For this comparison, I'm going to quote prices currently listed on the GW website and present the price of units according to how much it would cost to furnish that many 'official' models (even if that means buying more models than would be needed).
So, here goes...
The 1600 point army currently includes:
8 Knights of the Realm
5 Knights Errant
20 Peasant Bowmen
30 Men at Arms
3 Pegasus Knights
1 Grail Reliquae & 6 Battle Pilgrims
1 Field Trebuchet
1 Damsel/Prophetess on Foot
1 Damsel/Prophetess on Steed
1 Battle Standard Beared
To purchase this officially through GW I've worked out that at minimum you would need to buy the following:
Bretonnian Battallion (£55.00)
Box of Bretonnian Knights - spare Knight can be made into Battle Standard (£20.00)
Box of Bretonnian Men at Arms - spares can be made into Bowmen (£20.00)
2 Bretonnian Pegasus Knights (£19.50)
Grail Reliquae and Battle Pilgrims (£25.50)
Bretonnian Field Trebuchet (£25.50)
Bretonnian Damsel with Staff, Foot and Mounted (£20.25)
TOTAL = £185.75
My spend has been as follows:
Bag of Hundred Years War archers (FREE)
Box of Bretonnian Bits from Andy (FREE)
Box of Bretonnian Bits from Dave (£20.00)
Bok of Bretonnian Knights from FLGS (£18.00)
Bretonnian Damsel with Staff, Foot and Mounted at Triples (£3.50)
Bretonnian Battle Standard at Triples (£3.50)
Wargames Foundry ECW Mortar (£6.40)
TOTAL = £52.40
That's a saving of £133.35!
Additionally there are spare models to consider. The official army would leave me with 2 spare Knights and 2 spare Men at Arms. I currently have 3 spare Knights, 2 spare Pegasus Knights and 12 spare Men at Arms/Bowmen which are currently being converted into Battle Pilgrims for even bigger savings. In fact, the models I currently have will allow the army to grow to 2000 points...all for less that £60.
Cheaphammer IS the way forward. Remember:
1. Let the army choose you; begin with models you already have.
2. Ask your friends if they have anything useful for sale or trade.
3. Be creative and convert models.
4. Make interesting unit fillers.
5. Use small, expensive (in points) units where you can.
6. Build an army that can be used in more than one game and/or as other armies.
7. Try to avoid buying new.
8. If you must buy new, ask for these items for Christmas/Birthdays.
9. Shop creatively; buy cheaper models to 'count as'.
10. Avoid being tempted by new projects and armies.