When Games Workshop decided they wanted a new way to screw over their customers, they switched from pewter to Finecast models. Finecast is a type of plastic resin that is supposed to offer "finer casting" than the pewter models do, but the real reason that they switched is because the price of pewter has gone up as the price of most metals has gone up lately, while the price of plastic resin has gone down. Thus, each Finecast model costs them only a fraction of what casting a metal one would.
GW, being the money-loving trolls they are, they decided not to pass on these savings to the consumer and actually increased the prices, despite the switch in production actually costing very little, as they simply used the same die that they used for the metal models for the Finecast ones. This means that the profit per model for Games Workshop has gone up, on average, about 300-500%. This pleases Games Workshop. Tau sniper kit containing 3 sniper drones and 1 drone controller (4 simple, small models) went from £18 to £24 making any smart customer rage and turn to ebay.
However, there are other problems associated with Finecast. The most notorious problem is that this first batch of Finecast has apparently come out with lots of bubbles that destroy detail or ruin the model entirely. Bubbles are well known to resin modellers as a result of rushed or poorly-handled molding, and the first Finecast batch
resemble someone's first attempt at home-casting. While drunk. was not the best.
As if to make a bad situation worse, Flash, the little plastic line that runs along the surface of a model and is a leftover from the Casting process, is notably harder to trim on Finecast miniatures because the new material is so much softer. The traditional way of cleaning flash away is easy - simply scraping it away gently with a hobby knife's edge. Doing this with Finecast Models, of course, tends to leave them with unsightly scratches. In a surely unrelated note, GW has released a new kit for trimming Flash from Finecast Models - it goes for about $20 (PROTIP: Keep your money, and instead use a small toothbrush - that disposable Colgate Wisp thing is fuck-awesome for Finecast work because it's small and has a hook on the handle that can be used to carve out any gunk you can't gently brush off, or just throw some money at Tamiya or some other company prone to making shit that actually works).
And if that weren't bad enough, the second wave of Finecast
is was doused with chemicals that kept the resin from sticking to the mold. Fine in theory (reduces mold lines) but it also keeps your paint from sticking to your model.
There were even rumors of Finecast resin MELTING on hot summer days. Thankfully for all this was a miscommunication, but we can still mock what actually happened. A The Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game Galdalf-on-horseback model was so front-heavy that on a hot summer day the model's leg gave out and it toppled forward.
Luckily, the minis are packed in clear plastic boxes, leading to legions of fans to poke and prod the boxes in order to avoid getting poorly cast models. This in turn pissed off the staff, for obvious reasons. Further, GW has a returns policy, and they don't tend to check, which has lead to less than honest fags reporting multiple faults and getting multiple 'free' models. Ever hear that phrase about pots and kettles?
Finally many customizers are up in arms over the fact that you can no longer get at some of the cool metal parts that the old metal models had, because Finecast attaches some of the parts for you. Now you have to saw the model apart if you still want those unique and shiny pieces. And it really must be remembered that you might have spent up to 20, 30, even 50 dollars for that one fucking bit of shitty resin that you now need to saw open. And don't forget that resin dust is harmful to breathe in, which as mouthbreathing neckbeards you may find disconcerting.
In any case, Finecast has caused quite a bit of rage among Warhammer players and modelers on /tg/.
Musical accompaniment for when you assemble your Finecast miniatures provided by Don Ho.
There's a rumor out there, saying that in a couple of years or two (or even less maybe), Finecrap will be replaced by plastic. Take it as you want. If you are ok with Finecast, then "Meh, ok." is the answer.
Update: Not even likely. According to my local store the Finecast process has now been updated to produce cleaner and better quality models. This, apparently, (wait for it) is due to the fact that there's a "computer chip" involved in the process now, which "knows exactly what to do" to get consistent results every single time. So it seems the above notion that it was previously a drunken home-brew job was probably correct.
To be fair, their new Finecast range certainly IS better. I've had a few models from their "new" process and they've been perfect first time, versus previously having to return each model two or three times for replacements because they were so shit. Unfortunately, GW have now put the prices up on everything from this range, so that 3 measly Oblits or a single Juggernaut Lord will now cost you £35 and £30 respectively, which is a joke. They're also started packaging their Finecast stuff in boxes rather than blister-packs so you really CAN'T see what's inside them until you fully open your purchase. Try asking at your local gaming store. Or just leave the store after purchase, go around the corner and open it there if you really must, no fucking law against that, even though it completely negates the point of checking before you buy.
I can't see them moving to plastic if they've just invested in a new system to produce Resin models.
Recently all models that were produced finecast have had their descriptions updated, with the material changed from finecast to simply "resin". Whether this means the resin formula has changed or that they want to get away from the stigma the finecast name has is yet to be known - mostly due to no one wanting to take the risk.
Update: Praise be to the GW gods, they've finally begun releasing characters in full, glorious plastic!!! It's almost as if the bridge trolls running GW...dare I say it... listened? In any case, the new plastic clampacks, while still ludicrously expensive (some things never change) are generally spectacular models, with tons of detail and none of the hassles presented by resin.
Update Update: Some recent special/limited models, like the new Slambo, Sly Marbo, and Eisenhorn, are finecast, probably because they don't intend or expect to sell many copies (although Canoness Veridyan was apparently immensely popular). Pretty much anything new that's made for mass production these days is plastic though, including characters and low-model-count units that would have been resin or metal in the past.
Shitecast in action
A Chainsword, looking all in the world like a rabbit chewed on it.