Let me set the record straight: I strongly dislike using miniatures in role playing games. I'd much rather see the action in my head and ask the DM, "Am I able to..." than move my six squares trying not to give combat advantage and take any opportunity attacks. In my opinion, miniatures slow combat down to a crawl and are no fun.
I don't care about painting miniatures or how cool they look. If you MUST have miniatures, broken piece of glass, bottle cap, or a soggy pretzel would be just fine with me. After all, it's simply a token representing my character's location on a grid. Who cares what it looks like?
All of this is to say that I am happy about several developments: Wizards has been packaging double sided token in with some of their recent releases (Gamma World, DnD4e), Printable PDF markers have been increasing in number and quality, and cardboard stand-up miniatures are making a comeback.
Want a legion of durable, 3D, full color miniatures on the cheap? Cardboard Heroes are for you. I still have my complete classic Marvel RPG cardboard miniature collection. Those were triangular prisms that were fairly easy to knock over. The new line of cardboard miniatures is flat (showing the front and the back of the character) and is affixed to a plastic base or glued onto a penny. This makes for a much more stable miniature.
They make them for every genre you can imagine AND they make cool prop scenery as well. Need a dungeon? How about a castle? Cardboard miniatures are the way to go.