while the six included head and body skins Linden Lab provided for it are prefectly serviceable, I still find them a little too unblemished, flat, and “pretty” for my tastes.

I’m not happy with the skins Linden Lab included with the Senra Blake avatar

So I loaded my oldest male avatar, with the actual legacy name of Morden Winkler (shoutout to all the Manitobans!), created on March 14th, 2007, whose inventory has never been cleaned out in almost 6,000 days (16¼ years!) and therefore has lots of older skins intended for classic, system bodies.

And man, I gotta tellya, I hit paydirt with one old Belleza male skin, which was a particular favourite of mine back in the old days! I can’t remember where I picked it up (I think it was a hunt gift), but it’s called Belleza Ewan 0 tan (0 stands for clean-shaven, I seem to remember; it also came in various versions with facial hair). Here’s what Morden Winkler looks like with the Belleza Ewan skin paired with the Senra Blake body (click on each image to see it in full size):

There are only two problems: one, the fingertips will be a different colour (see image one below), so you will definitely need to use something like Sweet’s free tintable Quick Nail Cover Fix on the SL Marketplace (see image two below).

And the second problem? When he blinks, the eyebrows get slightly deeper! Something you can’t tell, obviously, from my still pictures. So, while I loved the final result, I decided to spend my Saturday afternoon looking around the grid for free and inexpensive skins that would work well with the Senra Blake body, with a minimum of fiddling and fuss.

My first stop was, of course, the Belleza store, where (if you join the Belleza group for free), you can still pick up two packages of older men’s skins, which date from 2013/2014:

Here’s what some of their gift skins look like on the Blake mesh body (see image captions for skin names; all these skins are tan, but they also come in other skin tones):

Again, you will have the problems I outlined above with the Ewan skin: white patches on the fingertips, and some eyebrow movement when you blink.

My next stop was a store, Brox, which features L$1 skins for male avatars. I had picked up a free package of eight of their skins as a past L’Homme Magazine gift, so I tried them out on Morden, and I was pretty pleased. Here’s what they look like (again, please click on the images to see them bigger):

At first glance, I thought that these Brox skins did a good job of covering the fingers, but then I noticed a small white spot on the thumbs, so you will probably still have to use something like Sweet’s Quick Nail Cover Fix on them anyways:

Also, I noticed that the toenail textures for these skins didn’t apply correctly to the feet! Again, you can try the Sweet’s nail fix (they also have one for toes in the package), and if your avatar is wearing shoes, nobody will notice it. But it is rather odd.

Next, I tried out some skins from the SL Marketplace. Sweet’s has three L$1 sets of Basic Male Skins, Tones 0 and 1, Tones 2 and 3, and Tones 4 and 5. They come in Classic Style (for calssic, system avatars), and Mesh Style (intended for mesh avatars). Here’s what Tone 3 (Mesh Style) looks like on the Senra Blake body:

There is a separate package of matching head skins with four different styles of beard, which you can unpack and try on for size:

But again, when your avatar blinks, the eyebrows distort; here’s a quick video, so you can see the problem for yourself:

This video shows you the problem with the eyebrows on the Sweet’s skin when the avatar blinks

I’m starting to think that any of the older male skins are going to have this problem, for which I have not yet been able to find any sort of workaround (I tried adjusting the sliders on the eyes and the eyebrow shape, to no avail).

Anyway, I will stop here and keep investigating, and if I find out anything, I will update this blogpost.

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.

UPDATED! Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: BROX Is a New Bento, Bakes on Mesh Male Body for Only L$1!

There’s a new bargain out there for you men! It’s a very handsome, Bento, Bakes on Mesh-compatible male mesh avatar called BROX, which is available for only one Linden dollar at this location. Next to it is a free group gift for L’Homme Magazine group members, a set of 8 Bakes on Mesh skins, which you can use on this or any other BoM body (the L’Homme Magazine group is free to join; just pay the vendor L$1 and your Linden dollar will automatically be refunded).

Here is the BROX body, straight out of the box, using the included eyebrow and body shapes with zero adjustments to the head and body sliders, and using skin #6 from the L’Homme Readers Gift box of eight BROX skins. Looking good!

Instead of an alpha HUD, the BROX body comes with a unpackable box of alpha sections, which you can assemble to hide any part of the body under clothing:

So men, you really have no excuse when it comes to upgrading that old system body! Everything you might need is yours for a grand total of L$1! Happy freebie shopping!

UPDATE May 9th, 2021: Well, I have been playing around with the BROX body today, and while the folder of alpha sections is useful (in fact, you might want to pick up the BROX dollarbie body just for those, even if you have a female avatar), they aren’t as convenient as a HUD with alpha sections, in my opinion. Also, I wish that there were finer subsections on the alphas, because they don’t work with many mesh items of clothing.

In the picture below, I combined mesh pants and shoes with an older, system-layer plaid shirt with a separate prim collar and cuffs:

Not bad, but I had to resort to a system-layer shirt instead of a mesh one because the alpha sections for the upper arms were too broad to allow me to wear most mesh T-shirts I tried on this body (either the arms poked through the shirt sleeves, or the alpha section extended below the shirt cuffs). So you might want to keep this mind as a possible drawback to the BROX body.

Still, this is a handsome Bento, Bakes on Mesh body, one that you can simply wear and go! You could also add a head alpha and wear any head with it (although I did not test it out myself).