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Theta
09-06-2012, 02:52 PM
I've been meaning to post a review of my tail for a while now, and I've finally got a day off, so here goes!

I ordered my tail from Raven as soon as she posted that she would be taking another silicone tail order (February 2012, or thereabouts.) the order was for 1 dragonskin platinum cure silicone tail, now priced at $3000. Outside of the Merbellas corps tails, I think mine was the second silicone tail that she took an order for.

Design Process:

Raven was really awesome about being receptive to design ideas- my tail is based on my favorite dress of all time, and she took the colors of the dress and incorporated them beautifully into the tail. I gave her several reference images, including some fan-created versions of the same gown, and gave her full creative license to do what she wanted design-wise. Here are some of the original pictures I sent to her:

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She totally took those images and RAN WITH IT. Holy cow, did she ever. I gave her those pictures and what I received was a work of art that I couldn't even have imagined owning. I particularly love how she incorporated the blue of the gathered train up the back of my tail. It's probably my favorite touch. The colors are amazing- so much more than I originally planned on having. Raven hand paints every tail she does, and her sense of color is really great. The way the colors go from purple/blue to pink to gold looks like it was done with an airbrush. The paints she used are pearlescent, and the color on the tail changes when looked at from different angels, particularly in the ankle area, where there's surprise blue in with the purple! I also love how she incorporated the gold from the top of the tail into the edging of the fluke.

Raven kept me updated with progress pictures. Here is one of the ones she sent to me:

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Tail Creation:

The tail took a long time to finish, for a few reasons:

- it incorporates some very pale colors over most of the body, which Raven did in many coats of paint. Each layer had to dry completely before the next layer could be added. If you're looking for a pale tail from Raven, be aware of this. It is totally worth the wait- I can wear a dark suit bottom underneath the tail, and no color shows through- but it's a long process, and you should place your order with that in mind. Lighter colors take longer!

- the seams, while invisible on the outside of the tail, had to be resiliconed on the inside of the tail, which added a little bit of time to the creation process.

- life events! I told Raven to take her time with my tail, as I wouldn't need it until summer. I received it the week after her wedding, which worked out great for both of us as a) she didn't have to juggle tail making and wedding planning constantly and b) I was working on my thesis, which left no time for mermaiding at all. This as an agreement between the two of us, so you don't have to worry about not getting a tail on time from her at all.

Shipping:

Originally, Raven and I both thought that this tail would be finished much sooner than it was. When I ordered it, I was living in the town that my university's in, and while I had plans to move back to my parents' town at the end of the semester, I didn't think it would matter. Raven calculated the shipping for my school address and I paid the shipping when I paid for the tail. I realized that I would not be at that address when the tail was finished, and Raven was up to her butt in wedding stuff when I realized this, so I was worried that I wouldn't be able to get a hold of her and the tail would be lost in the mail. I emailed her the new address, and there wasn't any problem at all. I offered to pay for any difference in shipping price, because my new address is an hour away from the old one, but she didn't charge me anything extra for shipping, which was so awesome of her :)

My tail arrived a few days after Raven shipped it (she provided the tracking number for me as soon as she left the shipping office, so I could follow its progress up the east coast.) Here it is on the day I ripped it out of its box with a squeal of joy:

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And here are some pictures of just the tail (I'll add a few more later, as a bunch of them are on my sister's phone and she's not here -_-)

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The Tail:

IS AMAZING. SERIOUSLY, LIKE WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE AMAZING.

I have only been able to swim in it twice, because I've been working 24/7 this summer, and water around here has been AWFUL (more on that below.) It's an extremely tight fit, but I ordered it to be a little snug, since I'm starting dance again and when I dance I tend to lose a few inches. I was so sick of the gapping in my mertailor tail impeding my swimming that I figured a little muffin top would be worth it.

To get into the tail I need baby oil and another person. I oil my feet and calves before sliding them into the tail. After working my feet into the monofin, the straps get pulled on. This is much easier to do in this tail than it was in my Mertailor tail, because the silicone is far stretchier. I can get my hand into the tail without breaking my arm to get the straps on. Then I roll the tail up, oiling my legs as I go. I tend to put tails on before I get in the water, and since this tail is so tight, the oil is critical for me. Then my mertender grabs the top seams and pulls it up to my waist. The top of the tail is probably unfashionably high (up to my natural waist/belly button) but I ordered it that way because I'm so hippy that I living in constant terror of tails slipping off.

This tail is a dream to swim in. I haven't really been able to go full throttle in it yet, because I don't have access to a pool. Of the two lakes I have access to, one I haven't been able to get to time-wise, and the other doesn't allow any kind of swimming apparatus while your'e in the water. But Theta! you say, don't you live in a region full of rivers and lakes? Well, yes. However, due to the Drought of Insanity that's been going on this summer, the rivers have been incredibly low and choked with weeds. I took my tail in the water at Sandy Pond, and the water was only two feet deep until you got almost a hundred feet out! No one can remember the pond being so low (The pond, btw, a large lake connected to Lake Ontario.)

6051 <----- see, it's big

Anyway, the following photos and video were taken at Sandy Pond (where I am now some kind of sightseeing attraction! lol.)

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1B9spj5d-eY&amp;feature=em-share_video_user

(This video is unedited, and not ready for general consumption yet, hence the 'hidden' status. Also, the water was only two feet deep, hence the odd close-to-the-surface swimming)

I'm hoping to be able to have some professional photos/video shot within the next few weeks.

So, the long and short of this is:

Raven is an amazing tail maker and an amazing mermaid, and I can't wait to work with her again. This tail is one of my favorite things in my life, and purchasing from Raven was the best decision I made. It's an expensive investment, but so worth it. She was in touch with me every time there was a bump in the road, and explained why things were taking longer than expected (see section on pale colors, above.) Raven really puts her heart and soul into each tail she makes. She was wonderful to work with from start to finish.

If you're looking for a high quality, one of a kind work of art silicone tail, I would recommend Raven every time!

Ayla of Duluth
09-06-2012, 04:17 PM
Wow! What a great tail! Raven never ceases to amaze me with her works of art. I just have one question, and it's probably answered somewhere in your review, but I didn't see it anywhere, what kind of monofin is in your tail? it looks like a competitor, but I don't see the two support ridges anywhere. I'm just wondering because I ordered a tail from raven and we were trying to decide what monofin to put in. :)
I absolutely love the colors too. The purples and blues go so beautifully together, it really looks like the dress you posted. I'm so happy for you! <3

Mermaid Saphira
09-06-2012, 05:03 PM
what an incredibly beautiful tail! Raven did an amazing job <3

AniaR
09-06-2012, 06:08 PM
Yours was the second! It was right after mine :D She kept showing me progress pics and the paint inspiration and I was all OMG SO EXCITED FOR HER. lol

Trying tying a string onto your monofin straps to help you get it on faster. It used to take me help and a lot of time, now I can do it in 2 minutes!

so happy for you

Ilonka
09-06-2012, 06:26 PM
Holy crap its sooooo pretty!!! She really outdoes herself, congrats!

Kanti
09-06-2012, 07:09 PM
Stunning~
I love the above shots of you swimming, I actually didn't notice the flukes on her tails were so
long!!
Great review too :'D

Blondie
09-06-2012, 07:18 PM
Wooooow! It is just perfectly beautiful!

malinghi
09-06-2012, 07:58 PM
I just added Merbella Studios to the review section. Raina and Theta and anyone else who has one of Raven's tails, it would be greatly appreciated if you would post a review.
http://mernetwork.com/index/showthread.php?3092-Merbella-Studios

happyguava
09-06-2012, 10:38 PM
Beautiful!! She outdoes herself every time. Thanks for writing such an informative review too! :)

Meghara July
09-06-2012, 11:04 PM
Raven's work is ineffable. She is so incredible. Your tail is so beautiful, congratulations!

AniaR
09-06-2012, 11:57 PM
I will copy and paste my review- does it allow photos now?

So happy Theta :)

Theta
09-07-2012, 05:27 PM
Thanks for all the comments, guys! I'm so happy with my tail :) :) :)

And Ayla, you're right, it's a Competitor monofin :)

Mermaid Celissa
09-07-2012, 05:51 PM
I LOVE IT! And I love your new signature ^.^

Mizuko
09-07-2012, 09:16 PM
So beautiful! <3 I'm getting a silicone/neoprene tail made by her now and I am so excited. Reading this review makes me more excited! XD

AnnaAbyss
09-11-2012, 11:38 PM
Hi Mermaid Theta, I really love our tail. It's absolutley AMAZING! So jealous! I'm a noob here so sorry if this comes across as annoying or something. But I'm just wondering, because you did business with Raven (and you might know this sort of stuff), do you know how much time one of her tails would take to ship overseas? It's fine if you don't know though. :) Maybe I should ask her..xD That tail is to die for!!! :D :D :D

Ashe
09-12-2012, 12:40 AM
Oh my goodness! that tail looks like it is part of the best dream ever! The colors are perfect, looks amazing on you, and if i ever had that kind of money (not for a while, im only 13 lol) i would love to buy one...

Theta
09-16-2012, 12:45 AM
Hi Mermaid Theta, I really love our tail. It's absolutley AMAZING! So jealous! I'm a noob here so sorry if this comes across as annoying or something. But I'm just wondering, because you did business with Raven (and you might know this sort of stuff), do you know how much time one of her tails would take to ship overseas? It's fine if you don't know though. :) Maybe I should ask her..xD That tail is to die for!!! :D :D :D

I'm sure a tail from her would take the normal amount of time it takes a package to ship overseas. I've gotten some pretty heavy boxes from Japan before (nothing as large/heavy as a tail, though) and they tend to take anywhere from 10 days to three weeks to arrive on my New York doorstep. I think what you're going to run into is not time to ship, but shipping cost. It cost about $100 to ship my tail from Florida to NY. Hope that helps!

AnnaAbyss
09-16-2012, 11:45 PM
Thank you so much :)

Mermaid Annariea
09-17-2012, 02:43 PM
oh my goodness, this tail is breathtaking.
im so happy for you :D