Spyrotechnics is a new company launched this year in Chesterfield by long standing UKFR member Stuart Hutcheson. After being an enthusiastic and knowledgeable amateur for many years, Stuart has taken the plunge and turned his passion into a business!

His product knowledge and pursuit of pyrotechnical excellence make great foundations for the new company. This is particularly evident from their product testing day, where they fired almost the whole of a new brand of fireworks to see if they were suitable for their customers, and in front of an audience of critical UKFR members too!

In this feature we concentrate on the day itself, leading up to a great finale display. A substantial number of category two and three fireworks were successfully filmed and reviewed, these will be added to the main review database in due course.

Spyrotechnics' first brand under test to see if it cuts the mustard is Cube.

Who needs satellite navigation when you have Pete B navigating, and thanks to his map reading skills (despite the fact he was on the wrong page for about twenty miles) we arrived without any problems to find a wide open and very windswept field. In the middle were Stuart and Mike who were coordinating the setting up.

Over to the pictures now. You can click on any thumbnail to see a larger image.

The gazebo was proving a little tricky to set up thanks to a steady wind, missing parts, and instructions in Swahili.

Luckily a nearby acrobatic troupe were on hand to help out - and entertain too with a selection of athletic vaults and forward rolls.

Spot the Rocket Rev who had to go off like a rocket to catch this cardboard box. Did I mention the wind?

After some unpacking and introductions with new members who had made the trip it was time to have a chat with Stuart about his new company. "Our short term aim is to become the automatic choice for the people of Chesterfield when they think about buying fireworks or need a professional fireworks display" he explained.

"A retail outlet is planned for opening in September/October in the Chesterfield area. This outlet will stock the best consumer fireworks we identify in our product tests and will also act as the base for the display arm of Spyrotechnics. We have a philosophy of not stocking any product we haven't personally witnessed in action. We believe this means our customers will always receive accurate and honest opinions about how a particular firework performs and also means we are able to better advise a customer on what fireworks best suit their requirements. Our website is under constant development and we are hoping that an online purchasing facility will be available soon! Basically from a passion for fireworks was born a dream of running my own fireworks company - and supposedly fortune favours the brave - so here we are!".

The philosophy of not stocking any products "blind" was certainly borne out by this product testing day which would see the company - and everyone who attended - witness almost the whole Cube range and some Fireworks International products.

Time then for the customary firework fondling next, but all in the name of work as we had to photograph every firework for the reviews.

The three top-end Cube SIBS, the Powerstation series. One of these had the
best ending I have seen in any cat 3 SIB, wait for our full reviews to find out more!

I do like shiny things, here one of Cube's huge rockets stands ready to fire.

Two more shiny rockets in a selection of metallic colours. The Spyrotechnics polishing team were on hand to remove all fingerprints!

A large pile of pyro and this is only half of it.

Pete B, Paul and Ian look like they're getting ready to start a fire to keep warm. And man, when that rain started later on, it would have been a very good idea!

Andy and Paul swap fishing stories. "It was THIS big, I swear" says Andy.

Mike keeps the crowd amused by recounting some of his swashbuckling adventures with a plank of wood.

Mike (left) shows off his candle fan.
Spyrotechnics' boss Stuart is on the right.

When Mike mentioned in our forum that he was going to buy every last remaining 8 shot Men Shun candle, he wasn't joking. Here he proudly shows his skills in making a very neat fan.

A slightly smaller fan - these to be used in the finale display later on and to great effect too, as you will see in the video clip later in this feature.

A firing box to be used in the finale which comprised of both cat 3 and cat 4 supplied by Spyrotechnics.

Every event like this requires a huge amount of planning and support materials such as stakes, poles, tape, litter bins - the list is almost endless. Stuart, Mike and the crew and their families did a superb job getting this one ready in increasingly challenging weather conditions.

The end result, line upon line of waterproofed pyro just waiting to be lit.

Click here - Daytime footage of the firing site and general setting up for broadband (DivX AVI, 13Mb)
Click here - Daytime footage of the firing site and general setting up for dial-up (Windows Media file, 5Mb)

With the weather turning colder, windier and in fact also wetter, it was time to decide whether to cover the setting up in depth or piss off down the pub for a carvery meal and a Stella. Ten seconds later and me, Pete B and Paul were therefore in the pub, enjoying a pre-firing yarn or two.

As the evening wore on, more members and their families arrived and we tucked into some welcome hot food. It was really nice to see members have another opportunity to meet - especially the new ones for whom this was their first pyro outing.

The time finally came then to turn out of the warm, comfy pub and trek back to the firing site. The weather by now had turned evil and this is not just a pain for the firers but for us too with several cameras and a camcorder to look after.

Thanks to some fantastic cooperation from the Spyrotechnics crew we were able to semi-shelter under the opened back of one of their vans and the show started!

We will in due course be uploading individual reviews of each firework, until then it is over to the camera of Pete B for some long exposure stills. These came out really well and if you were there and remember the weather you'll be even more impressed. And his PANTS WERE SOAKING!

With the review items done and dusted, and Stuart's megaphone sounding like it was starting with a damp problem, it was over to Mike to fire his finale. This consisted of loads of cat 3 with some cat 4 assistance from Spyrotechnics. Check out the brilliant clips below.

Click here - Finale for broadband (DivX AVI, 24Mb)
Click here - Finale (highlights) for dial-up (Windows Media file, 2.5Mb)

As the last firework died away, a round of applause and cheers sealed a fantastic evening. Not only had Spyrotechnics treated us all to a product testing of almost the whole of one brand, they capped it all with a brilliant finale display.

Special thanks must go to all those involved in setting up, firing and supporting the crew. The weather was probably the worst I have ever filmed in (rain doesn't affect fireworks but it can kill a camera) and the wind was bracing (but safe). Despite this, the evening went without a hitch. Well done Spyrotechnics and the crew.

"It has been a great evening" explained Stuart afterwards. "One of the brands in contention for our main stock was Cube and by testing their whole range, we will be able to assess whether it will meet our customers' needs. As a new retailer, we have many options to choose from, and want to make the right choice, so watch this space".

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