I was in the local game store the other day grabbing some paints I needed when I espied the stores advance copy of the new Tomb Kings book.
I didn't spend much time reading it other than to check up on a couple of irritations from the Orcs and Goblins book.
Specifically, I was interested to see whether or not they had ruined the magic items section again and whether or not page references were incldued as part of the army list entries.
It was the same lack of important reference numbers and the same overcosted and underpowered magic item section. I'll reserve full doom and gloom mode until the third book (scientific method ftw) for the edition comes out - but it looks like I made the right choice by not investing in Fantasy a few months ago.
This one is just cheesing me off. In a lot of ways actually....
First, everyone is reading too much into what's going on. GW are not discontinuing production of metal miniatures. They are simply not allowing the independent stores to order them. That's it. Full stop. Anything else is doom and gloom. I'm not sure why people think that not being able to buy a Varghulf at the Warstore anymore is tantamount to ALL metal miniatures disappearing. Producing enough models to create stocking levels is expensive. Especially given the cost of the bulk materials. GW are just plain not doing this anymore.
Further, the process of making plastic versions of the special characters would be exorbitantly expensive and horrible unprofitable. It aint gonna happen and your metal models ain't gonna dissappear. Making molds for plastic miniatures is quite expensive. It's not just a matter of pouring some damn rubber over a master. Auto CAD and frickin' lasers are involved in order to craft a steel mold. It ain't cheap. That's why when it comes to new release time, all the units are in plastic and the goofball stuff is in metal - its all about making the investment back on things that can be expected to sell more units.
Really though, think about it - GW has far, far too many models that only appear in metal. Complete discontinuation would pretty much kill a ton of armies off - most of them for Fantasy (an already shaky area). Though I do expect GW to move armies with predominately metal ranges closer to the front of the update line.
Thirdly, GW may want to move to resin (unlikely given the labor required), but you can't just repurpose the old molds. A lot of people seem to be operating under the assumption that since the resin and white metal casting processes are so 'similar' you can just pour some resin into the existing mold and you're good to go. Flat wrong.
I guess the processes are similar in that your pouring a liquid into a mold. But here's the deal: there are a number of quite massive differences in material properties that come into play. White metal casting involves injecting molten fucking metal into a spinning mold. That's just a tad different than the two part resin + wating typically used in miniature making.
Plus, The molds for metal models are typically made out of vulcanized rubber to deal with the temperatures and to add durability for repeated use. The molds themselves would actually destroy resin casts during the demoldong process.
Oh, and the labor intensity of resin casting would still cause a model to cost an arm and a leg.
So yeah, metal models are just getting harder to get and resin is not coming.