Nope, costs needn't be that bad and look pretty fit for purpose IMO.
Roughly I paid
Dark Bluish Gray Torso Armour Vest with Silver and Dark Blue Pattern from Prince of Persia 25p each
Pair of Light Blueish Gray Arms 20p
Light Bluish Grey Head 10p
Light Bluish Legs with Black Hips 15p
Dark Grey hands (gloves) 10p each
Black Dragon Helm 40p
Total: £1.20p per unit. Anything under £2 is win.
Weapons? Costs are as high or low as you want depending on what you want.
All of them, I guess. So the heroes' do more? It's a good thing your dice as bloodthirsty, I should refrain from giving too heavily armoured squads handweapons: it's absolutely terrible if they clash, they can cut at each other for ages and hardly kill anything (like the heavies and knights in FB)
Do you have homemade rules for using shields in squad vs squad fights? I had to make mine up.
Heroes have special house ruled 'heroic weapons' (ur3, 2d6 dmg cc/ranged, depending on what's the weapon is question is).
As for shields, I use simple basic combat rules. If the defender has an action, it uses parry-riposte if the attacker rolled damage higher than armor. If the attacker rolled less than the defenders armor, then it's a simple counterattack.
'Shield Wall' is an exception of course. Albeit it wasn't really tested in action yet.