BOLS recently published an editorial placing the average cost for a 1850 pt 40K army between $600 and $750 before taxes or discounts. Ancients gaming can do one better than that!
For comparison, I will use a 2 division army from Hail Caesar which is roughly similar to a 2000 point WAB army. This army will have 2 units of cavalry, 4 units of infantry and 2 units of skirmishers which totals 20 cavalry figures and roughly 125 infantry figures.
Most metal historical figures will need to be equipped with a wooden base (11 cents from Litko) and a wire spear (20 cents from Northstar). Most plastic figures come with Renedra bases and do not require weapon replacements. Army values include base and spear (for metal figures) but do not include shipping, currency conversion or unit/army discounts .
- Gripping Beast metal: $2.20 per infantry and $4.80 per cavalry. Army = $415.95
- Gripping Beast & Conquest plastic: $.73 per infantry and $2.33 per cavalry. Army = $137.85
- Perry Miniatures: $1.83 per infantry and $3.25 per cavalry. Army = $338.70
- Aventine: $1.75 per infantry and $4.67 per cavalry. Army = $357.10
- Musketeer: $2.34 per infantry and $4.67 per cavalry. Army = $430.85
I could keep going, but the trend is apparent. Metal figure armies run between $350 and $450 dollars. Plastic figure armies price in at less than $150!