It's also nice to see some metal in their construction at a time when super expensive Nikon's hide their metal interiors behind not so impressive polycarbonate outer casings.
here I don't agree in general. There are lenses, like most Fujinons, coming in a solid metal look and containing a massive amount of plastic parts. And there are plastics and plastics. I don't know exactly the plastic type of Nikon, but the recycling symbol should give an "8" inside the symbol ♺ Actually, they are all marked a 10. I guess, but am not sure, it's a plastic called PEEK (in Switzerland). Polyethereteketone. Something used for valves, insulation-parts and other high-tech shit.
But then, as most of Nikon's lenses are built in China, we might look to the Chinese plastic code table. Here PEEK is No. 68 and No. 10 is ACS - wich I never heard of before, but there are literally 100s of this codes. And as it's a modified ABS, I'd be fine with using it for an outer lens shell. It's more pleasing to touch in cold temperatures than metal.
It's only stupid - and Nikon goes the full length of stupidity here - to design a shell with thin walls and try to attach a tripod collar. And the tripod collar has a layer of velvet inside so you can sell the lens without a scratch after you wondered enough why the tripod based pictures always get blurred... This tripod collar, the lousy microphone, the poorly designed and steeply priced battery-grips are my favourite reasons to rant about greedy Nikon...
Also, the shell isn't that important. Often it's the mount. After reading Roger's blogpost about plastic mounts (the hidden ones) you probably recognize: Metal is not the cure against everything