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After my gushing review of Jen Shikami’s Flexi Flutter Wings, I was a little surprised to receive some unexpected wings for reviewing from some enterprising Second Life wing-makers. Maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised: after all, who better to spread the word about your wings than someone who’s crazy about them?

Anyway, there was one wing-maker whose work was unusual, surprising, and certainly worthy of mentioning to other wing lovers. The wingmaker is Seraphina Pinion, an enviable name for a winged person. Personally, I had no idea how much I’d love wings when I first joined Second Life, so I didn’t have the presence of mind to pick an appropriately fluttery name. šŸ™‚

Anyway, to the point! Seraphina’s wings take quite a different approach than any other wings I’ve seen in Second Life, and so they have some unique and very nice features. Here’s the difference in a nutshell: while almost all other non-particle wings I’ve seen in Second Life comprise two (or four) prims for the wings, often added to one invisible, central prim as an anchoring point for flapping, Seraphina’s wings are like a detailed sculpture, with dozens of prims in each wing forming the separate feather. The result is a detailed, majestic, solid-looking wing that is not affected by the overlapping transparency bug (sometimes if there are two partly-transparent textures near each other, Second Life gets confused as to which one is in front, and most good wing designs have some transparency) and that has, to my artistically untrained eye has almost an Art Deco look. The style is a nice alternative to the sweetness of angelic, fairy, or bird wings on the one hand; and bat, scalpel, or demon wings on the other.

Of course, one of the costs of this look is the high prim count, but a set of Pinion wings isn’t any more prims than, say, a complicated hairstyle. Still, it’s not the ideal choice for laggy sims.

Like virtually all good wings, Pinion wings are scripted, and they have a graceful oval HUD with pictograms instead of words for the features. This means that the first time you use the HUD, you may have trouble figuring out what most of the buttons do. Fortunately Seraphina provides a labelled diagram that explains almost everything. After you’re used to the HUD, the pictures are a nice alternative to text buttons.

The Pinion Feathers HUD, labelled by Seraphina to show functions

Pinion wings have most of the same functions that other top-notch prim wings have, including invisible, appear when flying, flap (although Pinion wings can’t be made to flap unless you’re flying, which is very logical but prevents me from providing my friends with cool breezes on hot days). They also have a folded state, which is the way they usually appear when you’re not flying. I was very impressed with that, first because it must have taken a bit of doing to get the prims to reconfigure in that way, but more to the point because it looks natural (and great), because it’s more realistic than the usual choice of extended or invisible for anyone who’s not currently flying, and because it’s handy to be able to walk around in china shops without having to take my wings off. šŸ™‚

Golden Eagle Wings, folded

The flapping motion of Pinion wings is nicely designed, except that the feathers on the bottom of the wing are flexi enough that they seem almost to wobble if seen from a certain angle and looked at closely by someone who has nothing better to do than to criticize how feathers move. But flexible prims can only do certain things, so I’m not sure this shouldn’t just be chalked up to the limits of building things in Second Life.

Unfortunately the flapping sometimes gets out of sync, since the wings are moving independently, so a synchronization command would be nice (or maybe one is offered and I didn’t find it). So far I haven’t seen the wings get badly out of sync, though it has been enough to be clearly noticeable sometimes.

Seraphina sells just one design of wing, which is available in four colors (although I only saw three of them individually available at her shop): golden, silver, ruby, and a lavender-violet color I didn’t see named. They come in small and large sizes. The ones in most of the pictures here are the small Golden Eagle Wings, but you can see a pair of the larger ones below. For each of those colors, though, there are commands to change to any of seven shades, from a very light version of the wing color to jet black. The wings are two-color, as you can see in the pictures, so you’re just changing the colored part when you change the shade.

The larger-size wings

Most Second Life wings attach as a single object to the spine, but Seraphina’s attach separately to the two shoulders. This can be a relief if you’re a regular wing-wearer and have to cope with certain outfits that already use the spine attachment, but otherwise doesn’t seem to make much difference, except that I imagine it was necessary for some of the wing animation Seraphina did.

Unfortunately, these are by far the most expensive wings I’ve yet seen, starting at L$795 a pair (compared to L$250 for a pair of Flexi Flutter wings, L$299 for a pair of Material Squirrel wings, or L$1 for a pair of Aurora particle wings). If you want both the large and the small wings of some particular color, you’ll pay $1,260, or you can get one size of all four colors for $L2,000, or both sizes in all colors for $L3,176.

Despite the expense, I did go out and buy a pair myself for a wing-loving friend as a present, specifically because they’re so well-crafted and unusual (and because I thought the appearance would appeal to my friend). So, expensive? Yes. Worth the price if you can afford it? Again, I’d say yes. But these are the kind of wings I’d settle for one variety of rather than pay for each different version, especially since there aren’t different styles so much as just different color choices.

My wish list for a 2.0 version of Seraphina’s wings would be
* offering a button on the HUD that will pop up that help diagram
* a sync command for the wings
* if anything can be done to make the feathers wobble less on flapping without losing their other nice movement qualities, that would be very nice
* an included landmark! although I haven’t done this with my own products yet *Kate slaps her own wrist*
* more wing styles using the same building technique!

Seraphina also sells two complete AOs with animated flight poses (as well as walk poses, stands, sits, etc.) for L$225 each, one feminine and one athletic. My guess is that the walk, stand, etc. poses are probably freely available, and that the real product she’s selling is the flight poses, which is actually all she claims to be selling in her kiosks. In other words, I think she’s just being helpful and considerate in including the other poses. Oh, and those same AOs include hug and kiss tools.

Unfortunately, I’m not crazy about the flight poses: the motions and positions seem a little uncomfortable and less than graceful to me. On the other hand, I don’t think I’ve ever seen moving flight poses at all before, so kudos to Seraphina for making them. I was fortunate enough to get both AOs in my reviewer pack, but for shoppers it might be helpful to have a stand where they can try out each of the poses to see what they think.

So it comes down to this: Pinion Wings are beautiful, unusual, detailed wings with some unique features. Their high pricetag is difficult to afford, but at least it’s well-earned.

Pinion Feathers, SkyBeam Silver Sea 175, 84, 25

^^^\ Kate /^^^