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 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

cny06 firecrackers box

This is a box of assorted firecrackers and fireworks that somehow
appeared in my room in Sibu in a mysterious and somewhat nefarious
manner. ;) I gave most of it away since I prefer loud and large
fireworks and firecrackers. There were a lot of assorted fireworks (and
more will mysteriously appear again tonight) in the box with a couple
of larger scale firecrackers.

cny06 colorpeony twins

This is 48 Colorpeony placed next to a 16
Colorpeony for scale. The number represents the amount of shots inside
the fireworks. Mysterious mysteries. Colorpeony is a popular Chinese
New Year firework and again, it somehow appeared incriminatingly in my
room. I love loud firecrackers and huge fireworks boxes that produce
the pyrotechnics I crave. :)

I got up at 7 am this morning (“got up” not “woke up”, haven’t slept
in two days) feeling extremely irritable for no reason at all so I
decided to wake up the neighbours with the 48 Colorpeony firecrackers.
It’s supposed to be lit at night so the flaming balls and sparks that
shoots up into the sky isn’t overpowered by the sun, but I wanted to
cheer myself up.

cny06 colorpeony light

Thus, I set the 48 Colorpeony fireworks on the ground near the auto
gate and prepared to light it up. The size of Colorpeony fireworks is
huge if you haven’t seen one – it has a footprint as large as a
notebook (larger than the mini laptops) and it’s about one foot in
height and girth. I asked my mom (who was conveniently there) to take a
video of the pyrotechnics.

cny06 colorpeony spent

She did…at least all that aiming and panning stuff, but she forgot
to press the shutter button! Arrrggghhh…I would have killed her if it
wasn’t Chinese New Year coz it was a really good scene coz I was being
stupid. I just lit the fuse, stood there looking down INTO the
fireworks, gave a running commentary on my favourite firework and got
hit by one of the shots coz I stood right beside it. Jesus Christ, I
wish that was recorded…

dragons playing pearl fireworks

Thus, I went up and grabbed this new firecracker that I bought – it’s called Dragons Playing Pearl Fireworks Mines and Shots
which is a damn long name. It’s smaller than the Colorpeony fireworks
but I didn’t want to waste another Colorpeony so I decided to check out
this new firework. It sounds intriguing enough. Dragons Playing Pearl
Fireworks Mines and Shots. Mines. Shots. Mmm…

dragons fireworks

Download: Dragons Playing Pearl Fireworks Mines and Shots [sixthseal.com]

I gave my mom a 30 minute tutorial on how to use the video function
of my digicam and taught her the basics of panning correctly (she
doesn’t know which scenes should be focused on at what time, so I had
to give her audio cues…loud ones, in the video, and she had to use
zoom coz she thinks fireworks are dangerous in close proximity) and lit
the Dragons Playing Pearl Fireworks Mines and Shots.

cny06 morning sibu

The Dragons Playing Pearl Fireworks Mines and Shots are surprisingly
captivating. It alternates coloured balls of fire and shots of
explosions in a standard 30 tube box firecracker format. It doesn’t
have the sheer intense exit velocity of Colorpeony (which is loud and
shoots up a good 200 meters into the stratosphere) but the Dragons
Playing Pearl Fireworks Mines and Shots holds its own for a firecracker
in its class.

cny06 morning fireworks

It’s very therapeutic to light fireworks in the morning. I went to
bed straight after that and just woke up for the reunion dinner. I’ve
only had half a sandwich in two days so I’m a little hungry. I’ll light
more of the Dragon Playing Pearl Fireworks tonight when it’s dark so it
would look better…

…or should I do it now? Hmm…

Related post: Firecrackers in Malaysia – photos, videos and descriptions [sixthseal.com]

P/S – I love Sibu, practically everyone is letting off firecrackers
(which was what woke me up just now) in the neighbourhoods. There’s
always a constant sound of various fireworks and firecrackers, distant
and near, and that, my friends, is the true spirit of Chinese New Year.
There’s more to come tonight – that’s when the Chinese New Year Eve
celebrations really goes off large scale. I have more boxes of
interesting fireworks and firecrackers for tonight, so stay tuned!

Happy New Year to all of sixthseal.com readers!

Gong Xi Fa Chai!

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