My real Name is Paul Ward, I was born in 1961, (I share my birthday with Nelson), I'm married with one daughter and five cats. I live in Woking in the south of England, the town where the Martians landed in War of the Worlds.
I work as a Maths Technician in a local School, a job I really enjoy as I get lots of time off and don’t have to work weekends. It’s also a fairly worthwhile thing to do, teaching the young. I get all the fun of being a teacher and none of the boring planning and marking stuff.
Previously I’ve had many jobs. I’ve been the manager of both a bookshop and a comic shop, I’ve worked as an illustrator and designer for many years and owned my own games shop. I’ve worked in factories and on building sites and for the software industry as a game designer.
My interests include games (obviously), not just wargaming but RPGs boardgames and video games too. I read a lot, mostly history for the factual stuff, I like first hand accounts especially; and a mixture of genres for fiction. I used to collect comics but nowadays I can’t be bothered. I occasionally buy a couple that look interesting but my collection has shrunk to include mainly the ones I read in the 60s and 70s when I was starting to read them and everything was new and exciting.
There are a few later gems and quite a lot of European stuff left in too.
I like films and have a fairly large collection of Blu-Rays and dvds.
I bought my first miniature in 1978, the Deathdealer figure by Ral Partha, and my lead addiction started from then. Previously I had owned many plastic Cowboys, Indians and US Cavalry made by Timpo and Britains and their like. I also had a well used set of 1/32 Airfix WWII figures. I'm currently rebuilding all these old collections in lead. Updates on my progress will appear on this site regularly of course.
I began Matakishi's Tea House in January 2006 as a way to chronicle my projects and it quickly grew in size and popularity with over 4.5 million visitors in it's 11 years of existence. Now, in 2017, It's got a new home here with a new hosting service and new ways to present my work.
Here's a video (in two parts) made about me by Dominic Humphries in 2009.
How I got started in all this.
This picture is what got me started in miniature gaming.
I first saw it in 1978.
I was a big comics fan in those days and I’d just started my first job after leaving school, in the local Tax Office. Next door-but-one was Tangley Model Workshop with this wonderful Barry Smith Conan print displayed prominently in the window. It drew me in like a beacon.
Inside were a few more prints by artists I was familiar with and a whole load of large scale Middle Earth and dungeon dioramas. For someone like me this was a haven of normality away from the confusing weirdness of my normal job.
There was also, in this strange shop, a rack of Ral Partha 25mm figurines cast in the UK by Citadel. It was whilst looking through these that the bug struck.
I’d always wanted lead soldiers, ever since a boy at my prep school had bought some in. They were so much better than the plastic soldiers I had but they were very expensive and I could never afford any. But now, now I had left school and had a job. I had disposable income and I’d just found something to dispose of it on.
A single figure leapt out at me from the rack. A small model of Frank Frazetta’s Deathdealer, my favourite painting of all time (then) come to life as a model soldier. It was a sign.
It was also only 50p so it was mine very shortly afterwards.
Conan had drawn me into the shop and Frazetta, also a great Conan artist, had sealed my fate.
I soon found that you could play proper games with these fantasy figures, luckily Tangley stocked Dungeons and Dragons as well, and my life changed for ever.
I spent many, many hours over the coming years chatting to the shop’s proprietor Kevin about many things. I also met Mike Broadbent there which is really what got me into painting.
On Saturday 6th October 1984 I got married. A memorable day because it was also the day that the Tangley Model Workshop closed its doors for good. Mike told me the bad news at my wedding reception so I headed down to the shop the next day to say goodbye to Kevin.
Kevin gave me his signed Barry Smith Conan print that had first drawn me to the shop as a wedding gift.
I still have it today.