Figuring out the cost of the American War of Independence

I've been thinking about what the big project of 2011 might be, and one bit of advice I have received often is to pick an era/game/both that other people in your area play.  Well, that appears to be the American War of Independence, in 28mm, using Warfare in the Age of Reason which by pure coincidence I happen to own because of a brief flirtation with the Seven Years War.

I'm good with this.  It's an era I like, rules I own, and a scale I enjoy painting.  So, what is this going to cost me to buy into this hobby?  Let's find out.

The game suggests that a novice player start with four units on each side.  Each unit is 12 "castings" (read "miniatures"), with a unit consisting of four bases with three miniatures on each base.  One of these bases is a command base (officer, standard bearer, musician).  So, not getting into cavalry (not a big issue in the AWI) and artillery, I'm looking at 48 miniatures for a starter army.

Now let's look at the major manufacturers of AWI miniatures in the right scale:
Wargames Foundry: 8 miniatures at $18.48 = $2.31 each
Battle Honors: 24 @ $29.60 = $1.23
Front Rank: 12 @ $24.60 = $2.05
Perry Miniatures: 6 @ $12.00 = $2.00
Old Glory Miniatures: 30 @ $32 = $1.06
RSM95: 36 @ $29 = $.81

So, the range runs from $38.88 (RSM95) to $110.88 (Foundry).  Allow me a brief moment, as a Games Workshop customer, to savor the moment.  I can not believe that in the back of my head there is a voice going "it's too bad there are no cheap plastic AWI manufacturers."

Now a problem is that most of these manufacturers don't package their miniatures in units per AOR, so I'll have to juggle things which could mean have "extra" figures running around, meaning I'm actually paying for more metal than I need.  Front Rank, for example, has a high per figure cost but sells the miniatures individually at $2.20 each.  Others are hard to come by, like Perry Miniatures, because of a lack of American distributors (the are currently out of stock at the War Store).  One possibility will be to mix figures in a range (Perry and Foundry are commonly cited possibilities, because they share the same sculptor).

Anyways....thoughts, comments, advice--all welcome.