My first Star Wars set was the 2008 AAT. It's a decent start, in my opinion. You get Yoda, a Clone, and a few droids, along with the AAT. I had the set together for a while, but like most kids just getting into LEGO, I eventually tore it apart.
Seriously, nowadays the cheapest ones go for ~$70 on Amazon! At least I've kept the minifigures in decent condition!
Anyways, LEGO Star Wars is what truly got me into both LEGO and Star Wars. At the time, I only knew of the Clone Wars until I ran into the 6 movies at Blockbusters (R.I.P.), saw them, and have been a fan of Star Wars ever since. The Wookie Gunship looks pretty spiffy, but the $70 price tag looks a little steep, so I probably won't get it because I will have to save up for Bionicle 2015...
As for the Clone Army, I have about 70 clones, 1 Gunship, 1 Republic Attack Shuttle, 5 Speeder bikes, 1 ARC 170, 1 Swamp Speeder, and 8 Clone Battle Pack Walkers. I plan on getting the AT-TE soon, though. My Clone Army is no where near as big as some, but it gets the job done, especially when compared to my droid army! Also, the people who have such large Clone armies usually just stick to the Star Wars theme. I like just about every theme, even Chima to an extent! 2015 looks like it'll be one heck of a year, Bionicle 2015 will happen, and so will Star Wars Episode 7!