One of the key aspects of building a Heavy Gear force is choosing how much TV your are playing with and at which priority level you want in your force. For those that do not know, the Threat Value (From here one just called TV) is the equivalent to points used in other games such as Warhammer or Warmachine. Priority Level (PL) is an interesting mechanic you will be hard pressed to find in other games.
PL changes which units, and how many of those units, you can bring to the field. The PL is always player choice, unless tournament or campaign rules says otherwise. Each force has four PL to pick from, each representing a different army style. I personally like PL2, as it seems far more like what you'd expect from an overall force, while others will take PL3 or PL4 so they don't have to take Core troops unless they choose too. This allows the player the choice to make an either overall standard force or a very elite force without actually changing the chance of success on the tabletop. This allows players to create forces from entirely infantry based groups to hyped elite Covert Ops special force forces and still have the same general level of success/failure ratings.
What this means for the player is that from the get go you are left with two major choice when creating your force. Do you buy your minis first and then try to figure out the best PL and TV to use with those minis, or do you instead find the PL your find more enjoyable and buy minis around that PL. Either action can work fine, and in the end you will most likely end up buying more minis anyhow as you will need minis to round your your force or to build other PLs. Of course anyone who has been playing any tabletop games for any length of time, that is a common occurrence in any of them.
As it stands I first aim for a 1000TV force at PL2, as that should represent the overall force and give a good coverage of minis for PL1, PL3, and PL4 should I want to expand in those directions. For my PRDF for instance I have two infantry sections as my core, as I feel that without infantry to really bring the scale in, the fact the game is 1/144 is lost. There is also the fact that having infantry working around the explosions and thunderous stomps for 15-30 foot tall robot is just right. I don't care if it's Gundam, Heavy Gear, or Mechwarrior. There just needs to be infantry involved.