July 19, 2024

The UCM Shockwave is the smallest model in the game, but it can still do some work.

This article discusses how to build your own UCM Shockwave for under $8 (USD), or roughly 4% of the cost of a physical one.

What are the Different Ways of Upgrading Your Die?

There are four different ways of upgrading your die:

1. Paint, Stickers and Markings  – Simply adorn it how you like without any actual system changes.

2. Painted Metal – Adorn with paint or metal but leave the internal mechanism alone.

3. Mods – Make alterations to the interior mechanism of the die with no system changes.

4. Rules – Make alterations to the system that affect gameplay.

What are the Drawbacks of Using Different Methods?

If you decide to go with Method 1, your die will look different but it won’t play any better than an official die from Corvus Belli.  You could still use a marker to indicate wounds, but you can’t track special ammo or tokens.  It is also the most expensive method of upgrading your die.

Method 2 doesn’t cost much more than Method 1, but it allows you to do all of the above in addition to tracking tokens and wounds.  The downside with this method is that if you ever go back to playing with official dice, you’ll be out of luck.  For example, if Corvus Belli releases new tokens or a new type of wound marker, you won’t be able to track them on your upgraded UCM die because the original mechanism has been covered up.

Method 3 allows for all types of tracking but it can take up a lot of time.  You might think that removing the original mechanism is as trivial as taking off the bottom cap, but often times you’ll find glued-in metal components or rivets that make this process very difficult for certain types of models.

Method 4 is by far the most complicated, but if done correctly it will allow you to do everything Method 3 does and more.  It is also the cheapest of these methods if done on a large scale because it can be automated.  Automation allows for a single machine with a computer attached to apply the necessary markings on all of your dice within minutes, while still being able to track special tokens and wounds.  If you don’t want to go with Method 4 and you do all of your painting by hand, the most cost-effective way is to use Method 1 and apply paint markings.

What are Nonsensical Markings?

Before we get into how to upgrade your die without breaking the game, here’s a little bit about nonsensical markings.  This term refers to any system change that is strictly cosmetic and serves no other function than making the die look different from an official one.

Some examples are: replacing the numbers with letters, adding symbols or random lines, or placing stickers over the original numbers.

How to Upgrade the die Shockwave

Although this article is about upgrading your game pieces, it is also the most difficult technique to explain.  If you want to know how upgrade dice without breaking the game, follow along with these instructions carefully and you will be able to do it yourself next time.  I’ll break down each step describing what I’m doing and why.

The first step is to remove the top cap of the die, exposing the mechanism inside.  Some metal components have been attached to this area so be careful not to damage them while you’re taking it off.

Use a small screwdriver or pick to wedge itself between the bottom of the original top cap and the main body of the die.  You’ll need to pry and twist slightly until you get a good hold on it, then simply pull it free.

Once you have the top cap off, you’ll notice that there is excess plastic stuck in the mechanism of the die.  This plastic forms the pathway for numbers to pass through when they are rolled, so removing it will cause the die to be inaccurate.  To fix this, take a sharp hobby knife and slice away the excess plastic.

Now you’re ready to put everything back together again.


The tools and processes explained in this article won’t allow you to upgrade your dice as well as a manufacturer can, but they will give you a custom piece that does everything it’s supposed to do.

If you follow the steps carefully, you’ll find upgrading your die isn’t very difficult.

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