Problem: we need to install SQL 2008 R2 Express with Management tools on about 24 physical machines of various OS flavors.
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There's a Microsoft article on how to write a script to run an unattended SQL installation. It's not too difficult but it might take you a little while to set it up for the first time if you've never done it that way before.
With 24 machines you could also just do it manually without too much trouble. If you have a staging area where you could set up multiple machines at a time it shouldn't take more than a few hours.