The FabFree blog was first to break the news: this weekend, you can purchase version 3.8 of the Eva female Bento mesh head for only L$20 from the Genesis Lab store, a 99% saving! You will need to join the GenesisLab group for L$99 to pick up this group gift from the wall, as shown here by the red arrow (SLURL):
Just join the group, right click on the small black bag to the left of the Eva sign, select Pay, click on the L$20 button, and the package is yours! As you can expect, the Genesis Lab store is jam-packed, so you will probably have to rely on something like the Teleport Hammer to force your way in.
Once again, there is not a lot of documentation to guide you through the set-up process, something I always find irritating. The Eva 3.8 package consists of two folders: one for the Eva Omega Bento Bakes on Mesh head, and another folder for the Eva 3.1 Bento head. (Note that you will need to purchase the separate Omega system kit for Genesis to be able to use Omega appliers for skins and makeup.)
In this blogpost, I am going to focus on the Bakes on Mesh version of the Eva head. I used an old Adam & Eve system skin from my inventory, and this is the result (the hairbase and lipstick seem to be included with the head, but I assume that you can remove them using one of the free Omega makeup-removal HUDs available on the SL Marketplace (such as this free NEFA Clear All Layers Omega HUD):
I had to use an eyeball alpha to remove the eyes (such as this free set from the SL Marketplace), as the system eyes poked through the head in spots, and looked really ugly. Instead, I used the Bakes on Mesh split eyes that were in the Bento Omega BoM folder along with the head; you can retexture those eyes as you like using any Bakes on Mesh eye textures. The package also includes two types of eyelashes.
Most of my alts were already members of the GenesisLab group, to get precious group gifts, so my total cost per head per alt is only L$20. But even if you do have to pay L$99 to join the group, you’re only paying L$119 total for a fully-adjustable Bento mesh head that supports both Omega appliers and Bakes on Mesh—a significant saving over full-priced Bento heads!
I do not know how long this promotion will last in the store, so I would encourage you to hurry down there as soon as possible! Use the Teleport Hammer and be patient; you will eventually get in!
UPDATE March 23rd, 2020: Cat Pink SL has posted a video review of the Eva head here:
One of the Second Life vloggers I follow is Cat Pink SL, whose videos are in Spanish, but have English subtitles, so it’s pretty easy to follow along. She covers hunts, events, and freebies, and in a couple of recent YouTube videos, she talks about the free versions of the eBody Classic and Curvy female mesh avatar bodies (which now support Bakes on Mesh), and the free mesh heads, skins, and cosmetics from Genesis Lab:
I had talked about the three free Genesis Lab static (non-Bento) female mesh avatar heads before here (scroll down to the Genesis Lab section), so I am not going to repeat all that information here. But what I did not know is that the Genesis Lab group is once again free to join; there is a small black panel on the Group Gifts wall in the store (SLURL) you can click on to join the store group:
So I decided to experiment a little with one of my alts, using the Kenna head from Genesis Lab (still my personal favourite static mesh head, which comes with a HUD with lots and lots of options), paired with the eBody Classic mesh avatar body. As you can see from these pictures, she turned out looking really good!
I did have one problem: the Genesis Lab Cream skin I applied to the BoM eBody avatar did not work on the feet! However, this is not a serious problem when wearing a long ballgown such as this, and you can get around it in other outfits by using boots which replace the eBody feet completely (they are a separate attachment, along with the hands). I am not sure if this was a problem with the eBody mesh, the eBody BoM relay HUD, or the skin appliers I used (I tried several from the Genesis Lab group gifts, all with the same result). It’s a weird bug.
UPDATE Jan. 20th, 2020: I have now found the cause of the strange white patches on the feet of the eBody mesh avatar. It was the result of a classic, system shoebase I applied to the foot. You can get around this problem by removing any shoebase that causes this, and using the avatar hover height instead when wearing high heels. You can ignore my complaining later on in this blogpost about not being able to wear certain types of shoes; any Slink-compatible shoes should now work!
This avatar is wearing:
Mesh Head: Kenna by Genesis Lab (includes the mesh eyes shown here; free group gift; group is free to join)
Mesh Body: eBody Classic from the eBody Shop (pay the vendor in the store L$1 and it will automatically be refunded; these mesh bodies do not have Bento hands, and they only have “thick” alpha selections on the included HUD, which means you have to be somewhat careful what you wear with them)
Skin Applier: Cream skin by Genesis Lab (part of the Lakki skin package from Genesis Lab; free group gift; requires the eBody Bakes on Mesh relay HUD which you can get from the eBody store, just pay the vendor L$1 and it will automatically be refunded)
Gown: Holly gown by JUMO (a recent Advent gift which comes in a size specifically for eBody Classic mesh avatars)
Hair: Bella by Alli & Ali, an elegant updo with a colour-changeable comb in the back (a freebie I picked up at a recent virtual conference; it pays to check conference sims in Second Life for any freebies provided for presenters and attendees to outfit and style their avatars!)
Animation Override: Chubby Girl AO by [ImpEle] (free from the SL Marketplace). This is a nice, simple, calm, free AO with no crazy movements. (Note the freebie versions of the eBody do not come with Bento hands, so you don’t have to worry about animating them.)
TOTAL COST FOR THIS AVATAR: FREE! (All you need is L$1 to pay the vendors in the eBody store to get the eBody Classic mesh body and the eBody Bakes on Mesh relay HUD, which is automatically refunded.)
Note that I do not know how long you will be able to join the Genesis Lab group for free (they used to charge for it), so if you are interested in picking up their free group gifts, I recommend you don’t wait to do so.
UPDATE 6:20 p.m.: You know what? I am actually going to do something that I’ve never done before on this blog: I am going to NOT recommend (un-recommend?) a freebie. And that is the latest freebie version of the eBody Classic and Curvy mesh avatar bodies.They are dreadful. The problem with the feet not taking Bakes on Mesh skins is bad enough, but it gets even worse.
I went over to The Free Dove freebie store, and picked up a few outfits that said they came in versions designed specifically for eBody, like this minidress from Hilly Haalan, and even the eBody stuff doesn’t fit properly!
The previous version had slightly more workable “thick” alpha sections than this new one, especially in the chest/bust area and the back, and it’s a absolute pain in the butt to find something—anything—that works with them, short of a gunnysack where you can alpha out your whole body (and I’m not even sure about that anymore, either!). I also tried adjusting the body sliders to get rid of the skin breaking through, but to no avail.
The brutal truth is that even the Holly gown I showed you up top had some problems with certain poses in my freebie AO, where some skin would break through at the sides of the gown, a problem that the included alpha sections on the freebie eBody Classic mesh body can’t fix.
Perhaps the paid-for eBody version (with the full complement of smaller alpha sections) would fix the problem, but I don’t think that even that would fix such issues as I found with the Hilly Haalan minidress above. I am discovering to my dismay that many “eBody” versions of garments simply don’t work as advertised, particularly for the freebie version (here’s their HUD showing you the alpha sections; the top part is all greyed out and cannot be used):
(Note: I do have an alt with a paid-for version of the eBody Classic avatar, and I might just go back and try all these dresses from The Free Dove on again with that body, to see if they work out any better.)
UPDATE Jan. 11th, 2020: I tested the Hilly Haalan minidress I mentioned above on my paid-for full version of the eBody Classic mesh body, and it fits perfectly, without any issues! So something is up with the latest freebie version.
The best I could come up with was this outfit, consisting of the Faythe dress by GeMyles, paired with the Lita Lolita shoes in ochre, which include the socks and allowed me to completely alpha out the feet:
There was only one other pair of free shoes I found at The Free Dove that I could wear with this mesh body, the Paper Sparrow Alice heels which also came with socks (worn here with a free red minidress from eBody, which I had picked up in December as an Advent gift at the eBento event):
Here’s a better look at them in a place that’s not all black-on-black:
So, after over an hour on unpacking and trying on garments and tossing them aside in frustration, I found exactly two mesh dresses and two pair of shoes that I could wear with the freebie eBody Classic mesh body (and one of those dresses was already in my inventory). Every other dress specifically designed for eBody that I picked up at The Free Dove would not work properly with the “thick” alpha sections.
Nope, sorry, pass. Consider the freebie eBody Classsic and Curvy as demos only, not for actual wear.
However, if you are looking for a nice static (non-Bento) mesh head, I can certainly still recommend the free group gifts at Genesis Lab, especially if you are down to your last Linden dollar!
WARNING! This is a long, long, looong blogpost, which I constantly keep as up-to-date as possible as I come across new products. Instead of adding onto the end, I just post links to new posts from this blogpost.
PLEASE NOTE! Caroline Walker (MizCarol) has taken much of this information provided here, and compiled a list of currently available free and inexpensive mesh heads and bodies for both men and women here: The FabFree Mesh Body and Head Listing. There are a few items listed in MizCarol’s list that are not on this list, so it pays to check both! (Thank you for your hard work, Caroline!)
PLEASE NOTE:For a current, up-to-date list of free options for male mesh avatar bodies, please see this blogpost.
Mesh heads and bodies can be very expensive! This blogpost is my attempt to summarize all the options available to you if you can’t afford a pricey Bento mesh head or body, but still want to replace your old system avatar with a fully mesh one.
First, let’s just recap all the options for free or inexpensive mesh avatar bodies for women:
the Jenny Altamura mesh avatar head and body at the Freebie Megastore at London City (free; one skin tone; has Bento hands and head; more information here); you can remove the head and replace it with any other head,only if you got the freebie Jenny body from last year’s Women Only Hunt; however, you cannot remove the head if you pick it up now at the London City Freebie Megastore)
the Valentina Altamura mesh avatar head and body at the freebie store at Ajuda SL Brasil (free; one skin tone; has Bento hands and head; more information here); note that you cannot remove the head on this particular free body
the Emanuelle Altamura mesh avatar head and body at the Altamura mainstore (free; one skin tone; has Bento hands and head; more information here; to get this free group gift you must join the Altamura Design/Mesh Avatars group for L$50); you can remove the head and replace it with any other head. UPDATE: This gift is now available at this exact SLURL at the Unihispana Crea freebie store, but I am going to assume, like all the other Altamura freebies, that you cannot remove the head.
the dollarbie versions of the Classic and Curvy eBody mesh avatar bodies (these were L$1 each but are now FREE; 12 possible skin tones; vendors are available at the freebie stores at Ajuda SL Brasil and UniHispana Crea, and also at the eBody mainstore; these mesh bodies do not have Bento hands, and they have “thick” alpha selections on the included HUD, which means you have to be somewhat careful what you wear with them; they also now support Bakes on Mesh with a free BoM relay HUD available at the eBody store)
the Afrodite mesh avatar body by LUCYBODY (free Midnight Madness gift; 256 possible skintones; has Bento hands; you must join the Lucyshoes group for free to get this gift; more information here) UPDATE Nov. 4th: It has been reported to me that the Afrodite mesh body is no longer available as a Midnight Madness gift at the LUCYSHOES/LUCYBODY mainstore, and I can confirm this. It costs L$1,000 now. Thank you, LittleMe Jewell!
UPDATE Oct. 21st: There’s a new free Kim Altamura mesh avatar head and body available at the UniHispana Crea Gateway Community sim (more information here); note that you cannot remove the head on this particular free body. UPDATE: This body is no longer available, sorry!
UPDATE Nov. 3rd: Altamura has graced us with yet another free body gift in the First Annual SL Frees & Offers Hunt: the Estephania Altamura mesh avatar head and body! (more information here; note that you cannot remove the head on this particular free body.) UPDATE: This gift is no longer available at the Altamura mainstore, sorry!
UPDATE Dec. 11th: Another free option for a mesh full-body avatar is the Ruth Too RC3, scroll down to the end of this blogpost for more details!
UPDATE Dec. 28th: Altamura has released yet another free mesh avatar head and body package, called Clodet (more information here). UPDATE: This gift is no longer available at the Altamura mainstore, sorry!
UPDATE Feb. 14th, 2019: If you were on the ball, you were able to pick up the free, fully-featured Juliet mesh head and body package as a Valentine’s Day gift from the Altamura booth at the eBENTO Event. More details here.
UPDATE Feb. 20th, 2019: I have found a new inexpensive mesh body I had not heard of before, called the Sahara Mesh Avatar. UPDATE: This is no longer available, sorry!
UPDATE April 25th, 2019: I talk about the inexpensive Ocacin Standard and Voluptuous mesh bodies.
UPDATE May 3rd, 2019: I talk about the custom full-body mesh avatars by NI9HT at the very end of this long blogpost!
UPDATE June 6th, 2019: Akeruka has a new group gift of a female Bento mesh head called Cleo, for only L$1 until June 20th, 2019!Details are here.
UPDATE June 21st, 2019: Boataom has a group gift of a static mesh head if you join their group for L$99, details are in the Boataom section below.
UPDATE June 22nd, 2019: The Yala Club offers a free Maitreya-compatible Ruth mesh body, details in the Ruth section below. UPDATE: This is no longer available, sorry! I have removed the info as it is now out-of-date.
UPDATE July 20th, 2019: The freebie store at Ajuda SL Brasil now has a free Bento mesh body called Tina, details at the end of this blogpost. UPDATE: And, as quickly as it appeared, Tina has disappeared! I assume that this is because it was stolen content. So I have removed Tina from this blogpost.
UPDATE Nov. 7th, 2019: I report on two dollarbie Bakes on Mesh avatars sold by Rule of Rose, in this blogpost.
UPDATE Nov. 29th, 2019: I have added an inexpensive head from Eve to the Eve & Adam section below.
UPDATE Jan. 16th, 2020: I have added a new full-body mesh avatar called Djana, which uses Bakes on Mesh (at the very end of this very long blogpost!).
UPDATE March 4th, 2020: Sweet’s has a Bakes-on-Mesh Bento mesh head and a Maitreya-compatible, Bakes-on-Mesh Bento mesh body for female avatars available for only L$1 each on the SL Marketplace! More details here.
UPDATE March 15th, 2020: LucyBody is offering a Midnight Madness prize of a fully-featured, Maitreya Lara-compatible Bento female mesh body called Atenea, for free! More details here.
UPDATE March 22nd, 2020: Genesis Lab is now offering a 99% discount on version 3.8 of the Eva female Bento mesh head, which is compatible with Omega and Bakes on Mesh. If you join the GenesisLab group, you can pick it up for only L$20! More details here.
UPDATE March 26th, 2020: There’s a new, free Bakes-on-Mesh compatible, female Bento mesh head called Ciara available from Dream. More details here.
UPDATE April 3rd, 2020: The Genus Project has announced a free, Bakes-on-Mesh compatible, female Bento mesh head, which is available in-store and as a free group gift from their group. More details here.
UPDATE April 11th, 2020: There’s a new dollarbie group gift over at Akeruka, a limited-edition Bakes on Mesh Bento female head. More details here.
UPDATE April 17th, 2020: The Ultimate Meshbody is celebrating its first anniversary by giving away dollarbie male and female versions of their original, Classic mesh body! More details here.
UPDATE May 3rd, 2020: Catwa has released a free group gift of a unisex Bento mesh head, called Freya! More details here.
UPDATE May 12th, 2020: There’s a new, very busty, free Bento, Bakes-on-Mesh female mesh body called Ruthie available from Tiny Things. More details here.
UPDATE May 29th, 2020: Little Black Dress is giving away a free Bakes-on-Mesh Ruth 2.0 mesh body for female avatars. More details here.
UPDATE June 7th, 2020: There’s a new, free, Bento, Bakes-on-Mesh compatible full-body female mesh avatar called Ariadne by Kalhene! Details can be found here and here.FIRST UPDATE June 25th, 2020: The Kalhene Ariadna body was removed late last night from the SL Marketplace; more information is here. SECOND UPDATE July 29th, 2020: The free Ariadna body is gone, but the Kalhene store has just released new, Maitreya Lara-compatible mesh bodies called Anya (female) and Alexa (flat-chested/transgender) for L$1,695 each (more information here).
UPDATE June 22nd, 2020: I review the free Ultra Vixen II female full-body mesh avatar. More details here.
UPDATE July 29th, 2020: There is a new, free, Bento, Bakes-on-Mesh-compatible full-body female mesh avatar by G&D, called Ruth 3.5. More information here.
UPDATE July 31st, 2020: The free RuthTooRC3 full-body Bento mesh body by Heavy Industries now supports Bakes on Mesh! More details here.
UPDATE Aug. 12th, 2020: There is a limited-time offer of L$99 for a very nice, Bento, Bakes on Mesh-compatible female mesh head called Bae by META. More information can be found here.
UPDATE Oct. 12th, 2020: META has released a second Bakes on Mesh, Bento mesh female head called Ava, which is also only L$99. More details here.
UPDATE December 9th, 2020: LeLutka is giving away a brand new group gift, the Lilly Bento, Bakes on Mesh-compatible head, but only until Boxing Day, December 26th, 2020; more information can be found here.
UPDATE December 10th, 2020: Akeruka is once again giving a L$1 group gift of the W08 Bento, Bakes on Mesh female head (the Akeruka group costs L$150 to join; more information here).
UPDATE Dec. 19th, 2020: Altamura is giving away a free, Bento full-body female avatar that is Bakes on Mesh compatible, called Movin’ On! More details here.
UPDATE November 6th, 2021: Kalhene has a new free group gift if you join their group for free: a fully-featured female Bento mesh head called Leah! Details here.
Here are step-by-step instructions on how to remove the heads from the Altamura freebie bodies:
Attach the included Altamura HUD.
Click on the white head in the HUD once to remove the head (this only works on the Juliet gift, the 2017 Women Only Hunt version of Jenny, and on the Emannuelle gift formerly available at the Altamura mainstore, but unfortunately NOTon any of the other free Altamura bodies);
Remember to also click the eyelashes, teeth, and hairbase buttons to remove those as well!
Then everything from the neck up should be removed, so you can add your own mesh head.
Now, let’s talk about free or inexpensive mesh heads to go with those bodies!
If you haven’t yet joined the Akrueka group (called [AK] Heads News & Support) for L$150, you should really consider it. 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 fully-featured, fully-adjustable Bento mesh heads by now—which works out to only L$15 per head! So join the Akeruka group and keep your eyes peeled for announcements of freebie or dollarbie mesh heads every six months or so 😉
Now, here’s the Takaru mesh head from from Boataom for only L$10, which comes is six different static versions with different facial expressions, and which you can change the lipstick, blush, and eyeliner on, using the included HUD:
(It’s got a bit of a Japanese anime look to it, which is not exactly to my taste, but it might suit your needs perfectly!)
UPDATE June 21st, 2019: I have been told that if you join the Boataom group for L$99, you can pick up the Disella static mesh head as a group gift:
This is what the Disella head looks like. It comes in two skin tones, with two separate, adjustable sets of ears to match and a HUD with six different colours of lipsticks:
I tried, but I could not adjust the size of the eye opening, which I think leaves Disella with a perpetually surprised look! You might have better luck with a different set of (system or mesh) eyes from your inventory.
UPDATE Jan. 9th, 2020: The Genesis Lab group is now free to join, but I don’t know for how long! More details here.
If you go to the Genesis Lab mainstore and join their group (called GenesisLab, all one word) for L$99 (there is a group join panel on the Group Gifts wall at this SLURL), you can pick up three lovely mesh heads as free group gifts: Makena (an albino head), Lara, and Kenna:
The Lara head comes with a HUD to control the included mesh eyes (4 different eye colours), plus 4 options for the eyebrows and hairbase (red, blonde, brown and black), 4 options for eyeshadow, 4 options for skin tone, and 8 options for lipstick. Here’s what she looks like:
The Kenna head, which is probably my favourite static mesh head, comes with a HUD to control the included mesh eyes (8 different eye colours), plus 8 different eyebrow and hairbase colours, plus 8 choices for each of the head’s lipstick, eyeliner and eyeshadow. Here’s what she looks like:
The Makena albino mesh head from Genesis Lab comes with mesh eyes, but it does not have any other options. As you can see, she’s quite striking:
Perhaps the best option for a free mesh head is the Maya head, available from the Altamura mainstore. This is a totally free gift (you do notneed to join the Altamura group to get it), but it’s kind of tucked away in a remote corner of the store, so use this exact SLURL to locate it (just use the Map feature in your SL viewer, click on the Show Selection button, and follow the red arrow). This is a static mesh head with one HUD to change the skin tone to one of four options, plus two HUDs for makeup options (again, I have paired it with the Curvy eBody mesh avatar body). This is the Maya head with all the makeup options turned off, so you can see the features more clearly. I think it’s quite attractive!
So there you go, all your best options for free and inexpensive Second Life mesh avatar heads and bodies! You do not need to spend a small fortune to have a good-looking mesh avatar in SL!
So, have I missed any bargains in mesh heads? If so, please leave me a comment, thanks!
But when I tried it on, I found that it wouldn’t work with the default system avatar eyes. And (despite the assertion on the product listing that it has Copy/Modify permissions), I found I could not resize the head to fix the problem. So you will have to use the Amra head with a complete body alpha which removes the system eyes, and use mesh eyes instead (such as the ones which are part of the Genesis Lab mesh head packages). Make sure you take a copy of the mesh eyes first and use the copy, as you will have to adjust them to fit this head. The free Amra head comes with a HUD with six static facial expressions, but it does not come with eyelashes, so you’ ll have to buy those separately. Here’s the result, with the mesh eyes from the Kenna head and the Curvy eBody mesh body:
As you can see, it’s quite a striking look, and definitely an option for those of you who wish to have a darker-skinned mesh avatar but don’t have a lot of Linden dollars to spend.
Someone on the official Second Life community forums sent me a message:
Safybelle has a mesh head you can “earn” by playing her in-world traffic game. All you would need is some time, a group slot, and L$99 for the Omega plugin.
So I went to the Safybelle store in-world (here’s the SLURL), joined her group for free, and started playing her game:
You can play the roulette-wheel game up to 10 times every 24 hours to earn points:
You can find other locations to play this game on the Safybelle website. (There only seems to be the one location at the moment.)
Once you earn 30,000 points, you can get this Jessy 3 Bento mesh head for FREE! (I only earned 2,110 points in my first ten tries at the roulette wheel, so it’s probably going to take about 15 days of playing to earn 30,000 points.)
If amassing 30,000 points seems like too unattainable a goal, there are also two other prize vendors within the store itself (here’s the SLURL), where you can get the Jessy 2 model Bento mesh head for only 16,000 points, or the Elwing elf Bento head (with animated ears) for only 19,900 points:
After that, all you will need is the Safybelle Omega relay applier (available on the SL Marketplace for L$99), and you will be able to use any Omega-compatible skin with your Jessy 3, Jessy 2, or Elwing Bento mesh head!
Thanks for the tip, Fionalein! 🙂
UPDATE Oct. 7th: Well, I finally collected the 30,000 points to get the free Jessy 3 Bento mesh head from Safybelle, and it is definitely worth all the work to earn those points! Here’s what the head looks like, along with the HUD:
The Jessy 3 head comes complete with:
12 hairbase tones
9 skin tones
8 eyebrow styles and colours
5 styles of eyelashes
mesh eyes in 27 different colours, with a reflections option
a choice of human or elf ears (with an elf ear animation)
a choice of angry, sad, sexy, happy, or standard facial animations
and it even has 8 different settings for eyeblink animations!
For a free, fully-adjustable, Omega compatible Bento mesh head, this is truly a super deal! The Jessy 3 head compares quite favourably with Bento mesh heads costing L$5,000 or more! So head over to the Safybelle store and get that roulette wheel a-spinning! And, even better, if you’ve already used up your 10 turns for the day, you can still play the sploder pig to earn more points!
UPDATE Oct. 9th: Well, I’ve had a few more days to play with the Safybelle Jessy 3 Bento mesh head, and I am going to have to retract my statement that the head is “fully-adjustable”. It turns out that many of the head appearance sliders (particularly those under the Head and Chin sections) do notchange the features of this head, as they would with a fully Bento mesh head by Catwa or another maker. You can still make some adjustments to the eyes, nose, and mouth, though. I still think that this is a great deal for a mesh head, I just wanted to add that clarification to my earlier enthusiastic comments.
Here’s a picture of the Safybelle Jessy 3 head with the elf ears enabled. The ears can be animated, and it’s fun to watch them move and twitch!
Another option for those of you without Linden dollars to spend is the entirely free, open source female mesh avatar head and body package, called Ruth Too RC3, which is available on the SL Marketplace by Heavy Industries. There are three packages available, which include not only the mesh head and body, and HUDs for 9 different skin tones and alpha selections, but even starter hair, a dress, and shoes!
With the included alpha HUD, you can pretty much make clothing designed for any other mesh avatar body work with Ruth. Here is Ruth wearing the free Clover dress from the Baby Monkey capsule wardrobe available at the Free*Style store (more details here) as well as the free Sonnet pumps from the freebie store at Hilly Haalan (more details here). I had to adjust the pumps a bit to feet the feet, but it worked out okay. I added the free Alli & Ali Marilyn hairstyle from the selection at The Free Dove, and here’s the final look:
UPDATE Dec. 19th, 2018: The 8th day Advent gift at Altamura is a fully-adjustable, Omega-compatible, female Bento mesh head called Leila (you do have to join the Altamura group for L$25 to pick up this gift; more information here):
This head is only available until Christmas, and then it’s gone, so hurry down!
UPDATE July 29th, 2020: This body seems to no longer be available, sorry!
I discovered that I had overlooked yet another option for an inexpensive female mesh avatar, called the Sahara Mesh Avatar body. At this SLURL (warning: adult-rated sim), you can pick up the following items:
the Sahara Mesh Avatar for L$29;
a Basic Mesh Head for L$1; and
a package of 5 skins for L$1
The sign indicates that the Sahara Mesh Avatar is Maitreya Lara compatible, and I found that clothes and shoes designed for Maitreya did indeed work well with this mesh body. The Basic Mesh Head is non-Bento, and it does have some flaws around the neck seam area, although an included facelight seems to fix the situation somewhat. (You can replace it with any other mesh head, as I did in the second picture below.) Not that the body is not Omega-compatible and it does not have Bento hands.
Here is what the final result looks like, along with the HUD to select alpha sections:
Actually, not a bad result at all for a Maitreya-compatible body for only L$31 total! Here’s what the body looks like with the Akeruka Maia Bento mesh head that was available last June as a group gift:
The hands on the Sahara mesh body are particularly lovely (especially compared to the hands on the freebie eBody mesh bodies), but they do have one small problem: although there is a fingernail texture applier HUD included in the package, there are no fingernail textures! So the default fingernails on this body are a grey colour.
However, I was able to use the fingernail texture applier HUD with a light pink texture already in my inventory, and it worked out okay.
The Ocacin mesh bodies come in only one skintone, and they have only one HUD, to control the alpha selections, which are arranged rather strangely. While both Marketplace listings say that these bodies have Bento-compatible hands, I found that neither would work with my Bento AO. In this picture you can see the alpha HUD and the Ocacin Standard body, paired with the Akeruka Lulu Bento mesh head (a choker hides the slight seam at the neck):
I did find the toes on these bodies to be a bit ugly. You can use the HUD to hide the default high-heeled feet, and replace them with four other kinds of the feet from the Add Ons folder: flat, mid heels, and killer heels, plus a pair of feet which are compatible with MAP brand feet. Oddly, when you remove the default feet and replace them with another pair, the red toenails of the original feet are not removed! Adjusting your avatar’s hover height should fix this irritating bug, though.
I can’t figure out how to change the toenail or fingernail colours, or adjust the fingernail length (which by default is rather long).
When I first came across the Mrs. Philips avatar in-world, I did a complete double-take. She looked so real! The texture work is amazing!
And when I discovered that you could buy the Mrs. Philips full-body mesh avatar for only L$300, I snapped one up right away! The body comes with Bento hands, and includes the outfit, jewelry and hairstyle. All I did was make the arms a little longer, and the head a little smaller, and I added a free purse, a group gift from Belle Epoque at the 7th anniversary of the FaMESHed event on now.
Of course, there’s a catch. And that is that the clothing is part of the avatar mesh and cannot be removed. (The nacklace and bracelets are a separate attachment.) So if you’re not too fussy about what your avatar is wearing, but you want a completely different look from all the young-looking people around you, this might be your thing. It’s my new favourite avatar to slip on when I wander around the grid exploring!
NI9HT also sells custom full-body nude avatars. Again, you won’t be able to dress them (no clothing will likely fit the custom mesh bodies and there’s no HUD with alpha selections available), but if you’re just wanting to use one for dancing/stripping/escort work in SL, or you only hang out at nude beaches, they might be perfect for you.
The dollarbie Djana Bakes on Mesh avatar from the SL Marketplace by **SD** is a complete head-and-body mesh avatar (based on Ruth 2.0) which supports Bakes on Mesh skins and makeup. You can remove the head and use any other Bakes on Mesh-compatible mesh head. Both the head and the body are fully adjustable using the sliders, but the head still has a bit of a blocky look to it, despite my best efforts.
Even more perplexing, the included shape is no modify, which is frankly useless. For these pictures, I used the Gretchen starter avatar shape as my starting point, along with the Gretchen ballgown. No skin was included, so I used one of the system skins which were part of one of the free group gifts from Genesis Labs, their Cream skin with black eyebrows, and I added one of the black Jumo system hairbases with the Janelle updo (a recent Advent gift).
Here is what she looks like (there is a slight but noticeable seam between the head and the body):
The hands are Bento, but the feet do not appear to be Maitreya or Slink-compatible, and they come in only one foot shape (high), so you might have some difficulty finding shoes that fit this avatar. I finally found a pair of (unrigged) Sonnet pumps from Hilly Haalan for Maitreya feet that worked, but I had to leave off the foot base (which turned the feet white!) and adjust them to fit manually.
I’m still fiddling with the shape and the head is still a little blocky for my personal tastes, but overall, it’s a good mesh body for just one Linden dollar!
Here are 8 rules for freebie and bargain hunting that I have compiled over eleven years in Second Life:
Be patient: Freebies can come and go; freebie stores like The Free Dove and Ajuda SL Brasil rotate their freebies regularly, so it’s worthwhile to visit every couple of month just to see what’s new. It can take some time to pull together a complete look from various components picked up as freebies at different times from different stores and events.
Join groups which are known for giving great deals and freebies to their members: For example, if you joined the Akeruka mesh heads group a year and a half ago, you would have picked up no less than six fully-adjustable Bento mesh heads (three female and three male), all for a single group join fee of L$150. That works out to only L$25 per Bento mesh head, a truly outstanding deal! Also join the Altamura group for L$50, which gives you access to the deals that Altamura offers on mesh heads and bodies at various events around SL, as well as many group gifts in the mainstore. Alien Gizmo’s regularly gives away L$200 gift cards for their store to their group members. Join these groups and stay in them, because you never know when there will be a bargain or a freebie available in future.
Watch for free group join periods: A perfect example is Scandalize, which has lifted its group join fee of L$100 from Sept. 15th to 17th (more info here).
Visit fashion and gacha events: These can be another great place to pick up free gifts (be careful, though; some gifts at some events can be as much as L$10!). For example, the regularly held events run by the Gimme Gacha group have dozens of free gifts available for you to pick up. FaMESHed is another regular event with many high-quality freebies.
Don’t be too picky: Even though the free item might not be the exact style or colour you wanted, you can probably still make it work, and look good too. It’s the picky shoppers who land up spending a lot more money to get exactly what they want. For example, do you really want that expensive ballgown, when you can pick up that simple but beautiful Nadia ballgown as a free gift from Hilly Haalan (the group is free to join), with a HUD that gives you 15 different colour choices? You can probably make that work well with accessories already in your inventory, and look stunning.
Here is a perfect example of an avatar where I was able to pull together the entire look, over the course of a year and a half, for only a single Linden dollar! It is a combination of lucky chair prizes with free group gifts (joining the group when it was free for a limited time), plus store giveaways. Please click on each picture to see it in a larger size:
This avatar is wearing:
Mesh Head, Eyes and Makeup: Kenna mesh head (free group gift from Genesis Lab; the group join fee was free at the time I joined, but they have since raised it to L$99)
Mesh Body and Nails: Afrodite body by LUCYBODY (free from the Midnight Madness board if you join their group for free; more details here)
Hair: Ivy hair (free gift from Entwined; the 3 HUDs included in the package give you a total of 65 different hair colours!)
Dress: red and black Devil’s Heart Sweets dress (lucky chair prize from Alien Gizmo’s; enter the store at the main entrance, turn left, and walk along to the second courtyard near the far end to find the lucky chairs, or just use your map and follow the red arrow from the provided SLURL)
Choker: Nina choker by RxK (free from the Ajuda SL Brasil freebie store; more details here)
Clutch: Helena clutch (lucky chair prize from MODA; the HUD gives you 24 colour choices for the purse, and a choice of either gold or silver for the metal accents; enter the main store in front of you at the spawn point, and go around into the back room where the four lucky chairs are located or just use your map and follow the red arrow from the provided SLURL)
Shoes: Bijou pumps (lucky chair prize, also from MODA; the HUD gives you 36 colour and pattern choices each for the shoe and the platform)
Avatar AO: Your First AO Basic Female Mocap by Vista Animations (L$1; it’s located at the back of the Female AO section of the store, so use your map and follow the red arrow provided by this SLURL)
Bento Hands AO: Jenny Hands AO (part of the free Jenny Altamura mesh body package available for free at the Freebie Megastore in London City; it can be worn with the Vista AO, which does not have built-in Bento hand animations; more details on how to get Jenny here)
Ankle Lock: by Baby Monkey (freebie from the blue bag on the reception desk)
My total cost to assemble this complete avatar look was only L$1 (for the Vista AO).