If GW wants to make a new model (the Knight of the White Tower say), they need to pay someone to design the thing, someone to make a mold, someone to cast finished models from the mold, and someone to ship the bits all over the place. Who knows how much of their cost is in each step? Perhaps making the mold is the lion's share of the cost, maybe shipping is, I'd be very surprised if it was the sculptor.
Well, what I did was taking the current tin price for a ton of tin, the typical weight of a miniature, and then i calculated the tin price for one miniature (I know its not 100% tin, i just assumed this for the calculation). Compared to the current prices raises with finecast the tin price for a miniature seems really low. Of course I don't know the margin, the license costs and so on. But the impact of the tin price can only be relativly small.
I'll readily admit it's a guess that rising tin prices are a big deal for GW, I may be wrong. What else would motivate the change? The resin holds detail a little better, but it has all sorts of quality problems the metal models didn't. It seems an odd switch if tin isn't a significant cost that could be avoided.
Of course I don't know. When youre doing business any cost factor you can avoid you should avoid, so I admit even a cost factor which is relativly small could motivate enough. However in this case they have underestimated the issues finecast causes, otherwise I cannot understand the decision at all.
One quibble I have about looking at the very high tin prices in the further past is that back in the day GW didn't use the same materials they use now. ....
Yes I know. Lead is much much cheaper than tin.