I have just ordered some very cheap figures from E Bay. They are all from China, but the supplier seems to have good feedback. You can get 40 unpainted figures or 20 already painted for £6-99 including p/p.
There are only about 4 types in each set, but a bit of paint could easily make them look different. They range from 1:23, 1:24 and 1:30 scales.
I will let anyone who is interested, know about the quality etc when I get them. I am sure we all know that some of the (mainly German) models are of superb quality and I am sure these will not compete in that area, but there again they are hardly in the same price range and allow for a lot more "Mini" people on your layout.