A two-fifths-scale inside look at what made Sony’s original video game system work brings back some full-size reminders of something we should never forget.

Japanese toy maker Bandai is famous for its plastic model kits that let fans recreate the giant robots from Gundam and dozens of other anime series. For its latest offering, though, Bandai has found inspiration in a beloved piece of real-world technology.

The company’s Best Hit Chronicle line salutes epoch-making items that changed pop culture, and first up in the series is a 2:5-scale, build-it-yourself model of the original PlayStation, which ships in a box that takes its styling cues from the one that Sony’s first video game console shipped in.

Compared to an anime robot bristling with weaponry, antennas, and angel wings made of concentrate plasma energy, the PlayStation’s box-like form might seem like a pretty simple thing to build. But what made the PlayStation special was the technical performance of its processors and disc drive, and so Bandai’s model kit doesn’t just cover the system’s outer shell, but all the computer components that were on the inside as well.

As our Japanese-language reporter Mr. Sato peered at the parts, he felt a mix of excitement and intimidation. Thankfully, the kit comes with detailed diagrammed instructions, written in both English and Japanese, that explain how to put everything together.

No glue or adhesives are required, but a nice pair of pliers will save you the stress of worrying about crushing or bending pieces as you snap them off the plastic frame.

Looking at the circuit board, Mr. Sato thought back to the days of his youth, reading through magazines and marveling at the specs for the Sony system, which were a huge leap over the previous generation’s 16-bit machines. He knew that eventually all of this was going to be hidden and encased in the model’s outer housing, but seeing how everything fit together, and arranging it with his own hands, gave him a deep appreciation for all the work that went into designing the system.

▼ The kit even contains a recreation of the disc reader’s optic lens in clear plastic.

Painting is entirely optional, since all of the exterior-visible pieces are all already the correct color or have decals to be attached. However, for maximum authenticity you can paint some of the internals, and the instructions even explain which colors to mix, and in what ratios, to get the perfect shade.

Just like the original core system, the PlayStation model comes with one controller, which shows what’s really going on inside the plastic: Sony’s iconic D-pad looks like four separate buttons on the outside, but is actually a single piece below the surface.

In order to keep its retail price down, the original PlayStation didn’t include a pack-in game, which actually ended up being a huge advantage for Sony since it freed up the buyer’s budget to buy whatever game they actually wanted. In an acceptable break with authenticity, though, Bandai’s PlayStation model comes with a scale disc.

As an especially cool touch, the model’s clamshell lid actually opens, and allows you to stick the disk on the spindle inside.

And though the AV outputs on the back are purely decorative, the controller ports and memory card slots are functional, in that they allow you to plug the peripherals in.

The finished product is so exact that without some sort of scale reference it’s hard to distinguish it from the actual 1994 console.

Putting together the 2,750-yen (US$26) kit took Mr. Sato about two hours, but emotionally, it took him back 25-some odd years. Growing up, his parents had bought him a Famicom and Super Famicom (as Nintendo’s NES and SNES were called in Japan), but the PlayStation was the first system he’d purchased on his own, slowly saving up for it while dreaming of what it’d be like to play the then-upcoming Final Fantasy VII. That slow but steady building of anticipation as he got closer and closer to his savings goal and being able to hold the system and a brand new controller in his hand was something he didn’t think he’d ever feel again. Each time he connected two pieces of the model, though, he was connecting a bit of his current self with his younger version, and his new understanding of the PlayStation’s internals helped remind him what makes him tick too, and how much fun it is to look forward to the future.

Photos ©SoraNews24
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Follow Casey on Twitter, where he can’t see an open PS1 with a disc inside without remembering the original method for playing Japanese games on U.S. versions of the system.

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