Fireworks International have been a regular and respected brand in our review sections since we started the site thanks to some key products such as Triple H Bomb and Laser Bombard. In fact we were using their products in our displays as far back as 1997!

Nearly seven years on from our first order and it was very exciting to have an opportunity to visit the FI HQ, not just to put some faces to names but also to have a closer look at their current product range.

The FI retail outlet in Derby itself is easy to find, but we opted for the slightly harder option of going straight to the FI HQ, tucked away in very pleasant country surroundings. We had an amusing drive around pretending to look at the scenery but in reality getting hopelessly lost, but finally made it to the home of the legendary Triple H Bomb (they should do guided tours for the faithful!).

After a welcome cuppa it was time for a chat with Stuart Garner, head of FI to find out a bit more about what makes the company tick. "We're constantly looking for better and better products", he explained. "Quality is a key issue with us and we visit China three or four times a year to source products. Out of every hundred products shown to us we may only choose to pursue one or two of them". This was evident from the items we had reviewed so far, but it was interesting to hear that they visited China so often - many companies only make a single annual trip.

"Our current range includes something for everyone, we want to cater for all tastes and have a good selection of low noise items too", he explained, a reference to the challenges on the industry recently regarding firework noise. "In addition to our retail outlets we supply by mail order to the whole of the UK mainland from Scotland to the South Coast". I can certainly vouch for that having used their mail order service myself in the past.

It was clear after even a short chat with Stuart that FI are a team that takes great pride in their service, for example he mentioned that the whole team mucks in around the chaos of Guy Fawkes to get orders packed in time. Having the people at the top of a business still take a hands-on approach with the day to day operations is good to see. The company was actually started nearly a quarter of a century ago, with Stuart taking over the reigns about a decade ago, impressive statistics in an age where many companies come and go in a matter of a few years.

I asked Stuart for his thoughts on the recent legislation issues which are always a worry not just for enthusiasts but for the trade too. "We shouldn't fear legislation" he replied. "It should make it a cleaner industry. Legislation will help to take away nuisance and illegal fireworks which have a negative impact on us all".

Now it was time to get down to some serious hardcore firework fondling, with Stuart kindly offering to give us a tour of a store and a bigger magazine, an offer we never refuse! After another drive into the depths of Derbyshire it was over to the camera now which was working in overdrive mode...


The view down one of the bigger magazines. Awesome!

- You can click on any thumbnail to view a bigger picture -

My inbuilt "Best Buy" radar soon found the Triple H Bombs. Here are four, sitting on a box of eight, which are sitting on another box of eight... er, that's twenty Triple H Bombs. But that's nothing...

Look at this lot! When you're used to opening an order which contains one or two of an item, to see this many is somewhat mindboggling.

The Best Buy Crazy Horses. Not one... not two but, er, around three or four hundred.

Happy Wizard, and I'm sure Gandalf would have been if his firework display at the start of Lord Of The Rings had contained this much pyro.

A large selection of Rocket packs.

The magazine doors. Few enthusiasts really appreciate the extreme measures - and expense - required to store fireworks which are, technically, explosives of course. Thick walls and thick doors are required!

A polite notice to trespassers. Note the reference to the 1875 explosives act, much of it still in force over a century later!

We had a brilliant time looking around some of the FI stores, but we hadn't even come close to seeing it all despite the amount of pyro shown above. "We have stores from 3,000 square feet up to 23,000 square feet", explained Stuart. "These are at capacity ready for the peak season".

After a drink to calm the adrenaline, it was time for a look at some individual items which form the FI range. At this point we were joined by Graham who is FI's travelling sales manager, looking after the companies who stock their products up and down the UK. He's a busy man too, having just arrived from Norwich (where we had come from!) prior to another trip out. From chatting with him and Stuart, it did seem as if they really looked after their trade customers, ensuring they had everything they needed to operate effectively.

Let's take a look at some of the FI line-up now. You'll find these items - and more from FI - reviewed in our main review sections complete with pictures and video so be sure to take a look to find out how they performed.


Easily the most talked-about FI product recently, the Rocket Volley,
which takes the idea to new heights with no less than 25 rockets!

Black Widow, one of FI's really cheap 19 shot cakes at around a fiver. The cheaper end of FI's range performed extremely well in the reviews.

Wizzy Wombat, a mix of screeching and pops.

Grand Stallion, a 16 shot cake and another top performer despite the minuscule £5.75 RRP.

The chances of anything coming from Mars are a million to one, but still they come, here is Martian Attack.

Another cake on the spidery theme, Tarantula, I like the B-movie style graphics on this label.

OK this pack doesn't look much, but check out the review, these rockets were wolves in sheeps' clothing.

Fairies From Hell, weird name and weird label but the effects were really good.

On to the big ones now, the mighty Tiger's Revenge. We were looking forward to seeing this one in action.

My personal favourite on paper, King Of Colour, reputed to be the equivalent of around three Triple H Bombs.

We had a great time on our short but informative visit to see FI, and in terms of the new products we saw the trip was well worth it. Check out the review sections for full details and video of the above items (and more) which will help you source some fantastic new fireworks for your displays.

Many thanks to Stuart for his hospitality and time.

We'll end this report with a selection of long exposure pictures of various FI products in action. Enjoy!


Martian Attack.


Solar Strike

 

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