That's exactly it.
Although there's some variation, the average price for Series III Wow minis is AU$22-AU$24 (US$15-US$17) so you can see at these prices, that buying three series of these at 12 aircraft per series would put a serious dent in the finances (and I'm sure the missus would put a serious dent in me! )
I do have a couple of the series 1 minis as I wanted the extra flight decks and I may even pickup a few more over time, but I'm not willing to part with that much dough for one game. So, as there is quite a range of 1/144 available - more so WWII than WWI, I'm looking to adapt models from both periods to WoW and DoW.
The major concern with this plan was coming up with an adjustable altitude system similar to that used on the WoW minis. I don't know if you've visited the Litko site - litkoaero.com (which wasn't working just now!), but they have stands suitable for WoW, but without posts. They sell posts in different lengths, but as I read their instructions, it seems the post is permanent once fitted, hence my dilemma.
Tell your buddy his maps rock!
I mix Wow miniatures together with cheaper Red eagle minatures, not so much for the price but because Wow have a rather limited selection of planes right now, and tin planes are easier to modify.
But I use Wow stands for the tin planes also.
However I do have a good solution for you that I myself used for Bluemax 2nd edition a few years ago, that was in 1/72 but it should work well for 1/144 too.
Ypue need 4 different altitudes so use antennas to symbolise the altidtudes, I had antennas made for RC planes but anything that is quite small should work.
Here is a drawing from the eaglesmax webbpage, it is not exactly the same solution I used but close enough since I don't have any pictures of my system: www.eaglesmax.com/CE/ANTENNA.PDF They also have this very helpful system for rodstands: www.eaglesmax.com/CE/RODSTAND.PDF
Here is a picture (that is not mine) of antennas being used:
To the OP: Wow, your friend should sell those boards, they are really great