The 2016 Chinese New Year Fireworks and Firecrackers Roundup!

Chinese New Year Fireworks

It’s Chap Goh Meh today! As per sixthseal.com’s custom, we’ll be doing a roundup of the wonderful fireworks and firecrackers we’ve bought this year. There were no firecrackers last year due to my mom’s passing so this year sees the return of firecrackers. I got a huge fireworks cake, it’s larger than the 2015 flagship fireworks cake in some ways.

Fireworks

I also ordered two large 2″ fireworks cakes. These large bore shells make the cake taller than they are wide, producing a unique and beautiful format. I got this a month ahead and it was delivered to my place for safekeeping until Chinese New Year. I have 9 fireworks cakes and 3 firecrackers this year, mostly 100 shots and up.

530-shot VIP display-in-a-box 22 kg fireworks cake

530 Shot Fireworks Cake

Behold! This huge fireworks cake produces a staggering 530 shots and lasts almost 5 minutes!

Biggest Fireworks

It measures a very respectable 73 cm x 52 cm x 17 cm. Here’s an iPhone for comparison. smirk

Yup, there are 530 individual mortars arranged together in this 22 kg cake that requires two people to carry. It’s made by VIP Fireworks and is the most expensive individual cake I’ve ever purchased. It just came out this year in their 2016 fireworks lineup. I’ve never even heard of a 530 shot fireworks cake before this. These things are marketed as “5-minute display-in-a-box” fireworks in the US for professionals.

530 Shot Fireworks

I waited until my sister and her family came back before I let this one off. This is my centrepiece for this year.

I have another video recorded in 1080p in 60 fps which makes for a more beautiful (and smooth) viewing experience here! This large fireworks cake has an INSANE start – full sky saturation and mine effects to kick it off in intense style before the pace picks up into wonderful segues and loops till a shattering finale. Awesome stuff!

2″ 25-shot fireworks mine cake

25 Shot 2 Inch Fireworks

I’ve always loved these large bore formats. 2″-4″ fireworks cakes tend to be taller than they are wide. This is coz the larger shells require a longer mortar in order to fire the aerial bursts, comparatively the normal 0.8″-1.2″ fireworks cakes are quite short/shallow. These large shells produce a large burst in the sky too, which tend to be more beautiful breaks.

I should note that this fireworks cake is actually a mine! Mines are ground level effects, meaning the pyrotechnics start from the ground. You can see the glitter charge shooting up from the tubes before the main break in the video. Mines are starting to be less common nowadays, I have no idea why but it seems that demand has largely ceased.

2 Inch Mortars

It’s nice to be able to purchase a nice mine fireworks cake again…and in large format breaks too! Check out the 2″ mortar tubes. These come packed 2/1 – this means there are two fireworks cakes in one box/carton. I let one off during Chinese New Year eve and the other when my niece and nephew were back.

You can view the 60 fps vertical oriented video here. I feel this is the best way to view a mine fireworks cake. It’s 25 shots, which may sound unimpressive at first, but each shot is more than 4x the size of regular 0.8″ fireworks cake in power and effect!

258-shot Saturn Missile Battery

Saturn Missile Battery

This is a 258 shot Saturn Missile Battery. Saturn Missiles are smaller rockets which whistles up and usually comes in 50/100-shot cakes (most common format). This larger format is round and cost RM 35. The interesting thing is that you can let this off in the day or night – it doesn’t make much of a difference.

I quite like this red, green, yellow and white Saturn Missile Battery which finishes with a report. It’s not very fast, unlike some batteries, so some people may like the duration. This clocked in at almost 3 minutes from the time I lit the fuse to the end of the cake.

39,999 Chinese firecrackers

Firecrackers

This is the largest commercial Chinese firecrackers for sale. Of course, there are larger counts e.g. 188,888 fireworks, which requires a lorry to transport and a crane to lift up before it can be lit but those are so expensive it’s usually only set off by companies, not private individuals. Keep in mind that these class of firecrackers are almost like salutes and are rated 1.1G – they’re very illegal!

Longest Firecrackers

This is coz the firecrackers are very large and contains a chalk plug (which essentially makes it a salute).

Huge Firecrackers

There are 39,999 individual firecrackers in this string but it’s not very long compared to the 3,000 string firecrackers coz the single firecrackers are larger and it’s stacked on top of one another for a 3-layered firecracker, making a very intense and loud burn compared to the “regular” 3,000 count firecrackers.

Biggest Firecrackers

You can see the difference here. I had to light this directly coz I lost the Visco fuse. Haha! I pulled my hand away as soon as the firecracker caught (this is more from experience than reaction, as you can see).

I really like this video, give it a spin to see what the firecrackers we get in Sibu look like.

3,000 Chinese firecrackers

Firecracker

These are the “common” firecrackers which you can get in KL and even the US. These firecrackers are a lot smaller than the previous one – they don’t break the skin if you light one in your palm/hand so they’re very safe. The “ending” is just a bunch of the same instead of the salute-like power you get in the 39,999 traditional Chinese firecrackers.

I see a lot of places like KL are starting to switch to this coz they’re not as harmful (you can hold them in the hand, not to say that you should coz it’ll still burn you, but it won’t break the skin) compared to the traditional kind (as per above, the 39,999 Chinese firecrackers) which won’t be so kind to your hands and fingers. Unfortunately, they’re also not as loud or powerful so generally most people in Sibu don’t favor this kind. It’s very cheap though at RM 12.50. The 39,999 roll is more than 10x the price of these kid-friendly crackers.

36-shot Chai Yuan Guan

Classic Fireworks

This is a classic fireworks cake with 36 shots. It’s been around for a while – I actually got this from a friend’s house. She had heaps of these lying around and I let it off during Chinese New Year.

Unfortunately, I think it’s starting to show its age – most of the tubes didn’t go off. There were 8-9 mortars which didn’t fire.

This is the 60 frames per second version. It’s really a nice old fireworks cake, this was the epitome of greatness back in the late 90’s.

25-shot vintage fireworks cake

Vintage Fireworks

This is another beautiful classic fireworks cake. It’s not as impressive as the newer firework cakes with fancy breaks and effects but it’s a nice reminder of how the fireworks cakes looked 10 years ago.

It’s a trip down memory lane.

This is the vertical view with 60 frames per second (you can really see the difference). This slow tempo fireworks cake is characteristic of an older design which is less favored now. It’s still lovely to watch for sentimental reasons though.

100-shot classic fireworks cake

Fireworks Cake

This is also a more traditional 100 shot fireworks cake. It unfortunately exploded while the last row was firing so there was a bit of a fireworks malfunction but it’s still quite beautiful to watch.

It’s a classical fireworks cake that’ll give you a nice dose of nostalgia.

This is the 60 fps vertical version.

100-shot New Wild Billy

Italian Fireworks

This is a cake by Morena Fireworks. Yup, that’s an Italian fireworks brand, much like the Jupiter Fireworks horseshoe fountain fireworks I got in KL last year. Morena Fireworks makes a lot of 100 Shot Assortments and New Wild Billy is one of them.

It’s a nice example of their 100 shot fireworks shows.

111-shot 2016 fireworks cake

New Fireworks Cakes

This is a new 2016 fireworks cake. The new cakes all have two fuses – the primary fuse and the secondary fuse. This is to make it easier to link up fireworks cakes for a show e.g. you can just use Visco fuse to run a line from the secondary fuse of a cake into the primary fuse of the second. What happens is that the primary fuse burns, the cake goes off, and the secondary fuse burns last after the cake is done so this in effect makes a cascading effect where each cake goes off in sequence. You can also run them into the primary fuse if you want them to go off together. There’s a lot of flexibility built into the new cakes and the quick match fuses (blue and red) already have a Visco end so you can just cable tie two (or more) together. Also, the effects are quite varied in one cake.

There is an initial array of 8 x 8 tubes going straight up for 64 shots of effects after the primary fuse. This is followed by 3 x 5 angled tubes. The 15 fanned shots following the first set of effects are angled for complete sky coverage and it’s of a larger size than the first. This is followed by a 8 x 4 tube array for the finale which produces a 32 shot finish for a nice 111 shot cake.

That’s all I have for this year! Here’s a video I made of all the bigger fireworks cakes I let off this year in Full HD 1080p 60 frames per second smooth viewing glory. Click on this one if you’re just going to watch one video, you won’t regret it. Hope you all enjoyed the fireworks and firecrackers videos and the explanations I wrote to give non-fireworks enthusiasts a glimpse into the world of pyrotechnics.

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Fireworks 2016

I had a lot of fun letting this batch off. Rest assured, I’ll be saving up for a better display next year – I’ll keep an eye out for even larger cakes! Gong Xi Fatt Chai everyone and have a happy Chap Goh Meh! :)

2016 Chinese New Year Fireworks Roundup in Kuala Lumpur

Fireworks KL 2016

I’ve started buying fireworks in KL for the kids to enjoy. Kuala Lumpur doesn’t have the sheer variety of fireworks we have in Sibu but they carry a few different things we can’t get here and vice versa. One big thing about Sibu is that 3″ fireworks shells and larger are banned. So are rocket and tube launched aerial break shells. This seems to be an agreement between local cartels and the police. However, we do get a lot of large scale display fireworks cakes and Chinese firecrackers.

KL on the other hand has a relatively mediocre selection of the last two. I did manage to find some novelty fireworks for the kids and my better half though. It’s a great way to usher in the Chinese New Year! :)

Jumping Frog Novelty Fireworks

Jumping Frog Fireworks

This is an interesting implementation of a relatively simple firework. It costs RM 5 per box and there’s 5 pieces of the “frogs” in a box, making them RM 1 each. These are made in Thailand and I’ve never seen them in my hometown before. The “jumping frogs” work via the knots in the string – the way it’s tied makes the entire firework leap around as it reaches the bends and folds.

It’s quite interesting since our fireworks mostly come from Philippines (like Judas Belt or triangle firecrackers) or China due to our closer proximity. I let the jumping frogs off for the kids to see coz these aren’t really suitable for children. You light up the fuse and throw it away and the firework will jump around.

Happy Boom

From a fireworks enthusiast perspective, how this works is that the entire firework is a long fuse. The flash powder is meant to fizz energetically instead of exploding. You can see this if you bend a Chinese firecracker before lighting it up – it’ll become a sparkler of sorts instead of going boom. The string knots around the folded fuse directs the energy of the combusting powder out the end of that section, effectively propelling it around 5 times.

These are quite cheap to make but it’s still very fascinating stuff.

Peacock Fountain Fireworks

Fireworks Fountain

I got this RM 70 fountain for the kids to see. I’ve let off a similar one called London Bridge in Sibu last year. This one isn’t as impressive since the manufacturer skimped on the gerbs (the tube like things which produces the effects) and there are only 6 inside (1 sparkling rain and 5 directional effects) vs twice the amount in the London Bridge fireworks fountain.

It’s still fun to watch though.

Fuseless Sparklers

Fuseless Sparklers

These are the newer sparklers that don’t come with a fuse. It’s shaped like a tube instead of the “coated stick” design of previous sparklers. The pen shape makes it easy to hold but one downside is that the sparkler can get very hot as the effects burn down into the tube. They cost RM 10, making each sparkler RM 2.

There are Disney designs all over the packaging and firework but I sincerely doubt they have a licensing deal. smirk

Disney Sparklers

You light the top of the sparkler and the contact makes the chemical composition burn with vivid colors. I tried one to make sure it’s safe and passed it to the kids. They seem to enjoy it as all kids do, so that’s the important thing. The thing they love the most is still the Pop Pop contact fireworks though. Haha.

Frog Fireworks

Chinese New Year reunion dinner is tonight! I’ll be letting off the bulk of my firecrackers and fireworks at the stroke of midnight and the rest tomorrow during the first day of CNY. I’ll keep everyone posted on the (much larger) Sibu fireworks roundup – there are multiple large cakes both vintage and new and I have a huge 530 shot monster this year, bigger than anything I’ve ever had. Happy Chinese New Year everyone!

Gong Xi Fatt Chai! :)

Peacock Fountain Fireworks

Peacock Fireworks Fountain

We were at the wet market on the weekend when I saw this firework. This is a RM 70 display-in-a-box. It’s a fountain that’s built almost exactly like the beautiful London Bridge Fireworks I got last year. This one is called 孔雀开屏 – it means Peacock Blooming but the last two words also represent “blossom” (like a curtain). I was surprised when my dear read the Chinese characters for me. I didn’t know she could read Chinese!

Peacock Fireworks

I decided to grab it for the kids, since a similar fountain I got last year was very nice. This isn’t made by the same company though, it’s likely a clone of the more famous London Bridge Fountain Fireworks but the basic design is the same.

I grabbed the kids and we let it off in the park, on a stone bench so it’s elevated:

I totally forgot that the camera was set to QVGA mode so it’s not recorded in HD. Sorry for the poor quality, I always keep it at HD 1980 x 1080 for recording but the settings were changed and I didn’t realize before I pressed record. You still can see what the firework looks like though.

Peacock Fireworks Taken Apart

The kids liked it but I thought it was a poor imitation of the original London Bridge Fountain. It has less gerbs (the things that shoot out the effects) and doesn’t last as long. The range of colors and different effects were also inferior but generally KL doesn’t get the quality fireworks we do in Sibu. However, it was still fun for the kids to watch and that’s what matters. :)

The 2015 Chinese New Year Fireworks Roundup!

Fireworks

This year, I decided to get a *massive* fireworks cake instead of multiple small ones like I usually do. I thought it’ll be nice to have a ginormous fireworks cake that requires two (2) people to move and blow all of my budget on that one single glorious aerial barrage. It was already in my mind the previous year and thus I made the necessary orders to get it done.

Fireworks 2015

This is all that I’ve got for Chinese New Year this year – one ridiculously large custom-made 27 kg fireworks cake, one 128 shot fireworks cake and two fountains. There are no firecrackers this year in respect of my late mom’s passing.

Happy Boom 333 shot 27 kg fireworks cake

333 Shots Fireworks

Behold! My centerpiece for this year! It’s 27 kilograms (about 60 pounds) and comes in it’s own box.

27kg Fireworks Cake

This is a custom-made display firework. It’s a divert from a licensed pyrotechnics show, which explains the 1.3G Display Grade sticker and it cost the average monthly household income around here but it’s worth it!

Largest Fireworks Cake

The sheer heft and dimensions dictates that two people was required to lug this monster out and all my cousins (and neighbors) came out to see it coz it’s not everyday someone gets such a huge fireworks cake.

Huge Fireworks Cake

This is one of three custom orders that came in and I managed to snag one of them. Just look at the size comparison to an iPad.

It measures 62 cm x 59 cm x 20 cm and when I lit it, it produced a full four (4) minutes of glory. There’s all sorts of aerial breaks in this 333 shot cake – green, blue and red starbursts, brocada crowns, green bees, white glitter, red chrysanthemums, sparkling willows and golden palm fronds that just blankets the entire sky from the angled fanning tubes in the middle.

I accidentally pressed stop while filming coz I thought it was over but the fireworks cake was merely shifting to the finale, which is an additional 1 minute in duration. You really have to see this video – it’s an *amazing* fireworks cake, the best I’ve ever purchased and it’s well worth the money I paid for it. :)

Happy Boom Magic Fountain

Magic Fountain Happy Boom

This is a gift that I got from ordering the 333 shot fireworks cake. It retails for RM 30 and it was thrown in as a thank you gift. It should be noted that Happy Boom is a very generic name for fireworks and firecrackers and it’s used to describe everything from Happy Boom novelty packets to Happy Boom salutes.

This one has small aerial bursts in addition to fountains but it malfunctioned and ended up burning to the ground.

Burning Fountain

It’s not unlike the Italian Horseshoe Fireworks Fountain I got in KL – they’re prone to overheating due to the stress the gerbs are subjected to (heavy and sustained spurts instead of the lift charge that a fireworks cake produces).

London Bridge Fountain

London Bridge Fireworks Fountain

I really liked this one! It’s beautiful and I wrote about the new London Bridge firework fountain in more detail in another post. You can see the video here:

The gerbs produces bright and varied effects and the unusual colors that came out of this made this the most interesting fountain I’ve seen this year. It retailed for RM 50 but I got it for RM 30 with the bundle purchase of another fireworks cake (reviewed below). That might sound like a lot to pay for a fountain but this was really worth it due to the spectacular display!

Silvesters Pass & Rock ‘N Roll! Pyro 128 shot fireworks cake

Silvesters Rock N Roll Pyro

This is a Swan fireworks item which retailed for RM 120. Silvester is actually the name of a Roman Catholic holiday celebrated in Germany which coincides with New Year’s Eve. This is supposed to be a “new” cake but the catalog number (KT 122) has popped up before so I suspect it’s a re-badged KT 122 with new effects…

128 Shots Fireworks Cake

…and I was right! It wasn’t as grand as my wonderful 333 shot fireworks cake but it added bulk and entertainment for my niece and nephews who were back home for the Lunar New Year holidays and missed the 333 shot monster I let off on CNY Eve.

KT122 Fireworks Cake

The effects of the Swan KT 122 has steadily improved over the years – this one had two series of fanned tubes to angle the aerial shells and there are some new breaks that were too expensive to be put in previous years, like the starting silent comet tail strobes (one of my favorite dramatic effects) and the crossette breaks.

This one is the best in the KT 122 series I’ve seen to date. I love the pace and the dramatic use of strobes – there are actually a lot of them in this cake, so much so that they had to skimp on the other breaks but if you love a beautiful (and not too loud) strobe cake, this would do you just fine. My niece and nephews loved it!

Hope you all had a great Chinese New Year! Enjoy the videos and Happy Chap Goh Meh everyone! :)

My Chinese New Year Eve Diary

0800

I usually let my fireworks stash dry out a bit to wring out any excessive moisture during sea transport or storage. I’m quite proud of my piece de resistance this year – it’s a 27 kg (60 pound) fireworks cake with 333 shots. This is a 1.3G display grade item and it was amazing! Here’s a video of my fireworks cache this year. I have some interesting items here.

1300

Sanbanto Pork

Sending out the last of my Sanbanto pork jerky. These are gifts meant for friends and family – I don’t have much space so I could only bring back 14 packs. One of my friends in particular has been very kind to me – Cydney from Melbourne so I made sure to bring her one. She also brought back heaps of Adriano Zumbo Tim Tams for me.

1800

Reunion Dinner

The reunion dinner commences with a bottle of wine! Here’s a photo of me with my dad and grandma. I had packed ang pows for them and got some from my uncles. My cousins came and we played a bit of Blackjack – changed the rules to casino style Blackjack rules so being the dealer, I didn’t lose as much this year. smirk

2200

Cousins Waiting

My cousins came back to my house with several of my aunties to watch me let off my monster 27 kg fireworks cake. The neighbors were watching as well – one of them came up to me and asked me how much it was since it’s so ginormous. I also had another neighbor come and compliment me for turning my back from my wayward past (how she knew is a mystery to me).

2300

Here’s where I let off my huge 27 kg fireworks cake – it took two people to haul it out since it’s more than a 0.62 x 0.59 meters in size. It’s beautiful, I wasn’t disappointed in the money I spent for this, check out the video above – this is a vertical take, I have a proper horizontal take (2 of them in fact – got one of my cousins to help me film) uploading.

0000

This is what Sibu looks like at the stroke of midnight. I still haven’t let off all my fireworks so I’ll do the full roundup in a couple of days. I was quite happy with a fountain I got too, the colors were intense and I’m not usually impressed easily by fountains (prefer aerial repeaters) so it’s quite an interesting new item that I’m glad I bought on a whim. The video isn’t up yet due to slow broadband but you can see the item in the first video in this post.

0001

Happy CNY 2015

Happy Chinese New Year everyone! :)

2015 Chinese New Year Fireworks Roundup in Kuala Lumpur

2015 Fireworks Collection

Yup, I’m going to do two fireworks roundups this year – one in KL where I work and one in Sibu where I come back for the Chinese New Year holidays. Truth be told, there isn’t a lot of fireworks in Kuala Lumpur compared to Sibu, the stock is pretty meagre and the large firework cakes are twice the price of what we pay here.

Fireworks Stall

However, I did want to put on a nice little show for the kids and my better half so here’s what I got:

25 Shot “Your Wish in Flowers” Fireworks Cake

25 Shot Fireworks Cake

This is a 25 shot compact fireworks cake called Lu Yi Zhi Hua which translates to “Your Wish in Flowers” – very apt considering Valentine’s Day is around the corner and Chinese New Year is coming up.

It’s a pretty decent multi effect cake, heavy with a nice mixture of crackling willow, whistles and beautiful pearl breaks. I thought it was worth the RM 40 I paid.

100 Meteor Shots Shots Crossfire

100 Meteor Shots

This is a Saturn missile battery with 100 shots. I got it for RM 20 coz I combined this purchase with another fireworks cake. I wanted to show the kids what a classic firework from my youth looks like – this can actually be fired during daylight or at night since it doesn’t make much difference.

100 Shot Saturn

It really has 100 shot but it’s just a whistling effect with a comet tail streaking up into the skies – you can see the array here.

Here’s the video of the 100 Meteor Shots Shots Crossfire Cake.

5 Minute Horseshoe Fountain

Fontana Ferro di Cavallo

I actually reviewed this in another separate post which I put up last week. I had to do a bit of research to find out what this new firework was and why it was called this so check out my writeup on the new Italian horseshoe fountain fireworks this year.

Single Shot Mine

Single Shot Mine

This is sold in a package of six (6) and has six different effects. It’s a non-reloadable pre-packaged single use mine and as you can see, the diameter is quite large (around 1.25”) which can be larger than most high-shot-count firework cakes. What this translates to is a bigger and better aerial break.

This one is a triple effect with report – there’s a comet tail, sparks and a double bloom with crackling willow which is really quite nice for the price. A mine is the same thing as a single/multi shot aerial shell but the effects packed into it are released all at once instead of in sequence. Mines are not that popular nowadays coz it finishes in 3-5 seconds max. I remember having one in 2006 in a mine cake format.

This is just RM 10 each or RM 50 for a six-pack and I thought it’s the best firework you can purchase this year. It’s not chained together like a fireworks cake so there’s no “display-in-a-box” but for the price, the shell is beautiful and the aerial break is quite remarkable. I would get this again if I see it! :)

New fountain fireworks from Italy that lasts 5 minutes!

Illegal Fireworks Stall Malaysia

I was shopping at the local wet market during the weekend when I saw a fireworks stall that has something very unusual – it’s a boxy fountain “cake” format firework that has all Italian writing. Best of all, it’s *new* – the manufacture date listed is 2014! This was the only shop that carries it and the person didn’t know the price, that’s how current the stock was.

Fontana Ferro di Cavallo

There’s actually two groups/gangs selling fireworks there – one has a yellow tablecloth and the other blue, but their stock is essentially the same. I was given a brochure listing all their products and everything was similar. However, this stall had one interesting stand-out that no other stall had – a strange Italian fountain. I knew it was a fountain coz it doesn’t have the holes/tubes that aerial fireworks shells has, but it’s in the format of a cake.

New Italian Fountain Fireworks

I was quite intrigued by the firework seller’s cell phone notes which goes “Lasts for 5 minutes! Price = ???” and since he couldn’t reach his boss for the actual price and no one else was selling it, I compelled him to let it go for RM 25. smirk I thought that was a great bargain for a new firework that I’ve never heard of.

Fountain Fireworks Mechanics

I let it off for my better half and the kids to see since Chinese New Year is coming up soon – it didn’t last 5 minutes, but it was close, it was over 4 minutes! It’s basically an array of 3 rows of 5 firework fountains chained together into a cake, as you can see when I tear off the top. You can see the Sunsong Fireworks logo at the other (bottom) side of the top cover, it might have been an OEM for Jupiter Fireworks. Here’s a video of the new Italian firework:

It’s an interesting mix of traditional fountains and some shooting effects and the color mixture is nice, but it’s the duration that’s the USP – I’ve never seen a fountain last this long for commercial fireworks (not counting professional ones). It might have really lasted a *full 5 minutes* as the packaging Italian text suggests since the original format seems to be in a horseshoe shape and apparently radiates outwards in an arc before coming back, easily adding another minute to the display.

Horseshoe Fountain

This Jupiter made Fontana Ferro di Cavallo (Horseshoe Fountain) is an awesome buy (and a hell of a deal) for RM 25 but I suspect it won’t be that price when they finalize the price list – it doesn’t make sense to sell 15 fountains for RM 1.60 each (it’s 5 fountains x 3 for a 15 firework array). Even the 12” cone fountains already retail for RM 35 and doesn’t last nearly as long.

Horseshoe Fireworks

I suspect this is a Chinese divert though, the original is really in the shape of a horseshoe and has about 3 of these connected together, as can be seen in the Jupiter 2014/2015 Italian catalogue (Page 17). It’s common for Chinese manufacturers to divert and resell partly assembled fireworks to other countries – a horseshoe shaped firework cake would be really hard to package economically, especially when it’s illegal here so it’s cheaper and more effective to smuggle in and sell one flat section.

Burned Fountain

It has a bit of a flaw though, maybe due to the departure from the original horseshoe shaped design – the firework fountain got REALLY HOT at the end (unusually so) and it ended up *burning up* after it was finished. This could also be due to the strong wind though, but I suspect it was meant to go a lot further down the arc before coming back which led to the overheating issue.

Fountain Fireworks Italy

Still, the diverse colors and crackling effects makes this a pretty awesome sequential fireworks fountain cake…and you can’t beat the price! :)

The 2012 Chinese New Year firecrackers and fireworks roundup!

fireworks roundup

Yes, it’s that time of the year again! :) This is the annual Chinese New Year fireworks and firecrackers roundup for 2012. There’s a lot of quirky fireworks this year – gift hampers, old firecrackers which I haven’t seen for decades and fountains which goes up over one and half storeys high! :)

cake fireworks

Sibu has a fine selection of retro firecrackers and fireworks this year. However, the ever popular multishot fireworks cake barrages are the most prevalent and there are multiple places selling it openly…in the morning, despite the massive RELA and police presence due to the recent murders. Well, that’s Sibu for you. :)

All Chinese to English translations kindly furnished by my dad.

Chinese firecrackers (RM 100)

chinese firecrackers

We have here one of the old skool Chinese firecrackers – the extremely noisy ones than produces massive amounts of smoke and tons of red paper.

12kg firecrackers

This weighs 12 kgs and is unique in the sense that it has a large firecracker braided *on top* of two rows of smaller firecrackers, making a formidable stack of 3 in the string.

chinese fireworks roll

However, I can’t bring myself to use the word “smaller” with this since even the smaller firecrackers are about 6 times the size of Shun Lee Hung firecrackers.

chinese firecrackers roll

See the grandma walking past? She was followed by a woman who told her in Hokkien “Ah Ma walk faster, he’s letting off the big firecrackers.

…and being the neighborly sort I told them not to worry, I’ll let them pass before I light it and CNY greetings were passed. That’s the spirit! :)

I was standing quite far away (about 2-3 meters) coz my dad was holding the digicam and I had to walk back to him, but some of the firecrackers went past me, showering me with Chinese New Year cheer (and the possibility of grave eye injury). I like!

smoldering firecracker paper

It was still smoldering on the ground after it finished its barrage. I let this off on the morning of the 1st day – woke up early just to do this. :D

Fireworks cake barrages / repeaters

fireworks cake repeaters

These are the aerial firework barrages which comes in a “cake” configuration. It has several tubes which launch the projectiles into the air. It’s very popular in creating a sustained barrage (which is why some people call it that) of aerial fireworks and depending on the artisan’s imagination, can range from being mundane to impressive.

However these things has two major flaws:

1. Susceptibility to wind conditions

It is advisable not to let these off during high wind conditions. The initial propellant that shoots up the shells sends it from 75 – 150 feet (depending on the primer). However, the aerial shot itself is quite light and wind can send it in a totally unpredictable direction (usually diagonally) and limit its apogee, which can be quite disastrous. I’ve seen one send shots that explode 12 feet above and let me tell you, that is quite an experience since it’s supposed to go off 10 times that distance.

It had us all watching nervously and asking if anyone has a fire extinguisher and telling cars not to pass.

fireworks exploding

2. It can explode on the ground if poorly constructed

I actually wrote an article about it. One of my firework cakes exploded on me.

Despite those flaws (everything has a downside), firework cakes are probably the greatest invention since sliced bread in pyrotechnics. :D

Beautiful Mountain and Rivers (RM 220)

20kg fireworks cake

This 2 feet long, 68 shot beauty comprises of multiple artillery barrages that has mortar sizes ranging from 3” to 1”. It produces a rather nice finale and it’s this year’s crème de la crème of fireworks cakes in my stash – it even beats the more expensive ones above with the fanning effect (angled mortar tubes).

fireworks cake launchers

It was at the stroke of midnight that I let this one off so there is a lot of competition from other sources. However, you can see the effects of this aerial barrage quite well. :)

The finish was amazing, I love the “sparkling rain” kind of effects for an ending.

Well worth the RM 220 I spent though as you can see this class of fireworks barrages is not exactly meant for you to see (the optimal viewing angle is too high) so maybe if you live down the street, you’ll appreciate it more.

Celebration (RM 35)

fuse

This is a fast 36 shot fireworks cake barrage. It’s simple, effective and quite awesome. It sends up to 6-7 aerial shots in a row up which explodes in a burst of color up in the air.

It’s over in a few seconds but classic. :)

Glowing Beautiful Woman (RM 25)

barrage fireworks

This 200 shot baby is quite impressive despite the small mortar tube size and height. It’s 1/9 the size of my largest fireworks cake and it’s easy to dismiss this wonderful piece of carefully arranged barrage. Fireworks cakes are like flower arrangements…the mediocre ones are blah but the good ones is a work of art. This is the latter.

200 shot fireworks cake

It doesn’t go very high but has a nice mixture of spinning whistlers, star bursts, and sparkling rain – it’s quite fantastic. I bought several of these and I’m glad I did.

It’s well worth the price, I’m grabbing more next year if I see it. Highly recommended!

Stepping Up (RM 35)

This one is representative of the general small fireworks cakes. It would be nice if it didn’t blow up on the ground though.

Stepping Up was the multi-shot fireworks cake barrage that blew up on me. I had to pick up pieces from 25 meters away.

Prosperous Family

repeater fireworks

I don’t know the price to some coz it was a gift or a throw in after a large purchase. This is one of them. The retail price should be around RM 35-40. It has a variety of different effects and launches it quite high up – you can tell from the size of the fireworks cake and mortar tubes.

I like the part in the middle where it “fans” out the aerial shots and the ending. Nice.

…and yes, we let off the cakes in the middle of the road in Sibu, which is why you shouldn’t drive on CNY eve at midnight. All the locals know that but just in case you’re visiting, be home by 11 pm or wait till 2 am. :D

Fireworks gift hampers

fireworks gift package

This is another unusual development this year. It’s priced at RM 85 and comes with a smorgasbord of fireworks – mostly directed towards children.

fireworks gift box

There are:

The total price of the items inside exceeds RM 85 commercially. It’s quite a good gift for kids, and it has a lot of nostalgic fireworks inside. I like the variety and there’s even one multi-shot cake/fountain inside.

Fountains

fountains

This is a typical example of a fountain. It’s a small tube about the size of a salute (e.g. Thunder King) that you set on the ground and light with various effects.

The color on top of the fuse shows what it’s going to look like.

Desert at Night

desert at night

I don’t know which category to put this in as it is quite atypical. It’s a fountain with very nice effects and it has 7 aerial repeaters built in.

Thus, you get a combination fountain and aerial shot cake. :)

Cone fountains

cone fountains

Violets and Crimsons

Pretty mediocre. This came out of the fireworks hamper and is the smallest of the fountains. It’s barely taller than my lighter.

Volcano (RM 20)

volcano

Very impressive. This retails for RM 20 for singles and it slowly shoots up to a very respectable 1 ½ storeys high.

It’s worth the display. :)

Soaring Spirit

I wouldn’t buy it myself but it came in the gift hamper. Interesting display.

Conic Fountain (RM 20)

conic fountain

I bought a pack of this for RM 20 – it contains 5 fountains and it’s supposed to have a different effect for each.

I found out the hard way when I let one off which is a plain fountain and another when my two year old niece was watching where it had loud reports. There is no sign of what you’ll get – you have to light it to find out.

Tube Fountains

tube fountains

Krakatoa Fountain

This cylindrical fireworks fountain has height going for it but ultimately only has one effect.

Butterfly Flower

It’s quite typical of a fountain, nothing to write home. I couldn’t find the fuse at first and just lit the entire paper on top before floundering around with it. I also used the tube for something else. More on that later. :D

Box Fountains

box fountains

Large Golden Flower

It’s quite mediocre.

Peach Flower in Spring

This is quite good actually! It starts with a screaming effect and just when you thought it was over, it keeps on going to another effect. I like. :)

Windmill / Spinners

spinners

Da Feng Che

da feng che

This is supposed to be attached to a stick but I broke the stick so I lit it on the ground. Haha!

wheels fireworks

Honestly, I’m not sure it’s even safe to put on a stick coz I vaguely remember accidents from my childhood from the wheel actually spinning off the stick and flying off due to the rotational speed.

One of the fireworks I played with as a little kid. It has a dual (single?) fuse e.g. the fuse burns simultaneously into *TWO* tubes. That’s the interesting bit.

Ground Bloom Flower

This US made spinner is a fast one with various effects and colors. It’s a typical example of a spinner. I liked it.

Salutes

Thunder King

crazy bang

There’s a new batch of Thunder Kings this year which is quite a bit smaller than the original ones. I made a loudest firecracker comparison.

Chinese firecracker

I wouldn’t call this a salute per se – it’s just one of the firecrackers that dropped off the roll. I’m just showing how large and loud it is compared to the typical Shun Lee Hung firecrackers. Old skool is gold skool. :)

Triangle Firecrackers

triangle firecrackers

This is very, very old school. It’s a simple firecracker that contains flash powder wrapped into a triangle shape – the construction is easy and you can get bags containing 100s for little more than spare change. There are some strange imports this year though – Triangulinor which is definitely not from China.

It’s loud and effective. Fun to play. I had some fun playing fireworks with the neighborhood kids with this and one of the first videos I filmed back home was with my dad above. That’s what Chinese New Year is about. Family, friends and fireworks!

Hope you’ve all had a great Chinese New Year! Gong Xi Fatt Chai everyone! :D

Fireworks multi-shot cake barrage exploding on the ground

fireworks barrage

It’s made in China. Quality control is not a big priority over there and with no regulating body, malfunctions are bound to happen. When it happens with multi-shot aerial barrages, the results aren’t pretty. The first one happened to my neighbor during Chinese New Year eve when a 48 shot cake blow up right after the fuse went off.

It sent flaming balls of fire everywhere and I watched for a while before the tubes totally lost their integrity and sent some my way. I’m telling you it was the first time for years I’ve ran into the house. My neighbor shouted a quick warning and beat a hasty retreat as well.

It’s a good thing nothing major happened (except to the car of my neighbor).

fireworks explode

One of my smaller fireworks cake (a 36 shot) also blew up on the ground a few minutes later. However, this happened after most of it has been sent flying into the air to burst at the proper distance so the damage isn’t that bad.

I was filming it too, and I didn’t even realize it blew up until I felt something zip past me into the house and set one of my t shirts on fire. I was remarkably calm in the video though coz I thought it was a plain misfire (when a tube goes awry) instead of the entire cake blowing up. I was just standing 1 meter away!

You can hear sounds of explosions and fireworks despite none going airborne and the clacking of flying cardboard mortar tubes flying everywhere towards the end.

My mom who was watching from the inside was more concerned since she saw the entire thing. However, most of it missed me though and it was lucky that it happened towards the end.

unexploded mortar tubes

The other lucky thing that happened is that some of the tubes didn’t ignite (see the white, unblemished cardboard) so it didn’t cause an all out explosion – this can happen if the explosive force separates the burning ones from the rest in time. It’s not a built in safety precaution – merely chance and luck. :)

Why do fireworks cake barrages misfire?

1. Well, it’s made up of cardboard mortar tubes.
2. These tubes are linked by a fuse to create an aerial barrage of pyrotechnics.
3. A catastrophic event happens when the tube is not loaded properly and instead of the fuse burning into the next tube in line, the mortar tube (there’s a lot in a fireworks cake) explodes, causing a chain reaction that sends all the other tubes into a massive conflagration on the ground.

mortar tube exploding

You can see where the problem has occurred – instead of burning on to the fuse, it explodes and sends the other mortar tubes on fire – the entire integrity of the cake has been compromised then (it’s not meant to go off on the ground but in the air) so the tubes all start firing in every direction.

explosion fireworks

This is caused by the Stepping Up 36-shot barrage and I had to pick up cardboard mortar tubes from as far as 25 meters away. :x

fireworks barrage explode

It’s a good thing this is my smaller fireworks cake instead of the bigger ones. I have a huge 20 kg one with 3” shells that would probably wreck havoc if it explodes on the ground.

Happy Chap Goh Meh everyone and stay reckless safe! :D

Fireworks surprise at the girlfriend’s house

universal battle

I remember having a batch of fireworks from the previous Chinese New Year and decided to give my girlfriend a surprise at 12 midnight last night (technically, today). I carried the firework cake configuration to her house with my car lights dimmed and called her to come out for a while. I had planned to deploy the fireworks just opposite the road outside the house – a hit and run affair, since fireworks are not exactly legal in Malaysia. ;)

universal battle deploy

This is “Universal Battle” a cake configuration of 13 shots (which is not an inauspicious number for the Chinese, unlike the Caucasians) and I drove over to her place with it on my passenger seat and dimmed my car lights when I got to her place before coming out with the fireworks and a lighter.

She was already standing outside when I lit the fuse and was quite puzzled by my “Shh…” motions and gestures to ask her to stay put and wait:

This is the fireworks surprise to cheer Melody up, which didn’t go exactly as planned…but she still enjoyed it. Happy half-weeksary after monthsary, dear! =D

Postmortem:

I could have pulled off the fireworks stunt a little bit better with proper planning. The place was a residential area and letting off (loud) fireworks at night led to a barking spree by all the dogs in the area which woke up just about everyone in the place.

I should think everything through at least three times due to my impulsive nature and stop doing anything while inebriated since it’ll probably not turn out to be the way I expected it to be.

I had prepared a text message saying “Surprise! I love you dear. Hope you enjoyed the display.”, but in hindsight it probably left a bad impression, despite the Hari Raya festive cheer since…well, letting off fireworks in the middle of the road of a residential house is not exactly the kind of stuff parents root for. ;)

She had the remote so it would have been much better if I had let her in the car, went to a public park, let off the fireworks and gave her a quick hug and kiss before sending her back. It would have been much more meaningful (and tactful) since I wouldn’t have woken up the entire neighborhood. She would have enjoyed the display better in a private moment and it would still retain the Surprise Factor (TM).

Oh well, I’ll do it better next time. :)

Melody enjoyed the surprise, and that’s all that matters to me. Cheers all!

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