Prior to the game I'd found several British based companies selling the ships as singles on the Internet. Of course this means that the very best boats have higher prices than the cost of a booster pack, but it means a certainty about getting hold of what you want; and common or low value units are very cheap indeed.
I ended up using a peculiar little business called theorderofinitiative.co.uk, and paid £11 with postage for 7 models. Now this meant I didn't get a rare vessel, but I could set up two 100 point fleets from what I had.
The other thing I did, was take a set of the paper maps and glue them to sheets of MDF; £4 of 3mm MDF and some wallpaper paste from the cupboard made for a very nice, and portable playing surface.
The game itself saw a mixed allied fleet of the Ark Royal, supported by American and French ships, take on an all parties mix of Axis power.
It was a pretty close game too, with both fleets having enough vessels to contest all three objectives. In the end, both aircraft carries were sunk, and the battle boiled down to cruiser duels, which the allies won!
I'm looking forward to getting a few more models, and tinkering with some tabletop adaptions. Lastly I recommend a browse of the Avalon Hill forum dedicated to the game, probably a good place for news and ideas: Avalon Hill Forums