Bah! Humbug! Spend a fortune on fancy new metal? Never! You'll be wanting a living wage next. Christmas is over and the reality is...I'm broke. Still, the much maligned 1/72 Airfix figures are still around and a neighbour, friend, person who thinks you sad and takes pity, relative or person who had grown up may yet have a bag of these old popular figures in a cupboard some where. Get them, or the ones you know you have somewhere, and paint them up. They make great units!...oh, don't make that face...look, even the odd ones from the Airfix French Napoleonic Artillery are useful...stop smirking, it's true...When I base I use 'No More Nails' 'Hard as Nails' 'Don't Bite Your Nails'...well you get the picture. But it just isn't useful for basing. Stick a blob on the front of the shako and half your chagrin at these old figures will fade as it makes a sound pompom that will take paint.
On a tip from a mate (Colin) I now paint figs on nails. I know other folk do this with metals which sometimes requires that you glue the fig to the nail and snap it off after painting and varnishing is done, but with plastics blue or white tack is plenty strong enough.