You know whats really weird about vintage figure collecting?... well, actually there is a lot weird about the whole thing I suppose... but whats really weird is that they are so much cheaper than modern figures.
Take my chaos collection. Right now, if I remounted them onto the legal square bases, I could field a pretty impressive Warhammer army. Toting up what I payed for it, even with the harder to collect figures and I would still have paid less than buying modern figures. Would it be technically tournament legal? I would guess yes, its entirely Citadel figures. After all, at Cancon there where some lovely Skaven armies still comprised of Jes Goodwin sculpts- and why wouldn't you?
So on that note, lets talk about how GW is currently stimulating the new golden age of miniatures. Through White Dwarf, new kids are being drawn into the hobby and loving it. Soon they start to look outside the GW stores for cheaper alternatives, and in this search they discover that there are not only alternatives, but a whole rich world of miniature outside the GW products.
This coincides with the internet finally giving small mini companies what they need to get started- connectivity. Sculptors can connect to casters, publishers with artists and most importantly customers to online stores. I dont think there has ever been such a range of figures open to you at any given moment, and it only takes a few hours of browsing to not only put together a squad of interesting models and conversion parts, but also get all the instructions, tips and tricks you need to make them look good. Compare this to the 80's when small ads in Dragon magazine, Warlock and White Dwarf where pretty much it for independants- and sending away 20p with a stamped addressed envelope to get a photocopy of some hand drawn interpretations of what figures where for sale was your browsing method.