Actually about 3 weeks prior to Finecast getting released i ordered a Gandalf the Grey foot and mounted. Both of the models were missing their swords! They had the hilts, proper pose, but there wasn't a sword in the blister!?
Also had an Elladan show up with a broken sword still in the blister.
yes, of course metal was not perfect. But the seriously defective models were nowhere near as frequent as with Finecast. Finecast has been proven to have severe Quality Assurance issues (from the moulds degrading faster than GW anticipated, to lazy incompetent QA staff according to One Ring members in the know). Only time will tell if these problems with resin casting are just growing pains or the new norm. I don't have any great faith in GW to sort the problem for good.
My view is this, you want price increases to stop? Other than inflation + overall increased minimum wages, stop buying from Ebay/amazon/online distributors. The more this occurs, the more the prices will increase in order for GW to keep their profit margin. I'm guilty of this too, but i try my hardest to always buy from GW, its their product, they deserve the profit.
Thats some warped logic. As prices rise, people become ever more reluctant to pay full Retail Prices. I'd say that GW increasing prices is a direct effect of people looking for discounts. Just last week, I bought 4 models off ebay for the first time in my life. I got for £6, models which would have cost me £32 from GW (maybe even more, with Finecast and having to get them as parts of boxed sets or multi model blisters). Its also the first time I ever bought LOTR models from outside GW. That is a direct result of GW's prices. The more they raise price, the more I will look elsewhere. In fact, I've already decided not to buy models from them anymore (only paint as they last long, and black library novels), and will not until they bring their prices DOWN.
And they can easily stop Online retailers, by refusing to them Sell wholesale (or w.e. its called when a manufacturer sells to a retailer), or changing the terms of contract by setting a minimum price for retailers (they did something similar by banning EU retailers shipping to Australia). Or they could only supply Retailers with older stuff, making sure that New Releases can be found only in GW stores.
I just cannot accept your reasoning at all...I don't think this is GW trying to maintain their profit margin, I think this is GW trying to drive it up, as far as it can go (and knowing it's blind stupidity even beyond what the market will accept). I really do think that they would be pefectly happy if hundreds of thousands fewer people played their games and collected their miniatures, just so they could bring more sales in house.
I think this is something we will see happen in Australia. Prices there are more than double ours in the UK, and as they restrict international trade even more, fewer Australians will buy their models and thus fewer will play their games. I don't think all the trade originally generated by these retailers will be absorbed by GW - more likely that at least 50% of people will look elsewhere to other companies, games and models.