From an English perspective the accepted translation for 'gjorde' in the sentence 'Fyren gjorde en god figur' has to be 'made', otherwise the entire meaning of the sentence changes. It changes from meaning the guy impressed someone to either speaking about a piece of art the guy made or his ability to mimic another.
Compare: The guy made a good impression & The guy did a good impression.
I think this sentence highlights the problem of literal translation in all circumstances. Sometimes colloquial expressions and common phrases are not the sum of their parts.