Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: End-of-Year Freebies for Male Avatars

Well, Advent calendar season is almost over, and I have spent most of it focused on fabulous freebies for female avatars, but I wanted to blog about some men’s freebies that you can pick up today.

First, please meet Silver Quick, my handsome male alt who will be modeling today’s finds:

Silver Quick is wearing:

  • Head, Eyes and Eyebrows: the recent group gift of the Alain Bento, Bakes on Mesh head from LeLutka
  • Body: Romeo by Altamura (a Valentine’s Day group gift a couple of years ago; to use Bakes on Mesh skin on this body, you must first purchase an Omega system kit for Altamura for L$99 at this exact SLURL, and obtain the free Bakes on Mesh kit from Altamura (at this exact SLURL in their in-world store)
  • Bakes on Mesh Skin: Delphinus by Altamura (included with the Bakes on Mesh kit mentioned above)
  • Hair: Jamie by Firelight, a free gift available here
  • Shorts: Alejandro shorts from the starter avatars in the Library folder of your SL inventory
  • Animation Override: Tuty’s Daily sLIFE Free Bento AO (free from the Tuty animations store)
The Altamura Bakes on Mesh kit includes a BoM Omega relay and the Delphinus skin

Our first stop today is NERO N7 menswear store, where (if you join their store group for free), you can pick up a free L$500 gift card, good for anything in the store:

Next, we hit a couple of Advent calendars that are still up!

Donni’s Dollies has an Advent calendar where the odd-numbered dates (plus Dec. 12th and Dec. 24th) have gifts of menswear as well as womenswear (no group is needed). Here is the black and gold tuxedo from December 24th:

No Shot still has their 12 Days of Christmas calendar up, too. Here is one of the 12 menswear gifts you can pick up, a camouflage outfit with boots:

Here’s another nice outfit from the No Shot calendar, which also includes the shoes:

And here’s a business suit outfit from the same calendar, with shoes:

The ACCESS shopping event has many lovely gifts for both men and women (you have to join the ACCESS group for free to pick up these gifts).

Here’s a pro tip to help you quickly find the gifts you want at this and at other events: if you are using the Firestorm viewer, select Area Search under the World menu, then enter a keyword you are searching for (e.g. “varsity”). Then, from the list of search results, right-click the one you are interested in, and select Zoom from the pop-up menu as shown here:

Your camera will then zoom in on the specific giftbox you have selected! All you have to do is click on it and it’s yours! This tip can save you a lot of wandering around at crowded sales events where there are dozens and dozens of vendor booths.

Do a keyword search for “GRAILED” to get this Zion hoodie fatpack by GRAILED, which includes a HUD with 30 different colours and patterns:

And do a keyword search for “Varsity” to pick up this Randon jacket and long sweater combo from Varsity, with two HUDs to change the colour of both the jacket and sweater. You’ll need to alpha out your arms and hands for this hands-in-pockets look!

Our final stop is the Shop and Hop event, where there are a few men’s freebies to pick up. The gift from Etham is this shirt-and-hoodie combo, which comes with a HUD to change the colour of both the shirt and the hoodie individually:

The gift from Mossu is this cheerful Christmas cardigan:

The present from Lapointe and Bastchild’s SWEAR store at the Winter Shop and Hop are these wonderfully-detailed tundra patrol boots, in a camouflage snowflake pattern:

Happy freebie shopping!

Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: Free Skin and Eyes for the LeLutka Lilly Head

My annual Advent calendar odyssey in Second Life is now winding down, and (with a few exceptions), I plan to take a bit of a break from blogging until the new year. This year, so many SL storeowners have been extremely generous with their gifts! I have spent many an enjoyable hour over the past three weeks, ransacking the various Advent calendars and 12 Days of Christmas calendars across the grid, and my small army of alts now have many fabulous and fashionable freebies sitting in their inventories!

Yesterday, I spent an entertaining couple of hours trying out the dozens and dozens of facial animations and static facial poses included in the HUD of what I think was the best Christmas gift I picked up this year, the LeLutka Lilly Bento mesh head! The animations and poses on this head truly put the competition to shame with their variety.

The skin used in these pictures is a new, free group gift from Amara Beauty, the beautiful Holly Bakes on Mesh skin, which comes in three skin tones and is specifically designed for LeLutka Evolution heads:

In fact, the only complaint I have had about the Lilly head is that the included, rigged mesh eyes looked a little bit cross-eyed to me, so I swapped them out with a free group gift from ARTE, this set of lovely deep brown eyes in three shades and three sizes (which includes both Catwa and Omega appliers, Bakes on Mesh/system eyes, and a pair of mesh eyes which can be adjusted and textured using a handy HUD).

Both the ARTE and Amara Beauty groups are free to join, so if you picked up the LeLutka Lilly head this season, be sure to pick up these fabulous freebies as well!

Happy freebie shopping!

UPDATED! Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: Free, Full-Body Bakes on Mesh Male and Female Avatars at Altamura!

At the Altamura store, you can pick up two free group gifts from the panels located at the entrance: free Bento, Bakes on Mesh-compatible full-body (i.e. head and body) mesh avatars! The Altamura group is currently free to join (normally it costs L$100), so these are completely free.

Here’s what the Movin’ On female avatar looks like, wearing the included skin:

And here’s what the rather handsome Take My Way male avatar looks like, wearing the Bakes on Mesh skin included in the package:

Now, there’s a catch. Both of these avatars do NOT come with a HUD. You cannot remove the hairbases or the lip layers on these avatars, which might pose a problem when using other Bakes on Mesh skins with them (I tried a very pale skin on the male avatar, and the lips looked dreadful). And the Movin’ On female avatar feet (which are Slink compatible) can only wear high-heeled shoes! No flats. (UPDATE Dec. 23rd.: I stand corrected! There is a HUD included with the female body, called the “Hide HUD”, which allows you turn on and off flat feet, mid feet, and high feet.)

Because there is no HUD with alpha sections, you will have to use the alphas that come with the clothing you buy (or repurpose from the SL starter avatar collection, such as these blue Alejandro shorts that the Take My Way male avatar is wearing). If you do need a set of alphas to use with clothing that does not come with them, you can pick up a free set from Little Black Dress at this SLURL (just click on the bag on the floor).

However, if you are not terribly fussy about your avatar, and you like the looks of these two, you simply cannot beat the price—completely free! Remember that these are both limited-time gifts, so don’t wait, hurry down!

I will be adding these avatars to my popular, constantly-updated lists of free and inexpensive mesh heads and bodies for female avatars (here) and male avatars (here). Happy freebie shopping! Here’s your taxi.

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!