READER DISPLAYS IN 2001!
Here are some details and pictures of a few of the fireworks we had for our Guy Fawkes celebration on Saturday 27/10.
The Scorned Dragon Has Fury candles from Golden Lion were very good and I thought these were better than the Blockbusters as I was only firing these one at a time. They were all 8 shot producing spinning silver spirals that then broke into large bursts of gold crackle, red stars or green and purple stars (Beautiful). The last 2 shots broke to air bombs, the green and purple being much louder.
Temple of Happiness (Golden Lion) was quite surprising for its size ( approx 6 x 4 ) giving 32 shots of different colours, whistles and bangs rising to a good height with good duration (approx 30 secs).
Dragon Disporting Pearls 190 shot (Red Dragon) was a great performer firing single shots to begin, increasing to rapid fire half way through then slowing right up again followed by a rapid burst of shots at the end. Multicolour with crackles and bangs.
Dippy Goldfish in Magic Pond (Golden Lion) was a really interesting fountain producing orange flares that looked like goldfish jumping out interrupted by bursts of green, blue and silver representing the pond. Lasted about 1 minute.
Three Horny devils Making Mischief (Golden Lion) was a very good triple burst mine with small silver fountain to start followed by a multicolour burst, a loud crackle burst and finally a very loud report burst.
The Hawaiian Cone (Vulcan) was superb with very long duration, loud roaring crackle and reached about 30 feet in height.
Laser Thunder (FI) was really good again. Large bores delivering an assortment of colours, whistles, crackles and bangs. Two of these would make a superb finale.
Orions Bomb (Black Cat) was very good and quite unusual. 7 very large bursts of gold stars like a shellburst with bangs. This performs a bit like a cake but I presume it must be a combination mine by the size of the bores.
Whirling Demons (Astra) produced 25 shots of silver spinners with coloured stars and whistles.
Thunderation (Firework Factors) was quite good with large star bursts with pretty good bangs but seemed to misfire twice producing 2 really earth shaking bangs.
Colour Chrysanthemum & Red Chrysanthemum (Red Dragon) gave very good bursts of coloured comets at a good height, the red variety accompanied with crackle.
Jewelled Barrage (FI). Really good rapid fire multicolour, crackles and bangs with quite good duration considering the rate the shots are fired at.
I used Comet and Medusa rockets again and was very satisfied with these, producing excellent star bursts and effects as stated in your reviews. I also tried Sphereburst rockets (Firework Factors) but thought the £19.99 these cost for 5 would have been better spent on more Medusas. The Sky Pearl rockets (Red Dragon) at 4 for £10.99 were good with a good range of effects and reasonably large bursts.
Thanks for a great site and keep up the good work.
This year, going on the suggestions of Pyro Pete, we progressed from lighting each firework individually, standing back and waiting for it to finish. Instead, £250 worth of Fireworks were ignited in about 12 minutes. As it was the first time I had tried this intense, rapid, hit'em between the eyes approach I put a lot of planning into it, perhaps too much, but it all paid off on the night. 40+ spectators treated us too a long and loud applause and couldn't believe we had only spent £250.
So, rather than send in lots of pictures of the display itself, which we weren't able to take anyway, I thought it might be interesting for other novices to see how we achieved such an intense effect on a reasonable budget.
First we chose the fireworks using the advice given on the UKFR and from the personal opinions given by members of the Forum. Most were "Best Buys" or "Recommended". This information was invaluable for planning a tight display. We not only had to get the sequence of effects right to maintain high spectator interest, but the info on duration of individual fireworks was important as we planned to overlap them and have no pauses. Another reason for accurate knowledge on duration was to avoid having to light one firework when an adjacent one was still burning.
All the fireworks besides rockets and airbombs were placed on two long planks about 4m apart and 25m from spectators. An Aurora fountain was taped to a post about 6m from spectators. The rocket rack was at the back of the display area (design available) with Airbombs alongside.
The diagram below shows the layout of the display. Two firers would be used, one for the ground based cakes, candles and fountains at the front, and one for the rockets and mines at the rear. The numbers in the boxes show the firing order, No 1 being the 4 x Sonic FXs fired together by the two firers, then No 2 a double Airbomb. Then we start on the cakes with No 3 Mooncake Canton.
By laying the cakes out on the two planks the firer can alternate between them and be as far away as possible from a burning firework when igniting the next. Notice that the second cake , Cannonade, is halfway down the left hand plank, about 5 m diagonally from the preceding cake. This system operated for the whole display and allowed us to overlap fireworks with minimum danger to the firer.
Strapping the cakes to planks has other advantages. These were prepared indoors and left there until we were ready to start the display. On the night, this was useful as it rained early on, but it took only about ten minutes to set up the display when the rain stopped. We attached the cakes by simply banging a pair of nails into the plank and strapping them to the nails with tape.
Another innovation was to make a fan of two Blockbuster candles without resort to complex and potentially dangerous fusing. Rather than fan them out at the top in the conventional way, we fanned them at the bottom on angled stakes and taped them together at the top. An upside down fan, if you like, but it allows you to twist the fuses together, apply a bit of masking tape and you can light them in one go. The fuses of Blockbuster are probably long enough to make a fan of three in this way.
This is always difficult. You want to keep the most spectacular piece for the finale working up to this gradually. But, the first part of the display mustn't be boring. The approach we took was to sort out the noisy large effect pieces from the rest. Sequence these in ascending order of merit and build the display around these by interspersing them with the quieter pieces. The net effect is waves of climax each one increasing in intensity up to the finale. (Sounds familiar!)
Of course you need an attention getter to start the display. The four Sonic FX screech rockets fired simultaneously, followed by a Double Airbomb seemed to do the trick for us.
We planned the timing on the spreadsheet, shown above. After the sequence was fixed, it was only a matter of deciding how long to let each firework burn before lighting the next. We added the last column which was the normal full life of each and made a decision that no single effect should last for more than 30 secs. That allowed us to fill in the column headed "Secs" which shows how soon to light the next firework. Accumulating the values in this column gives the values in "Light @".
This told us at what time from the start of the display to light each firework. Simple eh? On the night each firer had a stopwatch and virtually worked independently of each other. The difficulty of synchronising watches and lighting the first firework at zero time was overcome by first synchronising and then lighting the first fireworks 5 secs later. See "Light @" for the first Sonics.
The rocket firer was deemed to be in charge should any running changes have to be made during the display. He was virtually stationary at the rocket rack and had more time on his hands to think. Also, the firing schedule and a clock were available to him "hands free". See above pic. The clock was mounted above the clipboard with the schedule.
The cane on the right of the picture holds a wax torch. This served to illuminate clock and firing schedule and to light portfires. A table (out of view) held more rockets as the firer had to re-load the rack a couple of times during the display.
Most of the pieces performed as described by the UKFR Reviews and its Newsletter contributors and came well up to expectations. The spent cases are shown below.
Ones that stood out not just for the level of effect but for their "Value for money" were:-
- BC SIB No 1, £25 from ASDA.
Disappointments in terms of value for money were: -
- Vulcan Blockbuster, £9.50 from Newsbox.
Notes & Tips:
The planning behind this display may seem a bit over the top. But, when you've spent your hard earned savings for a blow-out once or at the most twice a year it's worth getting it right.
Anyway, I enjoy the planning and the anticipation almost as much as the display. If you run it fast and furious like this, on the night you don't get to see much of it! But the look on peoples faces after the display will make it all worth while.
We had the UKFR recommended rehearsal walk through. This was done against the clock as the display was short. What it really served to show us was how long 12 minutes actually lasted. It seemed like ages which was good as this made us feel more confident about getting it right.
Only one mishap occurred and this was purely down to inaccurate burn time knowledge. We expected Mother of all Thunder 100 shot to have a duration of about 70 secs. Well it lasted more like 90 secs which meant that the adjacent cake, timed to be lit at 70 secs had to be omitted.
Non of the cakes were protected from sparks, but no cross-ignition occurred.
Thank you so much for a brilliant web site! We've been having fire-fests since 1998 and our arsenal grows larger every year - until this year (economic downturn and all that!) - pic of this years second small but well chosen ammo dump attached - Dave & Toby
Above: Obscene levels of gunpowder!
Above: "Pot blasted in half by Bright Star 24ct Gold Mine"
Above: "Toby with Proton Bombs" (Hope this one isn't on Crimewatch - Phantom Noisemaker frightens elderly in Somerset - do you recognise this man?.. heheh... )
Just a quite note to thank you for running the UKFR website and to let you know how things went this year.
This years display closed with two FI THB's, a FI Laser Bombard and two BC Sib 3's. Your reviews were all spot on and the SIBs were obtained at half price so all five items were worthy of a best buy.
However the fusing appears to have been improved on the SIBs because there were no delays between launching the banks of seven shots, just a perfectly timed display in a box which everyone thought was superb.
The appetiser to the main display featured four types of large air bomb. The loudest appeared to be Bright Stars Stealth Bombers, closely followed by their Proton bombs. Astra's Atom bombs came in third and once again they had a very short fuse for such a powerful firework. Coming in last was Fireworks International's XXX Thunder which cost the same as the others but was a far inferior single shot air bomb.
The Stealth Bombers got my vote because the first shot received an "Ahhhh" from the audience. This was closely followed by an "Ouch" as the second shot turned into a very load bang. Oh such joy I thought to myself.
This years most pleasant surprise (apart from the weather) went to Benwell's Crusader Rocket pack (£11 for a pack of 10). These were bigger and better than last years Millennium Comet pack and offered very good value for money.
The least welcome was the third consecutive nightly visit from the fire brigade. All three visits were due to kids, with the last (Monday) being the worst. They set fire to the porch of an empty terrace house with families still living next door. So all the electricity went off whilst we were cooking the food.
Thanks again for the website.
I thought I'd just send an e-mail to give you some info how this years display went! In short: Great!
It was the first year me and my brother lit most of the fireworks ourselves, while everyone else watched. Needless to say, we lit 'em "ten to the dozen", as they say. We usually have Cat.2 fireworks, not because we don't have the space for Cat.3's, but because we have to buy them from England as few are available in Northern Ireland (not because of violence, they just aren't) and we don't bother mail ordering.
We also don't buy cakes, we usually just buy airbombs or individual rockets and light them a few at a time. We reckon it's more fun this way, as there is more lighting and we actually like taking our time over them, instead of it all being over in 5 minutes! :).
Below is an overview of some of the main fireworks we used:
1.) Bright Star - "Master Blaster" rockets:
A fiver for five of these, so you can't go wrong. We bought a pack to see if they were any good, so we could get some more. They were excellent, but of course the shop had run out (no surprise). For a quid each, they give an excellent spherical burst and amazing depth. The formation is tight, and the colours (silver with a hint of red) well defined. They explode with a loud report, after a very long, standard flight.
"Air Burst" - These airbombs, at £1.25 for five represent excellent value for money. Sure, the hardcore report-guys amongst you will scoff at the bang, BUT you get an excellent break of stars for the price, and a very respectable bang (in my opinion!). They are standard smallish bore, and are excellent. We bought around 50, and had absolutely no failures whatsoever.
2.) Galaxy Fireworks - "Battery Pack".
Five seven-shot cakes for £3.99. Although they are small-bore, paired up these can certainly pack a punch! Two different variations in each pack - Colour and Whistle batteries. Around 4 inches high and 2 inches wide, they eject the 7 shots around 15 feet into the air, and many of the packs crackled and blew out two shots at a time, contrary to the label (assuming I read it right - I probably didn't!).
"Mega Candle" - We got these for £5.99, although they are usually £7.50. As such, I don't know if I could recommend these. They aren't quiet - The thud as the charge leaves the hole is extremely loud, but the main problem is the quite slow ejection rate - Around one every 4 or 5 seconds. We paired them up, however, and with another cake in the background they would be quite spectacular, throwing their shells to around 20-25 feet and exploding with coloured and crackled bursts. The candles themselves are quite large, at around 40cm long, and thin at 2cm wide.
"Star Storm" - Great! £20 for 5, and I think they give great value! A good burst of red stars that turn to gold and hang around for quite a while. Because these things go so high, the burst doesn't seem just quite as big as some of the smaller rockets, but it is far more saturated and gives an almost palm-like effect. Worth every penny!
"Sky Barrage" - Excellent! Especially for the price! At a tenner for 9, you can't go wrong! Although not too saturated, they look great paired up! Two different colours per pack (green and red) and 4 small, 5 big rockets (Although there was no discernible difference between the sizes, in my opinion).
"Rattle Snake" "airbombs" - At £2 for 5, I think these are good value. Some whistle on the way up, and turn into a glitter effect. I have the "airbombs" in inverted commas because the whistle airbombs don't bang - Presumably all the energy is taken up by the whistle and glitter effects. Most of the airbombs do bang, with great glitter effects quite high from the ground. Highly recommended!
There was another pack, but I can't remember its name! Well there ya have it, my display 2001. Sorry it's taken so long for me to write in about it!
We tried out the Panda fireworks in late Oct, not up to
scratch I'm afraid and the supplier started messing us about. These were
overhyped in the literature and just a standard firework really.
Had our garden (big garden mind) display, on the night of
the 5th, the weather was fine and the rain kept off until exactly after
the last salvo was fired. Lots of people turned up (about 25 children
and 15 adults)
Happy New Year!!!!!!!
I came across the Firework Review website just in time
for Nov 5th this year and found it useful and a good read. I've returned
to garden fireworks for the first time in 20+ years...... I used to have
a lot of fun in the days of my youth and now that I've 6 year old children
I'm getting back into the swing of garden fireworks again (just for the
children, of course not - for me!). For the last 11 years I've been involved
with a reasonably large public display run by my Church's School. So I've
been used to cat 3 fireworks and setting up safe displays with them. But
I've moved.... now I've got to settle for cat 2 fireworks in my own garden
and have fun with a family & neighbours type of gathering. Nov 5th
went well, the bug has bit and I'm planning for New Year's eve!
Triple H Bomb- Yep-brilliant, the kids 3 doors away couldn't
stop larfin' as shell after shell exploded.
Let off nearly £700 pounds worth of pyro in light drizzle and didn't get a single dud or misfire. The display went really well due largely to tips gained from your site.
The delay in making a report wasn't from lack of gratitude or interest, more that like a lot of others I am new to the site this year and being at the learning stage its hard to think of anything of real value to say. However best firework goes to the BC sib 1 which the audience appreciated far more than the sib2 owing to the more continuous output.BS Lucifers laughter also went down well ( or UP actually) didn't make a lot of noise as expected but was quite spectacular. Worst buy goes to FI Galactic invader £25 for what was rather a tame performance.FI Goliath FX rockets £13 each,were not bad but not considered worth the price. As your reports suggested, batteries of cheaper rockets ( Midas Gold Medal £10 for 4 from Morrisons ) caused more applause.
Keep Up The Good Work even if some of us are a bit backward in coming forward, I'm sure a lot of other new people feel as I do and that we can say more in time
Well, another year, another excuse to blow up money :-)
My display this year was quite easily the best I've done, both in terms of size and audience reaction. Budget was about £500, with a good mix of cheaper cakes/rockets and larger items.
Selected highlights (audience views, not mine - they are what count in my opinion!):
Triple H Bomb - As ever, well received, especially when paired with Green Bamboo
Frightened Ducks - This got the best audience reaction of the night, no doubt due to the silly noises
SIB1/1A - I fired these together and the result was very good, the louder No1 being complemented by the prettier 1A
Dragon King with Flaming Nostrils - Nice multiple mine effects, audience loved it, fired just before the finale
Large Black Cat Candles (Big Ben, Millennium Magic, Skyline) - I fired all three together, along with a few screech and salute rockets and the result was awesome (audience words not mine!). Loads of colour, noise, what more do you want?
As for me, I liked Mars Nuke Attack (I'm an antisocial bugger:-), and Golden Lions Temple of Happiness, the latter being good value in my opinion.
As I said, my best show yet, mainly due to the preparation beforehand (staking out etc.) My only slight downer was the speed that my portfires ran out - I'm sure last years went on longer - Anyone out there know of a brand that lasts more than 3 mins?
No photos I'm afraid though..... a case of everyone thinking everybody else was bringing a camera :-(
Rool on NYE...
We did a show in a friends back garden personal but with category 3 and 4...
Very good show, 30mm cakes minimum, (cat3), 2" shells cat4 flight rockets, then some nice 288s 16mm report candles, with 30mm comet tailed maroon barrages for finale... we spent £150 RRP on the final 30s... (or my friend did)... 288s x2, and 49s maroon 30mm barrage cake all at once... his neighbours loved it... and that's no joke... honestly!
Mat Lawrence [MLE Pyrotechnics]
Sorry for the delay in writing - must admit your kick up
the arse to all on the forum made me feel extremely guilty and hope the
stuff I have here helps you to continue the level of excellent service
and information you have given me over the past 12 months of use since
finding the site.
I e-mailed you a few weeks ago thanking you for your web site info, especially on fall out zone's, storage, etc which you kindly answered. Well it finally happened, my girlfriends PHD party, after seven years at university, working on "non-visual access to the web for the blind" I put on a VERY visual display thanks to you.
I started by making a rocket launcher table, with two plastic
work benches, (B&Q's £8) with a 6'x2' 12mm ply board on the
lower section, and a 8'x2' 12mm ply screwed down in each corner into the
plastic bench on top. Drew a 4" grid giving me 60 squares for my
plastic conduit pipes, cut like a
That was the boring bit. I live in Loughton Essex, so I went to the "Newsbox" as listed on your site, very friendly people, with good advice and they didn't want to sell me expensive rubbish. I downloaded the "BEST BUYS" & "REVIEW INDEX", and cross sectioned them into one list, entered shop, asked for the first three, they looked at each other and said at the same time " another UKFR" which was very funny and broke any ice.
Saturday night came my girlfriends brother and I started to set up over the park across the road to where I live, it took 1hour instead of 30mins as expected, I phoned for the party to arrive, who had been waiting for what I told them to be just a few small fireworks, 5min's tops and if not for the newts in the garden we would have stayed at home.
I gave my girlfriend the honor of lighting a single Comet rocket from bit of copper pipe. With her scarlet Dr's gowns on, just in font of the 50 odd quests, who couldn't see the rocket table hidden in the darkness. She lit the Comet ........WoW double bust, then .....2 Comet's & 2 Medusa's went chasing up from the table ...Wallop!! and that's it, that's all I saw. The rocket table was fully loaded with 10 Medusa, 14 Comet, 5 Achilles, 5 Rainbow, 5 Space Trooper, 10 Golden Pheasant, 5 Navigator, 5 Mars, 10 Sonic S/X, 2 2XS Snakes, 2 Whoppa's Chyshsan/Willow and finished with a Super-blitznall. With the 7 Blockbusters before the cat 3 stuff, which having shotguns of my own, there firing made me think I was on a shot-out, but that did make me look up for the first fan brake of 4 Golden Rain's, 1 Red Star, 1 Blue Star with a Multi in the middle. It was just amazing to be right under the spread, fantastic.
I was lighting cakes and fountains working in rows font to back, 2 Aurora Borealis - 1Red Snowflake - 1 National Pride- 3 Silver Pyramids, 2 Dragon's Pearls, 2 Lions Tails - 1Green Bamboo, 18 Shooting Stars in a line.
This was allowed to die down with the rocket table to stop as well, he only had got off about 30. Darkness resumed and I could hear cheering, whistling, clapping, they thought it was over. I lit another Portfire waited for silence and lit Kraken, I let them have 30 sec of what was called "magic" by one child then lit two firestorms behind it , followed by Atomic Boom, which was the signal for the rockets to start again. Then Ee bee gee bee, 2 Pluto's Moons, Sky Monkey, then as the Blockbusters kicked-in I set off 1Triple H Bomb strapped to two Laser Bombard's with a Goldmine, got over to the table and managed to set off the last 2XS and that Super-blitznall, which for miles of open fields it felt the same as standing under the OXO building on the Thames for the lord Mayor's Bash, the sound waves bouncing, outstanding.
We floated back through the smoke to the now ecstatic a some even crying guests with beaming grins, handshakes and hugs from all telling me to give up my day job, "best fireworks party ever" loads of praise for the rest of the evening, and I owe It to you. Also hard hats a must, felt a few taps, safety glasses and gloves. Funny how people ask me what I was using to light the fireworks with, Portfires! when's the next one?
Picked up the cases etc that night, but went back first thing to round up rockets etc. Walked on to the field just in time to see the sun coming up and highlight about 20 spent rockets bolt upright sticking in the grass, some almost 300mtr away , which surprised me as saturday night was almost still. Found only 46 rockets after 1hr searching.
Told everyone to get on your web site, use Newsbox of Loughton, and video it, I didn't and I really feel that I have missed out on something special that will be talked about for ages.
Long time no contact I know, but just to let you know that my firework display based on war of the worlds on December the 15th was monumental..it was bloody hard work indeed making Martian models, the ship and the editing music. Of course it rained during the setting up, which hampered things somewhat, & the first three scenes were not so good but the major scenes, (the Martian battle with Thunderchild ship) were fab, all set to edited version of Jeff Waynes WOTW.
The ship went off with no less than 2 star bombards, 2 Kimbolton double mines, & a giant 4 inch imperial mine, my god it was exciting! The red weed was amazing too, with flickering red bengals (Cat 4, can't put them on the net), but the finale, the saviour of man was a barrage of cakes £330 worth in about 6 minutes, including the amazing Imperial Water Garden, 7 Imperial 30mm,Blockbuster, & Imperial 22mm candles.
Congratulations on your fantastic website! I feel happy knowing there are other people out there who never grew up... You need to add a review of the Bright Star "Stealth Bomber" air bomb. It's clearly modelled after the Bright Star's Proton Bomb which you quite rightly recommend, and it's the same price (£5 for 4). I've tried the 2 back-to-back and you seem to get the same bang but with an added screech with the Stealth Bomber. They really are fantastic value for money. Both are 28mm bore I think.
Above: One of the best reader arsenals of 2002, this was a "who's who" of UKFR recommended fireworks.
Firing list: 1 Monaco 1 Sentinells 1 Sirens Call 1 Shellshock 1 Gold Dragons 1 Red Palm Tree 1 Sidewinder 8 shot Crackle Comet 1 Mother of Thunder 1 Happy Monk Jumps over the Wall 1 Triple H Bomb 1 Star Bombard 2 Aurora Borialis 1 Green Bamboo 1 Mars Nuke Attack 1 Rainbow Rays (Candle battery) 1 Thunderking 1 Bomb Blast Missile 1 Purple Chrysanthemum 1 Monster Mine (Hells Explosion) 1 Plutos Moon 1 Armageddon 1 Kimbolton Crown of Rubies 1 Kraken 1 Silver Fish in Blue Lake 1 Sky monkey With Exploding coconuts 1 Black Cat Agingcourt 1 Blockbuster Candle 1 Coliseum candle pack 10 Comet Rockets 10 Medusa Rockets 5 Space Trooper rockets 2 Super Blitznall 3 Whoppa Rockets 20 Screech Bang mini rockets 10 Proton Bombs 15 Mega Airbombs 6 Cyclone wheels.
As you can see most of them came from the UKFR Best Buy and other recommended fireworks, which gave us a better display, thanks to the site. I had 12 people round. Family and friends, I made a curry and jacket potatoes and my wife Becky did a great buffet, then we went into my back garden, myself and my mate Shane lit all the fireworks, we started small and ended big with Mother of Thunder , Happy Monk, Black Cat sib Agingcourt and a Super Blitznall. Then we all had a good drink, everyone had a good night thanks to all the work on the UKFR site.
I would just like to inform to that your review on the Lunar rockets was wrong in our opinion, unless they have made a new version since you made your review, it was wrong. We brought 3 of these rockets for fillers after reading your review to see whether this was true. Well we had the steamer, green star and crackling rockets, they we're definitely worth £6 I would be happy to pay more, they were definitely sky fillers. The green had a huge, and bright, burst, the streamer was shear brilliance, and the crackling was a lot better than OK, we also brought the millennium rockets and we think that the Lunars were far better.
I studied your reviews with great interest as like yourself I'm an avid firework fan, especially airbombs and noise cakes. Firstly I managed to get hold of the proton bombs by bright star and on testing these I went out and bought another 10 packs as they are just incredible. They were that mouth wateringly good I bought 10 packs of the brother to this airbomb the stealth bomb and they were just as good if not better as the second ejection had a screech to it,this has got to get on your best buy list . Now to the mother of all air bombs, the MEGA AIRBOMB by Cosmic.There's only two words I can use to describe these and they are MORE PLEASE! I trekked around 20 shops to find these little brute's but it was well worth the trek.Here is a little story for you. I lit one of these little beauties and retreated to my usually safe 5m away as I like the full on effect. Well the next thing to happen was mind blowing as instead of the bomb ejecting it blew whilst in the tube, they should make more of these for people like us as the noise it cerate's is like a B52's pay load, frightening at first but what a buzz afterwards! especially when you know you are safe and sound.
Wow, what a great rocket for price, fired 10 Medusa rockets tonight and they outshone everything in their price bracket. I was not excepting too much from a rocket of this price but will certainly use multiples of these rather than some of the more expensive rockets in the future. Also used a Kimbolton "Hells explosion" mine in the finale which I thought was really good!
Please pardon the french but FFFUUUUUUUUUCCCKKK MMMEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
[unedited e-mail, now this is a guy who appreciates his stash, he's a future UKFR editor in the making.... Pete :-))) ]
Four months later and here is his full report, heheh...
I inadvertently landed the job of doing the company fireworks display in 2001 but there was no way I was going to pass up an opportunity like that. I was offered £800 as the budget I pondered on this all day and being firework mad decided it wasn't enough, I went back to the boss and asked for £1000 and he agreed to it yyyyyyeeeeeesssss I thought. Better still I got the fireworks at 25% off trade price [er, so how did you do that then? - Pete and the entire UKFR readership] so I ended up with around £1800 worth of kit.
Now came the hard part I had around 50 barrages/cakes to plan a layout and firing sequence for I spent hours and hours watching each individual firework on a promotional disc trying to decide what would be best (oh how I wish I could have fired them electronically) I finally decided to lay them out in two areas, each area consisted of five rows and four rows deep. I spaced the fireworks 1.5 meters apart with a gap of five metres between the two areas in front of the rows were the fireworks that were to be used in a four stage finale (more on that later). At the back I had ten launch tubes set up for the rockets in a good position where I could keep an eye on what was going on.
The nightmare begins ..
Three weeks prior to the display I went to put all the stakes in place I used two foot long steel poles and drove them in half way but what should have been a simple job took hours the ground was absolute shite chock full of stones I'd knock a stake in it would hit a stone I'd move it and it would hit another this just went on and on and in the end up took about five hours boy was I pissed off time for large amounts of beer.
Got back to work on Monday morning had a look out of the window to check my site and aaaaaaagggggghhhhhh nnnnnnnnooooooooo the whole $%£&** place was under six inches of water what a %%^&$* all my lovely hard work ruined. I decided to tempt fate though and hoped it would be dry on the day after all it was three weeks to firing time.
The big day
At last the day was here the firing site was bone dry and the weather was better than perfect. But I wasn't happy with the start of the display (at last I'd found an excuse to buy and try a blitzknall) I made my way over to the Great Northern Firework Co bought some extra portfires and the legendary bomb on a stick.
Still not happy with my rocket firing list though I decided to buy an extra ten Brightstar Hell Raiser rockets, and that was that with the extra rockets I had the perfect firing list, 50 odd ground fireworks and 50+ rockets. WOW .
That afternoon a mate and me proceeded to set up the ground stuff, one side started off with a 19 shot barrage then went on to a cake then barrage then a cake alternately, the other side started off with a cake then a 19 shot barrage and so on, so each side would be firing an opposite firework to the other. On a set up note all the fuses on the left hand side faced left and all the fuses on the right hand side faced right so the two guys firing them didn't have to mess about looking for their fuses. Once everything was in place plastic sheets were wrapped around each firework just in case of rain. About half an hour prior to firing we removed all the plastic sheets and took all the fuse covers off.
A crowd of around 100 employees and family had now gathered in the field having gorged themselves on hot dogs and pies and were ready for a show. For some strange reason at this point all I wanted to do was suck some boiled sweets I'd have killed to get my hands on some (must have been nerves ) after all I was about to set off the best display ever fired in Elland this show put the local round table display to shame.
I lit the blitzknall to get everyone's attention boooooom definitely lived up to the hype it was at this point all the kids wanted to leave (hahahahahahaha im evil).
After the blitzknall was fired the plan was this let the guys get on with firing the ground stuff and not fire any more rockets until half way through the display, the idea being that it would build up getting bigger and better as it went on.
Now any one wondering about buying brightstars 19 shot barrages just buy em they are loud and mean the noise from this display was incredible we were in the bottom of a valley and everything echoed like mad there were some 4000 bangs in total ranging from pop to boom to massive boom off the shell head rockets you really had to be there to appreciate the noise I just looked up in the air and uttered "FUCK ME!" (sorry) to myself this was far better than I could have hoped for.
Halfway through I started to let rip with the rockets in volleys of three, one hellraiser with two other larger display rockets at a time, this plan was great and was really appreciated by the crowd. It was at this point I looked back and the empty road on the industrial estate was full of cars, now these people had to go out of there way to get here and that gave me such a buzz.
Well all of the ground stuff was gone or so every one thought. Finale time I fired four £15 rockets whilst my mates got ready to fire two, yes two, 500 shot Armagedons at once. One on its own is impressive but two together was mayhem as these finished the crowd must have thought nice ending, but I'm not done yet up went four more rockets and then we fired three towering infernos (now named terminal velocity due to Sept 11) [ouch! I'll let you administer your own grave mate - Pete] these are 28mm 49 shot barrages with varying effects from colored star bursts to huge spinners to crackling rain to seven large salutes the spacing of these was great and they gave great coverage, but there's more yep four more rockets filled the sky and then two satanic desecration sibs were fired together, after these the last five rockets went up and we light the last three fireworks, three atomic warlords, but rather than do what they did on the cdrom all three of them ejected their entire 112 shots in about two secs unexpected but frigging awesome the whole area exploded in an absolute frenzy of mini shell bursts this looked truly pro.
And that was it 40 mins of relentless mayhem I hung around for a while sniffing the last dregs of fireworks smoke out of the air and dragged myself home for loads of beer.
Well that's it a dream came true for me that night I just hope we have another one this year. GRAHAM MANN 8)
[Man, that was the dog's bollocks - Pete]
©2002 UK Firework Review. Contributions courtesy of, and with thanks to, the readers noted above.