The Difference between ALPHA TEST Build and BETA TEST Build and the Necessity of Both.

Rhaven Blaack

Staff member
Jun 12, 2009
I have been building models from paper/cardstock for MANY YEARS (I started when I was just 13 years old). In 2013, I started working with a model designer, Beta Test building and evaluating the templates and instructions for the models that he designs (I have worked with other designers in the same capacity).

Over the years, I have been asked “What is a Beta Test Builder and why is one needed, when the designer conducts an Alpha (initial) build of the model once the design process is finished?” I have to say that this is a very good question and one that has a simple answer.

When it comes to designing paper/cardstock models, there are (mainly) two different types of test building: Alpha (meaning initial or first) build and Beta (meaning secondary) test build.

The Alpha Test Build is conducted by the designer (or designers). The purpose of the Alpha Test Build is to test if the model can even be built in the first place (right after the design of it). The Alpha Test build will (should) tell the designer if there are any major problems or issues with the template (or the instructions). This will allow the designer to fix those problems or issues immediately.

The Beta Test Build is conducted by an independent (third party) builder who will build and evaluate the buildability and viability of the templates and instructions for the model and find all (or at least most) of the minor problems and issues that the designer did not find (during the Alpha Test Build), as well as suggest any changes if felt necessary. Depending on how drastic the changes are, there may be a need for the Beta Test builder to conduct another test build and evaluation.

Once the Beta Test Builder has finished the test build and sent the evaluation to the designer, the designer will fix the problems or issues and make whatever necessary revisions, the template is published and released for public consumption.

It is always beneficial for a designer to have a trusted Beta Test Builder that knows and understands the genre/subject material that the designer is focusing on, on retainer, and builds a strong rapport. This allows for both the designer and Beta Test Builder to collaborate on the development of the projects that the designer wants to work on.